I’ve been away a while but I’m back!

Hey guys

Gosh, it’s been 6 weeks since I’ve blogged. I’m so sorry that I suddenly disappeared. I guess I just needed a bit of a break and I feel better for it but I’ve also had technical issues logging on through my laptop. So I need to resolve those whilst temporarily using the app on my phone.

Well, a lot has happened in 6 weeks. With my BMI starting at 50 (and 329lbs) in February 2020, it’s now 20.7 (137lbs) and that means I’ve lost almost 60% of my original body weight. I’m wearing mainly US size 6 / U.K. size 10 with some clothes US size 4 / U.K. size 8. I have to say that I’m still struggling to eat enough and I guess what lies at the heart of this is a fear of putting on all the weight. You see, I guess I’ve succeeded at losing so much and, without trying to sound pretentious, I’ve become pretty good at it. Giving up the atypical anorexia doesn’t have to mean putting on all the weight and my focus should be all about balance. That’s such a key word, isn’t it. You see, I’m missing out on a lot socially and I can’t think of anything better than meeting up with friends, enjoying chatting over food, not fearing every single calorie. I will get there but I just feel like I’ve a way to go.

So, I’ll be back blogging to share my inner most thoughts and hoping to inspire others, bring comfort, etc. to anyone who comes my blog. I’m doing a lot of exercise right now and I’ll tell you more next week. In the meantime, hope you have a super weekend

Love Erika xx

Why do we turn to food in times of stress? It’s our brains!

Hey folks

On Monday, I talked about a 4 hour breakthrough session I had with an eating disorder specialist which has really helped me (you can read about it HERE). However, I held one thing back so that I could share it with you today. I don’t know but it just really clicked in my head and it’s all about stress.

One of the things possibly stopping me from giving up the anorexic behaviour is the fear if what if I put on all the weight. What if the weight just creeps on and I’m back to where I started 18 months ago? After all, we all have stress in our lives and I’ve been aware that, pre-weight loss, I could wander into the kitchen and unconsciously find myself eating. But the therapist explained something about why we can turn to food when under stress and it’s all to do with the pink part of the brain diagram: the basal ganglia.

This is what was explained to me. At any time, the basal ganglia will be thinking of about 8-10 things we could be doing. Perhaps check our emails, change the TV channel, grab a drink, tidy up the kitchen, etc . But when we’re under stress, eating often goes to the top of that list, obscuring any other option. So, we can find ourselves eating something which in turn increases the level of dopamine in our bodies which in turn reduces the stress we’re experiencing. Food can feel like it’s providing comfort for us; a culinary hug.

And this really helped me because whilst it’s to do with brain chemistry, I could see it as a linear process whereby changing my response to stress in the first place can make it less likely that I’ll turn to food. And this has given me huge comfort that once I’m back in that middle ground with my eating, I can make better choices so that I’m achieving balance in my life.

— ❤ —

But things are coming together in terms of getting support. Not only do I have an amazing therapist and a specialist eating disorder dietitian on board but I’m now in touch with a psychiatrist who seems brilliant and has already said about liaising with the other professionals. And sometimes it’s about getting the right people on board and, in my case, about creating Team Erika! I don’t know. Just feeling ‘held’ by others when things are hard feels like a good place to be so I’m really hoping that the next few weeks are going to see much progress.

And before I go, I thought I’d share my afternoon snack (snacks are new to me but I’m trying to eat little and often): blueberries with 50g of Fage 0% fat free Greek yoghurt. This isn’t easy but I’ll get there

As for my evening, England is through to the Euro 2020 semi finals so I’ll be glued to the TV tonight cheering on our lads (I’m so excited!!) and catching up on the Tour de France followed by a walk 🙂

I hope to be back here before next Monday

Take care

Love Erika

Mouth hunger or stomach hunger? This is key!

Hello guys

Just a short post today but I read something the other day and, wow, it resonated with me so much that I wanted to share it with you.

