BMI from 50 to 24.9!!!!!

Hey guys

Yes, my weight is finally in the ‘healthy’ range with my weight down from 329 lbs to 167 lbs since February 2020 and I’m now just 1 lb away from losing more than half my body weight. That actually feels quite significant to me now that I write that and I never thought I’d get here. It seemed like a very long way off when I started this journey but it’s always been about focusing on the next tiny goal. However, being really open with you, it’s such a really mixed, surreal feeling.

On the one hand, yay!!!!!!! I’m SO excited! The last time my weight was in the healthy range was about 30 years ago. I’m wearing the clothes that I want to wear, I’m no longer easily getting out of breath and I’ve far more energy. There are lots of other happy stats like my waist and body fat now being in the recommended range so there’s no denying that I’m completely chuffed to bits.

But on the other hand, I don’t feel that I can truly celebrate this moment which is really disheartening. As others who’ve been following my blog will know, I’ve fallen into the traps of a serious eating disorder. I’ve lots going on at the moment with waiting to hear back from a specialist eating disorder dietitian and from the local eating disorder service.

Now that my BMI is in the healthy range, I guess it’s understandable that I’m desperate to stay here! But I wonder if increasing my calories (even a little bit) will then lead to some weight going on with my body desperately holding onto any extra food in fear of how little food it’s had in recent months. And that scares me. But, at the same time, whilst my BMI is healthy, I need to get my body and brain into a healthy place too and perhaps increasing my calories will lead some fluctuation as my body adapts. I guess what’s important is that I look at the wider picture and as long as I don’t eat more than my body needs, there’s no reason why I shouldn’t be able to stay here in the healthy range in the long term. But, yes, now tackling my eating disorder is really the next goal.

I really hope you all have a great weekend everyone and I’ll be back on Monday to see if that extra pound has come off… and, if it hasn’t, well, is there really any rush? No, not really. Safety first, Erika. Safety first 🙂

Take care

Love Erika xx

Making time to stay well…

Hey folks

A short post today but this image popped up on my social media this morning and, goodness, I needed to see this…

As a businesswoman, my diary is packed over the next few months. And whilst part of me knows that I need to take out some time for myself to get professional help with cracking the restrictive eating of atypical anorexia, there’s that part of me that can’t possibly let other people down. Yet if I was an employee, I’d be talking to my line manager right now about needing to go on sick leave. I need to look beyond today and see the bigger picture of the future on many different levels.

I had a meeting with a specialist psychologist last night about some very individualised support and she shared her significant concern about how many calories I’m eating, And I think it’s finally dawning on me that I’m perhaps more unwell than I previously thought. That’s hard to admit but perhaps it’s a necessary step before I fully realise that the next step has to be recovery….

Much to think about today….

Love Erika xx

Atypical anorexia. Are you ready to recover?

Hey guys

I guess today’s post is to help me think through the concept of recovery from atypical anorexia although it can probably be applied to many other situations, not just eating disorders.

The thing is…. my current situation isn’t really about the food. Sure, the thought of food, how to avoid it, how I’m going to knock off another pound consumes almost every waking moment but things like eating disorders, alcoholism, self-harm and OCD are just the outward behavioural signs of inner turmoil.

As I’ve eluded before, I ‘get’ the logic about my situation as it links to being a carer. Focusing intently on my weight loss takes up a lot of mental space and helps me avoid focusing on the harder things. So, it serves a purpose. What I’m going to do is to look at the pros and cons of recovery. Even as I write that, I’m thinking “Erika, why wouldn’t you want to recover?!!!!” but let’s see how I get on with these lists.

