You won’t get me seeing a doctor … yet!!

Hey guys

Okay, so, my ‘adult’ head knows that doctors see people of all shapes and sizes! Everyday, they’ll be seeing people like me, people who are bigger, people who are smaller, blah, blah, blah. So, what is it that makes me stay well clear of the local GP surgery? I thought it’d be helpful to talk aloud as I sometimes wonder if anyone has a fear as great as mine.

I should preface this by saying that I’ve been very lucky not to have developed serious illnesses or any health conditions that need monitoring…as far as I know! But I’ve become increasingly aware that if I did suspect something serious (like a lump), I still wouldn’t go. Now I write this, doesn’t it sound daft that I’d prefer to ignore a very serious health warning due to sheer embarrassment. So, I haven’t gone along for smear tests (though I do home kits to send off), I’ve ignored the free health checks for over 40s and I’ve even ignored a GP calling me as I’ve staying clear of the surgery for some time. When I’ve had two accidents in the past few years (including a broken toe), I had to go to A&E which, whilst mortifyingly embarrassing, I guess it made it feel a bit easier as I’d be seeing a doctor as a one-off. So, what’s behind this?

I don’t think it’s because I’m scared of being asked to stand on the scales as I’m big and bold enough to rebel and politely decline. But the thought of revealing my body which I go to great lengths to cover up everyday terrifies me. What will they think? Will they judge? So, I need to remind myself of the first sentence above that they’d probably not even blink because I’ll be no different to anyone else.

I wonder if this stems from being very ill with anorexic behaviour 9 years ago when there was a lot of concern about how much weight I’d lost over the space of months and now I’m so much bigger. It wasn’t even a diet that I was following as a life-threatening eating disorder was controlling me so I don’t feel that it was a ‘diet that went wrong‘ but I guess it’s how I feel. When you’ve been small and then you’re not, what will people think? In fact, I think this shame goes beyond doctors as I’ve definitely withdrawn more generally since I put all the weight on and more.

Clearly, I’m losing weight and perhaps that will give me the confidence to go to the GP if I need to… but I’m going to make a pact here and now. If there’s anything that I feel I need to see a doctor about, even if I don’t lose any more weight than right now, I will see someone. Yes, it’ll push me out of my comfort zone but I want to embrace all that life has to offer and there’s no point loving this new lifestyle if I’m not fit and healthy to enjoy it.

Thank you! Just talking aloud has made things click in my mind so you’ve been great listening. I’m now on countdown for taking part in the London marathon on 4th October and my official racing bib turned up in the post yesterday so more about that at my next weigh-in on Monday.

Have a great weekend everyone

Love Erika xx

Week 21 weigh-in: the incentive of COVID

Hi everyone

You know, when COVID was spreading at an alarmingly quick speed in the UK earlier this year, it provided me with the biggest external incentive to keep going with my recently-started weight loss journey. Stats were coming out about the greater chance of hospital admissions, etc. when being overweight or obese and, yes, I was frightened. Being super morbidly obese with a BMI of 50, I knew that I could end up being seriously ill if I caught the virus. I know it can still affect anyone but, with numbers increasing again, I guess I’m taking some reassurance that I’m doing everything possible to be okay should I get it. And there are some other bonuses along the way! Smaller clothes sizes, having lots of spare space in the garden chairs that I used to struggle to fit into and ticking off all my mini goals along the way! For me, it’s not just about reaching destination Goal Weight but the journey too.

What’s Erika done well this week?

  • I’ve lost 2lbs
  • I’m under 17 stone
  • My BMI is now under 36
  • My belly and hips are now 48″ (after starting out at 58″ and 59″ respectively)
  • My waist is now 38″ after starting out at 45″

What could Erika improve on?

  • I can still do better on the fruit and veg front. I’m SO bad at this!

Erika’s next target(s):

  • Walk/run the virtual London marathon on 4th October! Yes, I have an official place on this race
  • 5 more lbs until I can have a helicopter lesson
  • 7 more lbs until I’ve lost 100 lbs in total and my BMI is under 35 – I’m so excited about this!

