Keeping Focus

Over the last week, I have not done everything in my power to make sure I got rid of last week’s gain. What I did do was to test my willpower, which was a really bad idea.

I bought a bag of dark chocolate lebkuchen hearts (vegan friendly) from Aldi, which always pop up in stores around this time of year and are also delicious. The little hearts are 2.5 syns each, so I intended to have one a day, to see if I could handle it.

I couldn’t handle it. 

I’ve been avoiding sugary stuff because it tends to set me off and I end up wanting more, but I wanted to see if I was ready to have ‘just a little bit’ every day. Truth is, I now know I’ll never be ready. I’m not saying I’ll never have sweet treats again, I’m just saying that I’m never going to be the kind of person who can have just a taster. I’m ok with that, because I don’t feel like I’m missing out once I lose the taste for these things again (which I invariably do) and it’s excellent that I’ve recognised that particular trigger so that I can stop lying to myself in future.

I experimented, and have proved conclusively what the outcome will be. If I choose to eat sugary stuff in future, there’s no getting around the fact that I need to make sure I only buy one small item instead of a whole bloody bag of yummy, chocolatey cakey things.

It didn’t stop at lebkuchen hearts though. Last night I also had other naughties, which again was a conscious decision. I do slightly regret it now, because group tonight should be an exciting one, but the thing is… I’m in love. 

I spent last night with a person who is very special to me, and since we won’t get a relaxed evening together like that for a good while I decided to let my hair down for a bit.

I’m sure I’ll give you more details on my love life in due course, but for now I feel like I’m holding a fragile bubble in my hand and I’m scared if I even look at it too hard it’ll burst. This year I’ve had some amazing highs and felt so incredibly low at times, and I’m just trying to enjoy the moment. So I’m tantalisingly keeping quiet about it for now!

Earlier on in the day we went for a nice long walk, and although it had been absolutely chucking it down the night before the weather was actually rather nice. I even had to take my hoody off as we got moving.

There was one great big rain cloud on the horizon, moving swiftly towards us, but we just skirted around the edge of it at the very end of our walk. Perfect.

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This morning I was out walking again, this time to town, and on my own. I’ve been walking into town at least once a week lately (through the park, of course) even if I don’t intend to buy anything. Sometimes a bauble selfie in Wilkinsons is enough and you don’t have to spend any money at all.

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Even so, I usually have a spare bit of change, so I’ve got into a routine of doing a charity shop crawl every time I’m there.

Today, yet again, I was not disappointed. You may remember I got a nice autumnal coat not so long ago, but that was more of a ‘going out’ coat. I needed a bog standard waterproof ‘out and about’ coat, but one that was warmer than my Trespass waterproof coat.

When I was at my heaviest I was always warm, so I didn’t have to worry much about dressing appropriately for the weather. I didn’t really go anywhere anyway, so there’s also that.

Nowadays I never know what clothing combination I’m going to need, so I’m always needing something more. But it’s fun getting new things, even if they are only new to me. Here’s my latest purchase.

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It’s hard to keep track but I think it was from Haven’s, it was TWO FLIPPING POUNDS and is a size S/M! Now I’m looking for a nice full length coat to wear over long dresses and skirts, and a short, smart jacket. I’d best keep up my weekly charity shop visits.

After a busy day of shopping I got myself to group to face the music. One positive I found from the weekend is that I’m definitely learning to stop eating once I’m full up, and I think that’s the reason I still managed a loss.

2lbs off!

This is where group is essential because although I’ve been super focused lately, I only have a finite supply. Group is where I go to get my focus tank refilled.

The week’s IMAGE therapy was a special one as we had a guest consultant while our Amanda was on a course at Head Office. We couldn’t have asked for a better replacement.

Our group was hosted by the incredible Ryan Lightfoot who has lost over 14.5 stone. You can read about him in the Daily Mail here (link) or check out his Instagram (link) if you fancy. Before IMAGE therapy began he gave a short talk about how much his life has changed since losing weight with Slimming World and boy was that emotional.

Before joining he barely left his house, but there he is hardly two years later standing in front of a group of strangers talking to us like we’re his best friends. Not only that, he’s now been promoted to Team Developer. Two years ago he was in the same position we’ve all been in, dreading the first step through those doors. Sometimes you truly can’t imagine where the path will lead.

