Atypical anorexia… the medical results are in…

Hello guys

I think I need to take a bit of deep breath before I blog today as I’m trying to process a conversation I had with my doctor yesterday.

So, the upshot of the conversation is that I may have a problem with my heart, my kidney function is reduced, my vitamin D levels are extremely low and my folic acid levels are also extremely low. She said about prescribing tablets to increase my vitamin D and folic acid levels and the first thing that came to my mind (and which just feel out of my mouth) was “How many calories would be in those?” She said it would be next to nothing but I don’t know if I can ingest something without knowing the calories involved. My doctor seemed really concerned that I’d even have this thought and said that it’s the first time she’s come across this with anyone with anorexia or bulimia. In fact, she seemed commented about my comment a couple of times and said that this alone raised significant concern from her perspective.

So, she said that perhaps I need to be referred to the eating disorder service and the local mental health team…. but I don’t know what to do. Do I need support? What would be achieved when I’m already seeing a psychotherapist privately as I come to terms with being a carer. I’m feeling extraordinarily stuck about what help would look like. She did ask about what I felt I needed but the one thing that could potentially help me get out of this situation is something that’s not easily obtained through the health service or even privately…. meal support. Someone to help me break out of the trap of staying within so many calories… but, simultaneously, I feel really in control and I don’t want that control to be taken away. I don’t know, guys. I’ve never had physical health issues before so I’m trying to process all of this. I’m seeing my therapist on Monday so it’ll be good to talk it through.

But I’m focusing right now on drinking lots of water for the sake of my kidneys. I drink way too much Diet Coke but I’m really cutting this back to one can a day with the aim to stopping altogether. So, I suspected the results wouldn’t be okay and, unfortunately, I was right….

We’ll see what happens over the next few weeks when I undergo some more tests and try to decide if I am willing to accept help.

I’ll be back on Monday but wishing you a lovely weekend

Love Erika xx

Battling the anorexic mind…

Hey

I have an almighty battle going on in my head today….. the anorexic voice that’s been dominant recently and has taken me down to a maximum of 440 calories a day…. but also the ‘parent voice’ that’s bringing me some kindness.

I was thinking last night that the thing which helped me overcome eating disorders in the past was when something outweighed the need to hang onto the ED behaviours….. something that became more important than holding on a coping mechanism that was dangerous yet also brought a sense of feeling in control and on a high.

Today, I’ve had two amazing pieces of news (an incredible meeting that’s going to raise my professional profile nationally and even internationally) and I’ve been accepted onto a course that will enable me to train as a psychotherapist eventually. In fact, they say that good things come in 3s and I’ve bought some tickets for tonight’s Euromillions lottery!! So, there are lots of positive things happening and I really want to be well enough to enjoy all of this because despite struggling being a carer, there are some amazing developments coming. The future looks really positive …. and I don’t want to be ill. It’s late afternoon here and I’ve pushed myself to eat 410 calories so far which is about 300 more than I’d normally eat so far at this time of the day…. and I really want to eat dinner but then it’ll take me over the 440 calorie limit. Going over 440 is probably going to feel emotionally tough but I guess that’s to be expected. My comfort zone feels like a safe place to stay but, as one of two people in real life who know what’s happening, a guy said to me yesterday that there will come a point where the anorexia will cause me to collapse because it’s not sustainable. I might think I’m well, I might think there’s no reason to change what I’m doing but I’m heading towards a medical crisis where matters will be taken out of my hands. And, yes, part of me can see this because of the heart palpitations and dizziness. But it’s an all-consuming battle in my head, disguised by the smile that I’m rather adept to showing others…

So, I’m going to try to go over 440. I feel scared but I need to try. And I’ll report back here on Monday at my next weigh in

Hope you have a good weekend

Love Erika xx

How have I not discovered egg whites before now?!

Hey guys

Whilst I may be in the UK, I watch a lot of US TV around food, diet and obesity. From watching every season of The Biggest Loser to My 600 lb Life (I love Dr Nowzaradan!), these shows really inspire me. But I’m also aware that certain foods appear to be more prominent in the US compared to here. For example, I often see low-cal turkey bacon mentioned on US-based social media groups and egg whites too. I mean, we have eggs here! But buying egg whites on their own isn’t a thing in the UK…. so I thought.

