Walking and running for shiny medals!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great weekend everyone

Love Erika xx

Week 27 weigh-in: mmm, no weigh-in :/

Hello folks

A post of woe and positivity today! Yes, this follows my post last Tuesday about how I smashed 100 lbs of weight loss in little over 8 months:

So, let’s start with an analogy. You’re an athlete and you’ve pounded the athletic track to get to that 100 metre finishing line. You’ve gritted your teeth, the finishing line is in sight and, suddenly, you’re there! Woop! You celebrate, you start to slow down whilst thinking of claiming that elusive trophy and then, BAM, you realise that you’ve got another 71 metres to go. SIGH!!!!!

Well, that’s how I’ve been feeling over the past few days with the realisation that my weight loss journey isn’t over yet. I’ve been eating more although I doubt if I’ve gone significantly over 2000 calories. But, yesterday, for the first time for years, I wanted to binge and take laxatives. Yesterday was a stressful day because of COVID and the second lockdown for England which starts this Thursday. It’s unclear right now whether I’ll be able to still run my business. But I need to find healthier ways of dealing with stress as I’m not going back to 329 lbs and, last night, I turned to exercise where I instantly felt better for it afterwards. So, this is what I’m going to do. I’m going to be kind to myself for a few days and then, on Thursday when lockdown begins, I’m really going to up the exercise and get those endorphins pumping. Let’s get toning my body and see if I can get under 220 lbs by the time we come out of lockdown on 2nd December. Next week, I’ll brave the scales but I’m just not feeling it today.

Take care

Love Erika xx

Week 25: I’ve lost 7 stone!

Hey folks

Okay, let’s get straight into this week’s report card:

What’s Erika done well this week?

  • I’ve now lost exactly 7 stone which is the same as 98lbs!
  • I’m now light enough to have a helicopter lesson
  • I’ve lost 1lb. Another week in the ‘1lb club’ but these add up
  • I’ve stayed pretty calm about how my weight loss has slowed down. It’s weird but in the past few weeks when the loss has slowed down, my body shape has really been changing so I’m appreciating that there are non-scale victories to be celebrated too

What could Erika improve on?

  • Last week, I said that I needed to exercise more and, shamefully, I’ve had another week where I’ve barely moved. I really don’t know why this is apart from it possibly being a post-marathon slump. So, my personal challenge is to walk at least 5km everyday from now until the end of the month.

Erika’s next target(s):

  • celebrate holding the London Marathon medal that should be here in the next 12 days
  • lose 2 more lbs until I’ve lost 100 lbs in total and my BMI is under 35

*******

My new shiny scales are amazing and they highlighted two things that are good for me to know. As I said in Friday’s blog, my body water percentage is very low but I’m slowly bringing this figure up by being mindful about my fluid intake. But the other thing is that the app I use to record my weight loss estimated my body to be more than 47%. However, my analyser scales tell me that it’s actually 39%. Yes, still too high but I’ll take the lower figure!

So, I’m going to head off now for a walk and get some distance under my belt. Hope you have a super week

Love Erika xx

Recordable weight loss since blogging:Still to lose:Current weight:BMI:
77 lbs73 lbs231 lbs35.1
Plus 21 lbs lost prior to blogging

Week 23 weigh-in: Can you do a marathon whilst obese?!

YES!!!!! Yes, you can because that’s exactly what I did yesterday. Me and around 45,000 others around the world took part in the Virtual London Marathon, each with our own 26.2 mile routes set out – whether we were walking or running it. Some people even climbed mountains to get in the distance. My legs feel extraordinarily heavy today but I’m buzzing and I’ll share the medal with you as soon as it arrives.

What’s Erika done well this week?

  • I’ve lost 1lb. Weight loss has slowed down but I don’t care as…….
  • I did a 26.2 mile marathon!
  • My BMI is now in the lower 35s…..so close to getting out of the obese class II category
  • I’m now halfway through my official weight loss journey as in I’ve lost 75 lbs with 75 lbs still to go. But, as the tables at the bottom of my posts say each Monday, this is in addition to the 21 lbs I’ve lost before I started blogging.

