Week 57 weigh-in: 1 lb away from being in the healthy range!

Hello!

I have to admit that I really hoped to wake up this morning to announce “Ta daaah!!! My BMI’s under 25” and be able to squeeze this accomplishment into the very end of May. But is losing weight a race? Does it have to be today? Let’s check out this week’s report card:

What’s happened this week?

  • I lost 1 lb
  • My body fat is now under 30%
  • My body water is now consistently above 50% after often being dehydrated
  • I’ve signed up to do another fitness medal

What could Erika improve on?

  • Increase my calories…. yes, still finding this hard

Erika’s next target(s):

  • 1 lb until my weight’s in the healthy range! A single, solitary, standalone 1 lb left!
  • 2 lbs until I’ve lost over half of my original weight!
  • 8 lbs until my ultimate goal so that I have a 7 lb buffer to stay in the healthy range

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Last year as the pandemic broke and my weight loss journey began, I discovered an international community of people who walk, run, jog, etc. so that shiny new medals drop through their letter boxes. There are SO many websites doing these medals such as Virtual Runner UK, Race at Your Pace and The Conqueror (if you’re on Facebook, do check out The Conqueror Community page for the loveliest and most supportive group of people). Whether you want to cover a marathon distance in one go or set yourself the challenge of walking 5 km over the course of a whole month, there’s a medal out there for everyone and for every level of fitness. On Saturday, I did a 7km walk with a friend across fields and past lakes. Right now, I do need to strike a balance between pushing myself and being kind as, whilst my legs were absolutely fine afterwards, I felt dizzy for hours once I actually stopped walking. But it was very warm and I just need to listen to my body more.

When was my BMI last in the healthy range? Probably about 28 years ago so once I see my BMI go under 25, I’ll be straight on here! I never thought with my BMI starting out at 50 that I could halve it but I’m on the verge of doing that. I’m right on the cusp ❤

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:
142 lbs8 lbs166 lbs25.1
Plus 21 lbs lost prior to blogging

Atypical anorexia. Are you ready to recover?

Hey guys

I guess today’s post is to help me think through the concept of recovery from atypical anorexia although it can probably be applied to many other situations, not just eating disorders.

The thing is…. my current situation isn’t really about the food. Sure, the thought of food, how to avoid it, how I’m going to knock off another pound consumes almost every waking moment but things like eating disorders, alcoholism, self-harm and OCD are just the outward behavioural signs of inner turmoil.

As I’ve eluded before, I ‘get’ the logic about my situation as it links to being a carer. Focusing intently on my weight loss takes up a lot of mental space and helps me avoid focusing on the harder things. So, it serves a purpose. What I’m going to do is to look at the pros and cons of recovery. Even as I write that, I’m thinking “Erika, why wouldn’t you want to recover?!!!!” but let’s see how I get on with these lists.

The pros of recovery

  • I can become physically healthy again. I hope this is possible as I know that my organs are starting to be affected but I could possibly prevent them from at least deteriorating further
  • I can reclaim the mental space this is taking up
  • I can then refocus on adopting healthy eating patterns and fully embrace how I’ve lost over 160 lbs
  • I can stop panicking at the thought of meeting up with friends over meals as I love being with people!
  • I can take on the physical demands of things I’ve been looking forward to (which I don’t feel I can right now) like abseiling, adrenalin-filled rib boat experiences, etc.
  • I can get on with the therapeutic work that I’m mentally partly trying to avoid

The cons of recovery

  • It’s scary! If I don’t have this intent focus on all things food-related, I’m more likely to think about the painful stuff
  • I’m worried about increasing my calories in case I then can’t stop eating
  • If I can’t stop eating, I could put on all the weight
  • I don’t know how to recover

So, let’s challenge those cons:

It’s scary! If I don’t have this intent focus on all things food-related, I’m more likely to think about the painful stuff

Yes, it is scary and that’s understandable Erika. Thing is that those feelings about being a carer need to be processed and masking them isn’t going to make them go away. Talking about this stuff might be really hard but you’ve an amazing psychotherapist in place who you know you can tell anything to. Just think back to what it’s like when your mind feels free and you don’t feel trapped. You can do it, girl!

I’m worried about increasing my calories in case I then can’t stop eating

Isn’t that understandable?! You’ve lost all this weight, you’ve got a new body (including the excess skin but, meh, a small niggle). But you’ve also been doing the Noom program for 4 months and actually, despite the anorexia, you’ve been learning lots about healthy eating even if you’ve not been able to put it into practice. You’ve actually got a mental tool kit of strategies to now use. Yes, when you recovered from atypical anorexia 10 years ago, you did then put on a lot of weight but this time feels different. Apart from the carer issues, you’re in a good space overall.

If I can’t stop eating, I could put on all the weight

Check out what you wrote above, Erika. You can choose a healthy range to stay between which allows for normal fluctuations. You’ve already set this up as your body weight is 2 lbs away from being in the healthy range but you’d like to lose another 9 lbs overall so that you have some wriggle room.