I got a huge lump in my throat glancing over at his partner wiping what seemed to be tears of pride from her eyes. As the youngsters say, that gave me all the feels.

I found out last week that our current consultant isn’t staying with us, just looking after our group to see us through Christmas and New Year before we get a shiny new consultant. It’s a shame because I think Amanda is brilliant. She really does put in so much extra effort and, like Ryan, she is genuinely lovely and honestly cares about us. It’s the members that make the group (they are all so wonderful), but the consultant is the final piece in the jigsaw puzzle that makes it all work. I hope we get someone good (preferably with sparkly shoes).

After today I’m absolutely raring to go, especially since I’m not also contending with a hangover.

Have a simply brilliant week everyone.

Hayley x

Is it Enough?

I’m back! Where have I been I hear you ask? Well, mostly asleep actually. I had intended to do a significant amount of exercise this week but unfortunately I had to listen to what my body was telling me, and it was screaming at me to STOP.

I did go on one hour-and-a-half walk on Wednesday (even though it was drizzling the whole time and it never really got light throughout the entire day) and it was actually nicely refreshing. However I just didn’t have the get-up-and-go to do much else after that.

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Normally I potter around when I get in from work in the morning, then after a sleep I’m ready to carry on with my day at about 1pm. This week I’ve been struggling to get my head off of the pillow at 4pm, which hasn’t left me much time for anything else. I didn’t have the energy for anything else either.

Most of the week has just been about ‘getting by’, but yesterday morning I struggled to get to sleep because I had too many plans whizzing around in my head, and I happily jumped up ready to face the day at at my normal time. That’s better.

My food has all been on plan without exception, however because of my lack of energy I think my appetite has increased to try and compensate. Which is silly because if I’m doing less I need less, damn body. So decreased exercise, increased portions and some bloating due to lady things, means I’m not sure I will have done enough to eliminate last week’s gain. If I haven’t though I don’t doubt that it’ll be off the week after.

Now I’m feeling human again I’ll get out for a nice long walk tomorrow, which at least should help.

Yesterday night at work was a productive shift. On Thursday I was enthusing to anyone who stayed still long enough how much I was enjoying my apple. In the past I’ve avoided shop-bought apples because they always disappointed me, but the last week or so I’ve been LOVING Pink Lady’s.

I’d bought two in for myself on Thursday to eat throughout my shift (even though I’m not supposed to, tut tut) and two of the younger guys I work with were getting pretty jealous. I flat out refused to share though. So I decided to bring them in an apple each for the next shift, plus some Pristine grapes from Aldi. I did want the candyfloss grapes but they didn’t have any in, and the Pristine come a close second. They. Are. Delish.

What I’ve done now is to convert two people who eat pretty unhealthily into Pink Lady apple lovers. One of them had eaten a ‘dinner’ before work of a 9-pack of Penguins and a Galaxy Ripple. What’s disgusting though is that the multipack of Penguins was £1, whereas a 6-pack of Pink Lady’s was £2.70-odd. How does that work? I know you can get cheaper apples, but quite frankly they aren’t up to scratch in my opinion.

Tonight I’m bringing in an apple for another colleague who was feeling left out. Last night I saw him eat a Twix, some breakfast biscuits (both of which he found), a sharing bag of onion ring crisps, a sharing back of mini poppadoms and a microwave chicken curry. These guys need some vitamins! The annoying thing though? He is as slim as you like. How unfair. Not that I would swap my diet for his these days, even if I could stay thin, because I actually love what I eat now. Just as importantly as helping me lose weight, it makes me feel good too.

I can’t believe it took me over 30 years to realise that! Better late than never, eh?

Now it’s time to get on with a thousand other things I want to do. The only problem is deciding which to do first.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Not Wonderful

I’m feeling a bit under the weather today, because I think I’m coming down with a bug. So far though, it seems to be a small and manageable bug so I’m not letting it stop me (even though I’d quite like to be in bed instead of going to work).

This morning I woke up before 5am so I forced myself to get out into the world. It took a while for me to convince myself, so I didn’t make it to the park till gone 6am. That meant it was light enough to not be dangerous but the sun had not yet risen. Happily I got to witness it!

It was a misty morning but my phone camera couldn’t quite capture the beauty of that. There were other things of interest though once the sun was on its way up.

By the end of my 1.5 hour walk my throat was sore and I was feeling distinctly sleepy, so once home I headed back to bed before getting up again three hours later for… meal prep!

