Week 9 weigh-in: 10lbs to go until no longer morbidly obese!

Little goals. Day at a time!

Yes, I’m SO excited that the point of no longer falling into the morbidly obese range is within reach! You see, it can be very easy to focus on those long term goals such as fitting into those skinny jeans or being light enough to wingwalk on a plane but a long weight loss journey is about celebrating the short term goals too. Now that I’m 19 stone 6 (272 lbs), that 20 stone mark feels far enough way to change my mindset as I slowly but surely continue until I’m considered a healthy weight..

So, I’ve lost 3lbs this week through a combination of healthy eating and working out! Yay! I’ve got ‘Week 4, Run 3’ of Couch to 5K tonight. I was tempted to do it last night and not give myself a rest days as advised but rest is important! The body has to repair itself in between runs and I do have to be particularly careful knowing that I’m doing this fitness programme whilst carrying extra weight.

Inches are being lost

You may find sometimes that the scales aren’t budging but you can feel as if some change in your body is happening. When I started changing my eating habits back in February (prior to starting my blog and 2 months before I was brave enough to weigh myself), I measured my bust, waist, belly, hips and left calf. I have no idea why I measured just one calf!! Since then, I’ve added some more measurements as shown in the table below. I have to admit that I’m a bit embarrassed about sharing these stats with you as they’re like my personal secret that I hide under clothing which drapes to the floor but I promised when I started this blog that I’d be very open. So, here goes!

Body part20.02.2007.05.20TodayLoss
Bust52.5″-50.5″– 2″
Waist45″40.5″– 4.5″
Belly (spare tyre!)58″52″– 6″
Hips59″53″– 6″
Left arm16.5″14.5″– 2″
Right arm18″15.75″– 2.25″
Left calf24″22.5– 1.5″
Right calf22.5″22.25″– 0.25

And whilst the numbers are going down (look at the belly and hips stats!!), body mass is definitely being lost elsewhere too like around my shoulders, my thighs, my lower arms, my ankles, etc. ’tis all good. Won’t be long until none of my measurements is over 50″!

Next time

Later on this week, I’m going to tell you about what I’m eating just to give you some insight. I meant to say, please feel free to share my blog if you think it could inspire others. I’m just a regular 40-something year old who’s making changes and really getting there. I don’t have a magic wand but I’ve bags and bags of positivity!

Have a great week everyone and catch up next time.

Love Erika xx

Get me! Exercising at 2am!!

Hey folks

Couch to 5K

I can’t stress enough that just 4 months ago, I was the person who’d choose to catch the next bus rather than run to catch the one about to leave! I’d be the person circling the car park to get the nearest space to the shop and would come back another day if need be! I’d be the person who thought Couch to 5K (C25K) was for the ultra fit…..well, I was out exercising last night!

Yes, I did ‘Week 4, run 1’ of C25K in the middle of the night and this particular run (which I’ve got to repeat twice more before progressing to week 5) meant I spent more time running than I did walking. My running is more of a jog but I’m actually getting fitter and my runs this week involve 2 x 3 minutes and 2 x 5 minutes along with some brief walking episodes in between. And it felt really doable! Plus it was way cooler after the intense heat during the day. I also feel like the inches are falling off more quickly and I’ll talk about this more on Monday where I’ll share my ‘then’ stats and my current stats of my waist, hips, belly, etc.

So desperate to no longer be morbidly obese

I can’t tell you how driven I am to get out of the morbidly obese category and I really feel that I’m going to achieve this in the next 3-4 weeks. I think the more I connect with my body, the more aware I am of the need to get fitter because of all the linked risks. Of course, I still have some way to go until I’m in the healthy range but I’ll get there! I can visualise how much easier things will be in terms of how I move, what I’ll wear, what I’ll do, etc.

What’s coming in my next few blog posts?

As well as my weekly weigh-in on Mondays, I’ll share with you more about what and when I’m eating, I’ll show you the ‘inspiration clothes’ I’ve bought which I hope to wear by the end of the year and lots of other things about how my mind works! You see, I’ve tried to do this new lifestyle change before and it hasn’t worked but something feels very different this time.

Have a super weekend everyone

Love Erika xx

Week 8 weigh-in: a non-scale victory!

Hello feet!

Well, my non-scale victory might be something that nearly everyone can do but…..I can now stand with my feet together! For quite some times, there’s been a 1-2 inch gap but I suddenly looked down the other day and woah!!! My feet touch!!!

