I’ve been away a while but I’m back!

Hey guys

Gosh, it’s been 6 weeks since I’ve blogged. I’m so sorry that I suddenly disappeared. I guess I just needed a bit of a break and I feel better for it but I’ve also had technical issues logging on through my laptop. So I need to resolve those whilst temporarily using the app on my phone.

Well, a lot has happened in 6 weeks. With my BMI starting at 50 (and 329lbs) in February 2020, it’s now 20.7 (137lbs) and that means I’ve lost almost 60% of my original body weight. I’m wearing mainly US size 6 / U.K. size 10 with some clothes US size 4 / U.K. size 8. I have to say that I’m still struggling to eat enough and I guess what lies at the heart of this is a fear of putting on all the weight. You see, I guess I’ve succeeded at losing so much and, without trying to sound pretentious, I’ve become pretty good at it. Giving up the atypical anorexia doesn’t have to mean putting on all the weight and my focus should be all about balance. That’s such a key word, isn’t it. You see, I’m missing out on a lot socially and I can’t think of anything better than meeting up with friends, enjoying chatting over food, not fearing every single calorie. I will get there but I just feel like I’ve a way to go.

So, I’ll be back blogging to share my inner most thoughts and hoping to inspire others, bring comfort, etc. to anyone who comes my blog. I’m doing a lot of exercise right now and I’ll tell you more next week. In the meantime, hope you have a super weekend

Love Erika xx

Atypical anorexia: the dietitian is pushing me….

Hello guys,

You know, the specialist eating disorder dietitian I’m working with has a wonderful ability to really listen to me, bring humour to our sessions, really involve me in the treatment around my preferences, etc. …. whilst also giving me ‘The Look’ and being direct with me which is just what I need.

I have to say that I’m finding it hard to keep pushing up the calories and I’m starting to hit a brick wall having got the calories up from a daily limit of 375 to 950. I mean, that’s a huge jump and she said that we need to do it in a way that feels doable but stops me from losing weight, especially as some of my weight will be due to excess skin after losing 170 lbs. What is exciting in many ways is that I’m actually learning about food, going for unprocessed foods (or at least those with minimal processing) and making smart choices. When I overcame atypical anorexia 10 years ago, I was under threat of being hospitalised under the Mental Health Act and it shocked me into suddenly eating more… but I had no idea about what I should be eating. This time is different. This time, I’m eating new foods, I’m not bingeing, I’m feeling some overall sense of balance. I’ve also signed up today to do a course about nutrition and health that should take me about 2 months to do via distance learning as I want to embrace a much healthier approach going forward.

— ❤ —

This is what my current food plan from her is, knowing that I’m not a breakfast person:

Lunch: chicken, watercress, spinach and rocket in a salad or sandwich on wholemeal followed by 0% fat Greek yogurt and blueberries

Afternoon snack: a Graze or Nak’d snack bar (which are made from wholefoods)

Dinner: a ready meal (which I always go low-cal anyway) followed by an apple and a 20g portion of cheese (but I’m not to go for the ‘diet’ or lighter version as she wants me to up the calories)

— ❤ —

This is EVERY day and it feels like so much to eat but she has also asked me to start building in 100 ml of Kefir every day which I bought last night and will try later on today. It’s the 1,000 calorie hurdle that feels daunting but, between her and my therapist, I know I’m in safe hands.

Just waiting for blood test results so it’ll help to see if my kidneys are still being impacted by the restricting. But despite the anorexia there, I’m really trying to focus on looking after me a bit more. I’m picking up new glasses next week, ears are being syringed in 2 weeks, hair is being dyed tomorrow, home-administered smear/pap test has been ordered and I’m considering speaking to a GP about the suspected small hernia. Self-care is something I’ve always struggled with to be honest…. perhaps linking to whether I feel worthy of self-kindness. Body confidence is wavering and so the thought of people ‘seeing me’ or needing to prod me feels really scary but perhaps if I can get my calories to more than double what they were, I can do this too! But I thought these were rather enlightening photos to show how my body has really changed from June 2020 (having already lost about 50 lbs) to January 2021 and then to 2 photos taken very recently:

Hope you have a lovely weekend everyone and I’ll be back on Monday. No extreme adventures planned for this weekend but I’ll be out with the paintbrush overhauling a bedroom which is equally fun!

