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 30 weigh-in: letting go of old clothes…

Hey guys

YES!! As shown in my ‘report card’ below, I’ve lost a lot more than one pound this week so I’m truly buzzing today! Perhaps it’s because I’d plateaued for about three weeks and the scales are now reacting again to me controlling my portions and exercising. I don’t know. There could be 101 reasons why but I’m hoping it won’t be too long until I’m out of the 220s.

Okay, let’s have a look at this week’s report card:

What’s Erika done well this week?

  • I’ve lost 4 lbs
  • I’ve ditched most of the clothes that are too big for me… more about that in a moment.

What could Erika improve on?

  • I’ve always said that I’ll be honest with you and I do need to watch that being ‘eager’ about a new lifestyle doesn’t slip into being some form of eating disorder. A friend has shown concern about how quickly I’ve lost this weight over the past few months, especially when my heart was put at risk many years ago when I lost a lot of weight through anorexic behaviour (although the weight loss was quicker). Do I have an eating disorder? I don’t think so but I will be reflecting on that.

Erika’s next target(s):

  • 1 lb until my BMI is in the 33s….so close!
  • 4 lbs until I’m weighing less than 100 kg
  • 25 lbs until I’m in Onederland (yes, I’ll be less than 200 lbs)
  • 27 lbs until I’m no longer obese as I’ll be overweight
This is the MY Weight app

Before this weight loss, I was wearing approximately US size 18-20 / UK size 22-24 clothes although trousers would have been slightly bigger. And, you know, I’ve still been wearing some of these clothes… just very loosely! But I had a big sort out on Saturday night, dumped all my clothes on my bed including those I’d kept from my previous ‘slim days’ that I’ve wanted to get back into and tried on EVERYTHING! I’ve been buying a few bits over the past few months but hadn’t wanted to buy too much knowing that I’d likely be ‘passing by’ certain sizes. The result? I have a huge bag of clothes going to charity and I’m now wearing clothes to reflect my current size. Tops? I’m a US size 10 / UK size 14. Bottoms? I’m a US size 12-14 / UK size 16-18. (I don’t think I’ve ever shared my height with you but I’m 173 cm / 5 foot 8). And I’m thinking more about how I want to style myself. I could buy completely new clothes but I’m actually really loving searching on EBay where there’s a huge range ….some pre-loved clothes that reportedly have been worn just the once but also lots that are new and still have their tags so I’ve a few bits on their way 🙂

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So, upcoming posts include:

  • coping with and breaking plateaus
  • what I’m eating (I’ve been taking photos!)
  • choosing how the ‘new me’ will dress
  • the fine line between very focused dieting and anorexic thinking

Please feel free to share your own weight loss successes, frustrations or whatever’s on your mind ❤

Love Erika xx

Recordable weight loss since blogging:Still to lose:Current weight:BMI:
84 lbs66 lbs224 lbs34.1
Plus 21 lbs lost prior to blogging

Tempted to give up on the diet? This is what’s helped me :)

Hey folks

I wonder if you can relate to this. You’ve made healthy food choices, the pounds have been coming off quickly, you’ve sensed your clothes feeling loser, you’ve felt like you were conquering this ‘losing weight’ thing and then…..PLATEAU!! Whatever you do, the scales don’t budge or, if they do, you might lose half a pound. So, should you just give up? No!!

Next week, I’m going to talk about plateaus (how to cope with them and how to break them) but as I was starting to lose motivation recently, I thought I’d share with you what’s saved me from giving up and seeing the pounds creep back on. You see, I can visualise how things will be when I hit my target weight but it’s so important to reflect on these 10 reasons NOT to go back to where this journey began:

  • I’m not going back to my starting weight of 329 lbs
  • I’m not going back to my starting BMI of 50
  • I’m not going back when I couldn’t walk up the stairs without being out of breath
  • I’m not going back to the sofa squeaking as I sat on it
  • I’m not going back to wondering if I’d fit in that chair with arms
  • I’m not going back to feeling the fat on the back of my neck
  • I’m not going back to feeling uncomfortable even if I sat upright
  • I’m not going back to being clinically vulnerable re Covid and a BMI of 40+
  • I’m not going back to being unable to walk 100 metres without being in pain
  • I’m not going back to wondering how long I’d live

Yes, we should think about our long term goal although ideally split it into lots of tiny manageable targets but let’s not forget where we’ve come from. And let’s use that to keep us on this journey. Although I’ve used the word ‘diet’ above, I’m slowly appreciating that it’s really more of a lifestyle change really… which means having to make much longer changes rather than seek a quick fix.