I don’t know how to recover

And you don’t have to know. ‘Just eat more’ might sound SO simple but you don’t have to do this alone. You know that things have been escalated by your therapist and GP because of their concerns over physical risk so you need to pass over the control. You can’t do this any more. Keep an open mind. Listen to the eating disorder service people who have their area of expertise and work ‘with’ them. Don’t see support as something being done ‘to’ you but work with them like you’ve done with other professionals in the past. They’re just part of Team Erika and will want you to rediscover your true self.

— ❤ —

Gosh, that felt quite intense to write but I hope the above helps at least one person reading this, whatever their situation. In fact, the structure of pros, cons and how to challenge cons is perhaps a format for a range of ‘What shall I do?’ situations. I’m going to record myself reading the above in the next couple of days and then play it back… because I’ll then be able to hear an external voice talking to me which can feel very different to the inner one. Well, let’s see how that goes.

I’ll be back on Friday or Saturday but, until then, take care

Love Erika xx

Where am I right now with atypical anorexia?

Hey folks

So, I thought I’d give an update about where I’m at with an eating disorder that I’ve been really trying to avoid over the past 15 months whilst on this significant weight loss journey.

— ❤ —

For those who haven’t come across my blog before, firstly welcome! I’ve lost about 160lbs since February last year and I’m now just a matter of a few pounds away from my BMI being in the healthy range. In fact, if my excess skin was removed (and I have a LOT!), my ‘real’ weight is probably already securely well within in the healthy range. However, finding myself within the anorexic grip is impacting my heart and kidneys so things aren’t great.

Although I’m having twice-weekly psychotherapy which is just incredible for dealing with some issues around being a carer to my son (and wow do I have the best therapist!), we know that I need some intensive support to avoid ending up in an eating disorder unit or medical unit. I don’t ‘do’ hospitals at the best of times and certainly not right now with Covid. I found a place in London but they said my eating and the weight loss aren’t stable enough to access their evening programme of meal support and therapy. They feel that I need their day support to get this under control…. but I couldn’t do that until late August / early September. Referrals to eating disorder services on the NHS are an all-time high so whilst I sent an email to my GP surgery last week about being referred, I would think that support will very likely be limited unless they wanted to admit me (which I don’t want!). .. but we’ll see. I was thinking this morning that another private option would be finding a dietician with expertise around eating disorders and there’s someone not too far from me who sounds experienced and personable. But when I see my therapist later on today, he may have some news about support from another professional he works alongside.

— ❤ —

I’ll be really honest here. I’m really scared about where I’m at and it feels like the eating disorder has a very tight grip on me as my calories have lowered from before (it’s gone under 400 calories in the past few days). It’s not that I don’t want to eat more. I do! I look at restaurant menus and think ‘yum” whilst simultaneously mentally calculating how many calories are in the photos and how it’d be so ‘wrong’ to eat it. And it’s not the case that I won’t try to eat more. The anorexic voice is loud, making it that I can’t eat more. Eating disorders are complex, very complex, but I know that whilst I went through this 10 years ago, I had many years enjoying food, enjoying socialising so I have to hold onto the hope that I’ll beat this… but I’m struggling to hold onto the hope right now.

You know guys, let’s see what support can be put in place and perhaps maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to blog one day with excitement that I managed to go over X number of calories in the same way that I’ve celebrated moments over the past year like no longer being morbidly obese or getting into those jeans. I’m sure there’ll be many positive posts ahead as life is good and I need to get things back on track.

I’ll be back either tomorrow or Saturday but hope you all have a good day

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



Anorexia in the UK headlines… Nikki Grahame’s death

Hey

I guess I need to talk. There’s a news story breaking right now in the UK about Nikki Grahame, a reality TV star who first came onto the UK television screens in Big Brother series 7 (2006). She openly told her story about how she’d been fighting anorexia since she was a very young child and she bore a scar in her abdomen from when she was fed directly into her stomach. Apart from singer Karen Carpenter, gymnast Christy Henrich and singer Lena Zavaroni, Nikki’s was the one name that was synonymous with anorexia. Over the years, she sought help from many treatment providers and she was back in an eating disorder unit. But she’s lost her battle, aged 38. So much to give. So much more life to lead.

I know that my calorie intake is low right now. This isn’t some intentional crash diet. It’s not a ‘very low calorie diet’ that’s being medically supervised but there’s a huge part of me that’s being drawn to reducing, reducing, reducing, part of me that feels like it’s being controlled. That part is also feeling totally invincible because I’m functioning. I’m walking, talking, working. But there is a logical part of me that knows I’m going to crash at some point. I know I can’t survive on what I’m eating, even if a large part of me feels that I’m perfectly fine. But, yes, I’m sitting here really tearful about Nikki. She may not have thought that anorexia would eventually take her… I watched Emma Wants to Live on Amazon Prime the other night about her fight and eventual death from anorexia…. she so wanted to live too….