The pros of recovery

  • I can become physically healthy again. I hope this is possible as I know that my organs are starting to be affected but I could possibly prevent them from at least deteriorating further
  • I can reclaim the mental space this is taking up
  • I can then refocus on adopting healthy eating patterns and fully embrace how I’ve lost over 160 lbs
  • I can stop panicking at the thought of meeting up with friends over meals as I love being with people!
  • I can take on the physical demands of things I’ve been looking forward to (which I don’t feel I can right now) like abseiling, adrenalin-filled rib boat experiences, etc.
  • I can get on with the therapeutic work that I’m mentally partly trying to avoid

The cons of recovery

  • It’s scary! If I don’t have this intent focus on all things food-related, I’m more likely to think about the painful stuff
  • I’m worried about increasing my calories in case I then can’t stop eating
  • If I can’t stop eating, I could put on all the weight
  • I don’t know how to recover

So, let’s challenge those cons:

It’s scary! If I don’t have this intent focus on all things food-related, I’m more likely to think about the painful stuff

Yes, it is scary and that’s understandable Erika. Thing is that those feelings about being a carer need to be processed and masking them isn’t going to make them go away. Talking about this stuff might be really hard but you’ve an amazing psychotherapist in place who you know you can tell anything to. Just think back to what it’s like when your mind feels free and you don’t feel trapped. You can do it, girl!

I’m worried about increasing my calories in case I then can’t stop eating

Isn’t that understandable?! You’ve lost all this weight, you’ve got a new body (including the excess skin but, meh, a small niggle). But you’ve also been doing the Noom program for 4 months and actually, despite the anorexia, you’ve been learning lots about healthy eating even if you’ve not been able to put it into practice. You’ve actually got a mental tool kit of strategies to now use. Yes, when you recovered from atypical anorexia 10 years ago, you did then put on a lot of weight but this time feels different. Apart from the carer issues, you’re in a good space overall.

If I can’t stop eating, I could put on all the weight

Check out what you wrote above, Erika. You can choose a healthy range to stay between which allows for normal fluctuations. You’ve already set this up as your body weight is 2 lbs away from being in the healthy range but you’d like to lose another 9 lbs overall so that you have some wriggle room.

I don’t know how to recover

And you don’t have to know. ‘Just eat more’ might sound SO simple but you don’t have to do this alone. You know that things have been escalated by your therapist and GP because of their concerns over physical risk so you need to pass over the control. You can’t do this any more. Keep an open mind. Listen to the eating disorder service people who have their area of expertise and work ‘with’ them. Don’t see support as something being done ‘to’ you but work with them like you’ve done with other professionals in the past. They’re just part of Team Erika and will want you to rediscover your true self.

— ❤ —

Gosh, that felt quite intense to write but I hope the above helps at least one person reading this, whatever their situation. In fact, the structure of pros, cons and how to challenge cons is perhaps a format for a range of ‘What shall I do?’ situations. I’m going to record myself reading the above in the next couple of days and then play it back… because I’ll then be able to hear an external voice talking to me which can feel very different to the inner one. Well, let’s see how that goes.

I’ll be back on Friday or Saturday but, until then, take care

Love Erika xx

Where am I right now with atypical anorexia?

Hey folks

So, I thought I’d give an update about where I’m at with an eating disorder that I’ve been really trying to avoid over the past 15 months whilst on this significant weight loss journey.

— ❤ —

For those who haven’t come across my blog before, firstly welcome! I’ve lost about 160lbs since February last year and I’m now just a matter of a few pounds away from my BMI being in the healthy range. In fact, if my excess skin was removed (and I have a LOT!), my ‘real’ weight is probably already securely well within in the healthy range. However, finding myself within the anorexic grip is impacting my heart and kidneys so things aren’t great.

Although I’m having twice-weekly psychotherapy which is just incredible for dealing with some issues around being a carer to my son (and wow do I have the best therapist!), we know that I need some intensive support to avoid ending up in an eating disorder unit or medical unit. I don’t ‘do’ hospitals at the best of times and certainly not right now with Covid. I found a place in London but they said my eating and the weight loss aren’t stable enough to access their evening programme of meal support and therapy. They feel that I need their day support to get this under control…. but I couldn’t do that until late August / early September. Referrals to eating disorder services on the NHS are an all-time high so whilst I sent an email to my GP surgery last week about being referred, I would think that support will very likely be limited unless they wanted to admit me (which I don’t want!). .. but we’ll see. I was thinking this morning that another private option would be finding a dietician with expertise around eating disorders and there’s someone not too far from me who sounds experienced and personable. But when I see my therapist later on today, he may have some news about support from another professional he works alongside.