What could Erika improve on?

  • Nothing for this week coming really. I didn’t get much sleep last week as the marathon was on my mind throughout and work was busy but I slept for a whopping 10 hours last night and know that this week being quieter will definitely help me rest more. I’ll keep an eye on my fluid intake too and make sure I’m continuing to drink water.

Erika’s next target(s):

  • 2 more lbs until I can have a helicopter lesson
  • 4 more lbs until I’ve lost 100 lbs in total and my BMI is under 35

I’m going to add something to my list of what I’d like to do when I’m smaller/lighter: https://biggirlsmall.com/when-i-lose-weight-i-will/ I’d love to climb a mountain. We have some stunning ones in northern England, Wales and Scotland. I don’t know. Just the sense of standing on its summit, looking at the panoramic views and realising that sheer determination has brought you up to this point. Do I need to wait until I’m smaller/lighter? No, not really but by the time I can travel due to COVID cases in the UK rising, any further weight loss by then will hopefully really help me along the way.

And sorry for no 2nd post last week. Last week was just manic But I will be back later this week to chat about staying motivated when you’ve got a lot of weight to lose.

Have a great week, everyone

Love Erika xx (P.S. Did I tell you that I achieved 26.2 miles yesterday?!!!)

Recordable weight loss:Still to lose:Current weight:BMI:
75 lbs75 lbs233 lbs35.4
Plus 21 lbs lost prior to blogging

Week 22 weigh-in: 5 lbs away from losing 100 lbs!

Hey guys

I really REALLY hope that I will be blogging next Monday not only to tell you my latest weigh-in but to tell you that I actually finished the London marathon. I’m just visualising being able to say the words ‘did it’ even though it’s feeling incredibly daunting right now. My runner’s bib arrived through the post, which I think adds to the sense of occasion. I don’t know. It all feels a bit surreal right now but I believe that I CAN do it…and, if I believe that I can do, I’m more likely to actually do it!

What’s Erika done well this week?

  • I’ve lost 2lbs
  • My weight is now in the lower 230s

What could Erika improve on?

  • I don’t know why but my fluid intake has been pretty low, as in any fluid intake. From today, I’m making a more concerted effort to drink more throughout the day rather than realise just before going to bed that I’ve barely drunk anything!
  • I also need to improve my sleep. I think that mere, ‘little’ issue of a marathon (!!!) is on my mind but I’ve read that poor sleep can be linked to weight difficulties. It’s not that I’m snacking in the evenings as I don’t eat after 8pm but let’s see what I can do.
  • For the past few days, I’ve eaten a bit more than normal. Yes, I need to make sure I’m eating enough when taking on such a huge physical feat but I need to make sure that my sensible eating is back on track. What’s good is that despite eating a bit more than normal (when compared to the past 7 months), I haven’t binged and I haven’t eaten anything sweet but I just need to get back on track with my food choices.

Erika’s next target(s):

  • Walk/run the virtual London marathon on Sunday
  • 3 more lbs until I can have a helicopter lesson
  • 5 more lbs until I’ve lost 100 lbs in total and my BMI is under 35 – I’m so excited about this!

You know, although I lost 2 lbs this week, I don’t feel as if I’ve really been on track. Whilst I can’t wait for Sunday, part of me is keen to just get it over and done with so that it’s not at the forefront of my mind. Does that make sense? I had hoped to get to the 100 lb weight loss milestone by marathon day which isn’t going to happen but I need to be kind to myself! Erika, you’re doing the London Marathon at least 95 lbs lighter than if you did this in February. Let’s celebrate that!

Hope you have a good week. I’ll be back on Thursday or Friday with my next blog. Actually, I don’t know what the topic will be so, if there’s anything particular you’d like me to write about, please do say!!

Love Erika xx

Recordable weight loss:Still to lose:Current weight:BMI:
74 lbs76 lbs234 lbs35.6
Plus 21 lbs lost prior to blogging

Week 20 weigh-in: I walked 40K steps yesterday!