For tonight’s dinner, I cooked 200g mushrooms, 80g spinach and 3 egg whites along with 3 calories of oil, and yum indeed. There’s a reason why I’m sharing the before photo and not the after one as the final product wasn’t pretty! But I’ve discovered today that the supermarket we usually buy from stocks cartons of egg white. Game changer!!! One egg white is only 17 calories compared to around 74 calories for an egg and I have to say that the omelette-kinda-thing I ate really didn’t miss the yolks at all. It was just as filling though I might add a teaspoon of herbs next time. I guess you can add some Parmesan too. For someone who strongly dislikes cooking and can think of many things more exciting than standing at the hob, this took no more than 10 minutes to cook up 🙂

I’d love to know what your top low-cal foods are and/or if there are foods you hear about but can’t get hold of.

Hope to be back on Friday although my next two days for work are super busy including a meeting where I’ve been asked to meet a firm of psychiatrists to work alongside them which is super exciting! So, I’ll do my best to blog on Friday but, if not, definitely at the weekend

Love Erika xx

Will my eating habits change after Covid?

Hey folks

It’s really been quite a year, hasn’t it? I’m SO aware that whilst I’ve spent much of the last year not working due to Covid lockdowns, I’ve been lucky in many ways in that it’s given me the space and time to focus on me. Gosh, that sounds very indulgent doesn’t it but, pre-Covid, I was just ticking along in life and focusing on everything else other than my mind and my body. Needed to go into a shop for some milk? Chocolate would quickly be in my basket! Needed to grab lunch at a drive-thru motorway service station? Couldn’t beat a chocolate milkshake and something with cheese in it. Needed to chill after a long day where all I wanted to do was to slouch on the sofa to watch TV? I could sit there for hours without thinking about how I could combine watching TV with some indoor walking or working out. But Covid has genuinely made me take stock of myself.

When we’ve come out of each lockdown, work has been busy even though I’m working only from home and I was worried whether my good intentions to keep up the fitness would abruptly stop… but I’ve carved out the time to get my body moving and, in fact, I’m loving my evening walks in particular.

But what happens post-Covid when friends ask to meet up for lunch and dinner again? What happens when there’re family events involving food? In many ways, I’ve been cocooned for the past 12 months and I haven’t faced these pressures. So, whilst I want to keep coming back to this topic over my next few posts, my thoughts today are about how I’ll cope with going to restaurants:

  • I can look online to check out the menu. By looking in advance, I can make healthy choices rather than suddenly decide when I’m there and hopefully work out calories too.
  • I can ask for substitutions to the meal. It’s okay for ask for a smaller portion of fries or swap entirely for a salad. I can ask that the sauce is on the side so that I can choose how much to add.
  • I can try to be the first to order. How many times do you think you know what you want and then, hearing a friend order something different, you think “Ooh, that sounds even better. I think I’ll change my mind“! If I go first, I won’t be influenced by others’ choices.
  • I can say “no” to a dessert! Just because others are eating dessert, I don’t have to.
  • It’s okay to rehearse my responses. If I know I’m meeting someone who’ll be quick to question why I’m not having a dessert, I can decide in advance how I’ll respond. “Mmm, that main course was lovely and I’m actually quite full“.
  • But I can choose to have a dessert because treats are okay. At the end of the day, it’s all about balance so I can always cut back on calories the next day. And there’s the option of sharing a dessert too (although I personally think that something like New York cheesecake is way too nice to share!)
  • I can leave food on my plate. Yes, although we’re sometimes conditioned as kids to make sure we’ve eaten everything, it’s okay not to – even if everyone else finishes their food.

Can you think of anything else that’d help you if you were going to a restaurant? As I’ve said before, planning ahead is key to controlling what I’m eating…. but, that said, it’s okay to still have times when I’m completely spontaneous!! Dans Le Noir (in London) and Blackout (in Las Vegas) are just two of the restaurants around the world where you actually eat in the dark, finding out only afterwards what you’ve eaten. Sounds kinda fun and perhaps I’ll give that a go one day!

