Peak Hayley

Oh darn. You may remember that I went for a run the other day. Well since then my knee has been hurting.

Damn and bother.

I may just have to accept, at least for now, that running is off the table. I get the impression that if I want to find out exactly what’s going on with it then it would mean a long fight to get a referral from my doctor to see a specialist, and I don’t really fancy having that fight right now. Walking still seems to be fine, so that’s what I’ll focus on.

On Wednesday I walked into town because I had to return a parcel for my mum, which I could have returned round the corner. But round the corner there aren’t swans and geese, so where’s the fun in that?

Since getting out and about I’ve been feeling a lot better and the positivity and focus is coming back. Having said that, yesterday I was hungry all day long and nothing I ate seemed to satisfy me. By the afternoon I was dreaming of coffee and walnut cake, but I didn’t really want it. What I really want is to fit into my vintage Levi’s once and for all!

Just lately I’ve been allowing myself to give in to my random cravings, telling myself that I’d give myself one more day then I’d get back on it. When I lost 7 stone in 2012, it was that exact mindset that saw me back where I started within a very short space of time. It was one more day every day for months and months. Every single time I believed myself that it was the last time, and it’s only experience that is telling me now that I need to nip it in the bud.

Don’t trust that inner voice Hayley, she’s lying.

I’m all for allowing yourself a treat, but the simple fact is that if I listened to every impulse that I have then one day it would likely kill me, one way or another.

Instead of saying ‘treat yo’self’, what I did was exactly what my body was asking me to do. I ate until I was satisfied, even if that did take more food than normal. I managed to say completely focussed until a saboteur came along in the form of Steve and a little bar of chocolate.

One of the reasons I know that I love Steve more than I’ve ever loved anyone before, is that I’m happy to share food with him. We always have a little (or big) bite of what the other is eating, and for the first time in my life I haven’t been genuinely tempted to stab the person taking my food with a fork. No really.

So when he wanted some of the chocolate he’d bought for me, I gave it up happily. The rest I did eat even though a little voice was telling me it may not be the best idea, but I also squirreled away the wrapper to check the Syns when I got home.

I decided to do something that I never do and actually record the Syns, even if it took me over my daily allowance, in my food diary. At group last week I picked up one of the 12 week journals and I’m absolutely determined to fill it in accurately for the duration.

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By doing that, I could well be at target by April. Wouldn’t that be something?

So I worked out the Syns for my portion of the chocolate, and found that by rejigging the dinner I had planned I could still be within 15 Syns for the day. Yay!

One thing Steve pointed out last night, that I’d never really been conscious of before, is that when I’m on plan is when I really thrive. It’s not about how I look, it’s that when I’m in control and giving my body healthy food, I’m at my best. I’m happier, more energetic, my mind is sharper… everything just comes together.

For dinner I piled my plate with a mountain of veggies and a big pile of Slimming World chips, and afterwards I was finally full. Mission accomplished. Today my appetite is right back to normal. Phew!

Apart from having the munchies, yesterday was a very exciting day. My friend who is getting married messaged me a few days ago to say he’d ring me at some point because he had a proposal for me. I was intrigued, as I knew it wasn’t a marriage proposal. He’d just done that after all!

He rang yesterday evening and I was absolutely honoured that he asked me to photograph his wedding. My reply was ‘yes, yes, a thousand times yes!’ To be honest I had secretly been hoping he would ask since he announced his engagement.

This whole situation is testament to how much I’ve changed lately, because a work colleague asked me the same thing a couple of years back. I really wanted to do it, but I had to decline in the end because I just didn’t have the confidence. Even the thought of it would make my palms sweat instantly. Apart from not wanting to interact with the wedding guests, I also didn’t have faith in myself that I could do his big day justice.

This time around, I know it’s going to be awesome in all respects. I can’t wait – my mind is brimming with ideas about how to capture all the special moments.

In addition to that, the wedding is in September so it’s a fantastic incentive to smash my goals well in advance. I have enough time to save up for a really spectacular outfit that I will feel amazing in. Bring it on.

Finally I’ve been feeling really creative and have found my journaling mojo. I decided I didn’t like the cover of my latest journal so I made a new one and stuck it over the top, and now I’m buzzing with lots of little ideas for the contents. It’s turned out to be a fantastic pursuit because it doesn’t take up that much time and it’s ridiculously satisfying.

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In fact I think it’s time for a little arty session right now, so I’ll sign off.

Have a great weekend!