I’m still tweaking this meal prep thing I’ve got going on. So far I think it’s best to do three lunches and three dinners in one go, twice a week, then every Sunday just cook fresh. It seems to be the most manageable way.

I’m also getting better at spending less money on food so spread over the next three nights I’ll be munching on 1kg of sprouts, amongst other things. What could possibly go wrong?

For the rest of the week I want to get outside for my Body Magic every single day, but that will depend on how I feel. Fingers crossed I’m up to it!

Right now I can hear the sprouts calling so I must leave you and eat my dinner.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Hello There!

Yesterday was a false start. I drew the line, but somehow it got smudged and I ended up eating more bread-based products. On the one hand I’m proud of myself, because I didn’t have my main trigger food (ice cream) which would have been a lot worse. On the other hand part of me is asking ‘why bread?’ because I know it bloats me out so my gain this evening will be that much worse.

I’ve just got to take it on the chin though.

What I did do today was redraw that line, and this time I used permanent marker. I went on to my group’s secret Facebook page and told everyone what had happened and that I’d see them in group tonight to face my gain. Accountability is hugely important.

Fast-forward past a huge pile of laundry (which is still drying now) and a long, drawn out trip with my mother for her hospital appointment, and we get to weigh in. Which was actually the only positive thing about today, despite me gaining 3.5 lbs.

I didn’t gain as much as I thought I would so that’s good, plus there were others in the same boat as me. I think we all left feeling better than when we walked in.

Either way group was a really good laugh and I’m so glad I went, despite all of my instincts being to avoid group like the plague. Sometimes our instincts are lying little gits who should be ignored at all costs.

I have pledged to lose 4lbs this week and I will do everything in my power to achieve that. I feel like today has been stolen from me and I haven’t been able to get back on form as I’d hoped, but I have stayed on plan and tomorrow will be better.

In all of the ‘excitement’ of the last few days I did forget about one achievement – #onplanoctober. I did, by some miracle, manage to spend the entire month absolutely, 100% on plan.

Ok, so a repeat of that for November is now impossible, and I have plans for the 30th, but every other day will be on plan for sure. I may be five days late but…

My plan for this month was to hit target, but after a long chat with a friend on Saturday and lots of contemplation on Sunday, I’ve decided to lower my target.

I don’t even know what I want it to be, I just know that I want to lose more and I’m selling myself short if I don’t really go for it now. Why not aim for the flipping stars?

I’ve decided to just keep losing until my body tells me enough is enough. When the losses start to slow, or stop, that should be the right place.

In the meantime my November weight loss goal is to get to my original target of 12.10, and it’s my new Christmas wish to still be that weight or less once Christmas is over.

I think that’s quite reasonable.

The plan for tonight though is to get some (on plan) grub and get an early night. Tomorrow, I want to hit the ground running.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Ohhhhhh Dear

This is a bit of a shameful post. I thought about not writing it. I considered doing a ‘boy, Friday night was messy!’ kind of blog and leaving it at that. But that’s not really me, I want to be as honest as possible.

I very rarely go ‘out out’ so after a couple of hours in bed Friday morning I got up to start preparing for the evening. Most of the day was spent waiting for coats of nail varnish to dry, so much so that despite having hours and hours to get ready I was still in a mad rush and left the house slightly late. I still managed to smudge the varnish on one damn nail though! This is why I don’t usually bother with the stuff…

Normally when I go out, especially if I’m meeting new people, I end up drinking too much because I’m nervous. Friday was very different though, despite the fact that I knew I was meeting about twenty new people all in one go.

These last couple of weeks my confidence has gone through the roof. I’ve been talking to some of the new people at work without giving it a second thought, and I’ve had some great conversations with shop workers and other customers which would normally make me feel excruciatingly uncomfortable. Something has just clicked and I feel so much more outgoing. So if I drank too much (which I totally did) it wasn’t because I was nervous.

Thankfully I was not the only one who was running late, so when I got to my friend’s house and he’d only just got out of the shower, we made the decision to be late on purpose (AKA fashionably late).

While he was finishing up I poured myself a glass of wine and put on THE DRESS.

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There are better pictures of me (this one is a little blurry) but my grin is the biggest in this one and I wanted to show how happy I was.

