Christmas, food and diets: it’ll be okay!

Hello guys

So, with Christmas just days away, I thought I’d share my views about how to handle food, etc. during what can be a testing time for many. Yes, things might be a bit different this year but I still think there can be different types of pressure when it comes to Christmas and other holidays around food. I wonder whether you can relate to any of the following:

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I know I’m going to blow my diet

How am I going to avoid all those tasty temptations that I can normally say “no” to?

If I eat one mince pie, I’ll end up eating the whole pack

My family will expect me to eat loads and they won’t let me say “no

I’m scared to eat and holidays are all about food. I’m dreading this

I’m going to put on so much weight

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So, let’s take a look at where pressure comes from:

EXTERNAL PRESSURE

So, you’re visiting someone who’s served dinner and tells you that you must eat up. They say that they’ll be disappointed if you don’t. They comment about you not eating as much as they think you should. They tell you that they’ve gone to all this trouble and they don’t want to be left with leftovers. My view? I would say that they’re projecting their hopes and expectations on you and perhaps some guilt too but it’s okay to say “no”. Yes, they may make comments but I can’t urge you enough to stick to your guns. At the end of the day, it’s your body and you can still be in control. There are plenty of recipes out there about what to do with leftovers!

What can you say to others?

“That’s really kind of you but eating any more will make me feel uncomfortable“.

“That’s kind of you but no thank you“. (It’s okay to say this over and over until they give up).

And then change the subject. Ask them an open-ended question to take away the focus from you. Saying no can be incredibly hard and, goodness, I used to struggle with this but the more you practise, the easier it does get. Don’t let their issues about you not eating more become yours. It’s YOUR body. You’re in control.

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INTERNAL PRESSURE

Even if you’re not on a weight loss journey, food and eating can still provoke fear or worry.

What can you say to yourself…which will depend on what’s hard for you?

It’s okay to eat more today. One day isn’t going to undo all the work I’ve done.

To even put on a single pound, I’d need to consume an extra 3,500 calorie which is so unlikely.

If I do put on weight, I’ll get it off again in the next couple of weeks.

I deserve to eat what I want to eat today!

I’m in control of what I’m eating today. Just because there’s more food around, it doesn’t mean I have to eat it.

I will stop when I’m physically comfortable and being honest with myself will help me know when I’ve got to that point.

I know myself best and how today’s eating regime needs to be like any other day.

I can still make good choices today.

Christmas Day is one day. Even if I’m dreading the holidays, this will be over very quickly

I’m going to have that mince pie because I fancy it. But rather than bring the whole pack into the living room, I’ll take just the one and eat it really slowly. I’m going to think about how it tastes. And then I’ll distract myself with an activity….and if I really can’t avoid eating the rest, I’ll throw them into the freezer.

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Before the holidays, perhaps take a moment to think about where pressure for you might come from. Sometimes, we need to rehearse the above lines because they can sound different when we say them aloud to when we read them in our heads. Perhaps write down or take a screenshot of what’s the most helpful statement for you (of course, you’re likely to have others that speak to you more).

Please feel free to share this post with anyone who needs a bit of support right now and feel free to share in the comments about your thoughts re food during this coming holiday season.

If you really struggle during these holidays, you’re so welcome to comment below (I will respond) or reach out to other support whether it’s a supportive friend or, if you have an eating disorder, your state/country’s eating disorder charity.

I’ll be back on Monday with my next weigh-in but we’ve got this! We really have!

Love Erika xx

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

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 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

How to stay positive when weight loss slows down…or plateaus

So, you know you’re eating healthily, you’re moving your body much more than before, you’ve been seeing the scales drop every week without fail for months on end and, then, BAM!! The numbers don’t drop so quickly or you may find that they don’t budge at all. What do you do?!

This where I’ve been for the past few weeks after dropping an average of 3lbs a week since mid February. My last recorded weight losses are:

  • 3rd October (6 days ago) 1lb
  • 25th September (14 days ago) 2lbs
  • 15th September (24 days ago) 2lbs

Now, of course, this is STILL weight loss but it’s just very different to the past few months. And I won’t lie when I say that I really hoped to be under the 230 lb mark by now. So, if you can relate, here are some things to check or try out:

  • Check that you’re slowly reducing your overall calorie intake as you need fewer calories the lighter you are….just make sure you’re not consuming the same calories as when you started out
  • Are you eating enough or too much? It can be easy to under or overestimate so some careful calorie checking can be a good idea.
  • Are you being honest with yourself? Those extra bites of whatever can soon add up.
  • Is your metabolism slowing down a bit? Perhaps you body is getting too used to this new way of eating. You can try eating more calories for a few days (often called ‘cheat days’) to wake up your metabolism and then drop back to what you’ve been doing.
  • Try out new exercise! Rather than walk, try out jogging or high intensity workouts. Shock your body into wondering what’s happening to it!

