Research

As recommended by a kind fellow blogger, I’ve been reading a very interesting book called Brain over Binge by Kathryn Hansen. It’s written by a lady who had bulimia but it’s relevant to anyone who is struggling with binge eating. Like me! I’m about halfway through at the moment, which is partly because there’s quite a lot of scientific theory, so I’m going slowly to make sure I absorb as much information as possible, and partly because the parts that really resonate with me are, from an emotional perspective, quite taxing to read.

However! Since I got to the part which tells you how to stop binge eating, which I read with a HUGE amount of scepticism, I have managed not to act on any of my urges to binge since that point. And there have been a fair few. I haven’t been perfect by any means – there was my rather heavy drinking session followed by some hangover-curing snacks, but I never felt compelled to eat them. It was just ordinary overeating that ordinary people do, and I didn’t feel bad about it afterwards either.

Once I’ve finished reading I’m going to go through it again but making notes this time, because there’s a ton of useful stuff that will even be helpful in everyday life. When I’ve done that and got my thoughts in order I’ll write more about it here, but there’s no substitute for reading the book. Despite the fact I’ve not finished it yet I highly recommend it.

In any case I’ve been back on plan since Tuesday and reckon I can be extra healthy (see what I did there?) for exactly the next four weeks. I’m not normally a fan of short-term goals like holidays or fitting into a wedding dress (not that the latter applies to me) but since as of Tuesday it was four weeks on-the-dot until my holiday, I’m going to focus on staying on plan until then.

As for the actual holiday it’s self-catering so there’s no reason I can’t still be sensible.

As ever my training schedule went out the window, because between me and my trainer something is always coming up. That’s why I’ve said I’ll do a minimum of three sessions a week, and I just fit them in whenever I can.

We were supposed to train Wednesday, giving us an extra day (Tuesday) to recover from Sunday night’s shenanigans. But we were both feeling up to a run a day early so went back to Hockley woods, where I did my first almost-three-mile run. That first time it was muddy, but my average time was 13:20 min/mi.

This time around I smashed my personal best with an average of 11:40 min/mi. I don’t consider the lack of mud this time around to be a huge factor for my better time. When I really felt like I had a good pace was in the covered areas of the woods where there wasn’t much mud previously, and my trainer even noticed that he wasn’t having to hold back as much as he usually does. Bless him.

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We were supposed to train together again today but he was too tired, so I decided to stay in bed and catch up on some sleep. As it happens I’ve really struggled with sleep this week, so I woke up early anyway and couldn’t get back off. I wrestled with myself for a while, thinking that I really should train on my own. But I really didn’t want to!

I’m away this weekend so today was my last chance to get a proper training session in. I couldn’t just lay in bed feeling sorry for myself, could I?

The times when you don’t feel like it, I think they are the most important times to get out there and just do it. I only stopped to take a picture at the end, so you’ll have to take my word for it that earlier on in the day the sun was out and the woods were teeming with butterflies, bees, squirrels and birds. Even when the sun went in and it started to rain everything was still beautiful and green though.

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As it happens, it was another day for smashing personal bests.

I FINALLY MADE IT INTO THE 10 MINUTE BRACKET! 

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And it wasn’t even a fluke!

Today was the best I have felt running so far – it was full of pure, unadulterated joy. At the beginning I had my usual I-don’t-think-I-can-do-this moment, then I felt like I was flying along. It seemed that I could just keep going forever if I really wanted to. Thankfully the sensible part of my brain made me pace myself.

On the way back there are some pretty steep hills, and for the first time I really started to get my breathing under control. Because I didn’t feel like I was about to collapse, I was able to concentrate more on my form and could even pay attention to how all of my leg muscles were feeling.

Going up those hills I felt effing strong, and I’ve noticed that a lot of the wibbliness in my thighs has been replaced by muscle.

I’m unbelievably glad that I didn’t spend this amazing afternoon hiding under my duvet.

So that’s two training sessions down for the week, and I won’t get an official one in now to make it three. But it doesn’t matter at all on this occasion, because I certainly won’t be spending this weekend on my backside.