I’ll be back either Friday or Saturday but, until then, take care

Love Erika xx

Week 39 weigh-in: bulk up meals to lose weight

Hey guys

I’m going to get straight into this week’s report card:

What’s Erika done well this week?

  • I’ve lost 6 lbs. Now, this includes the 5lbs that I somehow put on last week (that didn’t appear to link to ‘the time of the month’). I was aiming to see if I could lose that 5lbs so that extra pound really is a fantastic bonus!
  • I resisted buying cereal bars this week. I’ve discovered that whilst I’ve cut out food like cookies and chocolate with ease, seemingly healthy cereal bars have been my downfall. I mean, one would be perfectly fine but I don’t seem to be able to have one and leave the rest in tact in the box. So, knowing this, the best thing for now is to not have them in the house.
  • I resisted the urge to buy laxatives. Okay, bit of a gross point here but I had a bit of a bad stomach the other night and rather than think ‘Erika, keep yourself hydrated‘, my first thought was ‘hey, weight loss‘. Oops! I briefly thought about when I had bulimia around 25 years ago that involved a very serious addiction to taking large quantities of laxatives everyday. For a moment, I considered starting to take them again but I reminded myself about the damage they can do and, thankfully, the thought of buying some has now passed. You can read about my battle with bulimia here

What could Erika improve on?

  • Bulking up meals. I was reading last night about caloric dense foods (well worth a Google search) and how making good food choices can make it easier to stay full for longer. So, let’s compare a grape and raisin. They’re essentially the same food but eating a bunch of grapes is likely to keep you fuller for longer than the same number in raisins. And that’s because grapes have more water (which we love as water’s 100% calorie free) so 100g of grapes has significantly fewer calories than raisins. So, definitely go for food with more water content. How am I going to use this? I’m going to add more salad and veg to my meals. I found a list online of the least caloric dense foods and the top 15 are:
FoodDensity (calories / gram)
lettuce0.15
spinach0.23
watermelon0.30
strawberry0.32
carrot0.40
orange0.48
2% milk0.50
apple0.52
grapes0.69
boiled potato0.87
banana0.89
ketchup1.00
skinless chicken1.10
brown rice1.10
fish (tilapia)1.13

Erika’s next target(s):

  • 2 lbs until my BMI is in the 31s
  • 3 lbs until I’m under 15 stone
  • 13 lbs until I’m in Onederland (yes, I’ll be less than 200 lbs)
  • 16 lbs until I’m no longer obese as I’ll be overweight

I’ll be back later this week to talk to you about saggy skin. I might even share photos… let me think about that one though!

Love Erika xx

Recordable weight loss since blogging:Still to lose:Current weight:BMI:
96 lbs54 lbs212 lbs32.2
Plus 21 lbs lost prior to blogging

Christmas, food and diets: it’ll be okay!

Hello guys

So, with Christmas just days away, I thought I’d share my views about how to handle food, etc. during what can be a testing time for many. Yes, things might be a bit different this year but I still think there can be different types of pressure when it comes to Christmas and other holidays around food. I wonder whether you can relate to any of the following:

*******

I know I’m going to blow my diet

How am I going to avoid all those tasty temptations that I can normally say “no” to?

If I eat one mince pie, I’ll end up eating the whole pack

My family will expect me to eat loads and they won’t let me say “no

I’m scared to eat and holidays are all about food. I’m dreading this

I’m going to put on so much weight

*******

So, let’s take a look at where pressure comes from:

EXTERNAL PRESSURE

So, you’re visiting someone who’s served dinner and tells you that you must eat up. They say that they’ll be disappointed if you don’t. They comment about you not eating as much as they think you should. They tell you that they’ve gone to all this trouble and they don’t want to be left with leftovers. My view? I would say that they’re projecting their hopes and expectations on you and perhaps some guilt too but it’s okay to say “no”. Yes, they may make comments but I can’t urge you enough to stick to your guns. At the end of the day, it’s your body and you can still be in control. There are plenty of recipes out there about what to do with leftovers!