The scales say…

I’ve lost 2lbs this week. I know that I can be very open here but, with this being my lowest weekly weight loss so far, I’m a tad bit disappointed BUT I know that these 2lbs add up and it’s much better that not losing weight or putting on weight! I guess I hoped for more as I haven’t once gone over my calorie limit in all this time and I’ve been exercising so much this week. Could it be that I’m gaining muscle? 1lb of fat is the same weight at 1lb of muscle but muscle is far more dense and therefore takes up a much smaller space. That could explain why I’m losing inches and moving so much better but not seeing greater numbers come off the scale today. But let’s not overthink it, Erika. Celebrate 2lbs!

Couch to 5K

I’m continuing week 3 of this running programme tonight and I thought I’d share with you what I’ll be doing. 9 minutes of running in all including 2 x 3 minutes. I mean, I couldn’t even run the length of my body when I started this!

And finally…

Whilst every pound lost or even 1/2 point on my BMI is an achievement, I have a few big milestones to reach too. And my next one is something I hope to achieve by the end of July. My BMI is currently 41.8 which puts me in the morbidly obese category. This is down from an estimated BMI of 50 back in February before I started this blog and down from about 46 when I started this blogging journey 2 months ago. So, my next major milestone is to get my BMI to under 39 and no longer be morbidly obese. That means I have 11 lbs to lose. You can do this girl!

Love Erika xx

Overcoming anorexic behaviour

I wonder whether anyone can relate but I used to think that somebody would have to be within or heading towards a dangerously low weight for mental health professionals to talk about anorexic behaviour. However, back in 2011-2012, I spent 6 months in this horribly restrictive headspace that almost ended up with me sectioned against my will using the UK’s Mental Health Act.

How did it begin?

I didn’t realise it at the time but I was later diagnosed with Complex PTSD (I’ve since recovered). One day, probably trying to cope with trauma, I found myself thinking that 800 calories was to be my maximum daily intake. Not a calorie more. In many ways, I was probably trying to find something in my life that I could control. I was 287lbs so it was seen initially as me just ‘eating healthily and being very careful’. But I obsessed about calories. Everything was weighed and calculated to the nearest half calorie. As you can imagine, the weight just fell off but my grip on the calorie limit got tighter. After 800 calories, my limit went down to 500 calories, then 300 calories and ended up 250 calories a day.

How can you survive on 250 calories a day?

Well, it turns you can’t for long! Initially, I become extremely creative with what I ate so mushrooms were my friend. Lunch would be a low-cal cereal bar of 68 calories. I was never hungry but I became very devious at avoiding meals. The children were younger and when my husband got back from work, I’d say that I’d already eaten, etc. In 6 months, I lost 112lbs. And whilst I was just into the overweight range even at my lowest, I carried the weight in a way that actually made me look skinny. People would tell me that I’d lost too much. I looked gaunt. I had large black circles under my eyes.

So, if you weren’t underweight, how was it dangerous?

My heart was affected. When it became noticed by a mental health nurse that I was in this very dangerous headspace, I had to start having ECGs every two weeks to check my heart and blood tests. And I developed Long QT Syndrome that affects how the heart beats. It can be fatal. My bloods were also a mess. There were frequent discussions between the mental health team, the severe eating disorder service, my GP, etc. On one occasion, my ECG results were so bad that I had a call from a nurse later that afternoon saying that I was to go straight to A&E where they were expecting me.

What helped you recover?

I was formally assessed under the Mental Health Act which was to decide if I had to be taken to hospital where they’d do whatever was needed to break out of this trap and save me. I don’t know what it was but something just shock me out of this headspace and I got my calorie intake up to 1,000 and then back up to how I was before.

You’re on a weight loss journey now. Do you see yourself slipping back into this anorexic behaviour?

Being very honest with myself, yes, I think there’s potential. A few weeks ago, I found myself working out how to avoid meals but I had to give myself a good talking to! “Eat Erika, just eat!” That did the trick! I’m not counting exact calories as I think I could become obsessed with counting again so I’m aware that my intake is in a certain ballpark. But it’s liberating that I’m losing weight AND eating without being scared! Yes, I wish in some ways that I’d been helped all those years ago to slowly increase my calories so that I’d get a better relationship with good and not end up so big. But I’m on a weight loss journey now with a far better relationship with food. It’s no longer my enemy. I need to eat to stay healthy and do all the things I want to do like horse riding on the beech and doing zip wires!

