When does a strict diet tip over into being an eating disorder?

Hey folks

There really seems to be a fine line between the two. A close friend has expressed concern that I’m in the grip of an eating disorder having lost a lot of weight this year and knowing that I had what would now be called ‘atypical anorexia’ in 2011-12. You can read about this (here). So, am I just super focused…or is something else going on?

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In the UK, the acronym SCOFF is used by medical practitioners to screen for the presence of possible eating disorders. Answering ‘yes’ to at least two of these questions would suggest possible anorexia or bulimia so here’s me being honest in answering each one:

1. Do you make yourself Sick because you feel uncomfortably full? No.

2. Do you worry you have lost Control over how much you eat? No.

3. Have you recently lost more than One stone in a three month period? One stone is the equivalent of 14lbs so yes…but my starting weight was very high? At the same time, I’ve lost more than the recommended 1-2 lbs a week and I’m jumping on the scales probably far more than is recommended.

4. Do you believe yourself to be Fat when others say you are too thin? No…as I’m still in the obese range. I feel far bigger than my clothes size would suggest but can’t that be the case for many people going through a transformation? Does the mind need time to catch up with what’s going on with the body?

5. Would you say that Food dominates your life? Yes! All day, every day. I wake up thinking about food, I think about how to avoid situations where others, like my husband, will expect me to eat more that I want to, I take ages to go to sleep because I’m thinking about calories and, well, my Google history is full of food-related searches. So, this is a resounding yes.

So, okay, I can say ‘yes’ to two of these.

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When I was ill in 2011-12, the mental health team said that I had all the features of anorexia as I’d gone from a BMI of 43 to 27 very quickly….but I was still actually overweight. They could see that day-to-day life was consumed with all things food-related and almost this obsession about losing that next pound on the scales. They could also see how my heart QT’s interval was becoming prolonged with regular heart tracings. The term ‘atypical anorexia’, which was added when the DSM-5 was published in 2013, basically means that the criteria for anorexia is met except that the person can be ‘normal’ weight or even overweight. So, I think it’s safe to say that this would have been my diagnosis at the time if it existed.

As some of you know, I do have a lot of pressure at home as I’m carer to one of my adult children and so, whilst I’m always the one with a huge, beaming smile, I know there’s a lot of sadness going on right now. So, am I struggling to sometimes eat enough because I’m tired and perhaps struggling as a carer or have I turned to being rather strict because eating and losing weight is something that I can control in life? I’ve decided to pursue some therapy to explore this so I’m hoping that will start in the next few weeks. But returning to my original question ‘When does a strict diet tip over into being an eating disorder?’, I guess this can happen when thoughts about food and losing weight permeate into almost every aspect of life. I’m having days when I feel almost scared of eating so I know I need to challenge my thinking around food to stay well. So, in answering this question, I’m going to have to get back to you. I’ve always been (and I’ll continue to be) open with you.

I hope you have a super weekend. I’m seeing my parents this weekend which is the first time for about 7 months due to Covid so I can’t wait. And I’ll be back on Monday with my next weigh-in

Love Erika xx

YES! I can do up the button on my jeans!!

Oh guys, I said I’d be straight on here where I could share a huge non-scale milestone. Just now, I’ve realised that I can do up the button on my jeans! In July, my jeans barely reached above my knees so I’m buzzing!

I know I shared these first photos last week but this has been my journey 😊

My waist has gone from around 48″ to 36″ but my journey will continue. I’m on a roll as this is today!

Just 4.5 months later!

Hope you’re doing okay and I’ll be back later this week

Love Erika xx

Week 32 weigh-in: an advent calendar with a difference!


Hey guys

I can’t wait to show you my advent calendar. The rest of my family have chocolate ones but my one is, er, a little bit different! More about that in a moment but, first, let’s take a look at this week’s report card.

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What’s Erika done well this week?

  • I’ve lost another 3 lbs 🙂
  • I’m now under 100 kg! (99.97 kg to be precise)
  • I’m light enough to take a helicopter flying lesson with a local company
  • I’ve been focusing on upping my protein (mainly cooked chicken) and cutting back on carbs

What could Erika improve on?

