Week 21 weigh-in: the incentive of COVID

Hi everyone

You know, when COVID was spreading at an alarmingly quick speed in the UK earlier this year, it provided me with the biggest external incentive to keep going with my recently-started weight loss journey. Stats were coming out about the greater chance of hospital admissions, etc. when being overweight or obese and, yes, I was frightened. Being super morbidly obese with a BMI of 50, I knew that I could end up being seriously ill if I caught the virus. I know it can still affect anyone but, with numbers increasing again, I guess I’m taking some reassurance that I’m doing everything possible to be okay should I get it. And there are some other bonuses along the way! Smaller clothes sizes, having lots of spare space in the garden chairs that I used to struggle to fit into and ticking off all my mini goals along the way! For me, it’s not just about reaching destination Goal Weight but the journey too.

What’s Erika done well this week?

  • I’ve lost 2lbs
  • I’m under 17 stone
  • My BMI is now under 36
  • My belly and hips are now 48″ (after starting out at 58″ and 59″ respectively)
  • My waist is now 38″ after starting out at 45″

What could Erika improve on?

  • I can still do better on the fruit and veg front. I’m SO bad at this!

Erika’s next target(s):

  • Walk/run the virtual London marathon on 4th October! Yes, I have an official place on this race
  • 5 more lbs until I can have a helicopter lesson
  • 7 more lbs until I’ve lost 100 lbs in total and my BMI is under 35 – I’m so excited about this!

Later this week, I’m going to blog about the fear of GPs and anything medical. Yes, I think this links to my weight and size and I really don’t ‘do’ doctors but more about that on Thursday or Friday.

And, before I go, I just want to say ‘thank you’ for reading my blog. Truly, if feels as if I’m not on this journey alone and I can’t tell you how much it means to be able to share all my weird and crazy thoughts aloud 🙂

Love Erika xx

Recordable weight loss:Still to lose:Current weight:BMI:
72 lbs78 lbs236 lbs35.9
Plus 21 lbs lost before blogging

What to wear when losing weight?

Hey

Sorry that this post comes a little bit later in the week than normal. A bit of a trying week here to be honest and I could have so easily fallen off the wagon with my new lifestyle but no! I’m stronger than that and I’m going to talk in the next couple of weeks about emotional eating….and how to stop it.

Last Monday at my weekly weigh-in, I said that I’d talk about fashion. You see, during my adult life, I’ve fluctuated between a UK size 12-24 (that’s 8-20 US size) with most of the time at the upper end. For many years now, I’ve hidden behind maxi skirts, maxi dresses and long flowing cardigans…even in the middle of summer. I couldn’t possibly let anyone know that I have these things called legs hidden away!!!

Now that my weight loss is almost halfway, I’m starting to envisage what I’d love to wear. I’ve never worn shorts as an adult or 3/4 trousers. I don’t wear sleeveless tops. I’ve never worn ripped jeans! But this is going to change. Yes, I guess I need to think about what looks okay for my age but trust me….when I can wear jeans again, I’m buying some ripped ones!!!

On the 26th of each month, I’m trying on a pain of jeans that reach only just above my knees right now but once I can get in them, I’ll share a montage of photos of these jeans magically-fitting! I’d love to be in them by Christmas…..2020.

For now and with over 80lbs lost so far, I’m wearing smaller clothes and even jumping over sizes, such as my cardigan going from a size 20 to the size 16 I put on for the first time today. But there’s no point buying a whole wardrobe for each size on my way down. I just need a few bits but once I’m a size 12, I’ll be hitting the high street and really think about my style which I’d love to be cool but trendy too. I might even ditch the glasses and get contacts. I might change my hair colour. I can’t wait!

And should I keep clothes that are too big for me? I don’t want to tempt fate so I think I need to let go of my past and donate them to a charity shop. Let’s keep life (and my wardrobe) simple.

I’ll be back on Monday with my next weigh-in but hope you’re having a good weekend

Take care

Love Erika xx

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

Overcoming anorexic behaviour

I wonder whether anyone can relate but I used to think that somebody would have to be within or heading towards a dangerously low weight for mental health professionals to talk about anorexic behaviour. However, back in 2011-2012, I spent 6 months in this horribly restrictive headspace that almost ended up with me sectioned against my will using the UK’s Mental Health Act.

How did it begin?

I didn’t realise it at the time but I was later diagnosed with Complex PTSD (I’ve since recovered). One day, probably trying to cope with trauma, I found myself thinking that 800 calories was to be my maximum daily intake. Not a calorie more. In many ways, I was probably trying to find something in my life that I could control. I was 287lbs so it was seen initially as me just ‘eating healthily and being very careful’. But I obsessed about calories. Everything was weighed and calculated to the nearest half calorie. As you can imagine, the weight just fell off but my grip on the calorie limit got tighter. After 800 calories, my limit went down to 500 calories, then 300 calories and ended up 250 calories a day.