I hope this gives some context about my journey but feel free to ask questions.

Hope you have a great weekend and I’ll be back on Monday with my week 8 weigh-in!

Love Erika xx

Week 7 weigh-in: claiming two scale victories today!

Hey folks

I love my scalesright now!

Sometimes, we can tell that we’ve lost a bit of weight by the way our clothes feel, the way we move more easily or because we just feel ‘different’. People might start to notice although this typically happens after we see the first signs. But, of course, the figures on those scary scales can tell us too. I have to admit that I’ve become a bit obsessed with the scales this week as I’ve been weighing myself more than once a day but more about that in a moment.

First, I can’t wait to share with you my two scale victories after losing 4lbs this week.

  • I’m under 20 stone! As I blogged about recently, us Brits often talk about our weight in terms of ‘stones’ where 1 stone is equivalent to 14lbs. So, at 19 stone 11, I’m now in the teens. I can’t tell you how good that feels!
  • I’ve lost more than 10% of my recordable weight loss. Now, although I’ve lost 31lbs so far, this is only in the past 7 weeks since I started blogging. However, I estimate I’d probably lost about 21lbs before I was brave enough to get on the scales judging by inch loss. When someone’s very overweight or obese, the initial guidance is usually aiming for 10% weight loss to help with blood pressure, etc. so I’m super pleased.

But I feel as if I need to scale back on the weighing (no pun intended!). The scales seem to have a power where they can almost dictate whether this is going to be a good or bad day so I’m making this commitment here and now that I won’t weigh myself again until next Monday. There are going to be weeks where I might lose a single pound, not lose weight or even gain temporarily due to water retention but my eyes must be on the long term goal to create a healthy relationship with my scales.

Next time

Later this week, I’m going to blog about my battle with anorexic behaviour 9 years ago. In fact, I was going to blog about it last week but the scales were teetering on that 20 stone precipice for a couple of days and I was holding off so that I could share that victory with you. But look out for my next blog on Thursday/Friday as I think it’s important that I don’t slip back into that obsessive way of thinking which, even being very overweight, can still be extremely dangerous.

And, yes, I’m still doing Couch to 5K. I’m doing week 2 run 2 tomorrow and I’m loving it. Get me….I’m running!!!!!!

Anyway, have a super week, everyone

Love Erika xx

Total weight lost:Still to lose:Current weight: BMI:
33 lbs117 lbs275 lbs41.8

lbs or kgs? No, us Brits talk about weight in stones!

What are stones?

At least historically, the people of the UK and Ireland have talked about their weight in stones and I’ve only just found out that very few countries to do this. In fact, when I started this blog a few weeks ago, my challenge was to lose 10 stone and you may be thinking, Erika, what on earth are stones? That’s a good question!

Well, 1 stone equals 14lbs so rather than say how we weigh 280lbs, we would usually say how we weigh 20 stone. However, I see on Facebook groups that the universal language of weight loss appears to be lbs so that’s why my blog name changed. I thought that losing 150lbs felt like a more round number than aiming to lose 140lbs!

Anyway, there’s a reason why I’m telling you about this. You see, at my weekly weigh-in on Monday, I was at 283lbs. And when I get to see 279lbs on the scales, this is going to be SUCH a momentous weigh-in as it’ll mean that I’m under 20 stone! I’ll be 19 stone 13lbs and well on my way to success.

What music gets you up dancing?

In Monday’s blog, I asked what music gets you up dancing and burning away those calories. As promised, here’s my list of the songs that get me up but these are 10 of many:

  • Wake Me Up Before You Go Go (Wham)
  • 1999 (Prince)
  • I’m Still Standing (Elton John)
  • I’m So Excited (The Pointer Sisters)…….I LOVE this!
  • Fame (Irena Cara)
  • Footloose theme tune
  • Shake It Off (Taylor Swift)
  • (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher (Jackie Wilson)
  • 9 to 5 (Dolly Parton)
  • Reach (S Club 7)

And finally, eating disorders

My blog tagline is about not falling into the traps of eating disorder behaviour which can be hard when embarking on a weight loss journey. Now that we’re getting to know each other a bit more, over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be telling you about my struggles with bulimia in my 20s (which ended up with 6 weeks spent in an eating disorder unit as an inpatient) and then being very ill with anorexic behaviour 9 years ago in my late 30s that lead to very serious heart problems. But it won’t be all doom and gloom. You see, I’m celebrating right now as I’m losing weight healthily for the first time free of my ED history which I hope helps at least one person out there. There is hope!