— ❤ —

I’ll be really honest here. I’m really scared about where I’m at and it feels like the eating disorder has a very tight grip on me as my calories have lowered from before (it’s gone under 400 calories in the past few days). It’s not that I don’t want to eat more. I do! I look at restaurant menus and think ‘yum” whilst simultaneously mentally calculating how many calories are in the photos and how it’d be so ‘wrong’ to eat it. And it’s not the case that I won’t try to eat more. The anorexic voice is loud, making it that I can’t eat more. Eating disorders are complex, very complex, but I know that whilst I went through this 10 years ago, I had many years enjoying food, enjoying socialising so I have to hold onto the hope that I’ll beat this… but I’m struggling to hold onto the hope right now.

You know guys, let’s see what support can be put in place and perhaps maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to blog one day with excitement that I managed to go over X number of calories in the same way that I’ve celebrated moments over the past year like no longer being morbidly obese or getting into those jeans. I’m sure there’ll be many positive posts ahead as life is good and I need to get things back on track.

I’ll be back either tomorrow or Saturday but hope you all have a good day

Love Erika xx

Coming out of lockdown… coming out to comments about weight loss – HELP!

Hey folks

My mid-week post coming a day early as it’d just be good to ‘chat’!

You know, I guess there are parts of this post that could also relate to those who’ve perhaps put on weight during the last year. Much of my life has gone remote with seeing clients online where just my shoulders and head are on show. I feel SO protected like this! I like the fact that others can’t see what lies beneath and I guess I could get very comfortable with being here…. perhaps a bit too comfortable. Virtually everyone I have seen face-to-face are either clients who see me as a one-off anyway or just random strangers if I’m out walking.

I shared last week that I’ve already had comments in the past 10 days from people who have seen me before (i.e. a pharmacy assistant and a builder) and have exclaimed “HOW much weight have you lost?” the moment they’ve laid eyes on me. The thing is that I know (or I guess) that such comments are very well intended and come from a really good place so I certainly don’t begrudge them. Even if I didn’t find myself currently battling an eating disorder, I think I’d feel some sense of awkwardness. Do I like compliments? Sometimes but not about my body. But when the two people have then gone on to ask how I’ve lost it, the last thing I want to say is “Well, you know, I’m battling atypical anorexia right now and I’m actually very poorly and my heart and kidneys aren’t doing great but, apart from that, yeah, just eating less and moving more“! People don’t need to know the truth and I don’t need to tell them. 3 friends, other than professionals, know what’s going on for me. But I feel that that once I crack the anorexic grip that’s dictating how many calories I’m eating, I will be in a better place. My understanding of eating and health have actually improved since the start of this journey. My mind has really changed in many good ways so I’m feeling positive that the weight isn’t going to go back on.

In the next few weeks, I’ll be back to a voluntary job I’ve done for 3 years (but they haven’t seen me since I was 158 lbs heavier last year), I’m bound to see family and I genuinely can’t wait to see friends. Yes, I want to reconnect with people but, you know, it would just be great if they could skate over the whole weight loss thing. But the reality is that I’m just pounds away from losing half my original body weight in 15 months and perhaps they think that I’d love a compliment! No!!!!! Please just ask how I am. Please just ask what I’ve been up to. Please just give me the choice about whether I even mention the whole body shape / weight thing… which I’m very unlikely to! But being able to blog about all of this and talking to my therapist (whom I’ve never met in the flesh since the world went remote last spring) over the next few weeks will be an enormous help. Just articulating how it leaves me feeling and processing that.