More about that next time!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

One or the Other

From tomorrow (or right now, actually) I am throwing myself back into Slimming World. I’m still reading about body positivity, but sitting on the fence about it isn’t helping me. I need to commit to Food Optimising, or commit to never following another eating plan ever again. I am going to do that eventually, because I want to be free of the bad relationship I’ve had with food for roughly twenty years, but I have no intention of doing so until I’ve lost just a little more weight. I’m going against the advice of the book, but I truly believe this is the best path for me. So I’m that’s what I’m doing!

I’m going to get that last bit of weight off, for a few reasons:

  • Those vintage Levi’s that I want to fit into. I’ve never wanted to wear an item of clothing so much in my life!
  • I want to make sure I have minimum pressure on my knees. Now I know that running is my ‘thing’ then I will continue to do it until my bones crumble. I’d like to avoid that for as long as possible (preferably into my 80’s, at least!)
  • I want my tummy to go down a bit more so that clothes hang on me better
  • I’m so close to where I want to be, it seems silly not to have that last little push

It’s been good to reevaluate why I want to lose more weight, and exactly what I’m aiming for. I’ve been reading about people in situations where they get to their target weight and it’s never enough; they think they will be ‘fixed’ with just another 7lbs. Which becomes another 7lbs, and another. It’s a dangerous mindset, but I don’t think it’s one that I have.

I know that in a stone’s time I’m still not going to be entirely happy with my body, and that’s when I’m going to learn to truly love it. Because I sure as hell ain’t having surgery. What I do know is that I’m almost happy with my weight, and that I know when to stop. And it’s soon. It’s tantalisingly soon!

I must admit that I had been reconsidering a tummy tuck recently, and was even going to speak to my doctor about it. But then I cancelled the appointment because I was considering it for all the wrong reasons. Mostly because of a male interest, and that is NOT the way to go.

Not that the male in question has said that my body would be a problem, or has even seen it, or anything like that, it’s just that the old doubts came creeping back saying that I’m not worthy of his love or affection if I look the way I do. Naked at least.

I’ve said in previous posts that if someone has a problem with your body then they are not the one, but when you start falling for that particular someone then jeebus, it’s sure easier to talk the talk than it is to walk the walk!

Deep down I do know – if someone can only love you if you have bits hacked off of your body, then that is not the kind of love that you need or deserve. That’s not love at all.

Again, this situation has not arisen I must stress! No one has said anything like this to me, it’s purely me saying these things to myself. Because at times I’m harder on myself than anyone else ever could be.

Tummy concerns aside though, I’m actually feeling FABULOUS! I’ve spent the winter wearing salopettes at work, and in recent months the least amount of clothes anyone has seen me in has been jeans that are miles too big for me with thermal long johns worn underneath.

This week as the weather has improved I wore joggers to work for the first time EVER. I didn’t think much of it – the main draw is that since I’ve been exercising I have a good supply of them, they don’t need ironing (RESULT), and they are damn comfortable. I never considered how I actually look in them.

On my first night of the week though I got off of my forklift truck to put my warm jacket on and was shocked by a loud exclamation of  ‘F**KING HELL HAYLEY, WHERE HAVE YOUR LEGS GONE?!’

Although I haven’t lost much weight recently, my body is definitely changing and it would seem that I have runners legs now. They’re definitely leaner than they’ve ever been, and this is coming from someone whose mother used to say she had ‘thunder thighs’. Charming, I know.

Later on in the night I also got a ‘F**K, YOU ARE SO SKINNY NOW!’ and I got all excited explaining to the person in question that I’m so, so nearly ready to stop.

In other news yesterday I had my best. Run. EVER.

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Look at that, 11:07! I’m so nearly in the ten minute bracket! As soon as I stopped stressing over it, then good things started to happen. There will be runs in the future where my times are atrocious, and I need to accept that. It’s entirely normal.

I’ve also discovered what kind of running I love most, and it’s cross-country. I love, love, LOVE trying to stay on my feet whilst running through mud and roots and rocks and all sorts. It’s just so much fun! This is one of the best parts of the run, where after slipping and sliding down a huge muddy hill, then splashing through what is basically a bog, we run along a line of planks.