Later this week, I’m going to blog about the fear of GPs and anything medical. Yes, I think this links to my weight and size and I really don’t ‘do’ doctors but more about that on Thursday or Friday.

And, before I go, I just want to say ‘thank you’ for reading my blog. Truly, if feels as if I’m not on this journey alone and I can’t tell you how much it means to be able to share all my weird and crazy thoughts aloud 🙂

Love Erika xx

Recordable weight loss:Still to lose:Current weight:BMI:
72 lbs78 lbs236 lbs35.9
Plus 21 lbs lost before blogging

Trying to avoid the anorexic thinking…

Hey folks

Mmm, so you may see that my BMI is in the obese range and then be puzzling about why I’m talking about anorexic behaviour. After all, I’m not underweight. However, I’ve posted before that about 9 years ago, I became trapped in the anorexic behaviour where my daily intake was capped at a mere 250 calories a day, I ended up with heart problems after losing about 8 stone very quickly and I was very close to being sectioned under the Mental Health Act. Yes, it’s possible to adopt anorexic behaviour whatever your weight….and become so poorly.

So, I’m just a bit aware that some of those past thoughts are creeping in again and I’m getting panicky about certain things like:

  • being so rigid about eating only between midday and 8pm. I’ve had a couple of days where I’ve almost gone without dinner as eating past 8pm would be ‘wrong’
  • starting to count calories very strictly. I’ve deliberately stayed away from calorie counting up to now as, 9 years ago, I’d count every half a calorie. Yes! Every half calorie!
  • seeing some foods as ‘bad’
  • jumping on the scales again…again…and again
  • starting to think about how I can avoid meals

But I think it’s good that I’m recognising these thoughts as I can take action and tell myself:

  • Erika, you’re allowed to eat outside that 8 hour window. Just do it when you need to.
  • Erika, you know what’s a sensible portion. You don’t need to count calories as the weight is coming off so you’re doing great. You’re doing something right.
  • Erika, food isn’t bad. You’re allowed to eat anything but you just to need to learn about moderation so that one piece of chocolate doesn’t mean the family size bar! When you’re ready, you can start to reintroduce more foods so that you know when to stop and don’t feel bad about having treats.
  • Erika, you need to be eating enough. Be kind to yourself! Missing out meals will affect your energy levels, especially when gearing up for London Marathon day.

When I started to blog, I promised that I’d be very open with you and, you know, I think writing this is really cathartic. Hopefully it’ll help others who have a history of eating disorder thoughts and just see those behaviours creeping in.

Have a lovely weekend and I’ll be back on Monday

Love Erika xx

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Week 20 weigh-in: I walked 40K steps yesterday!

Hey guys

This morning, every bone and muscle in my feet reminded me that I’d pushed my comfort zone yesterday, reaching more than 40, 000 steps and over 28 km but that pain was good! The pain has since subsided but I’m left with the excitement that I’m really prepping myself for the London marathon in 20 day’s time and that I’ll be able to walk/run the 26.2 miles (42.165 km) in order to get the shiny medal from this year’s virtual event.

What’s Erika done well this week?

  • I lost 4lbs
  • I’m now in the 230s
  • I’ve done shorter walks on top of yesterday’s
  • I drank more water
  • I resisted some chocolate brownies my children made!

What could Erika improve on?

  • I can sense some of my previous-anorexic behaviours creeping in like obsessive jumping on the scales and starting to panic a bit about calories. I need to keep an eye on this because, as I found out many years ago, you don’t need to be underweight to unfortunately experience the life-threatening risks of restrictive behaviour
  • Although I’ve cut out all snacking since I started this journey exactly 7 months ago and I’m making healthier choices, I could eat more fruit and veg

Erika’s next target(s):

  • 1 more lb until I’m under 17 stone
  • 7 more lbs until I can have a helicopter lesson
  • 9 more lbs until I’ve lost 100 lbs and my BMI is under 35 – I’m so excited about this!

