6 months in….. and what a difference!

Hey guys

I can’t believe that today marks 6 months since I’ve eaten chocolate, since something has clicked in my brain about getting healthier, since I discovered this unfamiliar drive to move my body! You see, when I’ve attempted to lose weight in the past, I’ve rarely got beyond 3 weeks before packing it all in. So, what’s different this time?

  • I’m not seeing it as a diet. That’s been huge because a diet can feel like a short term fix.
  • Beyond cutting out snacks, it’s sustainable. Yesterday, I had scampi, potato wedges, garden peas and tartare sauce for dinner….just not as much as before!
  • I eat only between noon and 8pm (known as intermittent fasting)…..which instantly cuts out evening snacking plus I’ve never been a breakfast person.
  • I’m eating roughly 1200-1400 calories a day but I’m stopping myself from getting obsessed about calorie counting. That’s been a bit tricky at times but I don’t want to to slip back into the anorexic thinking from the past.
  • I’m pretty chilled about the speed of weight loss. Some weeks I lose lots; some weeks I lose less. But as long as I continue to be in calorie deficit each day, I know that this lifestyle change is working.
  • I love exercise! I completed Couch to 5K whilst still morbidly obese and I’ve got 3 fitness challenges happening right now. I’m actually doing star jumps, crunches and semi-planks!

I’ll be back on Monday with my latest weigh-in but let’s just say that I’m now light enough to go in a hot balloon in the UK…..naked!!!! Yes, I don’t know how much clothes would add to my weight but if they’re happy that I’m starkers, I can now climb aboard!

Hope you all have a good weekend

Love Erika

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

What does the figure on the scale mean to you?

Hey folks

I was watching a hospital-based documentary last night when an elderly woman was talking about how her daughter ‘ballooned’ to 18 stone……and it was like a wave shame came over me because 18 stone (which is how weight is often talked about in the UK) is equivalent to 252 lbs. At my last weigh-in on Monday, my weight was 256 lbs……so I felt like a rather sad balloon. But then it struck me how we can think about weight very differently.

So, I just wanted to brainstorm the different ways that my current weight (256 lbs) could be thought of (with my view in bold):

  • Wow. I hope I’m never THAT big
  • Someone who’s 256 lbs clearly has no discipline and probably isn’t very reliable
  • I hope someone who’s 256 lbs is okay. I wonder if s/he eats to bring comfort
  • I remember when I was 256 lbs. I can’t believe that I’m now this lesser weight. That took hard work
  • When I was 256 lbs, I didn’t think about what I was eating and I felt free but I now find myself continuously thinking about food and rather obsessed about not gaining it back.
  • I’m 256 lbs and I hate where I am. I’m ashamed. I’m going to be here forever
  • I’m 256 lbs but it’s because nobody supports me. It’s other people’s fault
  • I’m 256 lbs but I don’t even think about my weight. I’m just ‘me’
  • I’m 256 lbs and I love my curvy body
  • I’m 256 lbs and I’m so proud of how I’ve got here
  • I’m 256 lbs but just passing by as my weight journey is continuing downwards
  • I’m 256 lbs. This is my starting point and I’ve a long way to go but I’ve got this
  • Wow! 256 lbs is my goal weight! I can’t imagine ever being that small. I’d be positively skinny!
  • I don’t think I’ll ever get down to 256 lbs. I’m stuck here at this weight

No doubt, there’s a whole myriad of other perspectives but I think this goes to show that our perception of the figure on the scales can vary hugely and it’s all about mental attitude…and where we are ourselves. I’ll admit that I wish my weight loss journey hadn’t started at such a high point because I’d be much further along by now but I’ve already gone through the 320s, 310s, 300s, 290s, 280s, 270s, 260s and I’ll be under 250 before I know it.

I’ll be back on Monday. Not sure if I’m going to lose weight this week but my body is changing right SO MUCH now! My back fat is disappearing, my legs are getting more toned, I’m moving quicker/more easily and clothes are getting loose….I’m loving it!