Hey guys

This morning, every bone and muscle in my feet reminded me that I’d pushed my comfort zone yesterday, reaching more than 40, 000 steps and over 28 km but that pain was good! The pain has since subsided but I’m left with the excitement that I’m really prepping myself for the London marathon in 20 day’s time and that I’ll be able to walk/run the 26.2 miles (42.165 km) in order to get the shiny medal from this year’s virtual event.

What’s Erika done well this week?

  • I lost 4lbs
  • I’m now in the 230s
  • I’ve done shorter walks on top of yesterday’s
  • I drank more water
  • I resisted some chocolate brownies my children made!

What could Erika improve on?

  • I can sense some of my previous-anorexic behaviours creeping in like obsessive jumping on the scales and starting to panic a bit about calories. I need to keep an eye on this because, as I found out many years ago, you don’t need to be underweight to unfortunately experience the life-threatening risks of restrictive behaviour
  • Although I’ve cut out all snacking since I started this journey exactly 7 months ago and I’m making healthier choices, I could eat more fruit and veg

Erika’s next target(s):

  • 1 more lb until I’m under 17 stone
  • 7 more lbs until I can have a helicopter lesson
  • 9 more lbs until I’ve lost 100 lbs and my BMI is under 35 – I’m so excited about this!

Later on this week, I think I’d find it helpful to talk aloud on here about the restrictive behaviours coming through. I really don’t want to end up very ill again. So far, I’ve had a handful of days when my calorie intake has been low but I’m determined to keep this journey healthy and therefore more likely that I’m going to keep off the weight loss. Let’s get into a healthier mindset!

Have a good week, everyone

Love Erika xx

Total recordable weight loss:Still to lose:Current weight:BMI:
70 lbs80 lbs238 lbs36.2
Plus 21 lbs lost prior to blogging

5 top tips to get into the dieting mindset

Hey folks

Now, if you’ve followed my blog for a while, you’ll notice that I rarely call what I’m doing a ‘diet’. For me, it’s a lifestyle change as I tend to think that a diet has short-term connotations but it’s just semantics.

For years, I sensed that I was bigger than I should be. I didn’t dare get on the scales or catch myself in a full size mirror but I knew that I was bigger than I’d ever been. So, when I finally discovered that my weight loss journey was starting at 329 lbs and a BMI of 50, it was scary. But let me share with you my 5 top tips that have so far led me to lose almost 90 lbs since mid-February. Hopefully sharing this will inspire at least one person.

  1. How is your weight or size affecting you NOW?

I guess I’d encourage people to think about what’s the reason for even starting the weight loss journey. For me, I started feeling the fat on the back of my neck when sitting down, I was becoming aware of COVID mortality rates and obesity, and I knew that I was basically missing out on so much. I hadn’t flown on a plane for years, I hid away from people. I was avoiding seeing doctors. Also, as a carer, I had a big wake up call that I needed to be healthy to look after my son.

2. What will change if you lose weight or get fitter?

Can you visualise this new ‘you’ when you’re smaller? For me, I could visualise it although much of my adult life has been spent on the large size but I pictured being able to wear skinny jeans, jumping on planes to go away for weekend trips all over Europe, being able to walk for hours with little exhaustion, I could visualise not worrying if I’d fit in a chair, etc. I may have a long way to go but I feel so different. I’ve even discovered a love for exercise having done Couch to 5K whilst still morbidly obese and I’m doing the London marathon next month! My confidence is rocketing.

3. Take stock of now.

The biggest advice is to know your starting weight. I feared the scales as it meant staring at reality in the face but you need that starting point. Measure your chest, waist, hips, belly and any other body part you’re not happy with. Take ‘honest’ photos of yourself. As you start to lose weight and take photos, measure, etc. having those comparisons can be mind blowing. It may be that the scales don’t shift much but your body IS changing. On the 26th of each month, I now try on my skinny jeans and they’re slowly working their way up my legs!

4. Embrace the mini goals.

If I was focusing only on how I’m going to lose 150 lbs (plus 21 lbs before I started blogging), I might have given up ages ago! There’s no way I’d keep focused. I have some many mini goals that I find easy to track using the MY Weight app. I’m always aiming for the next 1/2 BMI point, the next 1/2 percent of fat, the next group of 5lbs, the next half stone, etc. Almost every time I lose a pound, I’m ticking off another mini goal.

