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

Weight up? Weight down? Let’s draw a time line!

Hey guys

I thought I’d share something I did near the beginning of my 13 month journey because I was aware that there’ve been times in my life when I’ve been smaller and others when I’ve been bigger.

Now, there are different reasons why we can put on weight and, to be perfectly open, I usually love cake! I love candy, I love lots of other things that are going to move the scales in a rather undesirable direction. But I’m also aware that stress, emotions, mood, life events, etc. can also really impact.

So, this is what I did:

  • I drew a time line from when I was born to now in my late 40s
  • I got highlighter pens to note times of weight gain, weight loss and stability
  • I then used this to create another time line but with peaks and troughs which helped illustrate the changes in my weight
  • I then thought about what was happening when changes in my weight happened and added notes

— ❤ —

So, I was a 7 lb baby and I didn’t have a problem with my weight as a young child

Primary school, I went through some trauma (all dealt with now ❤ ) and my weight started to go on a little bit as a result.

I started secondary school (aged 12) where I lost some weight and was back in the average range.

My weight started to go on during my secondary years because of some difficulties at home

Bulimia started and the bingeing and purging sent my weight in all directions

In my early 20s, I got married so weight came off – I had a dress to get into!

Months after getting married, I was pregnant so lots of weight gain but I then lost it extremely quickly afterwards… restricting for a while rather unhealthily. Motherhood was a blessing but a bit of a shock at the same time.

My weight was pretty stable during rest of my 20s and for most of my 30s although I was a bit heavier than I wanted to be. Too much socialising!

Late 30s, I developed anorexia due to a significant trauma (all resolved now) and became ill. Started trauma therapy and weight went right up.

I became a carer in my early 40s to one of my children and my weight had remained high until last year. Stress. No binge eating but just found myself turning to snacking.

Last February, the pressure of being a carer started to impact me along with a couple of other things but also Covid presented me with an opportunity to focus on myself. Hearing more and more about Covid and obesity, it spurred me on. But, as I shared on Monday, I’ve now been diagnosed with atypical anorexia due to some pressures.

— ❤ —

So, I found it helpful to do this exercise as it showed that stress and trauma impact me. Now I know this, I can find healthier ways of coping with stress including talking it out with others. Life is full of events and who knows what I may face in the future so I’m determined to stop this yoyoing.

I hope this helps at least one other person out there. Reflecting on our past isn’t always easy but I guess facing up to events, etc. can help free us from this constant cycle of weight changes

So, I’ll be back later this week but, in the meantime, take care

Love Erika xx

An eating disorder or strict dieting?

Hey folks

So, since Monday at my latest weigh-in, I’ve gone a bit quiet on the blogging front. I’ve always promised to be really open with you as I venture through this rather large weight loss journey but, as my blog tag line says, it’s been a case of trying to keep it a healthy diet rather than slipping into previous eating disorder behaviour and mentality. Goodness…it’s a fine line between the two! I mean, can we be super focused on the calorie counting, the exercising, etc. whilst keeping a healthy mindset and without it becoming obsessive? Up to now, I’ve had times when it’s been really hard but I’ve been slipping in a rather large way more recently.

Where am I right now? The anorexic voice is dominant in my head and I find myself becoming terribly fearful of eating, of not having larger losses on the scales, of not exercising enough. I find myself planning how to miss meals, how to get rid of food (not in a purging way but basically not consuming all the food I’m dished up). And I guess I have two voices in my head: the side which is probably an anorexic voice (all consuming, obsessive, berating, etc) and then the other voice that’s caring and knows I could end up ill again like 10 years ago. And, as I’ve said before, it’s possible to have ‘atypical anorexia’ when your weight is average or even above average if all the other DSM5 diagnostic criteria are met. Am I there? Yes, it really pains me to admit this but I think that my strict dieting has turned the corner. 10 years ago, things got really serious when I started to have abnormal heart tracings and I’ve noticed two things recently: I can get dizzy when I stand up and I can also find my heart racing some mornings when I wake up and I’m getting out of bed. Of course, it may not be heart-related but I’ve done something that I didn’t think I’d do. Despite my intense fear of doctors, I contacted my local surgery yesterday to explain the situation and I’m waiting to hear back.

The last time I struggled with an eating disorder, I lost so much weight but I then put it all (and more) back on. And I’m worried that this will happen again. However, a difference this time is that I have therapy to help me come to terms being a carer to my child and talking things through with my therapist will hopefully help me find a way to get that healthy mindset back and be able to eat in a less restrictive, less dangerous way.