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I can’t believe I actually considered getting a treadmill. I would have absolutely hated it.

Today I did briefly consider having an off-plan meal later on, as uncharacteristically I’m doing overtime tomorrow (for the first time in about two years) and have subjected myself to a one-day weekend. I felt that because I only have one night off then I deserve a ‘treat’.

Apart from the fact that it’s a really silly mindset to have, I mostly remembered how awful I feel when I train after eating badly so I dismissed the idea almost as soon as it appeared.

This morning I went for a walk with my brother around my usual running route, and the contrast between the weather yesterday and the weather today is fairly drastic.

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From the same position as the first picture the castle wasn’t visible at all, so I had to get closer. Walking around the route I realised just how tough it is, even walking, and the eventual aim is to be able to run the whole lot without stopping. Even the Hill of Doom. One day, anyway. Even my trainer can’t do that yet.

It might even be years before I achieve that, but that’s OK. One thing I do know is that I never want to give this up. It feels way too good.

Now all of my thoughts are in order and I’m feeling motivated, it’s time to get on with what’s left of my day.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Trust

I’ve become a little bit obsessed with times and figures. I love using MapMyRun and seeing the breakdown of how long it took me to do each mile, but it’s easy to get disheartened if I pay too much attention to them in the short-term.

I’ve made myself a little spreadsheet where I have all of the times broken down from different routes that I do with accompanying graphs. Because who doesn’t love a good graph? There’s not enough data to make them interesting enough for me to share yet, but I’m looking forward to doing that one day in the future.

When it comes to timing yourself though, there are just too many varying factors. Even more so if you’re training outdoors. There’s the weather, your mood, how much sleep you’ve had, what you’ve eaten, what you’re wearing… so looking at one run then the next and feeling disappointed that it took me two seconds longer is not very productive! It’s all about overall trends.

Yesterday, my trainer took me to a park he hasn’t trained at for about four years but it used to be one of his favourites. We ran around the perimeter which is about three miles (when he lived in that area he used to run around it four times in a row) and he expected me to be able to run about the first mile without stopping. It’s a lot different to our usual place – the hills aren’t as intense but instead there are long slopes that you have to pace yourself on. When we were a third of the way around the perimeter he asked if I needed to stop. It took me a few breaths before I could blurt out a strangled ‘NO!’

It was so muddy, we had to keep leaping over huge puddles and picking our way through brambles just to make sure we kept the momentum going and didn’t stop. And that’s all absolutely fantastic for strengthening the core muscles but it was also very tiring.

Even so I made it the whole way around without stopping! I felt fantastic afterwards – I had the biggest hit of endorphins I’ve had so far I think.

Here’s a picture of me afterwards. It’s not a great one, but in the body positive book I’ve been reading the author mentions that you don’t have to look like a model in pictures. They aren’t taken because you’re on a photo shoot, it’s a snapshot of a memory and it’s enough that you are present no matter what you look like.

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It’s a bit blurry, it was a grey and horrible day, and I do not look comfortable even though I was trying to. But still, this is a record of the day I ran the furthest yet, and the first day I felt confident enough to wear leggings on a run.

I’m so glad I did because I was much more comfortable. I would also like to point out that my hair was not messed up by the run, my trainer thought it looked too neat and very kindly messed it up for me. Bless him.

I have been feeling a little bit frustrated with my apparent lack of progress after the last week or so, but after this I feel right back in the zone again. I just have to trust that even though an app on my phone might not immediately show it, progress is always being made.

After training we went for a meal at the pub around the corner where I had a tasty, albeit expensive (nearly £14 for a bowl of veggies and some balsamic vinegar) vegan lunch that was also full of goodness, washed down with a not-so-healthy diet coke.

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I’ve got to admit that I spent the rest of the afternoon/evening grazing on not unhealthy foods as such, but foods that are not really Slimming World friendly. If I wasn’t on track again today, I reckon I’d be in for a gain but I’m trying not to stress about going off plan and focusing more on whether I’m actually hungry now and what I actually want to eat.

