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

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

Week 12 weigh-in: the dress fits!

Hey folks

Gosh, I’ve got things to tell you! My eventual goal of being in the ‘normal’ weight range is months and months off (if not a year) but I’m loving hitting goals along the way.

The dress!!

One of my goals has been to fit into a dress I wore on a cruise two years ago. Now, I was really perplexed because I feel like the dress should have fitted by now as I can tell I’m lighter. When trying it on time to time over the last few weeks, there’s been plenty of room around the waist but my pesky chest has been in the way! It must have changed shape since my holiday! Anyway, lo and behold, I tried it on again yesterday and I can now do up the zip on the side without any problems. So ta dah! I’m off on a cruise next year around Russia, Estonia and Scandinavia (COVID permitting) but hopefully I’ll be in a new dress that’s much smaller.

My BMI?

I’m so tantalising close!!! After not losing any weight from Monday to Friday, I’ve lost 2lbs this weekend and this means that my BMI is now exactly 40! I think I already knew the answer but I did check whether you have to be under 40 to no longer be morbidly obese and, yes, I need to lose another 1/4 lb to get to that first massive goal. But I’ll be straight on here when I see the magic figure of 262 lbs show up on the scales!

Anything else Erika?

Yes! More progress towards another goal which is to be able to kneel down comfortably. You see, for years, I’ve ended up with excruciating pain in my lower legs and therefore I’ve avoided sitting or kneeling on the ground. Just underneath each knee is almost like a spare tyre of fat and even touching it is super sensitive. Well, these tyres are getting smaller and the pain is nothing like before so it won’t be long until I can kneel down and, once I can do that, I can do all sorts of things like be able to get out of the bath, be able to paint the skirting boards in my hallway and just feel like sitting on the ground is an option.

And finally…..

I’ve added a new page to my blog with all my mini goals like losing half a pound, losing body fat, etc. Feel free to check it out here

So, I could be back on here tomorrow, Wednesday or whenever that 262 pops up on the scales but it’s coming. And once I hit the goal, I’ll let you know and review my progress to date because whilst our eventual goals may be a long way off, it can be wonderfully uplifting to see how far we’ve come!

Take care

Love Erika xx

Total recordable weight loss:Still to lose:Current weight:BMI:
45 lbs105 lbs263 lbs40.0
Plus 21lbs lost prior to blogging

Guess what? I ran 5K!!!

Hey folks

I thought I’d come on here before my next weigh-in (on Monday) to share some HUGE news!

Last night, whilst doing week 8 run 1 of the Couch to 5K program, I ran 5 whole, complete, entire kilometres! I can’t tell you how shocked I was. You see, I was meant to run for 28 minutes but I thought I’d keep going until I hit the 5K mark and whilst it may have taken 45 minutes, the main thing is that I kept going! I pushed my boundaries. I discovered that I’m capable of pushing myself in the pursuit of becoming healthy.

With 5 more runs to complete until I finish Couch to 5K, my hope is to cover 5K is less time. So, I hope this inspires anyone thinking that running is only for slim, fit people. I’m still just into the morbidly obese range and I never thought I’d accomplish this…but I did!

Once I finish the remaining runs, I’m going to do a blog post about the overall experience and my top tips but I just wanted to share this euphoric moment as we go into the weekend. I’m just a little bit happy!!!!!!!!!

See you on the other side of the weekend. My weight has stalled for the past few days and I don’t know whether my BMI will finally be sub 40 but I don’t mind. I’ll get there

Have a great weekend everyone

Love Erika xx

Week 10 weigh-in: 5lbs lost this week!

Yes, really!

I usually tell you the magic weight loss number some way into my posts but I just had to put it in today’s title! I’m SO pleased! I wouldn’t say that I’ve made any real changes to what I’m eating this week but I suspect it’s to do with ‘Couch to 5K’. Do you know what I did last night? I ran for 20 minutes. Yes, I ran! I was incredibly emotional afterwards as I was just shocked that someone just into the morbidly obese range could achieve such a feat. This weight loss means that I’m now 5lbs away from no longer being morbidly obese which I’d hoped to achieve by the end of July but I suspect it will be in the next 1-2 weeks. Trust me. When it happens, I’ll be straight on here announcing it but I think I can start to think of what I’m going to treat myself to with my first major milestone in sight.

How do you track your weight?

I wanted to mention how I’m tracking my weight loss. There are lots of apps out there, many of which allow you to track exactly what you’re eating, what you’re drinking, how much sleep you’re getting, etc. I didn’t want to put in my food intake as I was confident that I’d be sticking to healthy food and I guess I didn’t want to become fixated on documenting everything…..although, for some people, that’d be really helpful. I’m using the MY Weight app which is purely for putting in the results of each weigh-in. So I’ve taken a couple of screenshots.

Now, the first thing to say (which I’ve mentioned a couple of times on here before) is that I set it up from my likely weight back in February as I’d already lost some weight before starting to blog. This means that I’m actually planning to lose 171lbs in all (but 150lbs from from my first blog post). Back in February, my BMI was around 50.

And this is today’s screenshot…..