Later on this week, I think I’d find it helpful to talk aloud on here about the restrictive behaviours coming through. I really don’t want to end up very ill again. So far, I’ve had a handful of days when my calorie intake has been low but I’m determined to keep this journey healthy and therefore more likely that I’m going to keep off the weight loss. Let’s get into a healthier mindset!

Have a good week, everyone

Love Erika xx

Total recordable weight loss:Still to lose:Current weight:BMI:
70 lbs80 lbs238 lbs36.2
Plus 21 lbs lost prior to blogging

5 top tips to get into the dieting mindset

Hey folks

Now, if you’ve followed my blog for a while, you’ll notice that I rarely call what I’m doing a ‘diet’. For me, it’s a lifestyle change as I tend to think that a diet has short-term connotations but it’s just semantics.

For years, I sensed that I was bigger than I should be. I didn’t dare get on the scales or catch myself in a full size mirror but I knew that I was bigger than I’d ever been. So, when I finally discovered that my weight loss journey was starting at 329 lbs and a BMI of 50, it was scary. But let me share with you my 5 top tips that have so far led me to lose almost 90 lbs since mid-February. Hopefully sharing this will inspire at least one person.

  1. How is your weight or size affecting you NOW?

I guess I’d encourage people to think about what’s the reason for even starting the weight loss journey. For me, I started feeling the fat on the back of my neck when sitting down, I was becoming aware of COVID mortality rates and obesity, and I knew that I was basically missing out on so much. I hadn’t flown on a plane for years, I hid away from people. I was avoiding seeing doctors. Also, as a carer, I had a big wake up call that I needed to be healthy to look after my son.

2. What will change if you lose weight or get fitter?

Can you visualise this new ‘you’ when you’re smaller? For me, I could visualise it although much of my adult life has been spent on the large size but I pictured being able to wear skinny jeans, jumping on planes to go away for weekend trips all over Europe, being able to walk for hours with little exhaustion, I could visualise not worrying if I’d fit in a chair, etc. I may have a long way to go but I feel so different. I’ve even discovered a love for exercise having done Couch to 5K whilst still morbidly obese and I’m doing the London marathon next month! My confidence is rocketing.

3. Take stock of now.

The biggest advice is to know your starting weight. I feared the scales as it meant staring at reality in the face but you need that starting point. Measure your chest, waist, hips, belly and any other body part you’re not happy with. Take ‘honest’ photos of yourself. As you start to lose weight and take photos, measure, etc. having those comparisons can be mind blowing. It may be that the scales don’t shift much but your body IS changing. On the 26th of each month, I now try on my skinny jeans and they’re slowly working their way up my legs!

4. Embrace the mini goals.

If I was focusing only on how I’m going to lose 150 lbs (plus 21 lbs before I started blogging), I might have given up ages ago! There’s no way I’d keep focused. I have some many mini goals that I find easy to track using the MY Weight app. I’m always aiming for the next 1/2 BMI point, the next 1/2 percent of fat, the next group of 5lbs, the next half stone, etc. Almost every time I lose a pound, I’m ticking off another mini goal.

5. Make it sustainable.

I won’t even attempt to think about how many diets are out there and of course we’ll all have different views about works well for us. For me, I’m keeping it simple. For me, no meal replacement drinks or keto as I don’t think I’d sustain that. I get into a calorie deficit and consume around 1200 a day without tracking macros. I aim to burn 2,800 – 3,300 a day through workouts. I eat only between noon and 8pm. Because I’m eating what I want to eat and I just keep an eye on portion sizes, it means that I still have the stamina to keep going until the button on those jeans does up easily.

If you’re on this weight loss journey, what’s helping you? If you wish you could be, what do think are your barriers? I’d love to hear .

Have a great weekend, everyone

Love Erika xx

Week 19 weigh-in: How often do the pounds drop?