Hayley x

The First

Yesterday was fantastic, and just what I needed to give me the motivation for yet another fresh start. I wasn’t on plan, but I just had the nicest and most relaxing day I’ve had in a long, long time.

I started off the day by getting creative. One of my bestest friends announced on Saturday that he’d proposed to his girlfriend (a truly lovely lady) and that she’d said YES. So I experimented with my watercolours and knocked them up a nice engagement card.

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I am so happy with how it turned out. I did a little five minute sketch of my sister’s bird, Petrie, being a borb (a round bird) and made a cover for a journal I’m working on. I’m trying not to be too precious about anything and just do it purely for enjoyment. It worked – I was having a great time.

In the evening Steve and I went to the cinema together for the first time ever, to see Stan & Ollie, and it was one of those rare occasions where I’ve seen a film and not had a single criticism. To top it all off, when I got home I had an early night and slept for a magnificent eleven-and-a-half hours. I needed that so badly.

I’ve decided that the last two weeks don’t count and that today (the 14th) is my official start of the year. So happy new year to me!

In the spirit of openness I will tell you that over the last two weeks (I last weighed in New Year’s Eve) I have gained 5 lbs. It’s half as bad as I thought it would be actually.

What came before doesn’t matter though, what matters is what I do now.

This morning training officially restarted with a run, and again it went better than I expected. The first two miles were a similar pace to what I was doing before my knee went wrong which was a nice surprise, and I only had to stop because my upper thighs were protesting. I probably could have pushed myself harder but I wanted to avoid an injury on my very first run of the year.

The next two miles were very slow indeed, but only because I had company.

A Labrador joined me on my walk, and whereas usually an owner turns up eventually this one was apparently owner-less. I waited around for a bit and soon saw a lady with three dogs who was not the owner. She was very snippy with me for not having ‘my dog’ on a lead, because she couldn’t control her largest dog which was, ahem, not on a lead. I didn’t press the issue though and took my new friend back in the direction he came from.

I kept him with me for a while but all of sudden he just bolted and there was nothing I could do to hold on to him. I don’t think he’s fully grown yet but wow, he was strong! It turns out with his super-duper dog hearing he heard something I didn’t – his owner calling him.

I soon learned that he’s a rescue dog named Barney, whose favourite pastime is running away when his owner’s children leave the garden gate open. He was so friendly, but his owner told me he will make a run for it at every opportunity. I wished them both good luck and continued my walk, making the most of the slower pace by taking a few snaps and getting proof that there was a tiny bit of blue sky, even if it didn’t last.

This evening I had group with my lovely Slimming World buddies. Me being me I totally forgot that January is a busy time in group so it was a nice surprise to see so many people there. I left with a 12-week journal in hand and tons of motivation for the week ahead.

I’m ending this weekend feeling like I’m finally getting somewhere. It’s going to be a good week people, I can feel it.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Worse then Better

Do you know what? I’ve really been struggling over the last week. My anxiety has been playing up a bit, even though I went to the doctors the week before last to talk about coming off my medication. I was feeling so much better up until now. My doctor has reduced the dose, and I’m going to stick with it because life is always going to get in the way, and I still feel like I can handle it.

If it weren’t for the fact that my concentration is seriously suffering these days, which I think is a side effect from the anti-depressants (along with a few others that I’d like to get rid of), then I would be quite happy to just keep taking them. But something’s amiss and if I can find ways to cope without them, that’s what I’d rather do. Plus I’ll save myself £9 or whatever it is on my prescription!

Up until last week I’ve barely had any time for myself, so since the end of November I’ve done hardly any exercise at all. I’m not exaggerating – it’s not a case of ‘well I could squeeze in a workout if I tried…’  Every spare second I had went to preparing food or trying to sleep.

This week my routine, especially regarding Steve, has changed due to changes in living arrangements and work commitments. Although I’m seeing less of him and of course I really miss him, I was planning to use the time to catch up on sleep.

It didn’t work out.

For one I was incredibly stupid and spent my entire weekend cleaning and sorting without taking a break, then when I had time to sleep, I found I couldn’t. Typical.

I started to feel a little bit overwhelmed with everything until yesterday when finally something clicked. Lately my number one priority has been energy conservation. I’ve put off getting back into exercise because I thought it was best to rest, which sounds good in theory, but in reality it has the opposite effect. The less I do, the worse I sleep, the hungrier I get, the more depressed I feel…

The frustrating thing is I know all this, but I kind of got swept up in everything. It happens after all.