How can you survive on 250 calories a day?

Well, it turns you can’t for long! Initially, I become extremely creative with what I ate so mushrooms were my friend. Lunch would be a low-cal cereal bar of 68 calories. I was never hungry but I became very devious at avoiding meals. The children were younger and when my husband got back from work, I’d say that I’d already eaten, etc. In 6 months, I lost 112lbs. And whilst I was just into the overweight range even at my lowest, I carried the weight in a way that actually made me look skinny. People would tell me that I’d lost too much. I looked gaunt. I had large black circles under my eyes.

So, if you weren’t underweight, how was it dangerous?

My heart was affected. When it became noticed by a mental health nurse that I was in this very dangerous headspace, I had to start having ECGs every two weeks to check my heart and blood tests. And I developed Long QT Syndrome that affects how the heart beats. It can be fatal. My bloods were also a mess. There were frequent discussions between the mental health team, the severe eating disorder service, my GP, etc. On one occasion, my ECG results were so bad that I had a call from a nurse later that afternoon saying that I was to go straight to A&E where they were expecting me.

What helped you recover?

I was formally assessed under the Mental Health Act which was to decide if I had to be taken to hospital where they’d do whatever was needed to break out of this trap and save me. I don’t know what it was but something just shock me out of this headspace and I got my calorie intake up to 1,000 and then back up to how I was before.

You’re on a weight loss journey now. Do you see yourself slipping back into this anorexic behaviour?

Being very honest with myself, yes, I think there’s potential. A few weeks ago, I found myself working out how to avoid meals but I had to give myself a good talking to! “Eat Erika, just eat!” That did the trick! I’m not counting exact calories as I think I could become obsessed with counting again so I’m aware that my intake is in a certain ballpark. But it’s liberating that I’m losing weight AND eating without being scared! Yes, I wish in some ways that I’d been helped all those years ago to slowly increase my calories so that I’d get a better relationship with good and not end up so big. But I’m on a weight loss journey now with a far better relationship with food. It’s no longer my enemy. I need to eat to stay healthy and do all the things I want to do like horse riding on the beech and doing zip wires!

I hope this gives some context about my journey but feel free to ask questions.

Hope you have a great weekend and I’ll be back on Monday with my week 8 weigh-in!

Love Erika xx

Week 4 weigh-in: I’ve met a major milestone!

Before I share with you what the milestone is, I just wanted to start by saying a HUGE ‘thank you’ for lots of likes for my last post where I shared all the things I’ll be able to do when I lose weight. From being able to fit into chairs with arms to running 5K, from my feet touching when I stand up to having a helicopter lesson, these targets all things that are keeping me motivated.

Drumroll…

So, this week, I’ve lost another 3lbs and that means that I’ve reached 287lbs. Why is this significant for me? Well, it’s the heaviest I’d ever known myself to be (in 2010) so I feel like I’m back on familiar territory. Part of me is sad about how I’d piled on this extra weight and how I’d be so much lighter already if I hadn’t. However, rather than wallow in self-pity, I need to crack on, eat less and move more.

I’m enjoying exercise

It’s now 4 weeks since I started the daily exercise, all of which has been in my home which is perfect during lockdown and, goodness, it’s paying off with two noticeable achievements:

  • When I started, I could barely walk for 6-7 minutes without my back hurting and it would take many short bursts of walking to reach my daily target of 40 minutes walking. Well, yesterday, I walked for 40 minutes in ONE GO!
  • 10 days ago, I shared how I managed to jog on the spot for a total of 1 minute (broken down into 4 x 15 seconds). Well, yesterday, I jogged on the spot for 10 minutes (broken down into 6 x 100 seconds!). My aim is to build this up until I can jog on the spot for a continuous 10 minutes.

For anyone out there who feels that their weight stops them from doing any form of exercise, I hope this gives you hope that you too CAN make progress. From wherever your starting point is, progress is possible in quite a short amount of time.

My major scale milestones

And as well as the non-scale milestones I shared last time, these are the figures that I can’t wait to see on my scales:

  • 287lbs – previously known heaviest weight (ACHIEVED!)
  • 277lbs – 10% weight loss
  • 262lbs – my BMI will no longer be morbidly obese as I’ll be under 40
  • 229lbs – my BMI will be under 35
  • 196lbs – my BMI will be under 30 and therefore I’ll no longer be obese

And then, of course, there’s the day when I find myself in the ‘normal’ range!!!! I WILL get there. My weight didn’t pile on overnight and therefore it’s going to take commitment, patience and time for me get rid of it so I’ll be blogging for a while yet!

Hope you all have a good week

Love Erika xx

Total weight lost:Still to lose:Current weight: BMI:
33 lbs117 lbs275 lbs41.8

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Losing weight during lockdown

I don’t know whether anyone can relate but being on lockdown is actually helping me to lose weight, get fit and basically start investing in myself. Life can be really busy and whilst I’m certainly missing the income from not being able to work (I’m self-employed), it’s actually given me an opportunity to create some good habits that I’m determined will continue once I’m back working. To be honest with you, I should have taken stock of my health a long time ago but, whilst I knew I was big, it’s only recently that I’ve started to see the true extent of my size.