What can you say to others?

“That’s really kind of you but eating any more will make me feel uncomfortable“.

“That’s kind of you but no thank you“. (It’s okay to say this over and over until they give up).

And then change the subject. Ask them an open-ended question to take away the focus from you. Saying no can be incredibly hard and, goodness, I used to struggle with this but the more you practise, the easier it does get. Don’t let their issues about you not eating more become yours. It’s YOUR body. You’re in control.

*******

INTERNAL PRESSURE

Even if you’re not on a weight loss journey, food and eating can still provoke fear or worry.

What can you say to yourself…which will depend on what’s hard for you?

It’s okay to eat more today. One day isn’t going to undo all the work I’ve done.

To even put on a single pound, I’d need to consume an extra 3,500 calorie which is so unlikely.

If I do put on weight, I’ll get it off again in the next couple of weeks.

I deserve to eat what I want to eat today!

I’m in control of what I’m eating today. Just because there’s more food around, it doesn’t mean I have to eat it.

I will stop when I’m physically comfortable and being honest with myself will help me know when I’ve got to that point.

I know myself best and how today’s eating regime needs to be like any other day.

I can still make good choices today.

Christmas Day is one day. Even if I’m dreading the holidays, this will be over very quickly

I’m going to have that mince pie because I fancy it. But rather than bring the whole pack into the living room, I’ll take just the one and eat it really slowly. I’m going to think about how it tastes. And then I’ll distract myself with an activity….and if I really can’t avoid eating the rest, I’ll throw them into the freezer.

*******

Before the holidays, perhaps take a moment to think about where pressure for you might come from. Sometimes, we need to rehearse the above lines because they can sound different when we say them aloud to when we read them in our heads. Perhaps write down or take a screenshot of what’s the most helpful statement for you (of course, you’re likely to have others that speak to you more).

Please feel free to share this post with anyone who needs a bit of support right now and feel free to share in the comments about your thoughts re food during this coming holiday season.

If you really struggle during these holidays, you’re so welcome to comment below (I will respond) or reach out to other support whether it’s a supportive friend or, if you have an eating disorder, your state/country’s eating disorder charity.

I’ll be back on Monday with my next weigh-in but we’ve got this! We really have!

Love Erika xx

How to stay positive when weight loss slows down…or plateaus

So, you know you’re eating healthily, you’re moving your body much more than before, you’ve been seeing the scales drop every week without fail for months on end and, then, BAM!! The numbers don’t drop so quickly or you may find that they don’t budge at all. What do you do?!

This where I’ve been for the past few weeks after dropping an average of 3lbs a week since mid February. My last recorded weight losses are:

  • 3rd October (6 days ago) 1lb
  • 25th September (14 days ago) 2lbs
  • 15th September (24 days ago) 2lbs

Now, of course, this is STILL weight loss but it’s just very different to the past few months. And I won’t lie when I say that I really hoped to be under the 230 lb mark by now. So, if you can relate, here are some things to check or try out:

  • Check that you’re slowly reducing your overall calorie intake as you need fewer calories the lighter you are….just make sure you’re not consuming the same calories as when you started out
  • Are you eating enough or too much? It can be easy to under or overestimate so some careful calorie checking can be a good idea.
  • Are you being honest with yourself? Those extra bites of whatever can soon add up.
  • Is your metabolism slowing down a bit? Perhaps you body is getting too used to this new way of eating. You can try eating more calories for a few days (often called ‘cheat days’) to wake up your metabolism and then drop back to what you’ve been doing.
  • Try out new exercise! Rather than walk, try out jogging or high intensity workouts. Shock your body into wondering what’s happening to it!

But don’t give up! There’s no point thinking “Well, what’s the point of sticking to this healthy lifestyle if I’m not seeing BIG results?” You see, if you mix it up a bit as described above or stick to your healthy way of eating, you WILL see the figure on the scales budge. Think about how far you’ve come. Look back at old photos. Grab the tape measure to compare the new you with the old measurements. Think about all those mini goals you’ve achieved so far. You’ve got this and you’re still on track for achieving all those other goals too.

Have a great weekend everyone

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