Have a great weekend, everyone

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

When the postman notices your weight loss!!!!!!

Hey guys

This happened 10 minutes ago and I just had to jump onto my blog and share this with you!! Bearing in mind that the only people I’ve seen since March are the people I live with, clients (who I rarely see more than once) and a couple of friends, there’s little opportunity to know if my weight loss is noticeable. I’d certainly hope so by now by now 🙂

Well, our lovely postie (who, can I just point out I’ve always liked anyway before today!) knocked on our door with a couple of parcels and commented how he’s noticed I’m looking really good! Apparently, he said to his wife last night that there’s a lady on his rounds who’s clearly lost a lot of weight and did she think it’d be rude if he told me so. She clearly encouraged him to and, voila, the result is me just buzzing! Yes, matey, 100 lbs to be exact ❤

Anyway, I’ll be back tomorrow blogging about my fitness medals but hope you can see why you’re the first people I wanted to tell. And to those who’ve started following my blog in the past few days, a genuinely warm welcome and thank you from me!

Love Erika xx

Week 28: And I’m back on this journey :)

Hey folks

After struggling a bit for just over a week, I’m back in the game so let’s get straight onto this week’s report card

What’s Erika done well this week?

  • After putting on 2 lbs in 10 days, I’ve now lost this and I’m back to 229 lbs and that 100 lb weight loss
  • I’m back to doing intermittent fasting between noon – 8pm
  • I’ve started doing exercises to tone my legs, stomach, hips. Yes, I’m working towards a Harry Potter themed medal where you can claim it for doing something 9 3/4 related so this month, I’m aiming to do all of this as specific exercises to tone up on top of cardio
  • My head is back in gear. I’d like to think that this is actually my biggest achievement because I was starting to slip. I’ll tell you how I did this in just a moment

What could Erika improve on?

  • Nothing for this week 🙂

Erika’s next target(s):

  • 6 lbs until my BMI is in the 33s
  • 9 lbs until I’m weighing less than 100 kg
  • 30 lbs until I’m in Onederland (yes, I’ll be less than 200 lbs)
  • 32 lbs until I’m no longer obese as I’ll be overweight

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So guys, as I said last week, I hit a wall two weeks ago. I don’t actually quite know what happened when I hit the 100 lb weight loss goal. It was so huge for me and I instantly relaxed but I need to use this experience going forward. Why? Well, my next big goal is to get out of the obese range (32 lbs to go until I get there) and what I need to be careful of is not just stopping! Not just thinking “Oh, you can eat anything now!”…. because I still want to get into the normal weight range.

I could have just eaten and eaten but I sensed that I was getting out of control…. not in a bingeing way but snacking here and there. So I did one simple thing. I restricted my eating window. I got back into doing intermittent fasting and this one act instantly cut out the evening snacking that was starting to creep in. Once I did this, my mentally just got back to where it was before. And hey, after braving the scales last Thursday and seeing I’d put on 2 lbs, I’ve lost that already. I wonder what I can achieve this week!

Are you on a weight loss journey? Do you want to be but not know where to start? Please feel free to comment about your progress or what you think the barriers are for you.

Love Erika xx

Recordable weight loss since blogging:Still to lose:Current weight:BMI:
79 lbs71 lbs229 lbs34.8
Plus 21 lbs lost prior to blogging

I did it! I’ve lost 100 lbs!

You know I blogged yesterday telling you that I was sooo close to reaching that next big milestone of losing 100 lbs? Well, today, my scales are my best friend as I’m now down to 229 lbs having started out at 329 lbs on February 14th this year. So, not only have I lost exactly 100 lbs but I’m finally out of the 230s after my weight loss slowing down for the past month. To say I’m ecstatic is an understatement and I can now reward myself with a shiny new phone that I’d promised myself when I got to this point.

I’ll be back on Thursday or Friday to show you the fitness medals that have undoubtedly helped me to get my body moving but I’m thinking that I may also create a photo diary for a week to show what food I eat. You see, I’m not great when it comes to fruit and veg. I’m not eating lots of oily fish. I still eat the food I’d like to each – but just less of it and with some sensible choices. Photographing everything we eat can also help us be more conscious about what goes in our mouths because a snack here and a snack there can soon add up. Do you let me know if you think a food photo diary would be useful to see or whether you’ve thought of photographing what you eat.