So, I feel embarrassed admitting all the above but I owe it to you readers and I owe it to myself to be upfront. How do I overcome this? I need to allow my caring voice to quieten the anorexic voice so that I stop heading down this destructive route, find a way to regain a healthy mindset, find a way to eat healthily so that I can still get to an average weight and use my story to inspire others

Hope you have a great weekend everyone and I’ll be back on Monday

Love Erika xx

Those jeans I couldn’t get into? I’ve bought a belt!

Hey

Well, my plan for today’s post was to keep writing about how I’ll be continuing with my weight loss journey after lockdown finishes but I had to come on here to share something completely different. I’ve bought a belt for my jeans! And it’s size ‘MEDIUM’!!

The reason why the jeans are so significant is that, back in July, I couldn’t get into them. They went up no further than my knees but I decided to try them on once a month and take a photo. Finally, in December, I could do up the button! Documenting my journey through photos was extraordinarily motivating because there were times when the scales hadn’t shifted hugely yet I could sense the changes in my body and it helped to focus on the non-scale victories too.

Since then, my jeans are now very much gaping at the waist and the belt will be delivered later on today. Yay! But I ticked off another ‘push that comfort zone’ challenge yesterday as whilst I’ve worn my jeans around the house, I wore them outside yesterday for the first time! Yes, I revealed to the world that I…. have …. legs!

Have a great weekend everyone and I’ll be back on Monday with my next weigh-in.

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 44 weigh-in: my scales are stubborn!

Hey folks

You know, I was hoping to come on today to tell you that I’ve finally reached Onederland but have the scales moved this week? No! In the past, I would’ve become frustrated but I have a choice about how to feel about this. I can either think “Well, I’ve failed then, haven’t I? What was the point of even trying this week? I’ll never get there” OR I can think “Well, that’s okay. Scale-related change doesn’t happen every week yet there can be changes in other areas such as my body slowly shrinking. And I know that when the scales have stagnated in the past, I then have a flurry of pounds coming off“. I remember when I was very close to no longer being in the morbidly obese range, that final stretch seemed to take forever and I was keen for it to happen far sooner but becoming frustrated isn’t going to speed up the process, is it?! So, I’m not going to do anything different this week as my approach to losing weight has worked really well for over a year and I’m going to look forward to celebrating this next milestone another day….

What’s Erika done well this week?

  • I looked after myself this week. I dyed my hair the other night and felt so much better afterwards
  • I took out the wheelie bin during daylight (that’s a big achievement for me!)
  • I did 2 x 10km walks last week and the medals are on their way to me
  • I kept myself hydrated

What could Erika improve on?

  • Nothing this week 🙂

Erika’s next target(s):

  • 2 lbs until my BMI is under 30.5 and I will have lost 75% of my excess weight
  • 3 lbs until I’m in Onederland (yes, I’ll be less than 200 lbs)
  • 6 lbs until I’ve lost 9.5 stone
  • 6 lbs until my BMI is under 30 and I’ll be overweight… might even be 5 lbs and a few ounces

I’ll be to back on Wednesday to talk about possible career plans using my experience of losing weight. Until then, please feel free to share your own experiences including celebrations or frustrations and any questions you’d like to ask me!

Love Erika xx

Recordable weight loss since blogging:Still to lose:Current weight:BMI:
106 lbs44 lbs202 lbs30.7
Plus 21 lbs lost prior to blogging

2 weeks on a vibrating plate… my wobbly bits have wobbled!

Hi folks

When I think of images from the 1950s, I’m thinking: black and white cinematography, vintage clothing and Buddy Holly. But I also think of images of immaculately-dressed women with perfect hair and make-up holding an upright pose whilst a thick rubber belt wraps around their waists and buzzes away, supposedly helping them to keep their waists super trim.

Now, whilst these belts do still exist in some form, I got curious and thought I’d treat myself to a vibrating plate. The Reviber comes with a manual so I was thinking ‘Fantastic. Let’s check out some simple exercises I can do on this” only to find most of the images inside depicting Olympic-standard athletes somehow mastering superhuman activities like single-handed planking (well, that’s superhuman to me!!). But I guess I’ve figured out my own routine that works for me and I go on my vibrating plate for 10 minutes a day. And what’s great is that, according to my FitBit, the top speeds put my heart rate into fat burning mode whilst I feel as if my body has morphed into a pneumatic drill that will undoubtedly result in a huge crater evolving in my living room!