Love Erika xx

Week 67 weigh-in: here’s where I’m at…

Hello guys

So, I’m back to my weekly weigh-ins after me and the scales were becoming inseparable! For anyone seeing my blog for the first time, hello! Whilst I’ve now lost 170 lbs altogether, I’ve currently getting support from a specialist eating disorder dietitian with upping my calorie intake as I’ve fallen back into atypical anorexia. Part of me is pleased that I’ve lost more weight and my body shape is really changing (although I’m also carrying a lot of excess skin). Part of me is hearing my dietitian’s voice who is amazing but gives me a good talking to with a glint in her eye! She’s very keen that I maintain and that the focus is now on eating well rather than obsessing about the calories. But I’ll tell you a bit more about that later in the week.

— ❤ —

I’ve lots of positives to share:

  • I’m eating more calories (but more about that Thursday or Friday)
  • I’m eating a wider variety of food
  • I’m discovering my sense of style with a very different body shape
  • I’m discovering that I’m an adrenalin junkie! Click here to read about going on the world’s fastest zip wire last weekend. I was also going to do something yesterday but it was cancelled due to high winds but I’ve rebooked for the end of August
  • I’ve booked an optician’s appointment for this Wednesday which is the first time for years – I used to avoid it as I wasn’t sure I could fit in the chair and, for the last appointment, I asked for a home visit. But, on a mission to overhaul my appearance, I’m looking to update my glasses and / or return to wearing contact lens
  • I’m going to colour my hair this week – deciding on dark red or very darkest brunette
  • I’m heading out shortly to buy something to help my nails grow. They’re shockingly short – just a bad habit rather than nerves but it’s something I tend to be ashamed of. So, yes, another part of ‘Project Me’ to focus on making the most of what I’ve got.

— ❤ —

And a few things on my mind / that I’m working on:

  • I had therapy today and there was lots of discussion about finding a new hobby. I’m very much someone who needs space… but I need to connect with others more too. Again, I’ll talk this through another day but I guess I’m feeling a little bit lost in this ‘still-worried-about-Covid-new me-new body-who am I‘ world…
  • I think I have a small umbilical hernia after my digestive system has ground to a halt – again something that the dietitian is helping with. But the thought of seeing a doctor and prodding me scares me a bit – body confidence and all that.
  • Us Brits are known for having bad teeth…. and I am one of them! People have commented that they think of me as being really smiley (which I am!) but I’m aware that I need to look after my teeth better so I’m going to make an appointment with a dentist once I’ve plucked up the courage
  • There’s going to be a wider family get-together at the end of August and I’m really worried. I haven’t eaten in front of anyone but my immediate family for the past 18 months and I’m dreading the whole food thing. Yes, I’m eating more than I was but I know that I have a way to go and I don’t want to rouse suspicion that I have an eating disorder. But the get together isn’t today – so let’s put that one aside

— ❤ —

I’ll be back later this week to update you about the latest food plan from my dietitian. She’s really pleased that I’m getting there but goodness she’s relentless! She said today that she needs to keep pushing up the calories so that I’m well enough to do these adrenalin-fuelled adventures and look after this body of mine…. and I hear her. But it’s definitely tricky getting out of the 18 month long diet mindset I’ve rather enjoyed! But I’m work in progress… perhaps we all are in our own way…?

Take care

Love Erika xx

Recordable weight lossStill to lose:Current weight:BMI:
170 lbs 1 lb159 lbs23.9
Including 21 lbs lost prior to blogging

Week 65: a plan to eat more and crack the anorexia

Hello guys

Gosh, a mixed week in all honestly. I’ve a couple of friends facing really serious illnesses right now and it’s hard not to feel silly when talking about my battle with an eating disorder. But I spoke to my therapist and he said that, yes, we can all compare ourselves to others and think “but I don’t have it as bad as them” but we still live in our own reality… and it’s okay if things get to us. My therapist said that what we face at home with our very poorly son on a daily basis is far more than many people will have to cope with and therefore there’s so much that’s making sense about what I’ve had a reoccurrence of the atypical anorexia. It’s no wonder why I’m looking to find some control in my life but more about that another time!