Have a great weekend

Love Erika xx

The gut-wrenching experiences of being big

Well guys, although I usually keep my posts hopefully oozing so much positivity as the weight falls off, I felt that it would be cathartic for me to actually reflect on things from the past. I’ve never actually talked about them before but, as I adopt a healthier way of being, I’m going to be brave and share with you some experiences. You see, although I feel like my mindset is so focused on losing weight (with 71lbs lost so far), I guess I wonder if anyone reading my blog thinks something along the lines of “But you make it look easy, Erika. You don’t really get what it’s like to be big. You don’t really understand what it’s like to not find the oomph to get started“. But you see, I do. Despite what’s happened in the past, it still didn’t make me think “Stop this! You need to take control

The cinema seat

Oh, this was a few years ago but I went to the cinema with a friend. I got in the seat okay but, you know, it was rather snug. Despite the cinema being pretty empty, a couple of ladies sat next to us….but for no more than about 15 seconds. Basically, I was aware that my super large thighs were spilling under the arm rest and they were making contact with one of the ladies. And after she whispered something to her friend, they moved away from us. I still remember my heart sinking.

The chair

Another chair – I haven’t liked many chairs over the years! I went to a family’s home and went up to the child’s bedroom to do an activity with him. The family had set up a desk and two collapsible chairs for us to sit on. Well, I don’t think it was designed to actually collapse under my weight but I did. Not only did I have the embarrassment of that but I then had to get myself off the floor. The family was lovely but I just wanted to cry.

The shop

I’ve never had any verbal abuse thrown at me per se but the one thing that did happen was that I was in a shop and someone made a pig sound right behind me. By the time I turned around, they were gone and actually thank goodness they had because I didn’t have to face anyone but it was nonetheless horrible.

Not sitting on the ground because I won’t get up again

I’ve had many situations when I’ve been in a large group (where they’ve done yoga or sat down to have a picnic) and, knowing that I’d struggle to stand up again, I’ve given excuses to remain standing. Many times, I’ve said about my “bad back” (which is perfectly fine) but it’s been hard when I’ve seen people 10-15 years older than me easily sit on the ground and get up so quickly.

The fall

A couple of years ago, I had a really bad fall. The pain was immense and it turned out that I’d done lots of tissue damage that left me on crutches for 6 weeks. But when I had the fall, people came over rushing to help which was lovely. And I could feel my leg bleeding but I couldn’t lift my maxi skirt to show my legs…..because I’ve been ashamed of them pretty much all my life. Until recently, they’ve been big, lumpy and the knees hidden somewhere in there. So I just smiled, thanked them so much for caring and just said that I’d stay seated on the ground until the pain had gone. When I did eventually stand up, I was in a pretty bad way but the thought of showing my legs was mortifyingly embarrassing. And this is partly why I don’t go to the GP. I cover my body. If I’d ever found a lump of something sinister, I probably would have just kept quiet rather than seek help. I don’t do smear tests with the GP for this reason.

“You’re fat”

I once had a child write “you’re fat”. Now, children can be honest and, yes, I was and still am. But it was just in black and white in front of me and I then had to spend another 3 hours with this child whilst pushing back the tears. When the mother saw what the girl had written, she just laughed. Both the mum and girl are on the autistic spectrum so I understand there are certain challenges but it still hurt.

“I never thought you’d be smaller than me”

Mmm, this one has been playing on my mind and it was my sister in law who said this to me. She’s probably a UK size 16-18 and I’ve been pretty much bigger than her since I’ve known her. But years ago, when I had anorexia, I was unintentionally much smaller than her and she said these words as were walking in a shopping centre. And they’ve stuck….I guess feeling as if my position is to remain the larger one out of us. I don’t know. This has been affecting me recently.

Despite these and other times, nothing has clicked in my head to make sensible decisions about losing weight without resorting to an eating disorder. I’ve missed out on so many things including going on a plane to see a terminally ill relative, going out with friends who are going on a long walk, going to a shopping mall because of the physical pain…..

BUT………that was then…. this is now and I’m slowly working my way through the obesity categories. My next major goal is 229 lbs to get my BMI under 35. I feel it’s actually been helpful to write about the above experiences so that I can mentally process them and file them away in the mental drawer called “Yes, it happened but look at you now, girl“! From here on in, it’s back to staying focused and POSITIVE ❤

Love Erika xx

Week 14 weigh-in: August is fitness month!

Hey folks

How are you? Hope you’ve had a good week.

Before I tell you about this week’s weight loss and why this month is all about fitness, I need to confess that I’d forgotten to publish a post last week about my emotionally-painful weight-related experiences. I found it sitting in my draft folder (perhaps my subconscious mind was telling me not to share that post with you!) but I will publish that on Wednesday.

