A Mixed Bag

My head has been a little bit all over the shop lately (I say lately, more like for months and months) but at the moment it’s compounded by pure tiredness. I’ve simply been trying to cram too much in and something had to give somewhere!

This weekend I went to see a wonderful blogger buddy and we had some fun times, but on Sunday I reckon everything just caught up with me and I had to go home early. By the time I got back my lips had turned blue (slightly worrying), my hands had turned purple (also not great) and even though I’d been in a car so warm that my iPhone came up with a temperature warning message and wouldn’t work again until it cooled down, I just couldn’t get warm.

Sleep fixed me though, and after sleeping the whole afternoon and all through the night I just about managed to put my weekly sleep average up to seven hours. Some people can get by on less sleep, and for weeks I myself have been getting by on 6, but that clearly isn’t sustainable for me and I need to make sure I get more down time.

Anyway, it’s not all doom and gloom! On Saturday, because the weather was awful, my friend eagerly agreed to see Avengers: Infinity War for the second time. Well, his second time and my first. I really feel like Marvel have found that sweet balance now between action, comedy and story and I loved every minute of it. It’s just pure joy to watch!

After that I had my first ever meal from Las Iguanas since I don’t have one near where I live and I only even learned of its existence fairly recently.

I had hearts of palm to start, which I thought I’d never had before. But it was only a couple of weeks ago when I was out with my trainer and I had something from his plate that we couldn’t identify. Now I’m pretty sure that’s what we were eating. It was nice, but I probably wouldn’t bother having them again.

The Brazilian curry however (moqueca de palmitos) was flipping amazing and I could eat it all day long. They had a fair few vegan options too, or veggie options that can be made vegan on request. I’d highly recommend it as a very tasty and vegan-friendly place to visit.

In the evening we were eating out again. I bloody love trying new places, and it turns out the restaurant we were visiting, Fusca, is the first fully vegan restaurant I’ve been to. I’ve been to a few places in London but since they are takeaway restaurants as far as I’m concerned they don’t count.

I really enjoyed the whole atmosphere of the place and I cannot even describe how nice it is to be able to order a glass of wine without having to do extensive research first to find out whether it’s vegan or not!

The food was tasty, but perhaps a teeny bit overpriced considering that the portions were quite small. That’s probably a good thing though, it means I didn’t feel guilty for getting dessert. Which was DELICIOUS by the way!

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The day after getting home the weather was awful but really I still needed to make up for overindulging at the weekend so I did an hour on my exercise bike. It still astounds me that I can even do that – I remember struggling to complete ten minutes when I first got it. The remainder of the day was spent fairly restfully, but I still didn’t manage to get a decent sleep. Which I put down to a lack of proper training.

Yesterday I went out training on my own and oh my, what a start to the month! The weather was absolutely perfect for running. It was sunny but not too warm, there was a fresh breeze and along most of my route it was dappled shade. It was so gorgeous, and the vibrant colours everywhere made my heart happy.

I didn’t break any records this time around. Well, I can’t smash a record every single time I go out now, can I? But I did feel absolutely fantastic and loved every minute of it. Today the weather is back to being awful so I’m using the time to catch up on some rest, do boring household chores and do some meal prep for the rest of the week. Exciting stuff!

Then I’m training for the next three days in a row which should help regulate me sleep and help me to get better quality sleep, then I have a relaxed Sunday with my lovely siblings planned.

Life is tiring, but good!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

The Great Outdoors

It has been so flipping cold this week, but at least the sky has had the decency to be blue from time to time. It makes finding the motivation to actually go outside so much easier.

Yesterday me and the brother went on our long walk, and ended up being out for three-and-a-half hours. It was windy, and bitingly cold, but we both had hoods which kept the worst at bay. When I took mine off I actually got brain freeze.

I was working the night before, so we went out about 6:30am, which coincided perfectly with the blue hour (the hour before golden hour).

I checked the light and sky indices using the (free) app GoldenHour.One, which tells you how likely you are to have a nice sky for a decent shot, but I also use it just to tell me whether it’s likely to be a depressing grey day or a nice interesting one. As it happens Thursday is looking to be a stonker!

The skies were lovely and clear yesterday so I managed to get a blue hour shot that I’m really happy with. There’s something really magical about that these times of day. 110218_2479

And my app informed me that the sky index would be quite good. It was right!

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How gorgeous? We did a gentle 7.5 miles, since my brother is way out of practice with his walking after spending most of the summer either fishing or on his motorbike. I was happy with that too actually, since I was feeling pretty tired after all!