Hey folks

Let’s get straight into this week’s report card!

What’s Erika done well this week?!

  • I lost 1 lb….more about that in a moment.  
  • My body fat is now under 50%
  • I walked 10km on Saturday with just 4 weeks left until I’m doing the virtual London Marathon of 26.2 miles (i.e. just over 40km)
  • I can now wear the smaller of the two wrist straps that came with my Fitbit.
  • All body measurements are under 50″. Yes, when I started this journey, my hips were 59″, my belly was 58″ and my bust was 52.5″.
  • My waist is under 39″. This started out at 45″

What could Erika improve on?

  • Drink more water. Yes, I STILL need to improve on this!

Erika’s next target(s):

  • Do a 20km walk this weekend coming
  • 11 more lbs until I can have a helicopter lesson
  • 13 more lbs until I’ve lost 100 lbs in total and my BMI is under 35

Like many women, the scales frustratingly don’t budge for a few days every 4 weeks. Yes, period weigh gain is very common but the important thing is to hold onto the fact that it’s temporary. It might be tempting to give into those cravings or skip the exercise but keep doing what you’re doing and the scales will suddenly drop. I thought I’d share the monthly view of my weight loss because yes, for w/c 3rd August and 31st August, the scales pretty much stayed the same. I’m sure that the only reason the scales didn’t go up with my period due is because I kept going with the eating and exercise and, if it wasn’t for my period, there would have been more of a loss.

I’ll be back later this week to talk about my 5 top tips for starting a weight loss journey. Very much from the perspective of someone whose BMI was 50 earlier this year since which I’ve adjusted my headspace. You see, I’ve lost 87 lbs in all and I’m not getting bored. It feels sustainable so I’ll share with you what’s making a true difference.

Love Erika xx

Total recordable weight loss:Still to lose:Current weight:BMI:
66 lbs84 lbs242 lbs 36.8
Plus 21 lbs lost prior to blogging

Are you ever too old to get medals for walking?!

Hey folks

Well, I’m going to answer this question straightaway with a huge resounding “No”!!! You see, I’m discovering that there’s an international community of thousands of people working towards challenges through walking, running, jogging, swimming, cycling and much more, and I’d love to tell you about this.

How did you discover medals, Erika?

Back in February when I weighed 329 lbs, I couldn’t walk more than 100 metres without being puffed out. Part way into this weight loss journey, I pushed myself to do Couch to 5K and in fact completed nearly all of it whilst morbidly obese. But I wanted something to celebrate my achievement, something tangible and I discovered this beauty below. But I’ve now also discovered there are LOTS more medals out there!

What medals are there?

So, yes, there are medals for real events like running marathons, etc. However, I’m discovering virtual events where you use your phone or tracking device to progress through predetermined routes, such as walking the Inca Trail in Peru, walking Route 66, walking 160 km to Mount Everest base camp, etc. Once you’ve achieved the distance, you submit your evidence and, whoop, a shiny medal drops through your letter box. My favourite websites are My Virtual Mission (I LOVE their medals), Virtual Racing UK and Ace-Races UK. But a word of warning…they’re addictive!

How does working towards a medal help?

For me, I love a target. Something to aim for. Something I can achieve. I’m not just exercising for the sake for it and some websites/apps actually show you how far you are along the route, sending you virtual postcards, etc. Like on My Virtual Mission, I can see where I am on the map but there’s also a brilliantly supportive Facebook group. Tonight, I’ll be covering some more distance as I work towards my next medal. It’s much cheaper than going to a gym!

Which ones have you got to far and which ones are you planning?

So far, I’ve got medals for Couch to 5K, 50 miles of running in July, 100 miles of running in August, a 31 day challenge through August where I was set daily fitness challenges, the width of the English Channel (34 km which is below), the Inca Trail (42 km) and Hadrian’s Wall (165 km). I also got a medal for walking 5km along a local route that I’d been too unfit to even try. When I accomplished it, I deliriously jumped onto the app and claimed the medal straightaway!