How many times do you eat something but then afterwards feel that it wasn’t enough or it wasn’t what you really needed?

You see, it’s very easy to think that when we experience hunger, our stomachs are calling out for something filling. We might have had dinner but it doesn’t feel enough so we follow it up with some biscuits, some candy, etc. … basically, more calories.

It may be that your stomach is fine but it’s your taste buds that need something to hit the spot. In Monday’s post, I mentioned that Ryvita Thins have just 29 calories each and I find that the chilli in these completely do the job. Happy taste buds, happy Erika who’s kept in control of what she’s eaten.

But, as I’ve said before, remember that dehydration has that sneaky way to disguise itself as hunger so, first step, drink water!

And before you go…. I’ve hit another milestone. Where I live, we’re advised that women’s waists should be 31.5″ or less. I think you can guess where I’m heading with this but, yes, my waist is 31.5″!!! Last summer, it was 48″ so anything is possible 🙂

Hope you have a great day, everyone

Love Erika xx

Week 51 weigh-in: the UK food traffic light system!

Hello guys

Okay, before I tell you all about this, let’s take a look at this week’s report card:

What’s happened this week?

  • I lost 3 lbs
  • I’ve now lost more than 10.5 stone in all
  • I’m now under 13 stone
  • My BMI’s in the lower half of the overweight category
  • I’ve bought more veg! Yes, on tomorrow’s menu are homemade aubergine (eggplant) crisps and I’ve bought spinach and red peppers to make omelettes.

What could Erika improve on?

  • Increase my calories…. yes, still finding this hard and it’s now just 10 days until my ECG…

Erika’s next target(s) along with the big ones!

  • 1 lb until my weight’s in the 170s
  • 2 lbs until my BMI’s in the 26s
  • 4 lbs until I’m the same weight as 10 years ago
  • 5 lbs until I’ve lost 11 stone in all
  • 5 lbs until I’ve lost 90% of my excess weight
  • 10 lbs until I’m at my wedding weight from nearly 25 years ago
  • 15 lbs until my weight’s in the healthy range (just more than 1 stone to go!)
  • 22 lbs until my ultimate goal so that I have a 7 lb buffer to stay in the healthy range!

So, back to the traffic light system Many food producers in the UK display nutritional information on products using a traffic light system so that we can see at a glance whether it’s healthy or not. I have to say that this makes food choice reasonably easy because I make a point of staying away from anything colour-coded red. Here’re some examples:

So, okay, the Ryvita one isn’t colourful but I can instantly see if these flatbreads are okay to snack on and yes they are! These are unbelievably tasty and just 29 calories. And this jambalaya is something I could live on everyday! Virtually green across the board and just 319 calories. Do you have anything similar in your country to help people make healthy choices? Please do tell!

I’ll be back on Wednesday to talk about mouth hunger versus stomach hunger but, in the meantime, hope you have a good couple of days. As ever, please feel free to share your diet / weight-related successes, frustrations or anything else on your mind.

Take care

Love Erika xx

Recordable weight loss since starting to blog:Still to lose:Current weight:BMI:
128 lbs22 lbs180 lbs27.2
Plus 21 lbs lost prior to blogging



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

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

Some more photos! Here’s what I’m eating…

Hey folks

Having lost over 100 lbs, I’d love to tell you that my dinner plates are filled with colourful veg, that I’ve a fruit bowl overflowing with exotic specimens from all over the world and that I’m eating huge volumes of oily fish. But, I’m such a fussy eater! The only food I’m staying away from 100% are chocolate, biscuits, cakes, etc. but, apart from that, it’s all about portion control. Saying that, I do want to reduce my intake of carbs which I’ve started doing today and chicken salad is on my lunch menu 🙂

So, here are some dinners from recent weeks. You know, before February, I would have filled up my plate and not thought about quantity but my stomach (and, very importantly, my head) have adjusted to knowing when to stop.