Love Erika xx

Week 26 weigh-in: a MAJOR milestone!

Hey guys

Okay, let’s get straight to it:

What’s Erika done well this week?

  • My BMI has gone from the super morbidly obese range (when my BMI was 50) to the lowest obesity category (BMI now 34.9)
  • I’ve lost 1lb…but more about that in a mo
  • With it being week 26 of blogging, I’ve now been blogging regularly for 6 months…thank you for joining me ❤
  • I can see my toes! Yes, I can glance down without tilting forward and see my toes!!!
  • I completed the London Vitality 10K event on Saturday so that means another medal will soon be on its way. My London Marathon one came the other day and, in the next couple of weeks, I’ll be doing a blog about my fitness medals

What could Erika improve on?

  • Is it okay to say that I can’t think of anything for this week?! This rarely happens!

Erika’s next target(s):

  • lose 1 more lb so that I will have achieved a 100 lb weight loss in all
  • 10 lbs until I’m weighing less than 100kg
  • 31 lbs until I’m in Onederland (yes, I’ll be less than 200 lbs)
  • 33 lbs until I’m no longer obese as I’ll be overweight

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So, guys, a HUGE surprise this morning! I thought I’d have to be 229 lbs for my BMI to go under 35 but it turns out that 230 lbs and a few ounces does just the trick. I truly can’t believe that I’m in the lowest obesity range (which goes from 30-34.9) as it’s been about 8 years since I’ve been here. Getting my BMI under 30 (and to go from being obese to overweight) seems like a long way off but it wasn’t that long ago when I was dreaming about getting out of the morbidly obese range and desperate to get my BMI under 40. So, this is where my tiny goals come into it. Just focus on the next step and don’t look too far ahead.

A quick note about this image from my Weight Watchers scales. So, body fat (BF) is way too high although I’m working on that. Body water (BW) is actually low which suggests that I’m dehydrated but I’ve managed to bring it up from being under 43. Bone (bone mass) is actually way too high… not that I’m looking for excuses to put the brakes on this weight loss journey but does this mean I’m officially very heavy boned?!

As soon as I lose my next pound, I’ll be back on here to share this with you but, until then, hope you have a good week

Love Erika xx

Weight loss since blogging:Still to lose:Current weight:BMI:
78 lbs72 lbs230 lbs34.9
Plus 21 lbs lost prior to blogging

Lose weight for YOU!

Hey folks

You know, I saw a family member recently. She’s always openly said how she is the slimmest of us and once said to me, whilst I was fighting anorexia, that she thought I’d never be smaller than her. Mmm….we can choose our friends but not our family! Anyway, I last saw her at Christmas when I was at my heaviest (around 329 lbs) and then saw her a couple of weeks ago. In that time, I’ve lost 98lbs which, as you can probably imagine, is completely noticeable. She looked me up and down, uttered “mmmm” under her breath and didn’t say a word. In my head, I was thinking “Really, not going to say anything?” But that was a huge learning curve.

Hopefully, we’ll have people in our lives who are genuinely pleased for us that we’re working towards our goals. I’ve only seen a couple of people except family since the beginning of lockdown and they’ve been amazing. I think it’s human nature to like a ‘congrats’. But we can all have people who aren’t pleased or will be focusing on themselves. And it got me thinking about the relative…do I really need her recognition? Do I need her adulation? At the end of the day, I HAVE to do it for me! For my future. My body. My happiness. My health.

And I need to like myself enough so that I can recognise my own achievements and be satisfied with that alone. With 8″ lost from my waist, 12″ lost from my hips and 11″ from my thighs, I know that each mini goal along the way is something to be proud of what I’ve done so far. I’m 1.25 lbs away from hitting 100lbs loss and, at the end of the day, there’s no point only wanting approval from others if we can’t give that to ourselves. Oh, trust me. Until a few years ago, I would have only craved other people’s approval but perhaps I can start to like me. Does that make sense? I hope so!

So, next weigh-in on Monday. Will I hit that 100lb mark? Oh, I hope so! Before then though, I’m taking part in the London Vitality 10K this weekend… 🙂

Hope you have a lovely weekend

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

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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