Week 26 weigh-in: a MAJOR milestone!

Hey guys

Okay, let’s get straight to it:

What’s Erika done well this week?

  • My BMI has gone from the super morbidly obese range (when my BMI was 50) to the lowest obesity category (BMI now 34.9)
  • I’ve lost 1lb…but more about that in a mo
  • With it being week 26 of blogging, I’ve now been blogging regularly for 6 months…thank you for joining me ❤
  • I can see my toes! Yes, I can glance down without tilting forward and see my toes!!!
  • I completed the London Vitality 10K event on Saturday so that means another medal will soon be on its way. My London Marathon one came the other day and, in the next couple of weeks, I’ll be doing a blog about my fitness medals

What could Erika improve on?

  • Is it okay to say that I can’t think of anything for this week?! This rarely happens!

Erika’s next target(s):

  • lose 1 more lb so that I will have achieved a 100 lb weight loss in all
  • 10 lbs until I’m weighing less than 100kg
  • 31 lbs until I’m in Onederland (yes, I’ll be less than 200 lbs)
  • 33 lbs until I’m no longer obese as I’ll be overweight

*******

So, guys, a HUGE surprise this morning! I thought I’d have to be 229 lbs for my BMI to go under 35 but it turns out that 230 lbs and a few ounces does just the trick. I truly can’t believe that I’m in the lowest obesity range (which goes from 30-34.9) as it’s been about 8 years since I’ve been here. Getting my BMI under 30 (and to go from being obese to overweight) seems like a long way off but it wasn’t that long ago when I was dreaming about getting out of the morbidly obese range and desperate to get my BMI under 40. So, this is where my tiny goals come into it. Just focus on the next step and don’t look too far ahead.

A quick note about this image from my Weight Watchers scales. So, body fat (BF) is way too high although I’m working on that. Body water (BW) is actually low which suggests that I’m dehydrated but I’ve managed to bring it up from being under 43. Bone (bone mass) is actually way too high… not that I’m looking for excuses to put the brakes on this weight loss journey but does this mean I’m officially very heavy boned?!

As soon as I lose my next pound, I’ll be back on here to share this with you but, until then, hope you have a good week

Love Erika xx

Weight loss since blogging:Still to lose:Current weight:BMI:
78 lbs72 lbs230 lbs34.9
Plus 21 lbs lost prior to blogging

Week 23 weigh-in: Can you do a marathon whilst obese?!

YES!!!!! Yes, you can because that’s exactly what I did yesterday. Me and around 45,000 others around the world took part in the Virtual London Marathon, each with our own 26.2 mile routes set out – whether we were walking or running it. Some people even climbed mountains to get in the distance. My legs feel extraordinarily heavy today but I’m buzzing and I’ll share the medal with you as soon as it arrives.

What’s Erika done well this week?

  • I’ve lost 1lb. Weight loss has slowed down but I don’t care as…….
  • I did a 26.2 mile marathon!
  • My BMI is now in the lower 35s…..so close to getting out of the obese class II category
  • I’m now halfway through my official weight loss journey as in I’ve lost 75 lbs with 75 lbs still to go. But, as the tables at the bottom of my posts say each Monday, this is in addition to the 21 lbs I’ve lost before I started blogging.

What could Erika improve on?

  • Nothing for this week coming really. I didn’t get much sleep last week as the marathon was on my mind throughout and work was busy but I slept for a whopping 10 hours last night and know that this week being quieter will definitely help me rest more. I’ll keep an eye on my fluid intake too and make sure I’m continuing to drink water.

Erika’s next target(s):

  • 2 more lbs until I can have a helicopter lesson
  • 4 more lbs until I’ve lost 100 lbs in total and my BMI is under 35

I’m going to add something to my list of what I’d like to do when I’m smaller/lighter: https://biggirlsmall.com/when-i-lose-weight-i-will/ I’d love to climb a mountain. We have some stunning ones in northern England, Wales and Scotland. I don’t know. Just the sense of standing on its summit, looking at the panoramic views and realising that sheer determination has brought you up to this point. Do I need to wait until I’m smaller/lighter? No, not really but by the time I can travel due to COVID cases in the UK rising, any further weight loss by then will hopefully really help me along the way.