I’ll be back on Friday (I’ll try not to forget this week!) about where I am with my eating disorder. My therapist told me on Monday that there is a plan to offer me some additional support with another professional which will run alongside the work I’m doing with him. I have to say that even over the past few days, my calorie ‘limit’ has gone down further…. I won’t go into details right now and in fact I’m waiting to hear a bit more myself about this potential support but I’ll give you an honest update on Friday about where things are at.

Right, off shortly to watch the first semi-final of Eurovision 2021!

Take care all

Erika xx

When the weight loss thing went wrong

Hey guys

Well, I say it ‘went wrong’ but I need to hold onto the hope that I can get back on track.

For anyone stumbling across my blog for the first time, hello 🙂 So, I’ve lost more than 150 lbs so far and, for the vast majority of the past year, I’ve brought a really healthy mind, focusing on just the next tiny goal . And that can be tricky to do with a history of anorexia and bulimia but, for the most part, I was doing okay.

I was recently diagnosed with atypical anorexia because I meet all the anorexia criteria except I’m not underweight and things have got a bit serious. So, as I mentioned on Monday, I thought I’d reflect on what happened. What was the point where my healthy attitude changed and I started getting obsessive about every calorie I was eating?

Back in December, I started to get some vague idea about restricting my calories and I was desperate not to go back to this mental place from 10 years ago when I ended up on no more than 250 calories a day. From February until December ’20, I had a very rough idea about how many calories I was eating but I didn’t want to count every single one. I was losing weight eating sensible portions and working out. But I think it’s the moment when I found myself drawn into a mindset of weighing and calculating absolutely everything. At that point, it became all about the calories and a desperation to see the figure on the scales change. And I guess this coincided with some pressures here at home. There’s some serious stuff that I can’t control but eating is something that I can…..well, you know.

Since then, I’ve just started feeling uncomfortable about what I’m eating, feeling as if I’m eating too much. As I mentioned on Friday’s post, the little I’m eating is starting to hugely impact my body and my doctor is very concerned. She’s mentioned about referring me to the eating disorder service although she needs my consent but I have spent the past couple of days looking into some private options too that could more easily fit around my life. Goodness, as a business owner, taking time out is hard and, yes, I know I have to prioritise my own health but doing it in reality is hard. Anyway, one place got back to me today and we’re currently scheduling a conversation to chat things through, such as what they offer, if they feel they can help me. Yes, I’m recognising that I do need help but giving up control feels scary.

If anyone’s losing weight and signs of eating disorders are creeping in, I’d really encourage you to seek help straightaway. In no time at all, we can end up in this place where we feel stuck and the earlier that help is sought, the easier it may be to unstick ourselves. To be honest, I wish all this stuff with the anorexia would just go away as I want to pretend it’s not happening. I think the next few weeks and months are going to be a rollercoaster but, as ever, I’ll be open with you and perhaps I can get back on track and enjoy all that life has to offer. ‘cos life is good! And, especially post-Covid, I want to be jetting off for weekends away!

Take care

Erika xx

Week 53 weigh-in: 10 lbs until my weight’s in the ‘healthy’ range

Hey guys

How was your weekend? On Saturday, I decided to head to a stunning town about 1.5 hours away that’s truly steeped in history, with timber-beam and stone buildings originating from the 12th and 13th centuries, and the most unusual houses and shops lining the cobblestone streets. Rye is just gorgeous and absolutely beautiful to walk around. Photography is very much something I love, trying to capture unusual shots, and my steps soon clocked up on my FitBit.

So, let’s crack on with this week’s report card:

What’s happened this week?

  • I lost 3 lbs
  • My weight’s now halfway through the 170 lbs
  • I’ve now lost 11 stone
  • I’ve lost 90% of my excess weight
  • I’m now lighter than when I lost a lot of weight 10 years ago, making me the lightest I’ve been for almost 25 years

What could Erika improve on?

  • Increase my calories…. yes, still finding this hard…

Erika’s next target(s) along with the big ones!