I found out that my expensive new boots are in fact waterproof as advertised, which is always nice to know.

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They’re not quite as shiny as when I first got them though…

After we’d finished exploring one half of the nature reserve, we crossed the road to visit the other part which is also home to the visitor centre.

We arrived there at the exact right time, when it was still empty, so we purchased a bag of duck food and sat down for a cup of coffee. Just as we had finished the place started filling up so we moved on to the duck lake.

Before we got there though we met a friendly robin who hopped into a bush just feet from me. And it turns out robins like duck food too. Who knew?

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In fact the robin seemed to like the duck food more than the ducks, who weren’t all that hungry. We did see some tufted ducks, but they were timid and wouldn’t come very near. Mostly it was just seagulls dive bombing and stealing it all.

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By the time we got home I was absolutely exhausted, and vaguely aware that the only thing I’d put into my body since two in the morning was coffee. But I needed sleep more than food, so I had a quick nap.

When I woke up it was a mad rush to get ready to go to my friend’s house. I took him over a load of dirty washing, because I’m nice like that, and we left the washing machine running while we went to the cinema to see Downsizing.

On the drive to the cinema I realised that I was actually ravenously hungry, and Tesco was due to shut in 15 minutes. Once there I just grabbed whatever I could find, which ended up being a vegan sandwich and wrap from the new Wicked range, and some chocolate.

Not the healthiest choices ever, but in terms of calories in vs calories out I reckon I was way in credit for the day, so I don’t feel bad about it at all.

The film was not something I would have chosen to see myself, it’s mainly that the showing time fit in with mine and my friend’s schedules. It wasn’t at all what I expected, and although it’s been slated it’s actually quite an interesting film. Not great, or perhaps not even good, but interesting (if poorly executed). Hardly a glowing review, but there you go!

After that I dropped my friend off, picked up my laundry, then crashed out for an epic sleep. Today I have a day filled with bits and bobs to do, but with the sun shining through my window it’s not all that bad.

From tomorrow I’m looking after my sister’s birds so that should sure keep me busy, training with my friend has been pencilled in for either Wednesday or Thursday, and I’m doing the physical job at work for four weeks that I should have been doing for the last four weeks, only for it to be cancelled. Hopefully it actually happens this time!

I will update again tomorrow with weigh in results, especially since I’ve no clue how it’s going to go.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

 

Renewed Focus

I was so excited about going walking with my new friend that I almost forgot about weigh-in this week. It’s a double-edged sword – on the one hand it’s been freeing not being quite so concerned about food and the scales this week, but for now it’s not what I need. I need to keep my eyes on the prize, so this week is all about staying focused on my goals. It still has its positives – I’ve managed a few days without weighing myself at all which I really need to work on.

This week’s main goal is to STAY AWAY FROM THOSE SCALES. I’ve said this so many times, but it’s incredibly important because daily weighing is not healthy and is making me miserable. I need to learn to control myself dammit!

The results of official weigh-in are half a pound on. I’m now 14 st 11.5 lbs and need to lose 2 st 1.5 lbs to reach target. I’d like to lose at least 2 lbs this week to make it so I have less than 2 st to lose in total. I am disappointed in myself, especially since I had another day of bad eating yesterday, but I am glad I’m still in the 14 stone bracket and that my gain this week wasn’t more.

Over the next seven days I am going to be on it.

Well, on to my walk. It was great! Walking with my brother is good and all, but when we go somewhere we’re mostly just strolling around and I’m looking for stuff to take photos of. The incidental exercise is wonderful, but it’s not the primary aim.

Walking with my new friend is a whole different kettle of fish. His focus is absolutely on fitness, and although at first he asked if I’d like to come on a hike, it quickly became clear that what he really meant was would you like to come training? After all, hiking does not normally involve press-ups (I’m getting better at those by the way!)

There were no gentle strolls to be had on this occasion, and no stopping half way up a hill to catch my breath. Even walking up the hills he usually runs up had me lagging behind slightly, which just goes to show what regular training can do. Although I’m no stranger to hill walking, I was still eating the dust of a man 16 years my senior.

In between hills I did have enough breath left for us to get to know each other better, which is good because if I’m to go training with him in future then there won’t be much chatting. I’ve been told in no uncertain terms that I will have to RUN (Shock! Horror!) and I have agreed to this torture. I’m not sure when this will be happening, because I don’t want to interfere with his usual training and hold him back (plus I’m very busy over the next couple of weeks) but it’ll sure be happening one way or another.