  • Mmm, this is going to be the subject of my blog later this week but I’m at the point of thinking “Am I just super focused on losing weight or am I beginning to develop the symptoms of atypical anorexia?” There can be such a fine line between the two and I’m not saying that I have an eating disorder again but, if it’s okay with you, I’ll think aloud on here probably Thursday or Friday. As ever, I’ll be very open and honest about where I’m at.

Erika’s next target(s):

  • 1 lb until I’ve lost a third of my original body weight and I’m out of the 220s
  • 3 lbs until I’ve lost 8 stone in total
  • 4 lbs until my BMI is in the 32s
  • 21 lbs until I’m in Onederland (yes, I’ll be less than 200 lbs)
  • 24 lbs until I’m no longer obese as I’ll be overweight

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Right, back to my advent calendar… this is a fitness one! Virtual Racing UK organise this every year but post these calendars abroad too. The idea is that behind every door, you may find part of a medal which you build as you head towards Christmas and you also have a fitness challenge. Today’s challenge? 30 x crunches, 30 x cross crunches, 20 x leg raisers and 60 second plank….. and repeat all of this TWICE!!! It’s actually really exciting to see what the daily challenge is. If you fancy this, perhaps follow them on Facebook so you can see when the 2021 advent calendar is launched. But once my whole medal has been built, I’ll share a photo with you.

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Right, I’m off to do my daily challenge workout but I’ll be back Thursday / Friday. In the meantime, please feel free to share your own weight loss successes, frustrations or whatever’s on your mind ❤

Love Erika xx

Recordable weight loss since blogging:Still to lose:Current weight:BMI:
88 lbs62 lbs220 lbs33.5
Plus 21 lbs lost prior to blogging

Some more photos! Here’s what I’m eating…

Hey folks

Having lost over 100 lbs, I’d love to tell you that my dinner plates are filled with colourful veg, that I’ve a fruit bowl overflowing with exotic specimens from all over the world and that I’m eating huge volumes of oily fish. But, I’m such a fussy eater! The only food I’m staying away from 100% are chocolate, biscuits, cakes, etc. but, apart from that, it’s all about portion control. Saying that, I do want to reduce my intake of carbs which I’ve started doing today and chicken salad is on my lunch menu 🙂

So, here are some dinners from recent weeks. You know, before February, I would have filled up my plate and not thought about quantity but my stomach (and, very importantly, my head) have adjusted to knowing when to stop.

Yes, for the first time ever, I had a double burger as shown in the photo above but these were turkey burgers. I’d never had these before but I’d read that turkey is super healthy. And the pizza that was delivered to my home? Low fat mozzarella, thin base, etc. all of which makes it as healthy as possible at around 750 calories.

I do love a quiche and, in my quest to reduce my carbs, I was so excited to find this low fat crustless one at 270 calories.

But here’s my latest discovery. No-added sugar jelly! This is 8 calories per pot and, eating it with a teaspoon, I probably burn more calories eating it! I currently have about 20 of these pots in my fridge and they’re the only sweet things I have. It’s been about 35 years since I’d eaten jelly and it was a bit weird eating it again initially but having this ‘go to’ if I’m getting peckish is really helping.

So, let’s see if I can reduce my carbs and perhaps check out some new veg! But the main thing for me is portion control and making this journey sustainable. Yes, it can be hard initially to adjust but, on the occasional time when I wonder about having an extra slice of bread, all I have to ask myself is:

Do I want that slice of bread or do I want to do up the button on my skinny jeans?”

I know the answer every time!

Hope you have a lovely weekend, everyone, and I’ll be back on Monday with my next weigh-in

Love Erika xx

Week 31 weigh-in: I’ve got photos!

Hey folks

I’ve been thinking for a little while about whether to share some photos with you. Yes, I might be able to hide behind my laptop, I’m not even showing my face in these photos but…well… I guess these are probably the most revealing photos so far of my weight loss journey. More about that in a moment as it’s time to quickly look at this week’s report card.

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What’s Erika done well this week?

  • I’ve lost another 1lb. In fact, I feel like I’m retaining so much water today so it’ll be interesting to see if anything happens on the scales over the next few days
  • My BMI is in now in the 33s
  • I bought a kettlebell…. I just need to learn how to use it now!

What could Erika improve on?