I’ve just eaten my porridge and oat milk, which I wasn’t going to eat yet because it wasn’t ‘time’. But I listened to what my body was telling me and realised that I was in fact experiencing genuine hunger. So I ate!

After I’ve finished my current book I’m definitely going to read more about intuitive eating and try to put it into practice.

Today is a rest day, which is a concept I’m struggling with. I always feel like I should be doing something but if definitely helps to have proper downtime. It seems counterintuitive, but having a proper rest is absolutely essential. So today apart from washing all of my muddy exercise gear I’m doing nothing at all. Until work later that is, booooo.

In fact I feel a nap coming on (which will surprise absolutely no one!)

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Friendship

April is turning out to be all about friends. After being sociable with the work people, today I’ve visited one of my oldest and bestest friends who moved away from Essex to the lovely city of Canterbury. Luckily for me it’s only an hours drive away, and an easy drive at that. Really I should visit more often, but life gets in the way and we always leave it too long. But when we do meet up, we make the most of it!

I went for my run first thing this morning and I timed it just right. I got to the park just after the gates were opened and there were already a fair few cars there, but by the time I left the car park was RAMMED and there was someone waiting to take my space.

My run was nowhere near as hard as I thought it would be. I felt like I wasn’t doing very well, and I nearly gave up after 2.7 miles. In this park I normally do 3.5, so I had a stern word with myself and carried on.

It turns out I broke a new record and have shaved a significant amount of seconds off of my personal best!

I’m so close to being in the 11 second bracket that I can taste it.

I’ve posted a few things about training on social media that my friend has seen, but he thought I was just doing lots of walking. When I told him I’d actually been doing bona fide jogging and sprinting he was really impressed. He even told me out of all the people he knows I’d be in the bottom five of anyone he’d expect to ever go running. I took that as it was intended (as a compliment) because it’s so far removed from the Hayley he first met ten years ago it’s unbelievable. And I was so unhappy back then, this is just more evidence of how much things have changed for me.

After a quick cup of coffee we headed into town to get some grub. We went to the Lady Luck Bar which is just incredible for vegan options. As soon as I saw the menu I knew what I had to have – the Rick and Morty baguette!

It was amazing – the best thing I have eaten in a long, long time. The chilli mayo was divine and the crispy fried pickle Ricks are a work of pure genius. That Szechuan sauce? Delish!

I followed it up with a vegan honeycomb sundae which has even won an award it’s that good.

Unlike when I’ve been eating ‘naughty’ food at home this week, I don’t feel as bloated and awful after this meal so I’m hoping it doesn’t affect my training tomorrow.

I was really disappointed with myself the last time I went out with my trainer, and I don’t want a repeat of that.

After our meal me, my friend and his lovely girlfriend went on a nice long walk where they indulged me while I searched for things to photograph. I didn’t spend too long trying to get decent shots, because it’s too antisocial and I get kinda caught up in it, so I just took some quick snaps without overthinking it. I’m still happy though, it’s a good visual representation of our day!

It was also the first day this year I’ve been able to comfortably walk around with no coat or jumper. More of that please!

I have to wait until the end of the month until my next meet up with a very special friend, but it’ll be worth the wait. It’s going to be awesome.

In the meantime I need to get myself right back on track, and of course I will because I always do. That’s the key – never give up!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Split

Today I’m feeling wonderful and crappy in equal measure. All things considered I’ve had a pretty good weekend – I’ve crammed in a lot and have barely had a minute to sit down. So I feel like I’ve accomplished something, but also that I haven’t had a moment to breathe.

I went round my sister’s for a vegan-friendly Sunday roast and it was lovely. I forgot that it was Easter, because we aren’t religious and I’m not fussed about Easter eggs, but my sister did put in a lot of effort to make everything look very seasonal. She did me Slimming World-friendly roasties too!

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After that I had to pop to a friend’s house which is an hour round trip. I’d been to work the night before, only had three hours sleep, spent the afternoon and my sister’s and was ready to drop. So to save me driving my brother offered to take me on his motorbike.