I can’t say with any certainty that I’ll do it again afterwards, but I get the feeling I will. And maybe running with him a few times will give me enough confidence to do it on my own. I sure hope so!

Either way I’m so pleased I decided to go out and be sociable, despite the warnings of snow and ice, because otherwise I wouldn’t have seen anything like this:

060218_2473060218_2472060218_2474With the sun out (mostly) it actually wasn’t that cold – we couldn’t have picked a better day I reckon.

Afterwards my friend treated me to breakfast at a local café by the name of Café Max. To be honest I expected to be taken to a greasy spoon that didn’t have a hope in hell of having vegan options, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. There weren’t any vegan options on the menu, but the nice lady serving us said that they have one other vegan customer (a regular) who has a selection of vegetables with hash browns and beans. So I ordered that, and wasn’t too excited about it but glad to have something.

We sat down at a nice table which was spotlessly clean (no grease here!) and got stared at by some old ladies. That was weird, but I think it might have been because me and my friend are both so big. I’m not talking about being overweight, it’s just that I’m 6ft tall myself and my friend is so tall he makes me feel dainty (a first) so we probably look quite imposing as a pair!

Anyway when breakfast came I was blown away. The hash browns were light, crispy and fluffy on the inside, and the accompanying veg wasn’t just your bog standard fried tomatoes and mushrooms swimming in oil. I had cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, yellow pepper (I don’t know what they did with it but that was especially delicious) and asparagus. I would be more than happy to have that again every single time, even if I wasn’t vegan.

It’s now gone 3am and I hope I can get some sleep soon (the joys of being a night worker) because tomorrow I have more strength training planned with my new kettlebells. I have started a little routine that I want to do three times a week, along with two exercise bike sessions and at least one day of yoga. And of course some running (eek!) thrown in at some point. I honestly never thought I’d get this excited about exercise, yet here I am. The girl who faked notes from her parents to get out of P.E. for five years (and got away with it) is now working out ON PURPOSE.

People actually can change!

Hayley x

 

Sideswiped

I honestly don’t know what has happened. I went to bed on Sunday night feeling really good. In fact I’ve been ecstatically happy for the last three weeks because everything has been going so well and I’ve just been enjoying life!

On Sunday morning me and my brother went to Tilbury Fort which is just down the road from us, and we had a great time. We got there a little early so checked out the surrounding area first, which was honestly a complete and utter dump. We wanted to walk the coastal path to another fort, then come back on ourselves before we visited the English Heritage-run site we had come to Tilbury to see.

But the path was covered in so much dog poo and so much rubbish, it was too dangerous and/or depressing to continue.

But when we actually got into the fort it was great. We had the whole place to ourselves for ages, the man who gave us our tickets took the time to give us some history, and my brother really enjoyed himself playing with the guns because you can actually climb on and have a tinker with most of the stuff there (although of course you can’t actually blow anything up).

When I went to bed I was feeling tired but content, and got a decent sleep.

But since Monday morning, I haven’t even been able to wake myself up properly because I feel totally and utterly depressed. I’m not talking about a bad mood – I’m no stranger to those and know the difference. This is a whole other kettle of fish. I don’t want to talk to anyone, I don’t want to be around people, I just want to be unconscious. But my dreams are just… insane. Every time I close my eyes I’m being chased or threatened or I’m seeing animals in pain. It’s really not good.

I feel like I need to adopt the fetal position and have a good cry, but the tears won’t come.

This week I’ve also had a totally unexpected gain of 4 lbs, my heart rate has just skyrocketed for no apparent reason and I wake up with my heart feeling like it’s trying to escape my chest every single time I’ve been to sleep. I suppose it’s a reaction to the bad dreams?

And I’ve been eating crap because I literally didn’t have the energy to prepare anything. Today’s low point was eating pecans dipped in vegan buttercream icing.

I’m refusing to go into February carrying on like this, so tonight I’m forcing myself to make something for my work lunch and getting back on plan. Because what else can I do? I can’t stay in bed forever, as much as I want to.

I’ve had to dial back on the exercise which adds another layer of guilt, but I have still kept up with my press-ups and planks, so that’s something.

My step count is atrocious, but I’m determined to make it to 70,000 steps for the week regardless. The last two weeks I’ve been above 120,000, so I’m sure I can make 70k. I WILL make 70k.

Since this depression has just come out of nowhere, I’m hoping it’ll disappear just as quickly. I’m just going to hang on for dear life until it goes away. It’s as good a plan as any!

Sorry for the negative post, but that’s what’s been happening so there you go.