Yes, for the first time ever, I had a double burger as shown in the photo above but these were turkey burgers. I’d never had these before but I’d read that turkey is super healthy. And the pizza that was delivered to my home? Low fat mozzarella, thin base, etc. all of which makes it as healthy as possible at around 750 calories.

I do love a quiche and, in my quest to reduce my carbs, I was so excited to find this low fat crustless one at 270 calories.

But here’s my latest discovery. No-added sugar jelly! This is 8 calories per pot and, eating it with a teaspoon, I probably burn more calories eating it! I currently have about 20 of these pots in my fridge and they’re the only sweet things I have. It’s been about 35 years since I’d eaten jelly and it was a bit weird eating it again initially but having this ‘go to’ if I’m getting peckish is really helping.

So, let’s see if I can reduce my carbs and perhaps check out some new veg! But the main thing for me is portion control and making this journey sustainable. Yes, it can be hard initially to adjust but, on the occasional time when I wonder about having an extra slice of bread, all I have to ask myself is:

Do I want that slice of bread or do I want to do up the button on my skinny jeans?”

I know the answer every time!

Hope you have a lovely weekend, everyone, and I’ll be back on Monday with my next weigh-in

Love Erika xx

Overcoming emotional eating

I wonder if you can relate to any of the following:

  • turning to the snack cupboard when feeling upset
  • eating to deal with stress
  • eating because you’re feeling bored

Emotional eating relates to when food is eaten to manage emotions and if you can relate to this, you’re truly not alone. When I was bulimic and even ended up in an eating disorder unit for 6 weeks because of it, I would consume 1,000s of calories in a very short amount of time. It would usually be food that was high in fat and easy to swallow, and just seemed to fill a hole. I mean, filling that emotional space inside me with food provided that immediate ‘fix’ and felt easier than talking.

So, I guess I thought I’d share my advice purely as someone who’s truly been there:

First, learn to recognise if you are an emotional eater. Once you know, you can then start to move away from it but accepting this can be a hard step in itself, can’t it?

Second, explore what’s leading to it. As I alluded to above, there’s something going on beneath. It may be that you’re unhappy with relationships, your past, the way you see yourself, how life is panning out for you, depression and a host of other reasons. But perhaps grab a journal and write ‘from your heart’ to explore what’s at the crux of how you’re feeling.

Third, find ways of responding to the underlying reason. Yes, you can turn to food if you’re unhappy about what’s happening between you and your friends or turn to food if you’re stressed about work. But food is almost like something you can paper over the cracks with as a temporary fix….but the crack is still there. There may be huge issues at work or with relationships but it’s about dealing with those head on if possible rather than turn to food. Sometimes, we can’t change things…but keep reading! You’ll see why ❤

Fourth, develop a better relationship with food. For decades, I developed a numbness when I ate. I wasn’t aware of what I was eating. The food just kept going in without touching the sides. But I’m now mindful about eating and if I get peckish when I don’t think I should be, I drink water in case I’m actually thirsty or tell myself to wait 30 minutes to see if I’m still hungry. I now take my time eating a meal and really consider every forkful. I’ve heard of some people finding it helps to put the fork down between mouthfuls.

Last week was the first time in 6 months where I almost slipped in my new lifestyle because I’ve a lot of stress here at home being a carer. I don’t know how long our son will be alive for so, yes, I can’t tell you how much I’m hurting right now. But I gave myself a good talking to. You see, I can’t control what’s happening here at home but I can control how I’m looking after myself. There’s no point me feeling rubbish about our situation here AND feeling rubbish that I ate food I didn’t really want. It’s okay to not always be smiley but talk. Talk about how you’re feeling. Find kinder ways of dealing with emotions. I’m discovering that walking for miles really clears my head but more about that another time…

I’ll be back Monday with my next weigh-in, guys, as well as news of some upcoming blogs. Hope you have a lovely weekend.

Love Erika xx