It was the first time I’ve rode pillion with my brother, and it was AWESOME. My brother was extra careful with me on the back and didn’t go too fast, but even when we were doing 70 on the dual carriageway it blew me away just how quickly we got to 70. It was bloody exhilarating!

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When we got back I posed for a photo on his bike (I can’t actually ride a bike myself) and felt amazing. If you remember from previous blogs I’ve only just recently been able to fit back into my safety gear and even then it’s never fit as well as it does now. In fact it’s too big!

But it’s a game of two halves right now – I’ve had successes and failures, and my mind doesn’t know what to process first. Well a blog always helps with that!

I weighed in yesterday and had maintained, but that will be short-lived. Because afterwards I just ate and ate and haven’t really stopped since. I feel bad about it, really bad, and I need to pull myself together. Until Thursday, when I have naughty things planned. I ALWAYS do this. Whenever I’m looking forward to going out I screw it up just before and feel fat and frumpy!

Although today is nearly done and dusted, tomorrow at least is going to be perfect. There may only be one more day before I go and and drink more alcohol than is good for me and dance until the clubs close, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be good for that day. It’ll make me feel better about myself anyhoo.

On the plus side I did train yesterday, at least in a way. I didn’t work as hard as normal, because my trainer was knackered from work the night before and my sister came along to pick up some tips. On an ordinary surface her split times are better than mine, but she’s not used to the kind of training I’ve been doing.

Where I go it really is like a free gym. It’s hilly so you can be constantly shocking your body by sprinting up the hills as fast as you can and then when you go down the other side you use the downwards part to recover rather than having to stop. We also do a lot of running on lumpy grass and mud which is great for your balance and core muscles, plus it keeps it interesting. I haven’t fallen in the mud yet, but it’s only a matter of time.

I did quite a lot of sporadic sprinting yesterday, and I’ve picked up so much speed from when I first started. When I tried to go as fast as possible before I started training, it felt like running in a dream, where you frustratingly just can’t get anywhere. Now when I run I’m actually cracking on and it feels incredible!

After training I took my sister back home, had the quickest shower ever, wolfed down a dinner that I barely managed to finish in time, made myself presentable (I actually felt fairly fabulous) then had to leave to go to the cinema with a friend.

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We went to see A Quiet Place, and I honestly can’t tell you whether I liked it or not. The premise of the film is that you can’t make a noise or something bad happens (I won’t go into more detail than that) so I was looking forward to a lot of build-up and suspense. But I couldn’t get into it because I was sat next to the most annoying person. This always happens to me! He ate like a noisy pig the entire time, so much so that when someone did speak in the film I have no idea what they said. And I don’t know how it’s even humanly possible for the person to breathe just as loudly as he did. That’s it, I’m never going to the cinema again because I always, always get stuck next to the WORST people!

I have training again tomorrow, then I have to accept that the weekend I have planned is going to be a setback. When I made my plans I weighed up the pros and cons, now I have to just commit and go with it otherwise I’ll feel bad if I do go and still feel bad if I don’t.

After drinking on Thursday I have Friday to recover then I’m going to visit a friend I haven’t seen since October. We’re going to a vegan-friendly pub/restaurant near him that I LOVE and I fully intend to have their award-winning vegan honeycomb sundae.

That’s scheduled for Saturday, and I’m going to train in the morning before I go otherwise it’s just too big a gap between sessions and I’ll make things extra hard for myself. It’s going to be hard enough anyway because the last time I had alcohol the next training session was brutal.

Then after this weekend I am only saying yes to healthy pursuits, mostly because I’ve been enjoying training so much. I was reading my friend’s blog today (check it out! Start on this post. You won’t be disappointed) where he was recapping his journey to health and fitness. At some point he found that walking is ‘his thing’. Well, I’ve found that running is my thing and I want all of my other pursuits to compliment that passion rather than make it harder.

From Sunday everything I do will get me closer to my goals rather than further away from them.

Right then, I’d best get myself ready for work. I only have two shifts left before my naughty extended weekend begins, and I’m going to make sure I enjoy every second of it. Preferably without guilt!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x