And the scales say…

Back to today and I’ve lost another 2 lbs! I’m really pleased as my BMI is now in the 38s and I can feel such a difference in my body. I’m working out a lot so I may well also be building muscle and my energy levels are through the roof! Do you know that yesterday, I walked uphill for almost 7K. There’s a walk near here through the English countryside that is very popular with walkers, cyclists and horse riders but I’ve never had the stamina to do it but I accomplished that in the afternoon. My Fitbit showed me that I really pushed myself and the vast majority of the time was spent in cardio plus 15 minutes in peak when my heartrate hit 149 beats per minute! I actually came over dizzy and nauseous afterwards as I’d pushed myself so much but, whilst I didn’t feel great, I was buzzing!

What’s happening this month, Erika?

Well, in the pursuit of another medal with Virtual Racing UK, I’m doing a challenge where I’m emailed a fitness challenge each day. We get the choice of doing high or low intensity. Saturday was funny because one of the things I had to do as part of the low intensity option was 20 jumping jacks. It’s been many years since I’ve jumped at all and I could almost feel parts of my body remain in the air as the rest of it landed….it wasn’t pretty!! Saturday was 20 jumping jacks, 20 mountain climbers and 20 squats. Yesterday was a walk, run or cycle (I chose the high intensity option which was to cover 3 miles) and today I’ll go back to the low intensity options of 20 star jumps, 20 high knees and 20 jumping twists. The way I’m doing these tasks probably isn’t textbook but I’m giving it a real go. The way I see it is the more I try these new exercises, the more I’m ready to try out an actual boot camp.

And finally

I’d love to hear whether you work out. What can you do that you never thought you would? What’s the exercise or fitness program that leaves you buzzing afterwards knowing that you’ve really pushed yourself? If you don’t currently work out, what would you love to achieve one day? For me, it’s a half marathon……mmm, one day?!

Love Erika xx

Total recordable weight loss:Still to lose:Current weight:BMI:
52 lbs98 lbs:256 lbs38.9
Plus 21lbs lost prior to blogging

Yes! I did ‘Couch to 5K’ whilst morbidly obese!!

There are a few reasons behind today’s post. As well as telling you what Couch to 5K is and sharing my experience, I REALLY hope to inspire at least one person to give it a go. I wonder if that person might be YOU!

So, what is Couch to 5K?

In a nutshell, it’s a running program designed to take the complete beginner to being able to run 5K in around 9 weeks. Now, when I say ‘beginner’, you may think that people still need to be able to jog but it really is designed for those who haven’t put on a pair of trainers since their school days or get puffed out just walking around the shopping mall. When I started it, I couldn’t walk 150 metres without being in immense pain and needing to stop to catch my breath.

In each of the 9 weeks, there are 3 runs to do with a rest day in between. So, you could do set days (like Monday, Wednesday and Friday) or do literally every other day if you don’t have to run on certain days. All runs start with a 5 minute walk to warm up and then a walk for 5 minutes to cool down. The very first run involves alternating between running for 60 seconds and walking for 90 seconds. Over the course of the program, you start to run for longer until you’re actually running more than you’re walking and each work out session will last for 30-40 minutes including the warm up/cool down. But there are apps you can download so you don’t need to worry about whether to run or walk. You just follow the voice telling you what to do. The important thing to tell you though is that the aim is actually to be able to run for 5K OR run for 30 minutes….and most people can’t do 5K in 30 minutes at the end of week 9. That’s okay. Focus on your stamina to run for longer than your pace which can develop over time.

My experience of doing Couch to 5K

So, 25 of the 27 runs were done whilst still morbidly obese! Yes, you don’t have to super slim or fit to do this. I took it on as a personal challenge although I thought I may get half way through before my body gave up on me and I was shocked that I did the whole program. In week 8, I pushed myself beyond the official 28 minutes until reached 5K and I can’t tell you the incredible feeling of accomplishment when you graduate. I did some runs around my village but also some around my home and garden. I even wore leggings for the first time ever! I found that I could manage my breathing very easily but there were times when I could feel my shins hurting. Thankfully, I didn’t develop shin splints but this is why rest days are important. Your muscles will develop tiny tears when being pushed physically and the rest days are needed for them to repair. Of course, don’t run if you think you’re doing yourself serious injury but it’s quite normal for the body to ache so grit your teeth and push through it.

I even found a website called http://www.virtualracing.co.uk in the UK where you can sign up for the medal and then it’s sent to you when you submit your evidence. I’m now in the process of doing other fitness challenges: a 1,000 mile challenge between now and the end of the year; the August challenge when I’ll be emailed daily fitness activities to do and one that spans October to December. Yes, I’m a grown up but the thought of receiving medals is hugely motivating!

So, are YOU going to give it a go?

