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

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 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

Week 19 weigh-in: How often do the pounds drop?

Hey folks

Let’s get straight into this week’s report card!

What’s Erika done well this week?!

  • I lost 1 lb….more about that in a moment.  
  • My body fat is now under 50%
  • I walked 10km on Saturday with just 4 weeks left until I’m doing the virtual London Marathon of 26.2 miles (i.e. just over 40km)
  • I can now wear the smaller of the two wrist straps that came with my Fitbit.
  • All body measurements are under 50″. Yes, when I started this journey, my hips were 59″, my belly was 58″ and my bust was 52.5″.
  • My waist is under 39″. This started out at 45″

What could Erika improve on?

  • Drink more water. Yes, I STILL need to improve on this!

Erika’s next target(s):

  • Do a 20km walk this weekend coming
  • 11 more lbs until I can have a helicopter lesson
  • 13 more lbs until I’ve lost 100 lbs in total and my BMI is under 35

Like many women, the scales frustratingly don’t budge for a few days every 4 weeks. Yes, period weigh gain is very common but the important thing is to hold onto the fact that it’s temporary. It might be tempting to give into those cravings or skip the exercise but keep doing what you’re doing and the scales will suddenly drop. I thought I’d share the monthly view of my weight loss because yes, for w/c 3rd August and 31st August, the scales pretty much stayed the same. I’m sure that the only reason the scales didn’t go up with my period due is because I kept going with the eating and exercise and, if it wasn’t for my period, there would have been more of a loss.

I’ll be back later this week to talk about my 5 top tips for starting a weight loss journey. Very much from the perspective of someone whose BMI was 50 earlier this year since which I’ve adjusted my headspace. You see, I’ve lost 87 lbs in all and I’m not getting bored. It feels sustainable so I’ll share with you what’s making a true difference.

Love Erika xx

Total recordable weight loss:Still to lose:Current weight:BMI:
66 lbs84 lbs242 lbs 36.8
Plus 21 lbs lost prior to blogging

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!