I. Felt. Fabulous!

When we left I wasn’t drunk by any means, but walking into the restaurant was awesome. Because we were the last two to arrive everyone was already seated on one massive table, and as we walked in we were actually greeted to a huge uproar of cheers. They were for my friend, because I only knew three of the group after all, but I could feel everyone’s eyes on me all the same. Normally I’d hate that, but I felt so good I strode across the room feeling like some sort of rock star!

After sitting down I launched into conversations with the strangers around me but very dangerously, a whole bottle of wine was plonked down in front of me. After that, I have huge gaps where I don’t remember anything at all, and that’s where things go downhill.

Not that I’d know any differently, but thankfully I managed to hold things together until we left the restaurant. Once out I was very, very poorly, to the point where once we were home I went out into the garden and fell asleep on the ground. When my friend woke me up shortly after, I couldn’t even stand up. I was in that much of a state. If I’d had to get home on my own, I dread to think what would have happened to me.

The really scary thing is that usually if I’m going on a bender I choose to drink a lot. Not that I do these days, it’s obviously not worth it. The last time I did that was in 2016 and I had no intention of repeating that. But this just sort of… happened.

I think the main problem was that because the drink was just flowing around me I wasn’t conscious of how much I was drinking. If I had been ordering individual drinks things might have been different. But there’s also the fact that I seem to have turned into a complete and utter lightweight. It didn’t occur to me at the time, but since I’ve been doing so well with the weight loss I’m down 1.5 STONE since the last time I had so much as half a glass of wine, and 8 stone down since the last time I drank a significant amount. I clearly can’t handle it anymore.

I really should have thought of all this before, but at least I know now for next time. I’m out for a meal on the 16th of December, and when that comes around I shall insist upon a GLASS of wine and nothing more.

So there we have it. There’s nothing to be proud of about getting in such a state and believe me I’m absolutely sure I’ve learned my lesson. That’s why I had to let you know what I did – if I did something I’m ashamed of I should share that as much as I should share the good bits, and you should know I’m also being completely honest when I say I’m not going to do that again.

So what about the food? Again, honesty is key. I had a couple of sandwiches when I got in from work Friday morning, because although I tried hard to fight it I still had some of that ‘if I’m having a day off now is the time to eat some bread’ mentality. For lunch I had some very yummy vegan chicken nuggets from Tesco which are 1 syn each but I ate 16, followed by a vegan flapjack, but the only other food I had for the rest of the day was a couple of bites of my meal at the restaurant.

I had ordered veg tagine with couscous, and I was sober enough when the food came to remember that it was awful. Again, if I’d had a yummy meal maybe I would have actually eaten it and it would have soaked up some of the booze. How can a restaurant manage to get something I can whip up at home in minutes so utterly wrong?

I had planned to get up early Saturday morning and go for an epic walk, but I was in no fit state. Eventually I managed to keep down some beans on toast, but the rest of the day wasn’t on plan. I didn’t eat much, but I did avoid letting it seep into today (and not by any willpower on my part).

Deliveroo is now available in my area so I got on there and ordered two vegan pizzas from Pizza Express, one for dinner and one for my work lunch. As luck would have it 2.5 hours later my food still hadn’t arrived so I cancelled the order and had 6 crumpets for dinner. Not great, but still better than TWO pizzas.

I didn’t end up staying at work as my manager mercifully let me go home, so I didn’t have work lunch at all. From a mental perspective this is hugely important. Because I have my work lunch after midnight, psychologically speaking it would be hard for me to spend today on plan if I’d had something bad, because technically Sunday would already be ‘ruined’. It’s silly, yes, but that’s how my mind works. Or doesn’t, as the case may be.

That means the line is now drawn and I’m completely back on plan. I’m also feeling a little more human after a solid 8 hours sleep.

I suppose my night out was a game of two halves. From what I do remember I had a brilliant time, and I’m just so glad that I managed not to ruin anyone’s night. That’s more luck than judgement though.

Today I’ll be mostly making a plan of action for the month ahead, because although I’m a little late already I love a fresh new month and sitting down to think about the things to come.

You can be sure I’ll blog about that soon!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

 

Accidental Fright Night

I got myself into a great little routine. I visit a friend once or twice a week for dinner before I go to work, but he gets home right in the middle of rush hour and I cannot STAND rush hour. So I head over to his neck of the woods a couple of hours before and go for a nice long walk.