But as well as seeing my therapist today, I had an appointment with my specialist eating disorder dietitian. Oh, she’s brilliant! She’s really warm and very easy to get on with but she’s also perfected ‘The Look’! Yes, the look to say “Erika, iceberg lettuce is not a meal!!” But she’s set out a meal plan for me for the next couple of weeks until I see her next based around increasing the calories and bringing in some more variety. So, this is what she’s set out for me to eat, knowing that I’m not a breakfast person:

Lunch: a chicken salad but add more to it than I’m currently doing. Followed by 150g fat-free FAGE Greek yoghurt with fresh fruit (like blueberries, raspberries, etc)

Afternoon snack: A Nak’d bar or Graze bar which are around 130 calories and not overly processed but full of protein

Dinner: A ready meal (as I take comfort from knowing exactly how many calories are in them – even if I’m still sticking to ones under 350 calories)

Evening snack (3 -4 times a week): 20g of cheese with an apple

That seems like so much to eat!!!! But it’s structure and I like structure. I know I’m still losing weight as my clothes are feeling looser but I’m still staying off the scales for now. Switching my mind from losing weight to maintaining weight is hard…. but one step at a time, eh. The other really good thing is that the dietitian emailed me the plan but, with my permission, copied in my therapist so it’s definitely helping me feeling supported by a connected group of professionals until I crack this.

I really intended to blog at the end of last week but life became stupidly busy! However, I promise to finally blog about excess skin this week. Until then, please feel free to share your food-related achievements, frustration or whatever’s on your mind

Take care

Love Erika xx

Recordable weight loss Still to lose:Current weight:BMI:
164 lbs (last recordable weight)7 lbs165 lbs24.9
Not currently doing weekly weigh-ins as I’m trying to not be a slave to the scales! But recordable weight loss includes 21 lbs lost just prior to blogging

Week 62: a 4 hour ‘breakthrough session’ with an eating disorder specialist

Hey guys

This weekend didn’t involve ticking off another activity from my weight loss bucket list like zip wiring or going on a Segway! No, apart from a couple of walks, it’s been a very quiet and reflective weekend after spending 4 hours on Friday talking to an eating disorder specialist but let’s check out this week’s news first:

What’s happened this week?

  • I did get my daily calorie limit over 900 calories last Monday and whilst the physical shock of doing that lead to a psychological wobble and my calorie intake dipping again, I’m currently back up to 650 calories a day
  • I’ve continued to stay off the scales for the past week

What could Erika improve on / next targets?

  • My next calorie target is to maintain over 900 a day. By last Monday evening having eaten more, I was in so much physical discomfort which is probably no surprise with my stomach needing to stretch and my instant response was to then cut back quite severely. But I’m back up a bit and I have to hold onto the fact that increasing is going to feel uncomfortable initially but I need to lean into that discomfort.

— ❤ —

When I booked this 4 hour session, a HUGE part of me wondered how it’d be possible to find things to talk about for 4 hours! I mean, was there enough to talk about for longer than a traditional 60-90 minute therapy session? Well, yes, it turns out there was lots to cover and doing this over Zoom from the comfort of my own home was perfect. I’m going to hold off sharing one of the main headlines about eating and stress as I’ll cover that in more detail either Wednesday or Thursday but here’re the other salient points from Friday:

  • I may well be scared to abandon the anorexic behaviour because the eating disorder is serving a purpose to help me cope with being a carer and Covid is preventing me from accessing my usual coping strategies of trips away. So, I need to think about alternative ways to cope with the stress that are far healthier than restricting my food to this level.
  • One thing I haven’t mentioned on my blog is that I have bipolar though I spend the vast majority of the time in the middle ground and my high and low episodes don’t shift very quickly. But the therapist said that people with bipolar are more likely to have eating disorders as a way of coping with changes in mood. And he wondered whether I’ve actually been experiencing a prolonged high as there’s overlap between the feeling of invincibility, sharpness in thinking, etc. He said that social rhythm therapy might be worth looking into where regulating food, sleep, movement and social situations can help mood.
  • I can change my vocabulary. So, I can aim for words like balance rather than control, guidelines/principles rather than rules. Although I’ve done intermittent fasting for over a year now, he said that this is becoming unhealthy for me because it comes with lots of shoulds and rules.
  • I may be holding onto a lot of shame around my body which is why I’m secretive (except with you lot!) about my weight. I don’t disclose it to anyone including doctors which I thought is quite normal. Perhaps it’s not????! But I’ve also been advised to look at ways to address my excess skin after losing half my body weight because it’s important that I stop hiding from my weight and size.
  • I’ve a special event coming up next month. I identified this one myself but wouldn’t it be good if I could look back later on this year about how I managed to go out for a meal to celebrate this event rather than look back with regret about how a meal felt beyond my capabilities.

There’s been a lot to think about and I’ve already been challenging my language so that it creates more flexibility in my mind. I’ve my second meeting with the specialist eating disorder dietitian later on today and I’m lucky that she works alongside Friday’s specialist so she will have seen the notes on the organisation’s IT system and hopefully help me address my next steps. Really… I do know what I need to be doing but I think it’s okay to admit that sometimes we need a helping hand so that we’re not doing it alone.