Can you see how close I am to getting my BMI under 40?!!! Also, the percentage of fat loss is big and it’s showing me that I’m losing just over 3lbs each week. The reference to calories is what I should be eating to lose 1lb a week based on being moderately active.

The other thing I like about the app is that the graph has a green line which shows me how my weight loss should look if I’m losing 1lb a week and the red line is my current trajectory……so I’m well ahead! But even sticking to the green line would be a result and very much headed towards the long term goal.

Next time?

Later this week, I’d thought I’d talk about scales in terms of how often ‘should’ we weigh ourselves? I’ll give you a spoiler that my answer is whatever suits YOU! However, I’ll discuss the pros and cons of doing it different ways

Have a good week everyone

Love Erika xx

Eating to lose weight

HOW much are you eating, Erika?

So, my weight is coming off, I’m on course to lose quite a few pounds this week and I thought I’d share with you what I’m eating. I’d like to tell you that I’m eating copious amounts of fruit, veg, fish and lean meat but I’m not. You see, the biggest change I’ve made it about quantity. It can be very easy to guess how many calories we’re taking in but the results can be quite shocking.

Take this cereal for instance. When I see the box, I think it oozes wholesomeness and it must be super healthy Beforehand, I’d eat a huge bowl food (but dry! Yes, I don’t like milk). However, when I looked up the calories and weighed MY typical portion, I was horrified! What I now do is actually have this as a treat if I’m peckish in the afternoons (which is about every 3 weeks). I use a tiny white bowl to make it feel like I’m eating more and just pour in enough to cover its base…..resulting in a 88 calorie snack. Far better than the 750 I was consuming before!

One tip to start being aware of what you’re eating is to photo everything. Yes, photograph everything that goes in your mouth because reflecting on it at the end of the day can help you see where changes can be made.

I keep to around 1,200 calories a day because the key thing is to go into calorie deficit. The only way to lose weight is to take in fewer calories that you’re burning. Although I exercise and could theoretically treat myself whilst remaining in calorie deficit, I see that every workout means burning even more calories overall. But I have to put up my hands and admit that I don’t always get to 1,200 calories. Sometimes, I eat a lot less which is where I have to be careful not to slip back into anorexic behaviour. I’m working on this! 1,200 is my goal.

I love ready meals because they tell me how many calories I’m eating plus how much fat, etc.

This is one of my favourite ready meals right now as it’s under 400 calories. There’s no point eating healthily if it’s not tasty and I love food that smacks the taste buds and makes you feel full. The other thing I do is to eat food when it’s super hot. It takes me longer to eat and tricks my mind into thinking I’ve just had a huge meal.

And we had a takeaway tonight from our local Indian restaurant. I ordered half a portion of boiled rice and chicken tikka which comes without a heavy sauce but a yoghurt (which I poured half onto the chicken). So takeaways are allowed. It’s about making smart choices.

No sweet food

Some people can lose weight whilst merely cutting back on snacks like chocolate, biscuits and cakes. But I know myself well enough to know that this approach won’t work for me. I used to have a very sweet tooth and a packet of biscuits would soon disappear. But since cutting out all sweet food, I’m so much happier with savoury food and I can easily pass on biscuits when my family’s eating it. It’s a while until any family birthdays so let’s see if I can resist the temptation of cake then!

Intermittent fasting

When I started this journey, I made a concerted effort to eat breakfast despite never having really been a breakfast person. This was when I was eating the above cereal. However, I’ve restricted my eating hours from midday to 8pm. I can’t tell you how much this has helped me! You see, before I’d snack away all evening, often oblivious to what was going in my mouth. My pattern of eating is officially known as 16:8 intermittent fasting (IF) but there are different ways of doing such as having 2 very low calorie days a week. However, you still have to be in calorie deficit overall.

So, in a typical day, I’ll eat:

  • noon: lunch which is either a one-round sandwich on granary bread or an open sandwich (such as mackerel) on an open sandwich with one slice of bread.
  • afternoon: if I’m peckish, I’ll have the cereal treat, a cereal bar or piece of fruit
  • dinner around 6/7pm: usually meat with lots of veg. However, I may have other things like a personalised pizza with low fat cheese and topped with a bucket of rocket lettuce or mushrooms. I might have a ready meal. I might have a jacket potato with tuna and sweetcorn plus salad on the side.

And I don’t feel hungry. I’ve really upped how much water I’m drinking despite never being a water person. And the diet coke is now more of a treat…..I’m not getting rid of that completely!

At the end of the day, I think it’s about finding a way of eating that’s sustainable.

Anyway folks, I’ll be back on Monday with my next weigh-in. Before then, I’ll have run for 20 minutes non-stop as part of Couch to 5K and I’ve really got my fingers crossed that Monday’s going to be a huge result. I’m SO SO close to no longer being morbidly obese!

Love Erika xx

Week 9: an extra weigh-in as I can’t help myself!