And sorry for no 2nd post last week. Last week was just manic But I will be back later this week to chat about staying motivated when you’ve got a lot of weight to lose.

Have a great week, everyone

Love Erika xx (P.S. Did I tell you that I achieved 26.2 miles yesterday?!!!)

Recordable weight loss:Still to lose:Current weight:BMI:
75 lbs75 lbs233 lbs35.4
Plus 21 lbs lost prior to blogging

Week 22 weigh-in: 5 lbs away from losing 100 lbs!

Hey guys

I really REALLY hope that I will be blogging next Monday not only to tell you my latest weigh-in but to tell you that I actually finished the London marathon. I’m just visualising being able to say the words ‘did it’ even though it’s feeling incredibly daunting right now. My runner’s bib arrived through the post, which I think adds to the sense of occasion. I don’t know. It all feels a bit surreal right now but I believe that I CAN do it…and, if I believe that I can do, I’m more likely to actually do it!

What’s Erika done well this week?

  • I’ve lost 2lbs
  • My weight is now in the lower 230s

What could Erika improve on?

  • I don’t know why but my fluid intake has been pretty low, as in any fluid intake. From today, I’m making a more concerted effort to drink more throughout the day rather than realise just before going to bed that I’ve barely drunk anything!
  • I also need to improve my sleep. I think that mere, ‘little’ issue of a marathon (!!!) is on my mind but I’ve read that poor sleep can be linked to weight difficulties. It’s not that I’m snacking in the evenings as I don’t eat after 8pm but let’s see what I can do.
  • For the past few days, I’ve eaten a bit more than normal. Yes, I need to make sure I’m eating enough when taking on such a huge physical feat but I need to make sure that my sensible eating is back on track. What’s good is that despite eating a bit more than normal (when compared to the past 7 months), I haven’t binged and I haven’t eaten anything sweet but I just need to get back on track with my food choices.

Erika’s next target(s):

  • Walk/run the virtual London marathon on Sunday
  • 3 more lbs until I can have a helicopter lesson
  • 5 more lbs until I’ve lost 100 lbs in total and my BMI is under 35 – I’m so excited about this!

You know, although I lost 2 lbs this week, I don’t feel as if I’ve really been on track. Whilst I can’t wait for Sunday, part of me is keen to just get it over and done with so that it’s not at the forefront of my mind. Does that make sense? I had hoped to get to the 100 lb weight loss milestone by marathon day which isn’t going to happen but I need to be kind to myself! Erika, you’re doing the London Marathon at least 95 lbs lighter than if you did this in February. Let’s celebrate that!

Hope you have a good week. I’ll be back on Thursday or Friday with my next blog. Actually, I don’t know what the topic will be so, if there’s anything particular you’d like me to write about, please do say!!

Love Erika xx

Recordable weight loss:Still to lose:Current weight:BMI:
74 lbs76 lbs234 lbs35.6
Plus 21 lbs lost prior to blogging

You won’t get me seeing a doctor … yet!!

Hey guys

Okay, so, my ‘adult’ head knows that doctors see people of all shapes and sizes! Everyday, they’ll be seeing people like me, people who are bigger, people who are smaller, blah, blah, blah. So, what is it that makes me stay well clear of the local GP surgery? I thought it’d be helpful to talk aloud as I sometimes wonder if anyone has a fear as great as mine.

I should preface this by saying that I’ve been very lucky not to have developed serious illnesses or any health conditions that need monitoring…as far as I know! But I’ve become increasingly aware that if I did suspect something serious (like a lump), I still wouldn’t go. Now I write this, doesn’t it sound daft that I’d prefer to ignore a very serious health warning due to sheer embarrassment. So, I haven’t gone along for smear tests (though I do home kits to send off), I’ve ignored the free health checks for over 40s and I’ve even ignored a GP calling me as I’ve staying clear of the surgery for some time. When I’ve had two accidents in the past few years (including a broken toe), I had to go to A&E which, whilst mortifyingly embarrassing, I guess it made it feel a bit easier as I’d be seeing a doctor as a one-off. So, what’s behind this?