Unfortunately I’m going to have to stop doing this though, because I forgot about daylight savings. Well, I didn’t completely forget since I was working Saturday night and had to stay an extra hour on Sunday morning, but I did forget that it gets dark sooner now.

Halfway around the park nighttime was setting in, and being on your own in the woods at night is not exactly the best idea!

It started out ok, but when it really started to get dark I must admit I felt more than a little uneasy.

Especially when I happened upon a fake bat that someone had hung from the park sign!

Luckily I had my head torch with me for the return journey, as I think I would have struggled to find my way without it.

So it’s time for a rethink when it comes to my park walking. I may have to stick to more local parks and I’ll definitely have to go earlier in the day. Unless I have company that is.

Yesterday I also made a proper start on my Christmas present-making. I had subconsciously been putting it off so whenever I got my materials out I’d just be concentrating on organising them, planning what I was making or deciding that I needed something else before I could begin. I was worried that the ideas in my head wouldn’t live up to the real thing, which of course sometimes they don’t, but if I keep thinking along those lines I’ll never get anything done. Now I’ve actually started, a fire has been lit and I’m ready to do all the things. I’m so excited!

Unfortunately I can’t share ANY of it here until after Christmas day, because lots of people are getting personalised versions of the same thing so I simply can’t make it public. But it’s worth it, because this is what gives me the fuzzy Christmas feelings!

People who aren’t used to making stuff sometimes think that a handmade gift is a bit of a cop out, that it’s a cheap or easy way of giving, but it often isn’t either of those things. If you knit you will know that shop bought things are way cheaper, and if I added up the hours I’ll be spending on making my presents, at minimum wage, I’m guessing they’d rack up a hefty price tag.

For me, apart from the fact I love to give something really personal as a gift, a big draw is that handmade doesn’t count towards our family’s £10 each Christmas budget, so I can give extra presents. Muahahahaha, I’m so crafty!

One thing I can share with you is another project I’ve got on the go. I’m really enjoying my calligraphy lately so I decided to give bullet journaling another go. I got three cheap notebooks, because when I tried before I had a gorgeous notebook but as soon as I did a page I wasn’t happy with I gave up.

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This time having something that isn’t up to scratch is OK, because I want to be able to look back and see how I’ve improved. I need to stop being so damn precious about these  things.

Right, there’s nothing else to report so I need to get on and do a hundred things before work tonight.

Exaggerate? Me? I don’t think so…

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Feelin’ Slinky

Years ago, back at my old Tuesday Slimming World group, I was voted our group’s Miss Slinky. At the time I was doing well with my weight loss, but I felt anything but slinky! It’s one of the stranger Slimming World awards I think, but at least when my lovely group nominated me this time around I was at thankfully feeling a lot better about myself.

In fact I’ve spent a lot of time over the last couple of weeks becoming familiar with my body again, because after pretty much maintaining for six months, the recent changes have been pretty drastic. When I first started it took about three stone before I even noticed any physical changes, but as I get closer to target I’m finding that half a stone can make a huge difference.

It seems like every day I’m finding a new part of my skeleton that I never knew existed!

Yesterday was such a busy day. I did my laundry, I took my mum to an appointment that took a lot longer than it should have, then when I got home I headed straight back out again to go veggie shopping in Lidl’s. I bought all the veg I’d need for my meal prep (and then some) that I would start as soon as I got back.

I then spent roughly three hours in the kitchen. The fruits of my labour were three soups for the freezer (syn free), four work lunches (half a syn in each) and four dinners (max two syns in each). Since I’m out Friday I don’t have to prepare any more food until Saturday lunch time. I like that a lot!

There are other benefits to this batch cooking malarkey. I don’t have anything in the fridge that needs to be used up so I have completely eliminated the prospect of any food waste. The only fresh thing I have is a bag of apples for snacking and I’m sure to use those up.

I also wildly overestimated how much veg I’d need so next week I’ll be spending even less money on food.

After meal prep I got on the exercise bike and I felt really in the zone so I smashed my workout, then I went to visit my dad before walking around the corner to my Slimming World group.

By this point I was feeling very sleepy, and since it was lovely and warm in group by the time Image Therapy started I was feeling a tad spaced out (but totally content!) I remembered to pick up my Gold Body Magic award, so I have a nice new shiny sticker and certificate, and I lost a marvellous 2 lbs! 3 to go till target!