I’ll be back later in the week to talk about why we may turn to food in times of stress (can’t wait to share what Friday’s expert said about this as it makes complete sense in my head!). And I’ll soon be talking about excess skin in more detail along with some brave photos because, yes, I’m still hiding behind clothes despite my BMI now being in the healthy range. As ever, please feel free to share your diet / eating disorder / weight-related successes, frustrations or anything else on your mind.

Take care

Love Erika xx

Recordable weight loss including 21 lbs lost before bloggingStill to lose:Current weight:BMI:
164 lbs (last recordable weight)7 lbs165 lbs24.9
Not currently doing weekly weigh-ins as I’m trying to not be a slave to the scales!

Week 61: another challenge ticked off my weight loss bucket list

Hey guys

Another weekend has passed and another challenge has been ticked off my list of things I can now do at my lower weight. More about that in a moment but let’s take a look at this week’s report card:

What’s happened this week?

  • I’ve now got my daily calories up from 385 a day to 645. I still have a way to go but it’s heading in the right direction and, having just spoken to my therapist, it was helpful to chat through my next calorie target before I meet with my eating disorder specialist dietitian next Monday.
  • I went on a Segway!!
  • I’ve booked my abseiling experience for August so that I have always something in the diary to look forward to
  • I’ve stayed off the scales for a few days
  • I took decisive action to control how much work I’m doing running my business as I need to build things into my week that make me smile and help me connect with others

What could Erika improve on / next targets?

  • My next calorie increase target is to get to over 900 a day by next Monday. Part of me feel it’s doable although it’s horribly close to 1,000 and, well, seeing 4 digits feels too much but I don’t need to worry about that right now. I need to focus on the current target.

— ❤ —

So, on Saturday, I was back at Go Ape and I had my first experience on a Segway. It was really fun although I assumed that turning the handlebars to navigate bends would be like a bike but it’s a different action. And I had to learn to start and stop the Segway by pushing my body forwards or tilting backwards. The other adults in the group were lovely and we went deep into the forest. And I could feel my confidence increase, my speed and increase and then BAM!!!!! I fell….. hard!! I truly thought I might have broken something as the pain in my arm and shoulder was immense and any touch was awful but I also thought I’d perhaps just need to rest it, apply ice and see how it goes. Lots of top layer skin is missing from near my left elbow and my upper back and neck are painful 48 hours on but I’m SO SO SO pleased I had a go. It’s something that I couldn’t have done before because of the weight limit but it’s doing things like this that’s slowly breaking down the physical and mental barriers I’d put up pre-weight loss.

My next bucket list challenge? Abseil off this!!!!! It’s the UK’s tallest sculpture at the Olympic Park in London.

As ever, please feel free to share your diet / weight-related successes, frustrations or anything else on your mind and I’ll be back later in the week

Take care

Love Erika xx

Recordable weight loss including 21 lbs lost before bloggingStill to lose:Current weight:BMI:
164 lbs (haven’t weighed for a short while)7 lbs165 lbs24.9

First meeting with a specialist dietitian. Didn’t think she’d ask me THAT!

Hey guys

Gosh, quite a bit has happened over the past couple of days. As I mentioned on Monday, I was having an appointment later that day with a specialist eating disorder dietitian. With the appointment booked for 90 minutes, I assumed we’d run out of things to talk about but no! We covered a lot.

Reflecting back, I guess there were 3 parts to the appointment:

  • How I’ve got to the point of being diagnosed with atypical anorexia
  • What impact is this having on my body
  • What plan can we put together towards recovery (the scariest part!)

~~ ❤ ~~

The first part was quite straightforward and, in some ways, it was helpful to hear that my need to exert some control over my intake makes sense when I deal with a very challenging carer situation at home day in day out.

