What happens when you bring together hundreds of thousands of Instant Pot fanatics searching for inspiration? For Brittany Williams, it sparked an overnight career.
A homeschooling mother of three young children (who somehow doesn't drink coffee), 27-year-old Williams occasionally swapped recipes and tips among members of a Facebook group devoted to the Instant Pot. But her transformative moment arrived when she revealed that just a few months after overhauling her diet, she had dropped more than 40 pounds.
"Overnight, I got over 10,000 likes, thousands of comments, and people sending me Facebook messages and friend requests," says Williams. After attempting to respond to each query individually, she finally took that momentum and launched her own blog, InstantLoss.
On the first day, her site got 52,000 hits and crashed the server.
Weight-loss stories from Instant Pot devotees aren't uncommon. While everyone goes through the cheesecake phase, the device makes it possible to cook whole foods from scratch in a compressed amount of time. But for Williams, her transformation was dramatic: Between January 2017 and today, she's lost 125 pounds.
"My weight struggles began as a teenager," she says. "We ate fast food and processed food, and even though I was active, I ballooned."
Over the years of trying every diet — and she can recall all the fads like SlimFast, Medifast, and Plexus Slim — every success was met with failure. Later, as a busy mother, she relied on takeout food and weighed more than 200 pounds.
She made a resolution in the new year to rid her pantry of processed foods and cook dinner at home, every night. "I said I would test myself and see how long I could go."
That, coupled with the discovery that she has the MTHFR gene mutation, which affects how her body processes folic acid, became the catalyst for her rapid weight loss.
In between parenting and homeschooling, Williams prepares three meals a day for her family from scratch, and has launched a robust online community in an incredibly short amount of time. After her blog's initial crash, she invested in a larger website, supported by Amazon affiliate links, that now gets 280,000 views a month.
She also created a Facebook community that has amassed nearly 44,000 members and counting as followers search for recipes like "skinny enchiladas" and "guiltless black bean chocolate cake." The page is an ongoing stream of recipe-related questions (that Williams responds to in rapid-fire time) and her fans' personal stories of weight-loss triumphs that garner endless threads of support and praise.
Still navigating this uncharted territory, Williams sees how the value of her newly formed community flows in both directions. "I was 170 pounds when I started the community, and all of the support and mass accountability carried me through those last 35 pounds," she says.
Meanwhile, as a growing number of people approach her looking for advice, she says, "My greatest passion is helping people figure out what's going on in their bodies that's stopping them from losing weight and empowering them to eat well and get the proper nutrition."