  • I always feel compelled to write something here but I’m going to give myself some slack and tell myself I’ve done okay this week 🙂

Erika’s next target(s):

  • 3 lbs until I’m weighing less than 100 kg
  • 24 lbs until I’m in Onederland (yes, I’ll be less than 200 lbs)
  • 26 lbs until I’m no longer obese as I’ll be overweight

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Okay, it’s time for photos! So, although I’ve lost most of my weight between February and July, I decided back in July to try on a pair of jeans that I last wore in 2013. Whilst I don’t normally hold onto clothes I can’t get into, I loved these jeans and perhaps always held onto the hope I’d one day get back into them. Once a month, I’ve been trying these on. Back in July, I could barely get them above my knees… and this was already having lost about 70lbs. Last week, I could almost do up the button… if I pulled the material! Victories aren’t only the number we see on the scales. It’s moments like this when I can reflect on how I’m making huge strides with my body.

As soon as I can get that button done up, I’ll be straight on here sharing this with you!

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Later this week, I’m going to share photos of what I’ve been eating but, in the meantime, please feel free to share your own weight loss successes, frustrations or whatever’s on your mind ❤

Love Erika xx

Recordable weight loss since blogging:Still to lose:Current weight:BMI:
85 lbs65 lbs223 lbs33.9
Plus 21 lbs lost prior to blogging

Weight loss plateaus: how to cope with them and how to break them

Hey folks

Today is all about that dreaded ‘P word‘ in this world of weight loss… plateaus. Our pounds are coming off, we’re celebrating change and then bam! Weight loss slows down or just stops. Your weight might even fluctuate over a range of figures on the scales and you may feel like you’ll never get out of it. Last week, I blogged about all the reasons not to give up but today I’m focusing on my approach to not getting frustrated when weight loss slows down and my thoughts about how to break them.

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What is a plateau?

According to Weight Watchers, it’s when metabolism slows down or halts your weight loss so that despite eating the same number of calories as you were, the scales aren’t really budging over a few weeks. This can be as a result of losing lean muscle tissue or physiological changes. But a plateau can also happen if you’re perhaps not quite focusing on your intake and exercise as much as before.

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So, how do I break a plateau?

First advice from me is to check whether you’re counting all those calories. It’s so easy for a biscuit or an extra spoonful of sugar in your tea to add up here and there. Portions might be getting bigger again or perhaps emotional eating is creeping in. So, take stock. One thing I’ve done before is to take photos of everything I’m eating because I’ve had days (this is pre-weight loss) when I realised at night how much I’d consumed. There were times when I couldn’t remember eating something! At that point, I didn’t have the motivation to do anything about it but it made me ‘food aware’. Other options are to write everything down or use a calorie app to track your food.

Second, if you really are sticking to good food choices, beware that you may be taking in the right number of calories for your starting weight but perhaps you need fewer now. So, use an online calorie calculator to check how many calories you need for your current weight.

Third, you’ll find a host of advice online about things you can do to raise your metabolism, from eating spicy food to calorie cycling (when you alternate between high and low numbers). From having a cheat meal to covering yourself in cling film so that you sweat away! Two consistent pieces of advice I’ve come across though are drinking lots of water and increasing your activity levels so that you’re burning calories and therefore increasing your lean muscle again. This might include high intensity workouts, going for long walks or parking at the space furthest away from the store…anything to get you moving more than you were!

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But I need a break from losing weight

And that’s okay. You see, we all need a break sometimes and it may be that you need to take out some time where maintaining is the right thing for your body and your mind. Celebrate your journey so far! Think of how far you’ve come and, when you’re ready to refocus, you can carry on from where you got to. Weight loss isn’t a race. There’s rarely a set time by which you need to have reached a certain figure. Be kind to yourself ❤

And you know, those pounds will shift at some point. Perhaps not this week, perhaps not next week, but they’ll come off. Hold onto the hope. And if you do lose a pound, remember my recent post, it’s never ‘just’ a pound!

Have a lovely weekend, everyone, and I’ll be back on Monday with my next weigh-in

Love Erika xx

Week 30 weigh-in: letting go of old clothes…

Hey guys

YES!! As shown in my ‘report card’ below, I’ve lost a lot more than one pound this week so I’m truly buzzing today! Perhaps it’s because I’d plateaued for about three weeks and the scales are now reacting again to me controlling my portions and exercising. I don’t know. There could be 101 reasons why but I’m hoping it won’t be too long until I’m out of the 220s.

Okay, let’s have a look at this week’s report card:

What’s Erika done well this week?