Couch to 5K has been on the news in the UK as record numbers of people downloaded the BBC app during lockdown, especially with the gyms closed. I found that there are amazing communities on Facebook where people really encourage you to complete the program, share tips (like apparently chewing gum can help breathing) and you feel like you’re on this personal journey. I can’t urge you enough to think about giving it a go. I struggled to run for 60 seconds in that first week but it’s designed to be followed to the letter and, if you do, you may find yourself say “I love running”. I now do!!

I’d love to hear if you’ve done Couch to 5K or you’re thinking about it ❤

Okay folks, I’ll be back on Monday with my weigh-in and telling you how the first couple of ‘August fitness challenge’ days have gone so have a great weekend everyone

Love Erika xx

Week 13 weigh-in: 100 lbs to go!

Hey folks

Yes, having lost a whopping 5 lbs this week, I now have exactly 100 lbs to go until I hit my target weight and that feels pretty good as my ‘weight still to lose’ is almost in double-digits. For me, losing weight is all about mind games I guess and just finding all these milestones along the way.

Fitbit obsession?

I’ve now been wearing a Fitbit for a few days. They’re pretty good, aren’t they?! It’s great that it tells me whether I’m working out hard enough to be in the ‘fat burn’ or ‘cardio’ zones which may have contributed to losing more weight this week but, being very open with you, it’s hard to not get a little bit obsessed with all the figures it tells me. Have I taken enough steps? Have I walked 8k? Have I burned 2,800 calories each day? Have I walked up a flight of stairs 10 times? Was my sleep ‘good enough’?! STOP!!!! I’ve amended some of these targets which were pre-set because, Erika, I need to be kind to myself!

In the obesity class II zone

After sharing with you the other day that I’m no longer morbidly obese (yay!!), it’s brilliant to see on the MY Weight app that I’ve gone down to the zone beneath (i.e. BMI between 35-39.99). That top pink zone for 40+ BMI is pretty big and I wondered if I’d ever get out of it but I’ve now got 4.3 BMI points (or 29 lbs) to go until I move into the next one. Not every week is going to yield big loses and I’ve been lucky so far that my weight hasn’t completely stalled so far but if I keep doing what I’m doing, I will get back into those skinny jeans eventually. Actually, I couldn’t help myself last night but I tried them on. Well, I couldn’t get them above my knees and some of the material wouldn’t go above my large calves. But I took a photo nonetheless which I’ll share with you once I can also share a photo of myself wearing them!

The other thing I’m noticing is that, for quite some time, I was beyond the weight limit to do many things but I’m now heading towards several goals of being ‘light enough’. So, I’m 6 lbs off being able to go in a hot air balloon and 13 lbs off going on a Segway. Once we’re out of the COVID pandemic, I’ll be out there trying all these new things. I’m even considering joining a weekly boot camp. I never thought I’d hear myself say that! But I want to be able to kneel down without being in pain first. If you’re new to my blog, feel free to check out the pages showing all the things I’d like to do as I get smaller and lighter.

And this week…

So, I’m going to blog a couple more times this week. Wednesday, I’ll share with you some of those difficult experiences where my weight caused huge problems …and then, on Friday, I’ll tell you all about completing Couch to 5K which I’m still buzzing about!

Have a great week everyone and I’ll be back here in a couple of days

Love Erika

Recordable weight loss:Still to lose:Current weight:BMI:
50 lbs100 lbs258 lbs39.2
Plus 21lbs lost prior to blogging

Week 12 weigh-in: the dress fits!

Hey folks

Gosh, I’ve got things to tell you! My eventual goal of being in the ‘normal’ weight range is months and months off (if not a year) but I’m loving hitting goals along the way.

The dress!!

One of my goals has been to fit into a dress I wore on a cruise two years ago. Now, I was really perplexed because I feel like the dress should have fitted by now as I can tell I’m lighter. When trying it on time to time over the last few weeks, there’s been plenty of room around the waist but my pesky chest has been in the way! It must have changed shape since my holiday! Anyway, lo and behold, I tried it on again yesterday and I can now do up the zip on the side without any problems. So ta dah! I’m off on a cruise next year around Russia, Estonia and Scandinavia (COVID permitting) but hopefully I’ll be in a new dress that’s much smaller.

My BMI?

I’m so tantalising close!!! After not losing any weight from Monday to Friday, I’ve lost 2lbs this weekend and this means that my BMI is now exactly 40! I think I already knew the answer but I did check whether you have to be under 40 to no longer be morbidly obese and, yes, I need to lose another 1/4 lb to get to that first massive goal. But I’ll be straight on here when I see the magic figure of 262 lbs show up on the scales!