So today I forced myself to get out of bed (rather than laying awake feeling increasingly frustrated at the fact I’m not sleeping) and walked into town and back. I took some oats with me with the intention of feeding the huge flock of geese that normally hang out in the park, but on this occasion they were absent.

The lake was recently dredged and a body found after a poor chap went missing over Christmas, so I suppose that might have scared them off for now. The swans were in residence though, and they did not seem to mind getting the pick of the oats.

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It felt really good to get out, and now I’m feeling the right kind of tired, if that makes sense. I’ll be off to bed shortly for a nice long sleep before work. Heaven!

I haven’t been eating right for the most of the year so far, so fueling my body properly is also a huge priority. Hopefully the exercise will help with my cravings and there will be no more slip ups. That’s the plan anyway.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Broken Promises

Let’s get the Slimming World stuff out of the way first. Over Christmas I coped quite well with a big but manageable and guilt-free gain. Since then though, I feel like I haven’t been able to stop eating crap! I don’t even really want it, I’m just munching down sugary, fatty rubbish like there’s no tomorrow.

This weekend is the first weekend in months and months that I’ve had to myself, and rather than doing what I’d promised i.e. slowing down and taking more time for myself, I actually haven’t stopped the whole time except to sleep. Even that has been restless. I’ve just been grabbing whatever to eat partly because I just couldn’t be bothered to prepare anything and partly because I was all too willing to give into my cravings.

So we start again, again, again. Sigh. I’m trying to get enthusiastic about it but I’m struggling a bit at the mo.

I missed group yesterday, which was half expected. I started the weekend by beginning the mammoth task of sorting through basically everything I own and even though it shouldn’t have come as a surprise, it took a lot, lot longer than I thought it would. I had still hoped to make it to weigh in, but I realised weigh in had already started when I was still up to my knees in boxes and who even knows what else.

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I ended yesterday with three sacks of charity shop donations (which as I’m so busy are being picked up by a charity tomorrow) a big pile of stuff to sell, a sack or two of stuff that was no good to anyone, and a nice clean floor that you can actually see. I now have a garden full of a dismantled wardrobe, two dismantled shelving units, a broken cooker and various other bits and bobs. Yeah, there are a few tip runs needed.

Today, even though I have work tonight, I spent the whole day cleaning. I have scrubbed the kitchen walls from top to bottom, cleaned the tops of the cupboards, cleaned the kitchen windows, vacuumed and scrubbed as much carpet as I could before I ran out of cleaner.

I still have an absolute ton of stuff to do around the house, but where I’ve been imagining the end result I subconsciously got it into my head that everything needs to be done yesterday. As such I’ve turned something I was looking forward to doing into something that’s stressing me out, so I need to put my money where my mouth is and CHILL THE HELL OUT AND ACTUALLY START LOOKING LOOKING AFTER MYSELF. I mean it this time.

Tomorrow I’m doing things for me. I’m going to be on plan, I’m going to hula hoop (something I haven’t done for a couple of months now) and do something artistic. No stressing.

Hopefully happy Hayley will be back for the next post!

Thanks for reading x

Start Again Again

I’ve decided that an even fresher of fresh starts is needed, because this week has not exactly gone to plan! It started on Wednesday, with my first shift back at work for the new year. I was curious when my manager asked to speak to me after the brief – normally that happens when you’re in trouble but I couldn’t have done anything wrong already, could I?

I could. I was supposed to be in New Year’s Day, but thankfully my manager knew it was totally out of character and that I wasn’t trying to pull a fast one. In fact it’s screwed me over because I won’t get paid for that shift and one of my newest resolutions is to not take unpaid time off work. Bum.

My most important plan (to sleep more) is also off to a rocky start. Yesterday I had a busy morning, a really restless 4.5 hours sleep, then I went to see Steve for a few hours before work. He said that we could do it another time, but heart over head, I wanted to see him so I went anyway. Before I even left his I was dreaming of getting my shift over and crawling into bed.

I had a revolting yet, um, interesting (and sugar free) parma violet-flavoured energy drink on the way to his, another on the way to work, one during my shift, plus a cup of tea on my lunch break… but when early finishes were offered at 4:45 I couldn’t help myself and I went home.

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It has never been so clear to me that extreme tiredness equals ravenous hunger. I was tummy-rumbling hungry from the moment I woke despite eating loads of on-plan food, so by the time I got home I just snapped and ate some rubbish that will set me back a little bit this week.