But don’t give up! There’s no point thinking “Well, what’s the point of sticking to this healthy lifestyle if I’m not seeing BIG results?” You see, if you mix it up a bit as described above or stick to your healthy way of eating, you WILL see the figure on the scales budge. Think about how far you’ve come. Look back at old photos. Grab the tape measure to compare the new you with the old measurements. Think about all those mini goals you’ve achieved so far. You’ve got this and you’re still on track for achieving all those other goals too.

Have a great weekend everyone

Love Erika xx

Eating to lose weight

HOW much are you eating, Erika?

So, my weight is coming off, I’m on course to lose quite a few pounds this week and I thought I’d share with you what I’m eating. I’d like to tell you that I’m eating copious amounts of fruit, veg, fish and lean meat but I’m not. You see, the biggest change I’ve made it about quantity. It can be very easy to guess how many calories we’re taking in but the results can be quite shocking.

Take this cereal for instance. When I see the box, I think it oozes wholesomeness and it must be super healthy Beforehand, I’d eat a huge bowl food (but dry! Yes, I don’t like milk). However, when I looked up the calories and weighed MY typical portion, I was horrified! What I now do is actually have this as a treat if I’m peckish in the afternoons (which is about every 3 weeks). I use a tiny white bowl to make it feel like I’m eating more and just pour in enough to cover its base…..resulting in a 88 calorie snack. Far better than the 750 I was consuming before!

One tip to start being aware of what you’re eating is to photo everything. Yes, photograph everything that goes in your mouth because reflecting on it at the end of the day can help you see where changes can be made.

I keep to around 1,200 calories a day because the key thing is to go into calorie deficit. The only way to lose weight is to take in fewer calories that you’re burning. Although I exercise and could theoretically treat myself whilst remaining in calorie deficit, I see that every workout means burning even more calories overall. But I have to put up my hands and admit that I don’t always get to 1,200 calories. Sometimes, I eat a lot less which is where I have to be careful not to slip back into anorexic behaviour. I’m working on this! 1,200 is my goal.

I love ready meals because they tell me how many calories I’m eating plus how much fat, etc.

This is one of my favourite ready meals right now as it’s under 400 calories. There’s no point eating healthily if it’s not tasty and I love food that smacks the taste buds and makes you feel full. The other thing I do is to eat food when it’s super hot. It takes me longer to eat and tricks my mind into thinking I’ve just had a huge meal.

And we had a takeaway tonight from our local Indian restaurant. I ordered half a portion of boiled rice and chicken tikka which comes without a heavy sauce but a yoghurt (which I poured half onto the chicken). So takeaways are allowed. It’s about making smart choices.

No sweet food

Some people can lose weight whilst merely cutting back on snacks like chocolate, biscuits and cakes. But I know myself well enough to know that this approach won’t work for me. I used to have a very sweet tooth and a packet of biscuits would soon disappear. But since cutting out all sweet food, I’m so much happier with savoury food and I can easily pass on biscuits when my family’s eating it. It’s a while until any family birthdays so let’s see if I can resist the temptation of cake then!

Intermittent fasting

When I started this journey, I made a concerted effort to eat breakfast despite never having really been a breakfast person. This was when I was eating the above cereal. However, I’ve restricted my eating hours from midday to 8pm. I can’t tell you how much this has helped me! You see, before I’d snack away all evening, often oblivious to what was going in my mouth. My pattern of eating is officially known as 16:8 intermittent fasting (IF) but there are different ways of doing such as having 2 very low calorie days a week. However, you still have to be in calorie deficit overall.

So, in a typical day, I’ll eat:

  • noon: lunch which is either a one-round sandwich on granary bread or an open sandwich (such as mackerel) on an open sandwich with one slice of bread.
  • afternoon: if I’m peckish, I’ll have the cereal treat, a cereal bar or piece of fruit
  • dinner around 6/7pm: usually meat with lots of veg. However, I may have other things like a personalised pizza with low fat cheese and topped with a bucket of rocket lettuce or mushrooms. I might have a ready meal. I might have a jacket potato with tuna and sweetcorn plus salad on the side.

And I don’t feel hungry. I’ve really upped how much water I’m drinking despite never being a water person. And the diet coke is now more of a treat…..I’m not getting rid of that completely!

At the end of the day, I think it’s about finding a way of eating that’s sustainable.

Anyway folks, I’ll be back on Monday with my next weigh-in. Before then, I’ll have run for 20 minutes non-stop as part of Couch to 5K and I’ve really got my fingers crossed that Monday’s going to be a huge result. I’m SO SO close to no longer being morbidly obese!

Love Erika xx