  • 1 lb until my BMI is in the lower 26s
  • 1 lb until my weight’s in the lower 170s
  • 5 lbs until I can go horse riding at a nearby stables (although I can ride elsewhere)
  • 5 lbs until I’m at my wedding weight from nearly 25 years ago
  • 10 lbs until my weight’s in the healthy range
  • 10 lbs until I’ve lost half of my original weight!
  • 17 lbs until my ultimate goal so that I have a 7 lb buffer to stay in the healthy range!

As you’ll see from the tag line of my blog, my story is meant to be about a huge weight loss journey without falling into the traps of previous eating disorders and, for those who’ve read my blog over the past few weeks, you’ll know that I’m now very much struggling with atypical anorexia. So, I need to think about the direction of this blog in a way that helps me process my thoughts, especially over the next few weeks, whilst avoiding any promotion of unhealthy behaviour. So, on Wednesday, I’m going to reflect on the point of this journey where things started to get unhealthily obsessive…. in the hope that anyone reading this who’s also trying to toe that fine line between dieting and EDs can avoid going down this very murky route which I’m on.

I’ll be back on Wednesday but, as ever, please feel free to share your diet / weight-related successes, frustrations or anything else on your mind.

Take care

Love Erika xx

Recordable weight loss since starting to blog:Still to lose:Current weight:BMI:
133 lbs17 lbs175 lbs26.5
Plus 21 lbs lost prior to blogging

Atypical anorexia… the medical results are in…

Hello guys

I think I need to take a bit of deep breath before I blog today as I’m trying to process a conversation I had with my doctor yesterday.

So, the upshot of the conversation is that I may have a problem with my heart, my kidney function is reduced, my vitamin D levels are extremely low and my folic acid levels are also extremely low. She said about prescribing tablets to increase my vitamin D and folic acid levels and the first thing that came to my mind (and which just feel out of my mouth) was “How many calories would be in those?” She said it would be next to nothing but I don’t know if I can ingest something without knowing the calories involved. My doctor seemed really concerned that I’d even have this thought and said that it’s the first time she’s come across this with anyone with anorexia or bulimia. In fact, she seemed commented about my comment a couple of times and said that this alone raised significant concern from her perspective.

So, she said that perhaps I need to be referred to the eating disorder service and the local mental health team…. but I don’t know what to do. Do I need support? What would be achieved when I’m already seeing a psychotherapist privately as I come to terms with being a carer. I’m feeling extraordinarily stuck about what help would look like. She did ask about what I felt I needed but the one thing that could potentially help me get out of this situation is something that’s not easily obtained through the health service or even privately…. meal support. Someone to help me break out of the trap of staying within so many calories… but, simultaneously, I feel really in control and I don’t want that control to be taken away. I don’t know, guys. I’ve never had physical health issues before so I’m trying to process all of this. I’m seeing my therapist on Monday so it’ll be good to talk it through.

But I’m focusing right now on drinking lots of water for the sake of my kidneys. I drink way too much Diet Coke but I’m really cutting this back to one can a day with the aim to stopping altogether. So, I suspected the results wouldn’t be okay and, unfortunately, I was right….

We’ll see what happens over the next few weeks when I undergo some more tests and try to decide if I am willing to accept help.

I’ll be back on Monday but wishing you a lovely weekend

Love Erika xx

Week 50 weigh-in: Nearly a year of blogging!

Hello guys

You know, I really don’t think I would’ve lost so much if I wasn’t blogging. I’d already lost 21 lbs so my ultimate goal was to lose a further 150 lbs …. and I’m not far off 🙂 Of course, I could have been writing in a private journal but I find thinking aloud here helps me to process my complex thoughts and feelings. Blogging gives me structure with my weekly weigh-ins on Mondays and commitment to a further 1 or 2 posts during the week. And, ultimately, I hope that my posts help at least one other person…. whether it’s learning to set and focus on the small goals or, much more recently, knowing you’re not alone if you find it hard to eat enough. So, if you’re contemplating whether blogging might help you with your journey, I’d definitely urge you to consider giving it a go!

What’s happened this week?

