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

Week 56 weigh-in: lost almost half my body weight!

Hey guys

Well, I’ve TWO very exciting things to tell you this week. First, I’ve smashed several goals so let’s take a look at this week’s report card straightaway:

What’s happened this week?

  • I lost 4 lbs
  • My weight’s now in the 160s
  • I’ve lost more than 11.5 stone in all
  • I’m now in the 11 stone range
  • My BMI is now in the lower 25s!
  • I drank far more water than normal
  • I can now go horse riding at a nearby stables
  • I’m lighter than my wedding weight from 25 years ago

What could Erika improve on?

  • Increase my calories…. yes, still finding this hard but more about that below

Erika’s next target(s):

  • 2 lbs until my weight’s in the healthy range! Yes, 2 lbs to go!
  • 3 lbs until I’ve lost over half of my original weight! Slightly revised from last week but nonetheless tantilisingly close.
  • 9 lbs until my ultimate goal so that I have a 7 lb buffer to stay in the healthy range

— ❤ —

The other thing is that I now have two pieces of clothing with a ‘SMALL’ tag AND I can wear them! The other one is a belt as I ran out of holes in the medium size one.

I also wanted to think aloud here about recovering from an eating disorder. Things took a bit of a turn last week when my therapist (very much with my best interests at heart) took the decision to contact my GP surgery about me being at physical risk. I know this comes from a place of care and safety as he cited safeguarding but it’s hard not to find the whole thing very surreal with matters are being taken out of my hands. So, I guess there’ll be a phone call, etc. at some point about that. Independent of this, I may have found some private specialist support that could make a difference that would work around my current life and hopefully I’ll soon know more to share with you. If this private support is put in place, I don’t know whether professionals within the NHS would still need/want to be involved… I guess it could depend if they think I’m at risk. But this is where I’m sharing some initial, extraordinarily tentative thoughts with you. As you’ll know from my weekly weigh-ins over the past 15 months, I’m always focusing on the next targets in terms of losing X lbs or getting into the next 1/2 BMI range. I’m terrified at the prospect of relinquishing control and increasing the calories but perhaps I need to start adding weekly challenges to my report card such as adding a further 50 calories each day. I’ve really mixed feelings about this which no doubt sounds ludicrous when I do want to get back to socialising with friends over meals and I do want my next ECG on Friday to be healthy. I might explore the concept of being ready to recover (or perhaps just having to get on with it even if I’m not ready) later this week in my blog.

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:
141 lbs9 lbs167 lbs25.2
Plus 21 lbs lost prior to blogging

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

My belt has run out of holes!

Hi folks

Just a quick post today as I’m super busy with work but my belt has run out of holes! Yes, this is the belt that I need for the jeans that are getting too big although I’m a bit mystified as the belt is a ‘medium’.

Something that’s been puzzling me over the past few days is my body shape. I know our bodies change over time but I’m now lighter than 10 years ago when I lost a lot of weight… and in fact I’m the lightest I’ve been for 24 years. 10 years ago, I was wearing clothes a whole size down and people were telling me to stop losing weight as I was looking skinny (despite actually being overweight!). This time, I’ve got so much loose skin on my belly, going from the top of my thighs to my knees, on my upper arms. So, if I’ve got this excess skin that’s making me bulkier in certain areas, are there parts of me that are actually smaller than last time? How can I be lighter because I don’t physically feel it? I did have a friend tell me last night that I’m looking skinny… not in a “Hey, look at you girl!” way but actually concerned. What I don’t want to say is “I’m overweight“! And I had a pharmacist who hasn’t seen me for about 5 months exclaim when I walked in today about how much I’ve lost. She said “You’re not going to lose any more, are you?“. This was so awkward to answer but I spoke honestly and said “Yes, a bit more“…. to which she commented that I don’t need to and I need to buy smaller clothes. To be honest, comments about weight loss are feeling a bit awkward and the more I see people as we come out of lockdown, the harder it’s going to be. The pharmacy (who is really lovely and I’ve got to know a bit over the past 2-3 years) did ask how much I’ve lost and how I’m doing it…. mmm… “Eating less; moving more“. I don’t need to tell her what’s really going on!

Anyway, that’s me for today and I’ll be back either Friday or Saturday to continue thinking a bit more about what I’ve just written….

Hope you have a good day

Love Erika xx

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

Mouth hunger or stomach hunger? This is key!

Hello guys

Just a short post today but I read something the other day and, wow, it resonated with me so much that I wanted to share it with you.

How many times do you eat something but then afterwards feel that it wasn’t enough or it wasn’t what you really needed?

You see, it’s very easy to think that when we experience hunger, our stomachs are calling out for something filling. We might have had dinner but it doesn’t feel enough so we follow it up with some biscuits, some candy, etc. … basically, more calories.

It may be that your stomach is fine but it’s your taste buds that need something to hit the spot. In Monday’s post, I mentioned that Ryvita Thins have just 29 calories each and I find that the chilli in these completely do the job. Happy taste buds, happy Erika who’s kept in control of what she’s eaten.

But, as I’ve said before, remember that dehydration has that sneaky way to disguise itself as hunger so, first step, drink water!

And before you go…. I’ve hit another milestone. Where I live, we’re advised that women’s waists should be 31.5″ or less. I think you can guess where I’m heading with this but, yes, my waist is 31.5″!!! Last summer, it was 48″ so anything is possible 🙂

Hope you have a great day, everyone

Love Erika xx

Week 51 weigh-in: the UK food traffic light system!

Hello guys

Okay, before I tell you all about this, let’s take a look at this week’s report card:

What’s happened this week?

  • I lost 3 lbs
  • I’ve now lost more than 10.5 stone in all
  • I’m now under 13 stone
  • My BMI’s in the lower half of the overweight category
  • I’ve bought more veg! Yes, on tomorrow’s menu are homemade aubergine (eggplant) crisps and I’ve bought spinach and red peppers to make omelettes.

What could Erika improve on?

  • Increase my calories…. yes, still finding this hard and it’s now just 10 days until my ECG…

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

  • 1 lb until my weight’s in the 170s
  • 2 lbs until my BMI’s in the 26s
  • 4 lbs until I’m the same weight as 10 years ago
  • 5 lbs until I’ve lost 11 stone in all
  • 5 lbs until I’ve lost 90% of my excess weight
  • 10 lbs until I’m at my wedding weight from nearly 25 years ago
  • 15 lbs until my weight’s in the healthy range (just more than 1 stone to go!)
  • 22 lbs until my ultimate goal so that I have a 7 lb buffer to stay in the healthy range!

So, back to the traffic light system Many food producers in the UK display nutritional information on products using a traffic light system so that we can see at a glance whether it’s healthy or not. I have to say that this makes food choice reasonably easy because I make a point of staying away from anything colour-coded red. Here’re some examples:

So, okay, the Ryvita one isn’t colourful but I can instantly see if these flatbreads are okay to snack on and yes they are! These are unbelievably tasty and just 29 calories. And this jambalaya is something I could live on everyday! Virtually green across the board and just 319 calories. Do you have anything similar in your country to help people make healthy choices? Please do tell!

I’ll be back on Wednesday to talk about mouth hunger versus stomach hunger 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 starting to blog:Still to lose:Current weight:BMI:
128 lbs22 lbs180 lbs27.2
Plus 21 lbs lost prior to blogging