After our group chat we voted for our Miss Slinky and Mr Sleek. There was only one Mr Sleek nominee present in group, so he won by default, but I would have voted for him anyway. He’s a smashing guy who is always helpful in group and always has a cheesy joke to tell, plus since I’ve been going he’s been roughly at target. If he’s been out of target range he’s just worked through it till he’s back where he wants to be, plus he loves walking. A man after my own heart, and an inspiration too.

Then the lovely people voted me as their Miss Slinky which gave me all of the warm fuzzy feelings inside. This is my weight loss graph for 2018 so far, and I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the graph has taken a nice downward trend since I started coming (and staying) to that group.

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Once home I had just enough time to scoff my dinner, pin my new certificates onto the wall of inspiration before going out again.

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My current favourite part of my wall is my October calendar, where I’ve been crossing off every day I’ve spent on plan. And I’m nearly there!

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So I headed in to work on my day off to say farewell to my manager and hand over the cash that everyone had so generously parted with. It’s certainly the end of an era – this lady has helped me so much since I’ve known her and I’ve made a friend for life, so I’m very happy to see her go on to better things.

Once home do you think I could sleep? Nah! As is usual lately I was too excited after group, but I did have a nice lay in before I start another busy week. There’s lots of hard work to be done to make sure I don’t mess up over the weekend, because I would so love to have a loss next Monday. I’ll do all I can to make sure that happens, but if luck isn’t on my side then I have no doubt that I’ll sort it out the week after!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Prep

The only reason I made it through last week with #onplanoctober intact was planning and preparation. I’ve thought about meal prep quite a lot but I’m desperately unimaginative. All I could think of was freezing piles of curry, chilli and bolognese, none of which I’m overly keen on anyway.

My attitude towards food has certainly changed over the last couple of months though, and rather than eating being a significant part of the day (although I still really enjoy my food) it’s become more of a something-to-get-out-the-way-so-I-can-do-more-interesting-things situation.

My work lunches are always standard – pasta, veggie meatballs and passata bulked out with veg – because even though it’s repetitive I always enjoy it. Besides, my coffee is always the highlight of my lunch break anyway.

As for dinners my favourite veggies are the kind you can roast, so I’ve been cooking up huge piles of aubergine, courgette, peppers and butternut squash which all keeps well in the fridge. I’m still totally addicted to aubergines and have been getting through at least seven a week, so weirdly I’ve been enjoying my veg more than any other part of my meals.

Now I have everything down pat there’s no reason why I should have to cook more than twice a week, plus I’ve got a good supply for emergencies consisting of rice pouches, the Slimming World frozen curry sauces from Iceland, tinned tomatoes and chickpeas. These are things that are easily stored, easily transportable if I’m visiting friends and family, and can be whipped up in the microwave in ten minutes. Oh, and totally on plan!

This week planning is more important than ever because I’m out for a meal on Friday. I’m doing my food preparation today, so that leaves me loads of time during the week for plenty of exercise which is more important than ever.

I’m staying over a friends house Friday night, so I’ll make sure I take my wheat biscuits and oat milk with me for breakfast the next day, then I’ll go on a nice long making-up-for-the-night-before walk first thing in the morning. I really mustn’t let that one night out seep into the next day, or the day before for that matter. I think I’ll be OK because the main draw of the meal for me is the amazing dress I’ll be wearing, and if I want to keep on wearing the collection of amazing dresses I’ve been building up, then I simply can’t afford to backtrack.

After the meal there are four weigh days left for November, and I really, really want to be at target before December. I don’t really see why I shouldn’t be, as long as I stay focused. I can do it!

If I am delayed for any reason (such as undeserved gains) then I do have a little buffer which I’m SUPER PLEASED about. My last weigh in was due to be on the 17th of December and I was really worried about it being so long between then and Christmas day. However our new consultant has decided to do a session on Christmas Eve morning, which is bloody brilliant! She is doing the same thing for New Year’s Eve, so I have a fantastic incentive for getting straight back on plan Boxing Day. I wonder, I just wonder, if I could scrape through the holiday season without a gain? It could happen! What does it all come down to? PLANNING!

In other news yesterday was extremely productive. First of all, I officially qualified for my Gold Body Magic award with a walk into town and back. That’s 8 whole weeks of 30 minutes exercise a day over five days of each week (or more). Next up is the Platinum award, which I kind of qualify for already anyway. It’s when exercise has become a permanent part of your lifestyle, which it absolutely has for me. I can’t imagine going back to sitting on my bum all day watching TV!