My main motivation is to lose inches. Two weeks probably isn’t long enough to do a proper comparison and who knows whether inch loss would have happened on food choices alone… (I don’t think this ‘scientific’ approach would pass an ethics committee) but here are my stats…. so far:

Day 1 (in inches)Day 14 (in inches)
Chest44.2544
Waist35.535
Abdomen4645
Hips4543.75
Thigh2625.5
Calf19.2519.25
C

So, small changes in this time but I’m pleased, especially considering how my hips and abdomen were almost 60″ early last year. Who knows where I might be in another 2, 4, 6 weeks.

And I just wanted to share 3 other images with you today. Permission to feel a little bit smug when my FitBit tells me that my cardio fitness is between the good and very good levels….. but also a screenshot from a BMI calculator where I can now see my weight reflected by the black arrow that’s slowly edging towards the middle. I can’t believe that my BMI / weight’s visible…. and I want to instinctively say “AND I’M VISIBLE”. Wow! Where did that come from?! I’m turning into my own psychotherapist ❤ Whilst I love travelling and I’ll get up to all manner of things well away from home like in other countries, I’ve hidden away in my own community for the past few years. Mmmm, I think I know what the subject of Friday’s post will be…

So, Friday’s blog will reflect on the extent I’ve gone into hiding over the past few years unless some eagerly anticipated miracle on the scales happens between now and then…

Love Erika xx

Can I eat ‘bad’ food on a diet?

Hey folks

I’m guessing that I’m probably not alone here but I’m very quick to label food as good or bad.

Over the past year, I haven’t eaten any chocolate, cookies or desserts (except sugar free jelly) whatsoever. You see, I LOVE chocolate!! I can’t picture myself eating one square and think “Well, wasn’t that lovely Erika. Let’s leave the rest for another time“. And I’ve always been perplexed when chocolate manufacturers name some of their products as ‘family sized’. Really?!! That bar has to be divided up by a few people?! And don’t get me started on how ‘regular’ chocolate bars have shrunk in size making them almost what would have previously been termed ‘snack-size’!! So, when I started this journey, I cut out everything that I would call ‘bad’ and, you know, I’ve completely lost my sweet tooth. I have no yearnings to eat anything chocolately so perhaps it might seem a bit odd that I’m asking myself now abut whether it’s okay to eat such food again.

Why is this? I’ll blog in the next few weeks about environmental and social pressures around eating but I’m sure I’ll have times when I just fancy eating something sweet. Having had bulimia many years ago, I don’t want to find myself in the throes of a binge where I consume 1000s of calories. I want to feel in control and eat without feeling guilty, and it all comes down to moderation. No food types need to come off our menus, even when we’re losing weight, but it really is about how much we consume. We can still have that square of chocolate…. but it’s a treat…. and part of an overall balanced intake for the day. We can have that slice of cake….but it’s a treat…. and something not to have everyday. We can have that takeaway….. but it’s a treat….. and we can slightly less tomorrow.

Whilst I’ve cut out sweet food very easily without feeling deprived, I appreciate there’ll be people who feel that this is a step too far for them and cutting out such food may result in eating okay for a few days followed by eating far more than planned. So, I guess what I’m saying is… we have to work out what works best for us individually. Go cold turkey to avoid all temptation? Still eat what we want but with much more focus on portion control? It might be a question of trial and error until we find a way that still helps us towards our next weight loss goal.

Where do I go from here? I’m going to continue avoiding sweet food for now as it’s working, certainly until my BMI gets much nearer to the healthy range, but I’m then going to reintroduce food in a very managed way which, of course, I’ll share on here 🙂 Perhaps I will be able to stop after one square!

I’ll be back on Friday with some top tips but hope you’re doing well.

Love Erika xx

Week 42 weigh-in: 9 lbs away from no longer being obese!

Hey guys

YES!! Moving down into the ‘overweight’ category really is just around the corner, something I could’ve only dreamt of a year ago. I’ve got several small goals coming up and therefore opportunities to celebrate. And celebrating is important! Whether we’re at the beginning of our weight loss journey or some way in, I feel it’s so important to acknowledge these moments and be kind to ourselves in what we say. Rather than think “I’ve lost only 1 lb“, say “That’s great. Another pound towards the next goal“. Rather than think “I’ll never get there. I’m resigned to be this weight forever”, say “It may take time but I have to start somewhere. Let’s set some short and long term goals“.