Okay guys, next blog will be my weigh-in on Monday…..although I might sneak in an extra one over the weekend!

Love Erika xx

Week 5 weigh-in: Anyone else dance like no one’s watching?!

Feeling the beat!

If none of my family is around and music comes on the radio or TV that gets my feet moving, there’s nothing better than jumping up, dancing around my living room without a single care in the world and knowing that calories are being burned. Can I dance? No, not really! But it does the power of good for mood and, as the weight comes off, I’ve far more energy to do this. After being on crutches for 5 days and my leg feeling so much better, I’m going to introduce dancing into my daily workout and that’s got me thinking. Which are the top songs that you like to dance to? I’m going to compile my top 10 songs for dancing and I’ll share these with you later this week.

Today’s result on the scales

On Thursday, I shared with you that I did a sneaky mid-week weigh in and was SO pleased to have lost 3lbs in 3 days! And today, the scales are exactly the same as then. However, whilst part of me is a tad bit disappointed, I must tell myself two things:

  • 3lbs is still great and in fact more than the 1-2lbs suggested. I think the weight’s currently coming off quicker as I have so much to lose. So, be kind to yourself, Erika!
  • I’m experiencing water retention with my period now due. And girls, this is where it’s important that we try to not let ourselves be affected by our monthly cycles. Try to fight any cravings, keep an eye on those calories and still do some exercise because once that water retention goes, those pounds are going to fall away!

Setting my June target

Rather than set a weight loss target (I know I’m focused on the pounds dropping anyway), my target is to drink water and unsweetened black tea every day. I drink way too much Diet Coke – I almost live on it – but let’s see if I can improve what I choose to drink for the whole month.

Love Erika xx

Total weight lost:Still to lose:Current weight: BMI:
33 lbs117 lbs275 lbs41.8

Lockdown and weight…I’ve won!

If you’d told me on New Year’s Day that we’d be under lockdown and asked what that would happen to my weight, I would have told you that it would pile on. With my business on hold, none of the usual volunteering sessions to do and none of my travels happening, I’m sure that the weight would have crept on whilst reaching out for yet another biscuit! Back in January, I knew I was big but, feeling disconnected to my body, I didn’t know how big I truly was.

February

And then something clicked in my mind in February when I knew I had to cut out the snacks and restrict my intake. And so healthy eating was happening and I estimate that I probably lost about 20lbs judging by the inch loss. But for me, diets then stop after 3 weeks. I get bored! I yearn for a toffee-cream Éclair!

Lockdown comes

However, by that 3 week point, we were very much seeing COVID-19 cases increase and then boom. Lockdown! Suddenly, we had to plan our meals. We couldn’t walk into shops as easily. I had so much time on my hands that could have lead to boredom and eating. But in fact hearing about the high percentage of overweight and obese people succumbing to the virus made me see that I could use this time to focus on me. What a precious gift that is! And so I started to blog, I started to create a daily workout, I finally got on the scales without hauling that huge chair with me and my weight is going down! Lockdown 0 – Me 1!

I’m back to work on Tuesday and part of me is a bit concerned about will I be able to maintain this journey? Well, yes! Okay, so my leg is injured AT THE MOMENT and I’m on crutches AT THE MOMENT but I’m still working out and watching everything I eat. So, if I want weight loss badly enough, I will make it work. I have had so many hits on this blog by people in the US (hello!) and I’ve been watching lots of US weight loss programmes like Fit to Fat to Fit and My 3000lb Family. These have been invaluable to watch…as I exercise of course!

A final note

And, yes, Monday is my next weigh-in. A note here for you girls because it’s almost the time of the month and perhaps I’ll gain a few pounds temporarily but I can still be good, still look after me and then see the weight loss afterwards. But bearing in mind that my periods have only just come back due to my weight loss (yes, I was so heavy that they stopped for 10 years), that’s a small price to pay for better health!

Have a great weekend everyone and I’ll be back on Monday

Love Erika xx

Week 4 weigh-in: I’ve met a major milestone!