Hopefully the next one will be better!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

PS I just thought of a positive – My new boots came and I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THEM! They are so comfy and worth every penny of the £150 paid. I reckon I could walk to the moon and back on these babies and not even get a blister. Yay!

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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 essexwalks.com 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’.

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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!

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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.

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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

Lazy Bones

So far this week I’ve done less steps over seven days than I did in just the Monday of the week before. I know I’ve been chilling out but that is just ridiculous! It also goes a little way to explaining how, according my scales, I have now gained THIRTEEN POUNDS since the 27th of November. That’s a pound a day!

I’m now regretting saying that I’ll definitely go to group on Tuesday in my last post, but I’m still going. A couple at group I’ve known from my Slimming World days in 2012 have been on holiday to Lapland, and they always have enormous holiday gains. So if nothing else I’ll make them feel better (or at least show them how it’s done!)

Perhaps I’ll also make other people feel better if they’ve had a couple of pound gains here and there from work Christmas parties and the like. Then next week I’ll (hopefully) show them that even when you’ve gained almost an ENTIRE STONE you can make a significant difference in just seven days. Hopefully.

Today I’ve been hungry, and I’ve massively overeaten. Before lunch I could feel some intense cravings coming on, and I ended up eating an entire packet of Linda McCartney red onion and rosemary sausages. They are free, and I’ve lost weight eating those kind of volumes at a similar weight to what I am now, but it still feels wrong. Greedy, even. Having said that, they did the job and I’m still not hungry now. If I feel I need a dinner later I’m going to roast a (speedy) butternut squash and have it with some salad. I’m well within my syns, so I should actually be okay. I still feel guilty though.

I just have everything crossed that some of the bloating comes off before Tuesday evening. Because despite everything I’ve just said, I still don’t want to go and face that kind of gain. It’s no one’s fault but my own though. When will you learn Hayley?!

Last night was my one solitary night in work before I’m off for nine, yes nine days of guilt-free and all being well illness-free holiday. Because I’d been off sick I had to drag myself in for that one day otherwise all of my holiday would go down as sickness and I’d have to get a doctor’s note to explain my absence. Which I wouldn’t even be able to do because I’d long be back at work before even getting an appointment!

Thankfully there wasn’t much actually work to be done and I got away a couple of hours early. My alarm went off in the morning to make sure I don’t make Pea wait for her breakfast, and when I pulled back the curtains I was greeted with a veritable winter wonderland!

I quickly got Pea’s breakfast sorted then wrapped up in my work gear then went out into the garden to take pictures.

I’ve been raving about the work salopettes I got this year, because even out in the snow I was actually breaking out in a sweat. Perhaps I shouldn’t have worn my winter coat on top of everything else…

IMG_3156After rushing around before my camera got too wet, I took some more birdy pictures from indoors. The robin looks all the more festive in the snow!

I can remember the last time we had this much snow round our way – it was 2008 – and I got home from work at 3am so I could make a snowman in the back garden. I don’t remember the last time it snowed in December though. How exciting!

This afternoon I sat down with my mum, brother and Pea to watch The Santa Claus and do Christmas crafts, and it was lovely. Pea seems to be enjoying Christmas films weirdly – she’s has chattered all the way through every single one we’ve watched. I think it must be the music that she likes.

Tomorrow I have the dentist for my filling (yep, I’m dreading that) then I’m free to only do enjoyable things for the rest of the week. Just gotta get that one damn thing out of the way first…

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Perkier

This morning I woke up at 4am and couldn’t get back to sleep. The whole reason behind it was that my mojo unexpectedly came back, and I’m so pleased to see it that I’m not going to complain about the less-than-ideal timing.

I am so excited for the future, the only way I could calm my thoughts was to get up, make a cup of tea and jot down a list of things to do and things I’m looking forward to.

Me and my brother have started planning our annual holiday already. At the end of May we’re climbing Scafell Pike, hiking in the Isle of Skye, climbing Ben Nevis, and and some point fitting in some sleep. That part’s not a huge priority though.

A friend of mine has been talking a lot about the universe being on his side lately, and I had a similar feeling today. One thing I’m going to need is new hiking boots, because mine pinch the big toe on one foot if I do too much ‘going down hills’. Going down Snowdon this year it did give me some jip, so I need to do something about that.

As I opened Facebook today the first thing I saw was a brand new post from a vegan site I read – all about vegan friendly hiking boots! They have contacted a whole shedload of companies to ask about everything from the glue they use to their working practices, and have compiled a nice list so I can choose a pair without it being a huge headache. How awesome is that?