  • I lost 1 lb
  • I’ve now lost 85% of my excess weight
  • I’ve been eating spinach… lots of it!
  • After a few days of not going out for walks, I grabbed my AirPods last night, clicked on a playlist and set out on a 45 minute walk around my hilly village…. it was freezing (it’s actually been snowing here today!!) but I came back feeling so glad that I’d pushed myself.

What could Erika improve on?

  • Increase my calories…. finding this hard. I managed to increase on Friday but found myself restricting more on Saturday….

Erika’s next target(s) along with the big ones!

  • 1 lb until I’m halfway through the overweight category (with a BMI of 27.5)
  • 1 lb until I’ve lost 10.5 stone in all
  • 2 lbs until I’m under 13 stone
  • 4 lbs until my weight’s in the 170s
  • 18 lbs until my weight’s in the healthy range (that’s under 1.5 stone to go)
  • 25 lbs until my ultimate goal so that I have a 7 lb buffer to stay in the healthy range!

I know I’ve got my battles right now with my mind and the eating but there’s part of me that really wants to mingle with friends this summer, especially as the lockdown measures loosen. And the invites have started to come through, from an English afternoon tea party in July (basically, very posh sandwiches, scones and cakes with lashings of tea) to friends asking about meeting up for lunches to a family get-together in August to celebrate lots of significant birthdays and anniversaries this year. And we have friends in the US, whom we chatted to last night for 2 hours over Zoom, who’d love us to go over there. Yes, we couldn’t go together due to our son’s complex needs but I’d still love to travel alone to the west coast to spend time with them. I know that life can be good and connecting with others has always played a huge part of my life…. so there is that part of me that wants this…. but the pull in the other direction feels stronger right now…

I’ll be back on Wednesday but, in the meantime, hope you have a good couple of days. As ever, please feel free to share your diet / weight-related successes, frustrations or anything else on your mind.

Take care

Love Erika xx

Recordable weight loss since blogging:Still to lose:Current weight:BMI:
125 lbs25 lbs183 lbs27.7
Plus 21 lbs lost prior to blogging



Anorexia in the UK headlines… Nikki Grahame’s death

Hey

I guess I need to talk. There’s a news story breaking right now in the UK about Nikki Grahame, a reality TV star who first came onto the UK television screens in Big Brother series 7 (2006). She openly told her story about how she’d been fighting anorexia since she was a very young child and she bore a scar in her abdomen from when she was fed directly into her stomach. Apart from singer Karen Carpenter, gymnast Christy Henrich and singer Lena Zavaroni, Nikki’s was the one name that was synonymous with anorexia. Over the years, she sought help from many treatment providers and she was back in an eating disorder unit. But she’s lost her battle, aged 38. So much to give. So much more life to lead.

I know that my calorie intake is low right now. This isn’t some intentional crash diet. It’s not a ‘very low calorie diet’ that’s being medically supervised but there’s a huge part of me that’s being drawn to reducing, reducing, reducing, part of me that feels like it’s being controlled. That part is also feeling totally invincible because I’m functioning. I’m walking, talking, working. But there is a logical part of me that knows I’m going to crash at some point. I know I can’t survive on what I’m eating, even if a large part of me feels that I’m perfectly fine. But, yes, I’m sitting here really tearful about Nikki. She may not have thought that anorexia would eventually take her… I watched Emma Wants to Live on Amazon Prime the other night about her fight and eventual death from anorexia…. she so wanted to live too….

Although I’m not underweight, that logical part of me knows that atypical anorexia carries the same medical risks as anorexia yet my internal anorexic voice feels that risk doesn’t apply to me. I’m meeting up with my therapist on Monday (the one who’s helping me come to terms with being a carer) and I need to talk to him. I really need to cry. He’s asking me very direct questions about my eating as he can see I’m losing weight and my doctor, who knows everything, has ordered various tests for me, such as an ECG which is in just over 2 weeks’ time. Just pretty conflicted in my head right now: the invincible anorexic voice versus the one who’s worried about me….

Sorry, guys. I just needed to write about how I’m feeling. Feeling rather lonely right now…..

Love Erika xx