Okay, it’s time for this week’s report card:

What’s Erika done well this week?

  • I lost 3 lbs.
  • My BMI is now in the lower 31s.
  • I’ve been working out lots. As well as the vibrating plate (more about that next week), I’ve been walking at least 5K each day…. from just around the house due to the snow here.
  • I’ve been staying hydrated… something I can find hard to do.
  • I reframed a difficult moment. The other day, I looked down at my thighs whilst standing and I was taken aback to see the amount of sagging skin. You know when a puppy is yet to grow into its skin and its skin is very wrinkly? Well, that’s how my upper thighs are looking. But after a moment feeling pretty sorry for myself, I gave myself a good talking to and reminded myself that it’s okay! This is the evidence of my hard work over the last year so be proud, girl!

What could Erika improve on?

  • I’ve had some days when it’s been quite a struggle to eat enough and I guess some of those previous anorexic thoughts have crept in. Perhaps this should be listed above as I’ve done well to recognise these familiar thinking patterns but I think I’ll leave this here as a reminder to not let myself slip.

Erika’s next target(s):

  • 2 lbs until my BMI is under 31
  • 2 lbs until I will have lost 9 stone in all
  • 5 lbs until my BMI is under 30.5
  • 6 lbs until I’m in Onederland (yes, I’ll be less than 200 lbs)
  • 9 lbs until I’ve lost 9.5 stone
  • 9 lbs until my BMI is under 30 and I’ll be overweight

And here’s the dress I mentioned last week that’s way beyond what I’d normally wear. It’s not a maxi dress and it’ll mean showing my lower legs to others!

So, posts later on this week will look at whether to reintroduce some sweet food into my diet and another ‘top 10’ list of tips and tricks to stay on track with the eating because I’m still learning all the time! If I can pass on what I’m learning to help others, then that’s pretty cool. Until then, please feel free to share your own experiences including celebrations or frustrations and any questions you’d like to ask me!

Love Erika xx

Recordable weight loss since blogging:Still to lose:Current weight:BMI:
103 lbs47 lbs205 lbs31.2
Plus 21 lbs lost prior to blogging

Week 40 weigh-in: planning ahead is key!

Hey folks

I can’t wait to share with you several goals I’ve managed to smash this week but I wanted to first share my discovery how planning ahead is absolutely the way to do this weight loss journey thing… and probably something I’ll continue doing once I get to my eventual weight loss goal.

I don’t know about you but I don’t always make the best choices when I’m standing in my kitchen, trying to work out what to eat. It’s like I’m looking in the cupboards and fridge not knowing what I really want and this unclear thinking can lead to making some kind of weird food choices. So, I’ve made one big change this week. The night before, I decide what I’m going to eat the next day. I go to sleep feeling in control as it takes away any anxiety and this has resulted in the pounds dropping. At some point, I’d like to do weekly plans which will help with making food buying much easier if I know what the week’s meals will be. So, without further ado, here’s this week’s report card:

What’s Erika done well this week?

  • I’ve lost 4 lbs this week
  • My BMI is now in the 31s
  • I’m now under 15 stone having lost more than 8.5 stone
  • I’ve lost exactly 100 lbs since my blog started (although I’d lost 21 lbs prior to this)
  • I have exactly 50 lbs left to go until I hit my target weight
  • I’ve been focusing on staying hydrated
  • I’m within 10 lbs of being under 200 lbs!

What could Erika improve on?

  • I feel like I’ve done well this week. As always, I feel rather pretentious saying there’s nothing to improve on but I guess I need to learn to perhaps feel a bit more comfortable with this. It’s okay to tell ourselves that, right now, we’re doing great.

Erika’s next target(s):

  • 2 lbs until my BMI is in the lower 31s
  • 5 lbs until I’ve lost 9 stone in all
  • 9 lbs until I’m in Onederland (yes, I’ll be less than 200 lbs)
  • 12 lbs until I’m no longer obese as I’ll be overweight

I’ll be back on Wednesday but, until then as ever, please feel free to share your own experiences including celebrations or frustrations and any questions you’d like to ask me!

Love Erika xx

Recordable weight loss since blogging:Still to lose:Current weight:BMI:
100 lbs50 lbs208 lbs31.6
Plus 21 lbs lost prior to blogging