Before I share with you what the milestone is, I just wanted to start by saying a HUGE ‘thank you’ for lots of likes for my last post where I shared all the things I’ll be able to do when I lose weight. From being able to fit into chairs with arms to running 5K, from my feet touching when I stand up to having a helicopter lesson, these targets all things that are keeping me motivated.

Drumroll…

So, this week, I’ve lost another 3lbs and that means that I’ve reached 287lbs. Why is this significant for me? Well, it’s the heaviest I’d ever known myself to be (in 2010) so I feel like I’m back on familiar territory. Part of me is sad about how I’d piled on this extra weight and how I’d be so much lighter already if I hadn’t. However, rather than wallow in self-pity, I need to crack on, eat less and move more.

I’m enjoying exercise

It’s now 4 weeks since I started the daily exercise, all of which has been in my home which is perfect during lockdown and, goodness, it’s paying off with two noticeable achievements:

  • When I started, I could barely walk for 6-7 minutes without my back hurting and it would take many short bursts of walking to reach my daily target of 40 minutes walking. Well, yesterday, I walked for 40 minutes in ONE GO!
  • 10 days ago, I shared how I managed to jog on the spot for a total of 1 minute (broken down into 4 x 15 seconds). Well, yesterday, I jogged on the spot for 10 minutes (broken down into 6 x 100 seconds!). My aim is to build this up until I can jog on the spot for a continuous 10 minutes.

For anyone out there who feels that their weight stops them from doing any form of exercise, I hope this gives you hope that you too CAN make progress. From wherever your starting point is, progress is possible in quite a short amount of time.

My major scale milestones

And as well as the non-scale milestones I shared last time, these are the figures that I can’t wait to see on my scales:

  • 287lbs – previously known heaviest weight (ACHIEVED!)
  • 277lbs – 10% weight loss
  • 262lbs – my BMI will no longer be morbidly obese as I’ll be under 40
  • 229lbs – my BMI will be under 35
  • 196lbs – my BMI will be under 30 and therefore I’ll no longer be obese

And then, of course, there’s the day when I find myself in the ‘normal’ range!!!! I WILL get there. My weight didn’t pile on overnight and therefore it’s going to take commitment, patience and time for me get rid of it so I’ll be blogging for a while yet!

Hope you all have a good week

Love Erika xx

Total weight lost:Still to lose:Current weight: BMI:
33 lbs117 lbs275 lbs41.8

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When I lose weight, I will……

Mmm, what would you say if you’re on a weight loss journey? What does your weight or size currently stop you from doing? I think that starting to think about these things is helpful as it acts likes a carrot for me. Yes, the weight is coming down and, yes, the body measurements are getting smaller but when there’s still so much weight to lose (132lbs), visualising the ‘new me’ keeps me positive and focused.

So, here’s my list of targets and milestones that I can hopefully tick off on this ‘new me’ journey:

  • be able to put my feet together when I stand up (currently there’s a 1.5″ gap due to my large legs)
  • get into a dress that I wore on a cruise 2 years ago (UK size 22) – I’m almost there
  • wear ankle boots that don’t cut into my large calves
  • be able to wear 3/4 trousers once my legs are slimmer
  • be able to kneel down without experiencing excruciating pain in my legs
  • wear Wellington boots (haven’t worn for years)
  • be able to run 5K, first alone but then at a park run
  • be able to run a half marathon of 13.1 miles
  • get back into my 10 year old jeans (UK size 14)
  • not even think about whether I can comfortably fit in a chair with arms including at the cinema and on a plane
  • be able to resume smear tests (pap tests) without utter embarrassment (I currently privately pay for a test I administer myself at home and then send off)
  • ditch the maxi skirts that I wear every single day!
  • ride a horse (local riding school quotes 196lb maximum weight)
  • have a helicopter flying lesson (231lb maximum weight)
  • be able to go on a hot air balloon (roughly 252lb maximum weight)
  • go down Zip Wire Velocity 2 in North Wales which is over 1,500 metres long and involves going over 100 miles an hour (264lb maximum weight).

Wow! Reading through this list (which obviously isn’t in order of likelihood of being achieved), there really are some seriously big goals but smaller ones too. No doubt, this list will get added to over time and I can celebrate the small and large successes with you!

I’d love to hear about your goals and aspirations… or what you finally did after losing weight

Love Erika xx