  • I’ve lost 4 lbs
  • I’ve ditched most of the clothes that are too big for me… more about that in a moment.

What could Erika improve on?

  • I’ve always said that I’ll be honest with you and I do need to watch that being ‘eager’ about a new lifestyle doesn’t slip into being some form of eating disorder. A friend has shown concern about how quickly I’ve lost this weight over the past few months, especially when my heart was put at risk many years ago when I lost a lot of weight through anorexic behaviour (although the weight loss was quicker). Do I have an eating disorder? I don’t think so but I will be reflecting on that.

Erika’s next target(s):

  • 1 lb until my BMI is in the 33s….so close!
  • 4 lbs until I’m weighing less than 100 kg
  • 25 lbs until I’m in Onederland (yes, I’ll be less than 200 lbs)
  • 27 lbs until I’m no longer obese as I’ll be overweight
This is the MY Weight app

Before this weight loss, I was wearing approximately US size 18-20 / UK size 22-24 clothes although trousers would have been slightly bigger. And, you know, I’ve still been wearing some of these clothes… just very loosely! But I had a big sort out on Saturday night, dumped all my clothes on my bed including those I’d kept from my previous ‘slim days’ that I’ve wanted to get back into and tried on EVERYTHING! I’ve been buying a few bits over the past few months but hadn’t wanted to buy too much knowing that I’d likely be ‘passing by’ certain sizes. The result? I have a huge bag of clothes going to charity and I’m now wearing clothes to reflect my current size. Tops? I’m a US size 10 / UK size 14. Bottoms? I’m a US size 12-14 / UK size 16-18. (I don’t think I’ve ever shared my height with you but I’m 173 cm / 5 foot 8). And I’m thinking more about how I want to style myself. I could buy completely new clothes but I’m actually really loving searching on EBay where there’s a huge range ….some pre-loved clothes that reportedly have been worn just the once but also lots that are new and still have their tags so I’ve a few bits on their way 🙂

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So, upcoming posts include:

  • coping with and breaking plateaus
  • what I’m eating (I’ve been taking photos!)
  • choosing how the ‘new me’ will dress
  • the fine line between very focused dieting and anorexic thinking

Please feel free to share your own weight loss successes, frustrations or whatever’s on your mind ❤

Love Erika xx

Recordable weight loss since blogging:Still to lose:Current weight:BMI:
84 lbs66 lbs224 lbs34.1
Plus 21 lbs lost prior to blogging

Tempted to give up on the diet? This is what’s helped me :)

Hey folks

I wonder if you can relate to this. You’ve made healthy food choices, the pounds have been coming off quickly, you’ve sensed your clothes feeling loser, you’ve felt like you were conquering this ‘losing weight’ thing and then…..PLATEAU!! Whatever you do, the scales don’t budge or, if they do, you might lose half a pound. So, should you just give up? No!!

Next week, I’m going to talk about plateaus (how to cope with them and how to break them) but as I was starting to lose motivation recently, I thought I’d share with you what’s saved me from giving up and seeing the pounds creep back on. You see, I can visualise how things will be when I hit my target weight but it’s so important to reflect on these 10 reasons NOT to go back to where this journey began:

  • I’m not going back to my starting weight of 329 lbs
  • I’m not going back to my starting BMI of 50
  • I’m not going back when I couldn’t walk up the stairs without being out of breath
  • I’m not going back to the sofa squeaking as I sat on it
  • I’m not going back to wondering if I’d fit in that chair with arms
  • I’m not going back to feeling the fat on the back of my neck
  • I’m not going back to feeling uncomfortable even if I sat upright
  • I’m not going back to being clinically vulnerable re Covid and a BMI of 40+
  • I’m not going back to being unable to walk 100 metres without being in pain
  • I’m not going back to wondering how long I’d live

Yes, we should think about our long term goal although ideally split it into lots of tiny manageable targets but let’s not forget where we’ve come from. And let’s use that to keep us on this journey. Although I’ve used the word ‘diet’ above, I’m slowly appreciating that it’s really more of a lifestyle change really… which means having to make much longer changes rather than seek a quick fix.

Have a great weekend, everyone

Love Erika xx

Week 29 weigh-in: it’s never ‘just’ another pound!

