A woman with local ties is the latest addition to the group of national spokespersons representing Nutrisystem.
Erin Combs Banks began the Nutrisystem weight-loss diet in February 2009. In a little more than a year, the former Miramar Beach resident lost 110 pounds by following the diet.
When Banks saw Nutrisystem posts asking for success stories, Banks contacted them and told her story. The contact led to a meeting where she showed them before and after pictures. Nutrisystem liked what they saw and asked Banks to become a representative for them, and she agreed. Her first photo shoot for Nutrisystem was in June in Philadelphia, and she has done two more in Las Vegas. Her photos can be seen on the company's website under "Women's Plans."
As the daughter of a military dad, Banks moved to this area in 2002 and worked as a civilian at Eglin Air Force Base. Two years ago she transferred to a base in the Los Angeles area where she now lives. Her parents, Steven and Barbara Combs, still live in Miramar Beach and she visited them over Thanksgiving.
In a phone interview with The Sun, Banks said she had always been a little overweight but began to really gain following her divorce. When a herniated disk followed, she knew she had to do something about her weight. She found what worked for her through Nutrisystem.
"It's a healthy diet and it works," she said. "Losing the weight makes me feel amazing. I was in my own way for years. Now I feel like a freaking tiger. I am skinnier now than I have ever been. It makes you feel like you can conquer the world. I used all of Nutrisystem's programs and the support system there and kept at it. It taught me how to eat and what a proper portion was."
Becoming a spokesperson for Nutrisystem has opened up doors of opportunities for Banks. During her last trip to Vegas to film a spot for QVC, she met Marie Osmond, who introduced Banks on her QVC spot.
"It was awesome to hear her story and make a connection," said Banks. "Her story is on track with mine. She is the sweetest chatty Cathy. She told me that my story inspired her because my story has taken me from such a dark place."
Banks also met Melissa Joan Hart at a premier recently.
Banks also has other opportunities in the works but is tightlipped about them.
However, her mother said her daughter is pursuing acting and modeling prospects and there are upcoming events she will be attending in New York City over the holidays, including a New Year's presentation of Nutrisystem products.
Banks laughs when asked how she feels about her new "celebrity" status.
"I don't feel like a celebrity," she said. "I feel like I'm helping people by letting them know they