Hey folks

When I shared the results of my weekly weigh-in on Monday and told you that I was just 10lbs away from no longer being morbidly obese, I suspected that I had some water retention (time of the month and all that!) Anyway, I weighed myself this morning and I’ve lost another 3lbs since then which means:

  • I’m now under the 270 marks (as I’m 269)
  • I’m 7lbs from no longer being morbidly obese
  • My BMI is now under 41
  • I’m 5lbs from being able to do the longest zip wire in the UK (weight limit 264)
  • …..and so much more!

If you’re new to my blog, please do check out the ‘When I lose weight, I will…..’ page as it has all the things I want to do as I get smaller and lighter.

I’ve done 15 minutes running tonight (Couch to 5K week 3 run 1) and I’m just buzzing. I honestly couldn’t walk 200 metres back in February without being in pain.

And I just wanted to share a couple of items of clothing I’ve bought to slim into. They’re both UK size 14 (US size 10, I think?) but they’re 3/4 length trousers which I’ve never worn and a Superdry hoodie. I’ve a long way to go but I’m I’m visualising how I’m likely to feel wearing these and I’m sure I’ll reach my goal.

Anyway, Friday night, I’ll update you about the food I’m eating but have a great couple of days

Love Erika xx

Week 9 weigh-in: 10lbs to go until no longer morbidly obese!

Little goals. Day at a time!

Yes, I’m SO excited that the point of no longer falling into the morbidly obese range is within reach! You see, it can be very easy to focus on those long term goals such as fitting into those skinny jeans or being light enough to wingwalk on a plane but a long weight loss journey is about celebrating the short term goals too. Now that I’m 19 stone 6 (272 lbs), that 20 stone mark feels far enough way to change my mindset as I slowly but surely continue until I’m considered a healthy weight..

So, I’ve lost 3lbs this week through a combination of healthy eating and working out! Yay! I’ve got ‘Week 4, Run 3’ of Couch to 5K tonight. I was tempted to do it last night and not give myself a rest days as advised but rest is important! The body has to repair itself in between runs and I do have to be particularly careful knowing that I’m doing this fitness programme whilst carrying extra weight.

Inches are being lost

You may find sometimes that the scales aren’t budging but you can feel as if some change in your body is happening. When I started changing my eating habits back in February (prior to starting my blog and 2 months before I was brave enough to weigh myself), I measured my bust, waist, belly, hips and left calf. I have no idea why I measured just one calf!! Since then, I’ve added some more measurements as shown in the table below. I have to admit that I’m a bit embarrassed about sharing these stats with you as they’re like my personal secret that I hide under clothing which drapes to the floor but I promised when I started this blog that I’d be very open. So, here goes!

Body part20.02.2007.05.20TodayLoss
Bust52.5″-50.5″– 2″
Waist45″40.5″– 4.5″
Belly (spare tyre!)58″52″– 6″
Hips59″53″– 6″
Left arm16.5″14.5″– 2″
Right arm18″15.75″– 2.25″
Left calf24″22.5– 1.5″
Right calf22.5″22.25″– 0.25

And whilst the numbers are going down (look at the belly and hips stats!!), body mass is definitely being lost elsewhere too like around my shoulders, my thighs, my lower arms, my ankles, etc. ’tis all good. Won’t be long until none of my measurements is over 50″!

Next time

Later on this week, I’m going to tell you about what I’m eating just to give you some insight. I meant to say, please feel free to share my blog if you think it could inspire others. I’m just a regular 40-something year old who’s making changes and really getting there. I don’t have a magic wand but I’ve bags and bags of positivity!

Have a great week everyone and catch up next time.

Love Erika xx

Week 8 weigh-in: a non-scale victory!

Hello feet!

Well, my non-scale victory might be something that nearly everyone can do but…..I can now stand with my feet together! For quite some times, there’s been a 1-2 inch gap but I suddenly looked down the other day and woah!!! My feet touch!!!

The scales say…

I’ve lost 2lbs this week. I know that I can be very open here but, with this being my lowest weekly weight loss so far, I’m a tad bit disappointed BUT I know that these 2lbs add up and it’s much better that not losing weight or putting on weight! I guess I hoped for more as I haven’t once gone over my calorie limit in all this time and I’ve been exercising so much this week. Could it be that I’m gaining muscle? 1lb of fat is the same weight at 1lb of muscle but muscle is far more dense and therefore takes up a much smaller space. That could explain why I’m losing inches and moving so much better but not seeing greater numbers come off the scale today. But let’s not overthink it, Erika. Celebrate 2lbs!

Couch to 5K

I’m continuing week 3 of this running programme tonight and I thought I’d share with you what I’ll be doing. 9 minutes of running in all including 2 x 3 minutes. I mean, I couldn’t even run the length of my body when I started this!

And finally…

Whilst every pound lost or even 1/2 point on my BMI is an achievement, I have a few big milestones to reach too. And my next one is something I hope to achieve by the end of July. My BMI is currently 41.8 which puts me in the morbidly obese category. This is down from an estimated BMI of 50 back in February before I started this blog and down from about 46 when I started this blogging journey 2 months ago. So, my next major milestone is to get my BMI to under 39 and no longer be morbidly obese. That means I have 11 lbs to lose. You can do this girl!

Love Erika xx