5. Make it sustainable.

I won’t even attempt to think about how many diets are out there and of course we’ll all have different views about works well for us. For me, I’m keeping it simple. For me, no meal replacement drinks or keto as I don’t think I’d sustain that. I get into a calorie deficit and consume around 1200 a day without tracking macros. I aim to burn 2,800 – 3,300 a day through workouts. I eat only between noon and 8pm. Because I’m eating what I want to eat and I just keep an eye on portion sizes, it means that I still have the stamina to keep going until the button on those jeans does up easily.

If you’re on this weight loss journey, what’s helping you? If you wish you could be, what do think are your barriers? I’d love to hear .

Have a great weekend, everyone

Love Erika xx

Are you ever too old to get medals for walking?!

Hey folks

Well, I’m going to answer this question straightaway with a huge resounding “No”!!! You see, I’m discovering that there’s an international community of thousands of people working towards challenges through walking, running, jogging, swimming, cycling and much more, and I’d love to tell you about this.

How did you discover medals, Erika?

Back in February when I weighed 329 lbs, I couldn’t walk more than 100 metres without being puffed out. Part way into this weight loss journey, I pushed myself to do Couch to 5K and in fact completed nearly all of it whilst morbidly obese. But I wanted something to celebrate my achievement, something tangible and I discovered this beauty below. But I’ve now also discovered there are LOTS more medals out there!

What medals are there?

So, yes, there are medals for real events like running marathons, etc. However, I’m discovering virtual events where you use your phone or tracking device to progress through predetermined routes, such as walking the Inca Trail in Peru, walking Route 66, walking 160 km to Mount Everest base camp, etc. Once you’ve achieved the distance, you submit your evidence and, whoop, a shiny medal drops through your letter box. My favourite websites are My Virtual Mission (I LOVE their medals), Virtual Racing UK and Ace-Races UK. But a word of warning…they’re addictive!

How does working towards a medal help?

For me, I love a target. Something to aim for. Something I can achieve. I’m not just exercising for the sake for it and some websites/apps actually show you how far you are along the route, sending you virtual postcards, etc. Like on My Virtual Mission, I can see where I am on the map but there’s also a brilliantly supportive Facebook group. Tonight, I’ll be covering some more distance as I work towards my next medal. It’s much cheaper than going to a gym!

Which ones have you got to far and which ones are you planning?

So far, I’ve got medals for Couch to 5K, 50 miles of running in July, 100 miles of running in August, a 31 day challenge through August where I was set daily fitness challenges, the width of the English Channel (34 km which is below), the Inca Trail (42 km) and Hadrian’s Wall (165 km). I also got a medal for walking 5km along a local route that I’d been too unfit to even try. When I accomplished it, I deliriously jumped onto the app and claimed the medal straightaway!

I’m currently working towards a 290 km New Zealand-based walk and, separately, a 160 km Mount Everest one. In under 5 weeks, I’ll be running the official 2020 Virtual London Marathon that will result in a medal (hopefully!)….and so many more.

This is from My Virtual Mission – jolly heavy!

Once I have quite a collection, I’ll share lots of photos! Some medals are coming from the US so it’ll take a bit of time but who doesn’t like something shiny! I might even put a ‘wall medal holder’ on my birthday present list. Get me, I love working out!

Love Erika xx

Week 18 weigh-in: I’ve the biggest news ever!

Hey everyone

Oh, I’m so happy! I’m hitting lots of targets and my body’s feeling incredibly different…but I’ve also signed up for something almost inconceivable a few months ago…more about that shortly! Like last week’s blog, here’s my report card:

What’s Erika done well this week?!