Anything else Erika?

Yes! More progress towards another goal which is to be able to kneel down comfortably. You see, for years, I’ve ended up with excruciating pain in my lower legs and therefore I’ve avoided sitting or kneeling on the ground. Just underneath each knee is almost like a spare tyre of fat and even touching it is super sensitive. Well, these tyres are getting smaller and the pain is nothing like before so it won’t be long until I can kneel down and, once I can do that, I can do all sorts of things like be able to get out of the bath, be able to paint the skirting boards in my hallway and just feel like sitting on the ground is an option.

And finally…..

I’ve added a new page to my blog with all my mini goals like losing half a pound, losing body fat, etc. Feel free to check it out here

So, I could be back on here tomorrow, Wednesday or whenever that 262 pops up on the scales but it’s coming. And once I hit the goal, I’ll let you know and review my progress to date because whilst our eventual goals may be a long way off, it can be wonderfully uplifting to see how far we’ve come!

Take care

Love Erika xx

Total recordable weight loss:Still to lose:Current weight:BMI:
45 lbs105 lbs263 lbs40.0
Plus 21lbs lost prior to blogging

Guess what? I ran 5K!!!

Hey folks

I thought I’d come on here before my next weigh-in (on Monday) to share some HUGE news!

Last night, whilst doing week 8 run 1 of the Couch to 5K program, I ran 5 whole, complete, entire kilometres! I can’t tell you how shocked I was. You see, I was meant to run for 28 minutes but I thought I’d keep going until I hit the 5K mark and whilst it may have taken 45 minutes, the main thing is that I kept going! I pushed my boundaries. I discovered that I’m capable of pushing myself in the pursuit of becoming healthy.

With 5 more runs to complete until I finish Couch to 5K, my hope is to cover 5K is less time. So, I hope this inspires anyone thinking that running is only for slim, fit people. I’m still just into the morbidly obese range and I never thought I’d accomplish this…but I did!

Once I finish the remaining runs, I’m going to do a blog post about the overall experience and my top tips but I just wanted to share this euphoric moment as we go into the weekend. I’m just a little bit happy!!!!!!!!!

See you on the other side of the weekend. My weight has stalled for the past few days and I don’t know whether my BMI will finally be sub 40 but I don’t mind. I’ll get there

Have a great weekend everyone

Love Erika xx

Week 11 weigh-in: lots of goals can help

Hey

If you’re on a weight loss journey, you may have that figure that you’re desperate to see on the scales. You know, your goal weight. However far away it may be, it’s almost like everything hinges on seeing that celebratory figure.

The joy of ticking off a mini goal!

With more than 100 pounds still to lose, I wondered if it might be helpful to share with you what I’m doing. You see, I find that lots of mini goals along the way are really motivating because there are so many tiny achievements to be had: every 5lbs lost, every half a pound of fat lost, every half a BMI point, every next stone/half stone mark (what are stones?), every non-scale victory achieved, etc. So, on the notes section on my phone, I’ve written all these lists and I then take great pleasure adding a tick when I achieve another mini goal. In fact, it’s rare that I don’t get to add at least one tick for each pound lost.

So, today, after losing 2lbs this week, it means that I can tick off the 265lbs goal and the one to show I’m finally under 19 stone. Look at how I’m just 1lb away from being able to do the longest zipwire in the UK. That said, I weigh myself naked and I guess I need to factor in the weight of clothes. There’s no doubt a rule about not doing zipwire in the buff!! I’m also 3lbs away from no longer being morbidly obese.

New additions to the ‘When I lose weight, I will…..’ page

I’ve thought of two more things I’d like to do when I’m light enough. One is to abseil! I’ve never done that even though I don’t have an issue with heights so that might become a charity fundraiser.

The other thing is that, to my absolute joy, I discovered the other day I’m actually light enough to do Go Ape. I don’t know whether any of you outside the UK have something similar but Go Ape is basically like an assault course but high up in the trees, with rope bridges, floating planks of wood to carefully get over, etc. whilst wearing helmets and safety harnesses. There are several around the UK. I want to wait until I have the confidence to wear trousers and not worry about whether the safety harness will fit but I thought this would be a fab thing to do.

I’d love to hear if you’ve also set yourself mini goals or if there’re things you’d like to do when you’re smaller/lighter.

Hope you have a lovely week and I’ll be back in a few days’ time with more of my ramblings!

Love Erika xx