Nature trumps TV all day long.

Once in town I had a simply BRILLIANT shopping session. I have almost, almost, completed my winter wardrobe with a couple of Primark finds. I now have enough pinafore dresses and tops to go underneath to see me through the entire autumn, winter and spring. This one completed the set.

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But the real game changer is the Primark leggings which have a furry lining and are super warm. I got a couple of pairs so now I know they’re a good fit I’ll go back for a few more. Then that’s it, I don’t need any more clothes until spring!

I did need a nice coat for winter, but no longer after a most successful charity shop crawl. I spotted a few coats that would have been suitable but they were all in the £20 price range and I wasn’t really wanting to spend that much. Then I spotted one in my size that I didn’t really like so much, but I decided to try it on anyway.

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The moral of the story? ALWAYS TRY THINGS ON! Not shown in the picture is my behind, which looks really good as the coat is fitted and kind of flares out at the back. I absolutely love it! Do you know what I also love? The price tag – £4.99 from the PDSA shop. Get in! And doesn’t it go well with my scarf from Sue Ryder?

Now I must be off as I’ve got a very busy Monday ahead of me.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Funny Old Week

The theme of this week has mostly been tired and hungry. I haven’t had a huge appetite lately – I’ve even become someone who has dinner left overs. This has never happened before. But over the last couple of days I have felt myself getting hungrier. I’m sticking to Free and Speed food if I need it, but I think it’s my body trying to get more energy in me from the tiredness.

I was about to write that I have no idea where all this sleepiness has come from, but it’s probably down to only getting two hours sleep on Sunday and not really having a chance to catch up since then. I just paused for a little think and I still don’t know when I’ll have an opportunity for a nice big chunk of unbroken sleep, so for the time being I’ll just have to do what I can.

I’ve also been a bit stressed at work, for the most silly reason. My manager is leaving for another job next week and I’ve been put in charge of her collection. Because she has been so good to me over the years I’ve been worrying constantly that I’m not getting enough money out of my colleagues.

I meant to get the card this morning so I could start to collect signatures tonight but I couldn’t find a nice card at the local shops. Instead of driving to the big Tesco, instead I selfishly chose to go for a walk, so now I feel bad about that too. All the while I’m struggling to find the energy to tell myself how stupid I’m being because I’m just so (yawn) damn (yawn) TIRED!

I must go to the shops straight from work in the morning and get the card then, otherwise I really will be cutting it fine.

I probably would have stayed in bed all day today but I had to get up and do some bits for my mum so while I was out I went for a walk around the local nature reserve. The car park was rammed (ah, half term…) but as always seems to be the case away from the main paths I barely saw a soul.

What I did see was a huge amount of fungus – there was so much that the air itself smelt mushroomy!

Considering I am now in full-on winter mode at work, it was lovely to walk around without a coat and not freeze my butt off. Especially as it looks like from tomorrow the weather is going to be taking a turn for the worse.

The walk was quite gentle but it really took it out of me and I was ready to drop by the time I got home. So drop I did, right into a deep sleep. It’s just a shame I didn’t have time for a few hours more.

I did still make time to model my latest charity shop purchase. I bought a bright yellow scarf the other day – just because winter is cold it doesn’t mean it has to be dull. But then I decided I also needed a more festive scarf when the occasion calls for it (Winter Wonderland, I’m looking at you) so I grabbed this bargain while I had the chance.

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I’m definitely feeling a lot differently about the upcoming ‘party’ season. I did mean to go to Winter Wonderland with my sister for the last couple of years running, but it never happened for one reason or another. What I do know is that when I thought about going, the first thing that came to mind was the FOOD. This time though I’m definitely going, and it’s with a friend from work. What I’m most looking forward to is the atmosphere, the lights, photo ops and (most importantly) good company.

Also on the agenda is another trip to London with another friend, a sibling outing, a meal out, and another trip with the wonderful people I met up with in Oxford not so long ago. Out of nowhere I seem to have a social life! I’m so looking forward to just making time for people in the next couple of months, rather than just stuffing my face at every opportunity.