~~ ❤ ~~

The second part was a massive eye opener and the main things that have stuck in my memory are:

  • If menopausal, this is the time a woman is most likely to have a heart attack. And if I’m eating very little, that’s going to put more strain on my heart
  • If I’m not eating anywhere enough, that’ll explain why my trips to the loo are weeks apart! Yes, she asked me about poo! That’s not a conversation I thought I’d be having and oh was I embarrassed!!! But she said that eating very little means the food is just sitting on top of what’s already in my system whereas I need a good amount of intake to work like a plunger and clear me out. I know, TMI!
  • If my body is holding onto things that should have passed through, eating is going to feel uncomfortable. So, there’s even more reason to clear myself by eating a lot more as the uncomfortable feeling will stop at some point.
  • If I’m contemplating horse riding, I need a DEXA scan as I’m at risk anyway with a family history of osteoporosis otherwise a break could be more serious. I did have a DEXA scan 10 years ago when I last had an eating disorder but I freaked out back then when I was asked to get on the scales. The dietitian said that when asking for a referral, I can ask that there’s a note about not being weighed.
  • My body will stop at some point. She said that, yes, I’m functioning but I’m not going to stay in this functioning zone for much longer…. and she said that as I’d mentioned my BMI is in the healthy range, my focus should be about maintaining though she also said I’m bound to still lose more until I get my calories up more. She said there’s no reason to be trying to lose weight (especially if I’m carrying so much excess skin) and this is all about being healthy and not putting my life more at risk.

~~ ❤ ~~

The third part was hard (I knew it was coming) though she struck the balance between being supportive and very direct with me … and that’s what I needed. She said the aim should be to increase my calories by 300 a day for the next week and that I need to start this straightaway. She asked if I’d like some ideas about what to eat as she could see from my food diary that what I eat is very healthy (loads of salads and vegetables) but I need to eat more. So, the plan for this week is to eat: a Nak’d bar, a portion of Greek yoghurt and 3 tablespoons of raspberries. Now, I’ll admit that I freaked out a bit and when I bought these items last night, I went for the 0% fat yoghurt rather than the one she suggested and I looked for the lowest calories Nak’d bar on the shelf…. and that’s the anorexic voice feeling very scared. And I did eat more yesterday. I did get my calories up by 200 (to 585) but I felt horrible. My body felt so uncomfortable and it’s the sense of having to do this every single day that feels overwhelming. My first instinct is to cut back today… so this is going to be a battle for a while…. but that 90 minute appointment was so much more useful than I could have imagined.

So, I feel like I’m at the beginning of a very long journey but at least I’m on it and I’ll have another appointment with her in 3 weeks’ time. She was truly worth every penny.

Right, back to work for me but hope you’re all doing okay and I hope to check in over the next few days to see if I’m still managing to stay off the scales. My therapist said to me the other day that I’m brave confronting all of this. I don’t feel brave at all but I guess when there’re competing voices wanting to restrict versus wanting to recover, perhaps I’ll see that I’m having to dig incredibly deep to make progress.

Love Erika xx

Week 59: a conscious decision to break away from the scales

Hey folks

After taking most of last week off from blogging, I made a decision this morning. You see, I usually do a weigh-in on a Monday, keen to see if another pound has come off. However, I’m also aware that I’ve become a slave to the scales, often jumping on 15-20 times a day, and I’ve concluded that I need to stop this. Yes, today is the first day for over a year that I haven’t jumped on the scales…

And it feels uneasy! It feels wrong right now but I guess that’s to be expected when I’ve formed this obsessive habit. Whilst I’ll take it a day at a time, my target is see if I can go a week without getting on them and, instead, listen intuitively to my body.

What’s happened this week?

  • I finally found somewhere that can offer me some genuine and reliable support with my atypical anorexia
  • I went on funfair rides! Feel free to check out my post from the other day here but it was just brilliant to not have to worry about whether I could fit.

What could Erika improve on?

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

Erika’s next target(s):

  • Stay off the scales until next Monday at the earliest

— ❤ —

I’m feeling pretty nervous right now as I’ve got a 90 minute consultation with a specialist dietitian later on today. I don’t know about other countries but, here in the UK, there’s an important difference between a dietitian (which is a protected occupational title where people need to have gone through the right training) and a nutritionist (which anyone can refer to themselves as). I’ll tell you later in the week how it goes but the aim is to see how I can try to increase my calorie intake into the healthy range in a safe way. She did ask me about my weight which I just couldn’t bring myself to say but thankfully she said in our quick call the other day that we can still work together. I’ve then got a 4 hour breakthrough session with the centre’s top director in just over 2 weeks’ time to work on the psychological aspect of what’s keeping me in this headspace. So, whilst the concept of recovery is scary, I’m hopeful again that things will shift.

As ever, please feel free to share your diet / weight-related successes, frustrations or anything else on your mind and I’ll be back later in the week. As for today, I’m rocking my ripped jeans 🙂

Take care

Love Erika xx

Recordable weight loss including 21 lbs lost before bloggingStill to lose:Current weight:BMI:
164 lbs7 lbs165 lbs24.9
Plus 21 lbs lostPlprior to blogging

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