I don’t  see it as a disaster, because when I woke up at 10am to feed Pea (feeling a lot more human) I realised that I still had the whole day ahead of me with another 14 hours’ opportunity to be on plan. I have three whole days, plus a few hours, before I get weighed, with loads of potential to make progress. The fact I’m sitting here writing about what happened is progress in itself after all.

Now I’m spending another 15 minutes hanging out with Pea (who is currently shouting at me because she isn’t enjoying the sound of my typing) then it’s back to bed to get as much sleep as possible before I… go to Steve’s before work again. It won’t be like yesterday though, I’ll be going with at least twice as much sleep under my belt, and no evil energy drinks.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

First of Many

This weekend has been a busy one. The day before New Year’s Eve, despite me being so good in the days leading up to that point, Steve and I decided to go out for a meal. He fancied Chinese, which didn’t really appeal to me, so we compromised on Thai. We tried a place round the corner that neither of us had been to before, and it was quite a while before either of us realised it was actually a Malaysian restaurant. It is called The Malaya, so the clues were there, but in my defence I didn’t look at the name before we went in. All I knew was that the food smells coming from the building were intoxicating!

We hit gold though. We stumbled across a really lovely place with nice decor, super friendly staff, and an amazing menu. Steve wasn’t sure what to order so the waiter brought out two samples of curry sauces for him to try first. How nice is that? There were several vegan options for starters and mains, and I ended up ordering from the set menu so my two courses were just £14.90.

I had roti canai and satay tofu, and both were absolute heaven. Every mouthful was utterly delicious. I’ll DEFINITELY be going back, that’s for sure.

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So New Year’s Eve arrived and I was up nice and early to get weighed. I had a sneak peek earlier in the week and the scales showed me going from 13st 6lbs to just nudging back into the 12’s, but the night before had left its mark. I’d also had a couple of glasses of wine and some sweet treats later on in the evening.

Despite that, I still had a 3lb loss which I’m damn well chuffed with! It meant I got back to an 8 stone loss, and next week I hope I’ll be officially back in the 12 stone bracket. Group was also fantastic and I left with positivity practically coming out of my ears.

In the afternoon Steve and I went for a little walk at the place where he started training me to run back in February. It was good to take stock of how, despite us not doing much exercise-wise for the last month or two, we’re still fitter than when we first started. It got me thinking about how nice it’ll be to get cracking again.

In the evening he took me to his old local for a quick, and very pink, G&T, followed by a little walk he’d been promising for the festive period. There’s a lovely little street in the village where people go absolutely mental with the Christmas lights, so that was quite magical.

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From there we showed our faces at his son’s who was having a little get together, and somehow, someone convinced me to do a shot of vodka. I am so easily led. Thankfully I managed to avoid the same fate as that very same chap, who lost a bet and had his hair shaved off… Anyway, despite the vodka shot I didn’t drink too much and managed to avoid a hangover for New Year’s Day.

We left quite early, had a very respectable night watching Madness on TV, and I’ve been totally back on plan since the clock hit midnight.

Despite not having hangovers, we were both pretty pooped the next day. But we still managed to get out for a walk to brush the cobwebs away. First stop was Benfleet where we went to look at a sculpture relating to the vikings. It’s erected in the area where the Battle of Benfleet is believed to have taken place in the year 894 (how bonkers is that?) and that battle was the subject of one episode of the Netflix series The Last Kingdom that we watched just a couple of weeks ago.

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After a walk along the sea wall a little bit down the road, we had lunch then I left so that we could both get an early night. 11 hours sleep later and I’m finally feeling like myself again!

Of course I wouldn’t really be a blogger if I wasn’t reflecting over 2018 and making plans for the year ahead. 2018 was a little bit crazy. I met Steve, ran for the first time ever, ate and drank more than I have in a good few years and still managed to end 2018 two stone lighter than when I started it… I’ve been so busy and tired, therefore I haven’t found the time to really focus like I would normally.

So although I have quite specific and monumental plans for 2019, which I’ll talk about in future posts, the main thing I want to do is slow down. I’m going to have more sleep, eat more healthy food, do more of the things I enjoy that aren’t exercise related (and not feel guilty for taking the time to do them) and try to keep in mind from time-to-time the bigger goals I’m aiming for.

For the first time in my life I’m thinking about a long-term plan, rather than living basically from month-to-month and hoping everything turns out for the best. There are things I want that I never thought I could achieve, but now I know I can.

One thing 2018 taught me is that I’m stronger than I think, and I know that’s true because my friend Dave reliably tells me that it is so. He knows what he’s talking about.

That’s the first post of 2019 down, here’s to many, many more.

Happy New Year!

Hayley x