The Essex Way

NOT to be confused with The Only Way is Essex, The Essex way is an 82 mile footpath that stretches right the way across the county. I’ve only recently discovered this, so although I obviously won’t be able to do it all in one day, walking ‘The Essex Way’ has been added to my list of things to do this year.

The good people at have broken the route down into manageable sections of 8-12 miles, and worked it out so that each start and end point is within close range of a train or bus station. This is imperative since the route is not circular and we have to get back to the car somehow.

Sections of 8-12 miles are clearly for amateurs, so when I get my new holiday allowance in April me and the brother will be walking the first three sections in one day, at least that’s the plan. This will be a total of an epic 28.6 miles!  I reckon I’ll be getting my 40k step badge that day somehow.

I have walked that distance before, and it nearly destroyed me. However that was in 2012, I weighed 22 st 4 lbs and I did zero preparation leading up to it. This time I don’t reckon I’ll breeze it as such, but I also don’t think I’ll have to crawl to the shower afterwards because I’m in so much pain!

This is me about 20 minutes in to the 12 hour journey, feigning a smile and all the time thinking ‘I can’t do this’.


Things will be very different this time around!

In preparation for all the walking and hiking I’ve got planned for this year I had to start looking for decent footwear. Trying to find hiking boots that are vegan AND affordable has turned out to be impossible, so I now have a pair of £150 boots winging their way to me from Vegetarian Shoes. These babies are going to be looked after properly (assuming they fit and all that) and I’ll get them repaired until they fall to pieces. I’ve got to make them last for them to be financially viable!



Sexy, aren’t they!

Things are yet again going to be a bit tight this month but it’s nothing I can’t handle. I just didn’t want to leave the most important piece of equipment I’ll be buying this year till the last minute.

Moving on to less essential purchases, my dress from Thought Clothing arrived yesterday and OHMYGODIT’SABSOLUTELYPERFECT. I’ll get my sister to take a photo soon as I’m wearing it when we go out for dinner, but as soon as I put it on I felt like it had been made for me. Later on in the day I was browsing on Instagram and saw that they were offering another 15% off on the sale prices so rather than be bitter that I paid more for my dress than I had to I went and ordered a tunic top/dress that I’ve been eyeballing.


It is just so me.

I feel OK about these purchases because they are part of my new capsule wardrobe and I’m only buying things that I know I’m going to use again and again. One of my favourite things ever is stripy clothing (I especially love sticking two fingers up to the ‘fat people shouldn’t wear stripes brigade’) so I know anything along those lines is going to get a whole load of use.

Both items of clothing are a size 14, so the dress for one is a little snug but that means I can be reasonably sure I’m still going to enjoy wearing them when I’m at target. Especially since they are a ‘relaxed fit’.

Helping me towards my target is my new found love of exercise. I’ve seriously caught the bug over the last week or so!

A few days ago I signed up for a 30-day yoga challenge with Yoga With Adriene. All of her videos are on YouTube so it’s free, but I signed up by email because then you get a daily email with a link to the video so I don’t have to worry about forgetting to do it.

Today is day four and I’m totally hooked.

What I did struggle with initially is the more spiritual side of things. Phrases like ‘plant your crown into the earth’ get me giggling, but the actual moves are just, well, divine. I’ve been stretching things I never knew I had and it feels SO GOOD!

Another thing that was a bit cringey at first was Adriene telling me to ‘think about my intention’. But after the second session I realised what I want to get out of yoga. I do want to burn a shed load of calories, and that’s not what yoga is about so I was wondering whether I’d keep it up after the 30-day challenge. But what I’ve realised is that since I’ve been sitting on my butt for most of my life I’m so inflexible, and I’d really love to improve on that. Especially in my hips.

Also, even after just a few days I’ve noticed that I’m sitting up straighter, I’m aware when my shoulders start tensing and rising up so I make a conscious effort to send them back down again, and I’m more conscious of my breathing. I’ve been finding myself taking deep, calming, breaths at work and it just feels really wonderful.

Once the 30 days is up I think I’ll mix my exercises up with a couple of days of yoga, a couple of exercise bike sessions, at least one kettlebell workout for strength, and of course keep up with the walking. Variety is the spice of life after all.

In other news my plank time is now up to 60 seconds, plus I can feel my body beginning to change. IT’S WORKING!

Hopefully all of this will show on the scales on Tuesday, but I’m not going to freak out of the exercise does slow the losses down a little. I can tell stuff is happening, and the scales have been known to lie. The little buggers.

Right then, it’s time to get on with this afternoon’s exercise!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

About Hayleyhttp://wordsbyhayley.comCrazy bird lady, vegan, weight loss and fitness enthusiast, lover of photography

4 thoughts on “The Essex Way

  1. Welcome to the wonderful world of yoga. 😀 The best part is that you will actually notice a difference when you get more flexible, but also when you lose more weight. It’s super rewarding.

    :O And wow I respect you for going for such a long walk. My gosh I would not be able to cope.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I look forward to seeing some results, but it’s also great that there’s that instant gratification from the start from just feeling really good!

      I think it’s important to have company on a long walk or to walk in an interesting place. Sometimes the mind gives up before the body.

      Liked by 1 person

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