I don’t think it’s because I’m scared of being asked to stand on the scales as I’m big and bold enough to rebel and politely decline. But the thought of revealing my body which I go to great lengths to cover up everyday terrifies me. What will they think? Will they judge? So, I need to remind myself of the first sentence above that they’d probably not even blink because I’ll be no different to anyone else.

I wonder if this stems from being very ill with anorexic behaviour 9 years ago when there was a lot of concern about how much weight I’d lost over the space of months and now I’m so much bigger. It wasn’t even a diet that I was following as a life-threatening eating disorder was controlling me so I don’t feel that it was a ‘diet that went wrong‘ but I guess it’s how I feel. When you’ve been small and then you’re not, what will people think? In fact, I think this shame goes beyond doctors as I’ve definitely withdrawn more generally since I put all the weight on and more.

Clearly, I’m losing weight and perhaps that will give me the confidence to go to the GP if I need to… but I’m going to make a pact here and now. If there’s anything that I feel I need to see a doctor about, even if I don’t lose any more weight than right now, I will see someone. Yes, it’ll push me out of my comfort zone but I want to embrace all that life has to offer and there’s no point loving this new lifestyle if I’m not fit and healthy to enjoy it.

Thank you! Just talking aloud has made things click in my mind so you’ve been great listening. I’m now on countdown for taking part in the London marathon on 4th October and my official racing bib turned up in the post yesterday so more about that at my next weigh-in on Monday.

Have a great weekend everyone

Love Erika xx

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

Week 18 weigh-in: I’ve the biggest news ever!

Hey everyone

Oh, I’m so happy! I’m hitting lots of targets and my body’s feeling incredibly different…but I’ve also signed up for something almost inconceivable a few months ago…more about that shortly! Like last week’s blog, here’s my report card:

What’s Erika done well this week?!

  • I lost 5 lbs! 
  • My BMI is now under 37 which means I’m nicely on my way towards the lowest obesity category
  • I’m now more than half way on this weight loss journey
  • I’m now under 17 and a half stone in British weight-talk (where 1 stone equals 14 lbs)
  • I’ve now lost more than 6 stone in British weight-talk (i.e. 6 stone 2 lbs)
  • I’m now light enough to go on a Segway (manufacturers say 245 lbs)
  • I exercised daily. I’m now on my 3rd walking medal with My Virtual Mission and will complete the Hadrian’s Wall walk (144.8 km distance) later on today. I started this 2 weeks ago.

What could Erika improve on?

  • Drink more water. I’ve been drinking more than last week but lots of room for improvement!

Erika’s next target(s):

  • 1 more lb until my body fat is under 50%
  • 12 more lbs until I can have a helicopter lesson
  • 14 more lbs until I’ve lost 100 lbs in total and my BMI is under 35

You see, it’s these tiny goals that keep me focused and motivated.

Drum roll…

Right, I have a HUGE thing to admit! You know back in February at 329 lbs that I couldn’t walk more than 100 metres without being out of puff? And I’ve since completed Couch to 5K? Well, er, I’m doing the 2020 Virtual London Marathon on 4th October!!!!! Yes, there were 45,000 places as you get the finisher’s medal if you complete the 26.2 miles but you actually get the whole 24 hours to do and I signed up just in time before the spaces went. WHAT HAVE I DONE?!!!!!

So, I’ll share my pre-marathon news over the next few weeks as well as blog about discovering the world of fitness medals, overcoming weight loss plateaus, motivational tips, changing the inner voice, how to set tiny targets and so much more

Love Erika xx

Total recordable weight loss:Still to lose:Current weight:BMI:
65 lbs85 lbs243 lbs36.9
Plus 21 lbs lost prior to blogging

So that means I’ve lost 86 lbs in all and I’ve 85 to go!

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

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

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

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