Although I’m not underweight, that logical part of me knows that atypical anorexia carries the same medical risks as anorexia yet my internal anorexic voice feels that risk doesn’t apply to me. I’m meeting up with my therapist on Monday (the one who’s helping me come to terms with being a carer) and I need to talk to him. I really need to cry. He’s asking me very direct questions about my eating as he can see I’m losing weight and my doctor, who knows everything, has ordered various tests for me, such as an ECG which is in just over 2 weeks’ time. Just pretty conflicted in my head right now: the invincible anorexic voice versus the one who’s worried about me….

Sorry, guys. I just needed to write about how I’m feeling. Feeling rather lonely right now…..

Love Erika xx

Battling the anorexic mind…

Hey

I have an almighty battle going on in my head today….. the anorexic voice that’s been dominant recently and has taken me down to a maximum of 440 calories a day…. but also the ‘parent voice’ that’s bringing me some kindness.

I was thinking last night that the thing which helped me overcome eating disorders in the past was when something outweighed the need to hang onto the ED behaviours….. something that became more important than holding on a coping mechanism that was dangerous yet also brought a sense of feeling in control and on a high.

Today, I’ve had two amazing pieces of news (an incredible meeting that’s going to raise my professional profile nationally and even internationally) and I’ve been accepted onto a course that will enable me to train as a psychotherapist eventually. In fact, they say that good things come in 3s and I’ve bought some tickets for tonight’s Euromillions lottery!! So, there are lots of positive things happening and I really want to be well enough to enjoy all of this because despite struggling being a carer, there are some amazing developments coming. The future looks really positive …. and I don’t want to be ill. It’s late afternoon here and I’ve pushed myself to eat 410 calories so far which is about 300 more than I’d normally eat so far at this time of the day…. and I really want to eat dinner but then it’ll take me over the 440 calorie limit. Going over 440 is probably going to feel emotionally tough but I guess that’s to be expected. My comfort zone feels like a safe place to stay but, as one of two people in real life who know what’s happening, a guy said to me yesterday that there will come a point where the anorexia will cause me to collapse because it’s not sustainable. I might think I’m well, I might think there’s no reason to change what I’m doing but I’m heading towards a medical crisis where matters will be taken out of my hands. And, yes, part of me can see this because of the heart palpitations and dizziness. But it’s an all-consuming battle in my head, disguised by the smile that I’m rather adept to showing others…

So, I’m going to try to go over 440. I feel scared but I need to try. And I’ll report back here on Monday at my next weigh in

Hope you have a good weekend

Love Erika xx

lbs or kgs? No, us Brits talk about weight in stones!

What are stones?

At least historically, the people of the UK and Ireland have talked about their weight in stones and I’ve only just found out that very few countries to do this. In fact, when I started this blog a few weeks ago, my challenge was to lose 10 stone and you may be thinking, Erika, what on earth are stones? That’s a good question!

Well, 1 stone equals 14lbs so rather than say how we weigh 280lbs, we would usually say how we weigh 20 stone. However, I see on Facebook groups that the universal language of weight loss appears to be lbs so that’s why my blog name changed. I thought that losing 150lbs felt like a more round number than aiming to lose 140lbs!

Anyway, there’s a reason why I’m telling you about this. You see, at my weekly weigh-in on Monday, I was at 283lbs. And when I get to see 279lbs on the scales, this is going to be SUCH a momentous weigh-in as it’ll mean that I’m under 20 stone! I’ll be 19 stone 13lbs and well on my way to success.

What music gets you up dancing?

In Monday’s blog, I asked what music gets you up dancing and burning away those calories. As promised, here’s my list of the songs that get me up but these are 10 of many:

  • Wake Me Up Before You Go Go (Wham)
  • 1999 (Prince)
  • I’m Still Standing (Elton John)
  • I’m So Excited (The Pointer Sisters)…….I LOVE this!
  • Fame (Irena Cara)
  • Footloose theme tune
  • Shake It Off (Taylor Swift)
  • (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher (Jackie Wilson)
  • 9 to 5 (Dolly Parton)
  • Reach (S Club 7)

And finally, eating disorders

My blog tagline is about not falling into the traps of eating disorder behaviour which can be hard when embarking on a weight loss journey. Now that we’re getting to know each other a bit more, over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be telling you about my struggles with bulimia in my 20s (which ended up with 6 weeks spent in an eating disorder unit as an inpatient) and then being very ill with anorexic behaviour 9 years ago in my late 30s that lead to very serious heart problems. But it won’t be all doom and gloom. You see, I’m celebrating right now as I’m losing weight healthily for the first time free of my ED history which I hope helps at least one person out there. There is hope!

Okay guys, next blog will be my weigh-in on Monday…..although I might sneak in an extra one over the weekend!

Love Erika xx