Hey folks

Well, before I launch into this week’s report card and tell you what I’m going to blog about this week, may I say a huuuuuge welcome!!!!! I’m such a small time blogger with a fabulous group of followers but, since Friday, the number of followers has suddenly jumped by 50%! Just… thank you!

Okay, let’s carry on with this week’s report card

What’s Erika done well this week?

  • I lost 1 lb. More about that in a moment…..
  • I’ve stuck to the intermittent fasting between noon – 8pm
  • My postman commented on my weight loss (check this extra post if you missed this as I’m still buzzing!)

What could Erika improve on?

  • Whilst I’ve really got back into healthier eating, I do need to up my exercise again. Work has been busy which means sitting down for long periods of time writing loads of reports so I need to carve out time in my day to make this happen.

Erika’s next target(s):

  • 5 lbs until my BMI is in the 33s
  • 8 lbs until I’m weighing less than 100 kg
  • 29 lbs until I’m in Onederland (yes, I’ll be less than 200 lbs)
  • 31 lbs until I’m no longer obese as I’ll be overweight

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So, for this week’s achievements, I was going to write how I’d lost ‘just’ one pound… but I stopped myself because is it ‘just’? Okay, I may wish for higher numbers but every pound is meant to the equivalent of 3,500 calories that I’ve cut out/burned, it’s another pound towards my healthy weight goal and it’s another pound that’s making my clothes feel lose. So, every pound should be celebrated!! Just think about how weight gain can slowly creep up on us with a pound here and a pound there. Well, it’s the same with weight loss really. Those single pounds will soon also add up… so each one counts!

On Thursday or Friday, I’m going to blog about when you’ve lost a stack of weight, you’ve more to go but you feel stuck with your resolve diminishing. I was starting to get into this groove a couple of weeks ago but I’m going to share with you what mind games I’m playing with myself to spur me on! I hope this will resonate with others.

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Are you on a weight loss journey? Whether you’ve put on, lost or maintained, you’re always welcome to share your story here.

Love Erika xx

Recordable weight loss since blogging:Still to lose:Current weight:BMI:
80 lbs70 lbs228 lbs34.7
Plus 21 lbs lost prior to blogging

Walking and running for shiny medals!

I might be in my mid 40s but I’m certainly not too old to get excited when a shiny medal pops through my letterbox!

I’ve discovered an international community of people who love to jog, walk, run, swim, row or do whatever to claim their well-earned medals. Whether it’s medals to celebrate doing your first 5K, running a marathon, jogging the distance of the English Channel or even walking Route 66, there’s a medal out there for everyone.

So, here’s my collection… so far! It all started when I did the Couch to 5K program earlier this year when I was still morbidly obese. I wondered if there might be a medal to reward myself and, wow, I came across so many websites including those I’ve listed at the end of today’s post. I’m now filling my 2nd medal hangar. You know, I could just exercise for the sake of it but working towards these MAKES me want to get out there and get fit!

This last one turned up this week! I LOVE it and it even came with a stunning T-shirt.

Many of these medal companies will ship internationally so you want to check out the ones I’ve come cross so far:

Conqueror Medals https://www.theconqueror.events/ These are STUNNING!!!! Brilliant quality and you’ll find thousands of people doing these challenges on the Facebook group My Virtual Mission (super friendly and supportive group!)

Virtual Racing UK. A really great mix of medals with new ones coming out all the time https://www.virtualracinguk.co.uk/ Helpful staff.

These are pretty cool as you can set how far you want to aim for each month and, each month, the medal design changes to make it seasonal https://www.raceatyourpace.co.uk/

Ace Races …. a new discovery for me but lots of short term challenges here https://ace-races.co.uk/

Virtual Runner https://www.virtualrunneruk.com/race-length/fun-run-races/ This is also a new discovery but I’ve signed up for 3 medals for 2021 so far.

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Does 5K sound to far? You know, back in February, I couldn’t walk 100 metres without having to stop and I was in pain. Honestly, I struggled to get up the stairs without being breathless. But Race at Your Pace do medals from covering 5 miles over a whole month so even if mobility isn’t great right now, I hope you can find one that’s doable but perhaps push that comfort zone a little bit!

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Do you have any medals? Any you’d like to do? Perhaps you’ve got a place in mind that you’d love to see turned into a virtual medal challenge. I’d love to know

Have a great weekend everyone

Love Erika xx