  • I lost 5 lbs! 
  • My BMI is now under 37 which means I’m nicely on my way towards the lowest obesity category
  • I’m now more than half way on this weight loss journey
  • I’m now under 17 and a half stone in British weight-talk (where 1 stone equals 14 lbs)
  • I’ve now lost more than 6 stone in British weight-talk (i.e. 6 stone 2 lbs)
  • I’m now light enough to go on a Segway (manufacturers say 245 lbs)
  • I exercised daily. I’m now on my 3rd walking medal with My Virtual Mission and will complete the Hadrian’s Wall walk (144.8 km distance) later on today. I started this 2 weeks ago.

What could Erika improve on?

  • Drink more water. I’ve been drinking more than last week but lots of room for improvement!

Erika’s next target(s):

  • 1 more lb until my body fat is under 50%
  • 12 more lbs until I can have a helicopter lesson
  • 14 more lbs until I’ve lost 100 lbs in total and my BMI is under 35

You see, it’s these tiny goals that keep me focused and motivated.

Drum roll…

Right, I have a HUGE thing to admit! You know back in February at 329 lbs that I couldn’t walk more than 100 metres without being out of puff? And I’ve since completed Couch to 5K? Well, er, I’m doing the 2020 Virtual London Marathon on 4th October!!!!! Yes, there were 45,000 places as you get the finisher’s medal if you complete the 26.2 miles but you actually get the whole 24 hours to do and I signed up just in time before the spaces went. WHAT HAVE I DONE?!!!!!

So, I’ll share my pre-marathon news over the next few weeks as well as blog about discovering the world of fitness medals, overcoming weight loss plateaus, motivational tips, changing the inner voice, how to set tiny targets and so much more

Love Erika xx

Total recordable weight loss:Still to lose:Current weight:BMI:
65 lbs85 lbs243 lbs36.9
Plus 21 lbs lost prior to blogging

So that means I’ve lost 86 lbs in all and I’ve 85 to go!

Week 15 weigh-in: I’ve discovered more walking challenges :)

Hey folks

The scales say

So, let me first share the results of the weigh-in this morning. I’ve lost 1 lb. Yes, it’s the lowest amount so far despite working out and creating a large calorie deficit every single day. And I could feel a bit disappointed but I don’t….for a few reasons:

  • First, a pound is still movement in the right direction!
  • Second, this has been the week where my body has felt as if it’s really starting to shape up. Just little things like my thighs, my arms, my shoulders, my bottom! Progress isn’t just about that figure on the scales.
  • Third, just after the weigh-in, it turns out that I was due my period! As many women will know, there are times of the month where our body weight will fluctuate and the past week has been a bit weird on the scales….until I suddenly lost that pound yesterday morning. As someone whose periods completed stopped for years due to my BMI being 50, it’s a good thing they’ve restarted.
  • Fourth, I was actually close to losing 2 lbs and I did contemplate weighing myself again after a few hours of not drinking to lose that extra 1/4 lb but…..no!! Erika, just no!! I’m going to count that extra little bit towards next week’s weigh in.

More walking challenges?

Yes, I’ve got a new addiction! If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that I achieved the Couch to 5K medal and I’ve started doing other challenges like walking 500 miles between now and the end of the year. There’s a whole community out there of people working towards these virtual challenges and being sent decorative medals. Here’s one that came the other day from my recent uphill 6K walk that I’ve wanted to do for over 10 years and never thought I’d actually achieve it.

Anyway, I’ve come across My Virtual Mission which is truly international and you can sign up for virtual distance challenges, whether you want to walk, run, cycle or swim. On that website, I’m currently doing a 21 mile walk which is the equivalent of walking across the English Channel (that’s the strait between the UK and France) and then I’m going to walk 874 miles as part of the Land’s End to John O’Groats challenge (that’s the equivalent to walking the longest mainland distance in the UK). But there are lots of others like the Inca Trail, Route 66, etc. so do check it out. There’s also a wonderfully supportive group on Facebook. Yes, I could just walk lots but, for me, I love having something to aim for.

Probably just one other blog coming this week as I’ve got quite a bit on but hope you’re all well. Do let me know if you’ve completed any distance challenges or what your views on them are…..I’d love to hear

Love Erika xx

Total recordable weight loss:Still to lose:Current weight:BMI:
53 lbs97 lbs:255 lbs38.8
Plus 21 lbs lost prior to blogging