I’m currently working towards a 290 km New Zealand-based walk and, separately, a 160 km Mount Everest one. In under 5 weeks, I’ll be running the official 2020 Virtual London Marathon that will result in a medal (hopefully!)….and so many more.

This is from My Virtual Mission – jolly heavy!

Once I have quite a collection, I’ll share lots of photos! Some medals are coming from the US so it’ll take a bit of time but who doesn’t like something shiny! I might even put a ‘wall medal holder’ on my birthday present list. Get me, I love working out!

Love Erika xx

Week 18 weigh-in: I’ve the biggest news ever!

Hey everyone

Oh, I’m so happy! I’m hitting lots of targets and my body’s feeling incredibly different…but I’ve also signed up for something almost inconceivable a few months ago…more about that shortly! Like last week’s blog, here’s my report card:

What’s Erika done well this week?!

  • I lost 5 lbs! 
  • My BMI is now under 37 which means I’m nicely on my way towards the lowest obesity category
  • I’m now more than half way on this weight loss journey
  • I’m now under 17 and a half stone in British weight-talk (where 1 stone equals 14 lbs)
  • I’ve now lost more than 6 stone in British weight-talk (i.e. 6 stone 2 lbs)
  • I’m now light enough to go on a Segway (manufacturers say 245 lbs)
  • I exercised daily. I’m now on my 3rd walking medal with My Virtual Mission and will complete the Hadrian’s Wall walk (144.8 km distance) later on today. I started this 2 weeks ago.

What could Erika improve on?

  • Drink more water. I’ve been drinking more than last week but lots of room for improvement!

Erika’s next target(s):

  • 1 more lb until my body fat is under 50%
  • 12 more lbs until I can have a helicopter lesson
  • 14 more lbs until I’ve lost 100 lbs in total and my BMI is under 35

You see, it’s these tiny goals that keep me focused and motivated.

Drum roll…

Right, I have a HUGE thing to admit! You know back in February at 329 lbs that I couldn’t walk more than 100 metres without being out of puff? And I’ve since completed Couch to 5K? Well, er, I’m doing the 2020 Virtual London Marathon on 4th October!!!!! Yes, there were 45,000 places as you get the finisher’s medal if you complete the 26.2 miles but you actually get the whole 24 hours to do and I signed up just in time before the spaces went. WHAT HAVE I DONE?!!!!!

So, I’ll share my pre-marathon news over the next few weeks as well as blog about discovering the world of fitness medals, overcoming weight loss plateaus, motivational tips, changing the inner voice, how to set tiny targets and so much more

Love Erika xx

Total recordable weight loss:Still to lose:Current weight:BMI:
65 lbs85 lbs243 lbs36.9
Plus 21 lbs lost prior to blogging

So that means I’ve lost 86 lbs in all and I’ve 85 to go!

Overcoming emotional eating

I wonder if you can relate to any of the following:

  • turning to the snack cupboard when feeling upset
  • eating to deal with stress
  • eating because you’re feeling bored

Emotional eating relates to when food is eaten to manage emotions and if you can relate to this, you’re truly not alone. When I was bulimic and even ended up in an eating disorder unit for 6 weeks because of it, I would consume 1,000s of calories in a very short amount of time. It would usually be food that was high in fat and easy to swallow, and just seemed to fill a hole. I mean, filling that emotional space inside me with food provided that immediate ‘fix’ and felt easier than talking.

So, I guess I thought I’d share my advice purely as someone who’s truly been there:

First, learn to recognise if you are an emotional eater. Once you know, you can then start to move away from it but accepting this can be a hard step in itself, can’t it?

Second, explore what’s leading to it. As I alluded to above, there’s something going on beneath. It may be that you’re unhappy with relationships, your past, the way you see yourself, how life is panning out for you, depression and a host of other reasons. But perhaps grab a journal and write ‘from your heart’ to explore what’s at the crux of how you’re feeling.

