Week 16 weigh-in: I crossed the English Channel!

Hello everyone

How’re you? Hope you had a good weekend.

The English Channel?

Yes, last week, I shared my excitement at finding a new set of virtual walking/running challenges that lead to a shiny medal popping through my letter box. I thought I’d start with the shortest, a ‘mere’ 21 mile (33.8 km) walk that’s equivalent to walking across the English Channel, and I reached this a couple of days ago. Connecting my FitBit to the My Virtual Mission app, it couldn’t have been easier to do. The medals come from the US so it’ll be a couple of weeks or so but I’ll pop a photo of it on here once it arrives. What’s next? Yesterday, I started the 26 mile (42.2 km) Inca Trail virtual walk and I plan to do about 5 or 6 km of walking each day. This may not seem very far for lots of people but it’s way beyond what I could have imagined 6 months ago! Back then, I couldn’t climb the stairs without being very out of breath.

So, Erika, what did the scales say?

This week, I’ve lost 4 lbs 🙂 In terms of how we talk about weight in the UK, it means that I’m now less than 18 stone but I’m also so close to getting under the 250 lb mark. I don’t know, I’ve found that there’ve been certain milestones that I’m almost been desperate to get past, such as when my BMI was close to going under 40, when I was so close to getting under 20 stone, etc. There’s just something that makes me REALLY want to see 249 show up on the scales to take me into the lower 200s. Mmmm, perhaps by this time next week hopefully.

Later this week, I’ll blog about fashion. If I’m going to achieve my goal of losing all this weight, how do I dress for a figure that I haven’t had for a very long time? I’ve a few ideas!

But in the meantime, feel free to share how your own weight loss journeys are going (if you’re on one). Good or bad, you’re welcome to share on here

Love Erika xx

Total recordable weight loss:Still to lose:Current weight:BMI:
57 lbs93 lbs251 lbs38.2
Plus 21 lbs lost prior to blogging

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

Quick catch-up on my weight loss journey so far

Thank you so much for the likes and comments on my post the other day when I shared with you that my BMI had gone down from 50 to 39. It really meant a lot ❤

I’d found over the past 4-5 weeks that I was so desperate to get out of that ‘morbid’ category. Here in the UK, people can be considered for free bariatric surgery under the National Health Service (NHS) if their BMI is 40 or more and they’ve been unsuccessful with dietary advice, etc. It’s possible to have this surgery at a lower BMI if there are also health problems going on like diabetes. But I now no longer qualify. It feels SO good to say that!

I’m still a long way off my eventual goal but let’s look at what I’ve achieved so far because recognising these achievements along the way can be wonderfully motivating:

  • my BMI has gone from 50 to 39
  • I’ve lost 67 lbs (or 4 stone 11) in total
  • I’ve lost 4.6% of body fat
  • I’ve lost 6 inches from my belly, 4 inches from my chest, 5 inches from my waist, 7 inches from my hips and so much more.
  • I’m wearing smaller clothes
  • I’ve completed Couch to 5K (more about that next week!)
  • I can now put my feet together when I stand up
  • I can sit in my garden chair with room to spare
  • I’m now light enough to do Go Ape and go on the longest zip wire in the UK
  • I can fit in a dress I last wore 2 years ago
  • My confidence is rocking

The other thing I noticed is that the scales picture I use for my weekly weigh-ins goes up to 23.5 stone (329 lbs) and this was my actual start weight. And my hips and belly at the beginning of this journey were almost 60 inches each – the length of my tape measure. There’s almost a sense of ‘phew’ that I took charge of my size and weight before they increased even more. But you know, the hardest part for me is getting started and the reality is that whilst I’m now ticking off all these milestones, there were MANY mortifyingly embarrassing things that happened to me that still didn’t kickstart my weight loss journey. Whilst I think they’re going to be hard to write about, I guess I need to acknowledge them because I want my newfound attitude to food and exercise to be long term…..but more about that soon. Today, I choose to think only positively!

So, I’ll blog next on Monday with my weigh-in but have a great weekend

Love Erika xx

I did it! I’m no longer morbidly obese!!!!!!!

Guys, I’ve done it! With my BMI starting out at 50 in mid-February and almost at 47 when I started to blog, it’s now under 40…..39.8 to be precise. Well, let’s just say that I’m absolutely buzzing with my next major milestone to get my BMI under 35.

I really wanted to reward myself with something so I’ve treated myself to a Fitbit. I didn’t realise that there are so many to choose from. I wanted to find something that would help me track my movement, etc. but not give me so much information on the home screen that, I don’t know, could lead me to feeling a bit obsessed by all the figures about my bodily functions? I hope that makes sense.

So, towards the end of the week, I’ll write a quick catch up about my progress so far but I just wanted to get this news out there today! And also to thank you for YOUR support! Honestly, when I get a like or comment, it just makes me smile 🙂

Hope you’re having a good day

Love Erika xx