Finally, my wonderful group has nominated me for the Miss Slinky award, which is so kind because I haven’t been going to this group for a huge amount of time. If I remember rightly I have to get up and talk a little bit about my weight loss, and despite writing about it weekly for the last two flipping YEARS I really have no clue what I’m going to say.

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Maybe I’ll just have to wing it!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Wishing

It took me a while but I realised last week’s taster session at group had nothing to do with my consultant leaving. Although I’ve been anticipating it for the last few weeks, the other event at group kind of eclipsed the fact that we were given our Slimming World Christmas Wishes.

Last year we were given a bauble, and my wish then was to get into the 13 stone bracket. As it happens I didn’t even get close, and it took me till just last month before I finally made it. Better late than never though.

This year we have a snowflake. The idea is that you put it on your tree as a reminder to stay on track over the Christmas period. Since our tree is obviously not up yet (I’m not quite that Christmas mad) I have hung mine from the light fitting so it bonks me on the head every time I cross the room.

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I felt really guilty about group last night. My friend asked me to visit so I agreed to pop over after weighing in, but I completely forgot it was my new consultant’s first night. I really wish I had stayed to offer my support, but I went on the Facebook group to assure her I’d definitely be staying next week.

As for weigh in, I lost a very respectable 1.5 pounds meaning I have just 5 lbs left to go before I hit target. I do have a meal out a week on Friday, and I’ve already chosen what I’m having – vegetable tagine with herb couscous. I’m guessing there will be a lot of oil in there but it’s certainly the best of the bunch out of all the options. If I do drink I’ll just have a few gins and slimline tonics, so I’m hoping I still get away with a loss the following week.

This week I have everything crossed that I lose another 1.5 pounds or more, because it will mean I’ll be in the 12 stone bracket for the first time since April 2004! My exercise has suffered today because even though I’ve been on the go all day I haven’t filled my green ring on my Apple watch. Same for yesterday, too. I am letting myself off, just on this occasion, because I am so busy and so tired. Once we hit November I’m going for a perfect month though so no excuses.

Thinking of other things that could delay me getting to target, I have also agreed to go to Winter Wonderland in London with a work friend some time after payday at the end of November. I’m hoping to be at target by then, but if I’m not the fact remains there are 8 weigh ins left, 2 days of not being entirely on plan, and 5 pounds to be rid of. That is entirely within the realms of possibility.

Yesterday I spent the whole day with my sister and it was brilliant. We started off the day with an enormous coffee and a tour of the charity shops near her house. Disgracefully, she had never set foot in one until now! I was on the lookout for a hat, and I found one that suited me in the first shop. It was brand new though, and a bit pricey, so I decided to give it a miss.

In the next shop though, I found my hat! I put it on and straight away my sister said ‘YES! That is the one!’ One minute and £6 later, I was walking out of the shop wearing my new purchase.

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After our charity shop crawl we headed to the park for a nice long walk. There were so many swans! We found a little group of our own but there were easily twice as many again congregating around a toddler who had FOOD!

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We then had lunch back at my sisters where I dined with a gold knife and fork sitting at her expensive table (she’s super fancy) before doing something creative.

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The creative thing in question was calligraphy. My sister did a workshop last year and fell in love with it, so shortly after I got myself the basic equipment and gave it a go. We both love it, but as with everything else I let it fall by the wayside while I concentrated on other things.

When I picked up my new pen, that my sister got me for my birthday, I was incredibly rusty but by the end of our little session my hand was getting steadier. We had the radio on and were sporadically chatting, but it’s a nice thing to do because you can’t rush it and it takes a surprising amount of concentration. There’s not really room for thinking about other things. I really must do it more regularly.

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After calligraphy time my sister let her boyfriend’s parrot, Kiwi, out to stretch her wings. When I first met Kiwi she was fine with me, but every time after that she has either tried to bite me or has been successful in biting me.

I’ve made the effort to see her more often and going by body language, I’ve been getting the impression that she’s been warming to me. So yesterday was the test.

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THANKFULLY it seems that, at the very least, there is a truce. Phew. My sister tells me that Kiwi has never been this friendly and well behaved in front of anyone other than her and her boyfriend before, so we have definitely made progress. No blood offering was necessary this time!

I haven’t had time for any crafts today because I’ve been batch cooking, doing a mountain of washing, cleaning and tidying. But that does mean everything should be in enough order by tomorrow for me to do something creative in the afternoons.

That’s the idea anyway!

Until next time,

Hayley x