Third, find ways of responding to the underlying reason. Yes, you can turn to food if you’re unhappy about what’s happening between you and your friends or turn to food if you’re stressed about work. But food is almost like something you can paper over the cracks with as a temporary fix….but the crack is still there. There may be huge issues at work or with relationships but it’s about dealing with those head on if possible rather than turn to food. Sometimes, we can’t change things…but keep reading! You’ll see why ❤

Fourth, develop a better relationship with food. For decades, I developed a numbness when I ate. I wasn’t aware of what I was eating. The food just kept going in without touching the sides. But I’m now mindful about eating and if I get peckish when I don’t think I should be, I drink water in case I’m actually thirsty or tell myself to wait 30 minutes to see if I’m still hungry. I now take my time eating a meal and really consider every forkful. I’ve heard of some people finding it helps to put the fork down between mouthfuls.

Last week was the first time in 6 months where I almost slipped in my new lifestyle because I’ve a lot of stress here at home being a carer. I don’t know how long our son will be alive for so, yes, I can’t tell you how much I’m hurting right now. But I gave myself a good talking to. You see, I can’t control what’s happening here at home but I can control how I’m looking after myself. There’s no point me feeling rubbish about our situation here AND feeling rubbish that I ate food I didn’t really want. It’s okay to not always be smiley but talk. Talk about how you’re feeling. Find kinder ways of dealing with emotions. I’m discovering that walking for miles really clears my head but more about that another time…

I’ll be back Monday with my next weigh-in, guys, as well as news of some upcoming blogs. Hope you have a lovely weekend.

Love Erika xx

Week 17 weigh-in: I’m under 250 lbs!

Hey everyone

Do you know? It almost likes a huge relief to get under 250 lbs as I’m now nearer to 200 than 300 (having started this journey at 329). I thought I’d do myself a report card for this week:

What’s Erika done well this week?!

  • I lost 3 lbs! According to the MY Weight app, I lose 2.95 lbs each week on average.
  • I exercised daily. As well as miles and miles of walking, I’ve been doing daily workouts which I’ve loved. In fact, I’m discovering that exercising helps me to clear my head.
  • I had a Chinese takeaway but made sensible choices. Oh, no, a takeaway???!!! Yes, we can still have a takeaway and lose weight! I chose chicken with mushrooms with two spoonfuls of my husband’s boiled rice and I was full.
  • I had a pizza takeaway! Yes, two takeaways in one week! But I chose a small one with an Italian base (which is thin), reduced fat mozzarella, tandoori chicken and mushrooms. According to the Dominoes app, this came out at around 900 calories but I don’t eat the crusts so it would have been slightly less. I usually have rocket in my fridge that I throw on top which is a great way to bulk up food without piling on the calories.

What could Erika improve on?

  • Drink water. I really need to drink much more. After getting into the pattern of doing this a few weeks back, I shamefully almost lived on Diet Coke this week but watch out for next Monday’s blog to see if I’ve addressed the balance.
  • Possible eat more. You see, after having anorexia many years and getting caught up in the obsessive counting, I’m not counting every calorie I eat although I’m aiming for roughly 1200-1400 calories. But I think I’ve had days where I may have gone quite a bit less than this which could impact on my metabolism, etc.

As you’ll see in the table below, my BMI is almost down to 37.5 (after starting at 50) and to get under this is my next mini target as I’ll be halfway through the obese class II category (which goes from 35-39.9).

Later this week, I’m going to blog about emotional eating because I’ve been there, especially in the past. As I mentioned the other day, last week was the first time I’d nearly lost the grip on this new lifestyle but I didn’t give in. I’m still here with no cheat days or cheat meals….but more about that on Thursday/Friday.

Hope you have a lovely week

Love Erika xx

Total recordable weight loss:Still to lose:Current weight:BMI:
60 lbs90 lbs248 lbs37.7
Plus 21 lbs lost prior to blogging