The COVID-19 stats show that people who are obese, morbidly obese or even overweight are at greater risk of complications and death if they catch the virus and I have to say that this fact alone has spurred me on. I know my morbidly obese BMI has already reduced having lost 13 lbs in the past 3 weeks and, having introduced a daily fitness routine in this short time, I’m hoping to be under than 40 mark reasonably soon. Of course, my eventual aim is to get my BMI in the ‘normal’ range. But it does scare me about what would happen if I caught the virus, not that I have any underlying health difficulties.

The other motivation is that I’d love my weight loss to be recognisable when I see people again. I’m not usually someone who seeks attention (far from it!) but it’d be great if I move down clothes size-wise and find myself holding myself differently when I see family and friends. Wow….I’d love just one person (beyond hubby) to notice! I love TV shows where people go away for a makeover and then come back for the big reveal! And I guess this is my own makeover opportunity.

My daily exercise regime is giving me routine in my day and, as we’re food shopping as infrequently as possible, food needs to be planned carefully. Hubby and I have said that we’ll continue with the pattern of food shopping post-lockdown but I’m going to build in my exercise around my work. even if I work slightly fewer hours. The other good thing that’s helping is stopping myself from eating after 8pm and this has instantly cut out the almost mindless snacking where food goes in without me realising it.

I’d also love to share 2 others things with you today:

  • First, I managed to jog on the spot for 1 minute (broken down into 4 x 15 seconds). Oh, I know this doesn’t sound long but I’ve heard that very large people can have heart problems if they suddenly start to jog. So, I want to build it up slowly, especially as I haven’t jogged since, er, back at school?!!
  • Second, as you may know from my blog, I’m scared to stand on my scales without hauling a 28 lb chair with me! Yes, I don’t want to see my chairless weight quite yet but when the scales say that me AND the chair weigh 300 lbs, I’m going to go for it! It should mean that my body alone will be around the 272lbs so, even if my calculation of the chair isn’t 100% spot on, I will certainly be under the 280 mark.

Have a great weekend everyone and I’ll let you know how Monday’s weigh-in goes

Love Erika xx

Why have I put on weight?

I don’t know whether anyone who struggles with weight has done this but I drew a timeline of my life the other day and marked the times when I have put on or lost weight to see if I could spot any reasons behind this. You see, I wouldn’t consider myself to be an emotional eater. Yes, I did have bulimia from the age of 18-23 which resulted in a 6 week inpatient stay in a London eating disorder unit but, apart from that, I’m not someone who eats when I feel sad and I don’t binge eat. The fact is that I like food! And I think that I’ve become someone who isn’t aware of how much I’m eating – you know, one biscuit leads to another and all that! I also feel that I don’t connect with my body and I do anything to avoid looking in a mirror so, although I could sense that I’ve put on my weight over the past few years, I haven’t really looked at myself and taken stock. The only times in my life when I have been over-connected with my body and when there were triggers were during two periods of anorexia, the last time being 9 years ago when my heart developed long QT syndrome. So, this is really the first time when I’ve consciously made changes in my life that feel sustainable and I’m losing weight in a healthy way.

What’s lead to this drive to be kinder to myself? I’ve come to realise that I’m missing out on so much. I worry about fitting into a plane seat yet I’d love to travel to so many new countries. I panic if I see a chair with arms thinking “Am I going to fit?” I’ve realised that I’d do anything to avoid going to the doctors’ in case they want me to jump on the scales and I worry that I could one day have a symptom of some serious illness but I’m to scared to check it out….all because of my weight. And chatting to family and friends on Zoom during lockdown has meant that I can’t help but see myself in the corner of the screen. I’m 47 and I really want to make changes now so that I go into my 50s feeling positive about how I look. So, that’s behind why I’m doing this.

If you’re on a weight loss journey, what was it that triggered it? I’d love to know.

Oh, and before I go, I mentioned in my last post that whilst I weigh myself every Monday morning (which I started almost 2 weeks ago), I first took measurements back in February and these are Thursday’s results of the 3 biggest inch losses:

FebruaryMay
Waist45″ (114cm)42″ (107cm)
Belly58″ (147cm)55″ (140cm)
Hips59″ (150cm)55″ (140cm)

So, that’s a loss of 10″ or 24cm! That means that everything is now 55″ or less so my next short term goal is to get my hips and belly 54″ (137cm) or less. What I’m particularly pleased about is that this has been done with no exercise regime until the beginning of last week so that should speed things up….safely, of course! Small goals. One day at a time

Have a super weekend everyone and I’ll post on Monday telling you how kind the scales were to me!

Love Erika xx