The only spanner in the works is the price, which is a fair one considering the quality of the boots and the fact that a lot of work has gone into making them eco-friendly, but I’ll have to start saving now. I almost, almost bought them anyway (I still have an emergency overdraft) but I stopped myself just in time. Needing something for the end of May cannot be considered an emergency!

The thing that’s really getting me going is that fact that I’ll be at target by the time we go. Going up Snowdon last May I felt fantastic, but when I saw the pictures of me and my brother’s Gopro footage I must admit that my heart sank just a tad. I was two stone heavier then than I am now, so I know I look a lot different already, it’ll just be that extra bit special this time around. Even if we aren’t so lucky with the weather. Look at that gorgeous sky!!!

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I was also itching to get back on plan this morning as I’m feeling a lot better. I can breathe through both nostrils at the same time and the only thing ‘bothering’ me now is a tickly cough. I can take a tickly cough all day long, it’s nothing compared to a blocked up nose! At lunch I settled down to read Harry Potter (it always makes me feel Christmassy) and a ginormous bowl of thick, silky, syn free, cauliflower soup. Yum!

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I even felt well enough to get out in the garden to take some pictures, but I’ve got to admit these pictures of some of our visitors were taken through the window. They’re a bit shy you see!

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Now let’s see how much of my latest gain I can get off before Christmas! I’ve put on about ten pounds (according to my scales) which is a fair consequence of the way I’ve been eating. I don’t feel bad about it as such, but I’m still going to skip group on Tuesday if I’m showing a gain of over 7lbs. It’s normally quick on/quick off with me though so I wouldn’t be at all surprised if I end up going. We’ll see. Either way, I’m going to stay on plan now until Christmas Eve.

Everything is pretty much back to normal now (at least as normal as it ever gets) so I can get back to being festive in peace!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

PS Scratch that. I’m going to group anyway to face the music, no matter what happens. It’s time to start doing things properly again!

Sevens

It’s been something of an eventful week so far, and it’s only Wednesday! I don’t remember how long ago it was now that arrangements were made for me to meet a fellow blogger (this awesome dude here) but it was certainly a while ago. At the time it seemed like a perfectly natural thing to do. I’d estimate that I’ve been reading his blog for about a year now, and what with regular snapshots into another person’s life and the odd comment becoming the odd conversation becoming a proper (albeit online) friendship, I completely forgot that I’m ridiculously shy and that my default setting is to avoid meeting new people at any cost.

I remembered this fact a few days before we were due to meet, and thought I’d warn him incase (at least initially) I struggled to come out of my shell like the social tortoise that I am. Then I put it out of my mind, and early Monday morning I managed to make the two-hour-something car journey in a state of relative calm.

I needn’t have worried at all though, because after an entire day of hopping from parks to coffee shops to charity shops and back again, it was clear that I wasn’t meeting a ‘new person’ at all, it is just a lot easier to have a conversation with a good friend when you can see them in person, rather than having to type everything out!

It also helps when that friend is a complete chatterbox, but a chatterbox who actually has something to say rather than someone who just fills the silence for the sake of it. As such I came away from the experience feeling kind of… nourished. There aren’t many people within a 100 mile radius of me who are on the same wavelength (I can count them on one hand) so to meet up with someone who just gets it was simply brilliant. We went to Harvester for dinner and there was no ‘oh let’s just have what we want and screw the diet’ but a healthy dose of ‘look how much salad I can fit on this plate’. It was a Free Food feast!

According to my Fitbit I walked about 15 miles in that one day, but when you combine that with an epic natter then believe me, you don’t even realise you’re exercising. It was my first experience of having an official Twalk™ and I know it won’t be my last.

I was treated to a tour of my friend’s local haunts, and at first I did get my camera out but as the conversation got into full swing it ended up being forgotten about. Eventually it found its way back into my bag without me quite realising it. This is no bad thing of course, it just goes to show how absorbed I was because normally I’m always thinking about what would make an interesting photo.

It just goes to show though – look at the cool stuff that can happen if you put aside the things you think you know about yourself. Am I really that shy these days? I think not. What other assumptions am I making about myself that simply aren’t true any more? I’m sure there will be more revelations as time goes on.

When I got home the next day I spent several hours with a very sulky Pea on my shoulder. My brother looked after her, which she normally enjoys, but she’s been in a bit of a mood lately and only Hayley would do. Well it’s nice to be wanted!

In the evening I toddled off to group to find out how I’ve done this week. I hadn’t weighed in officially for a couple of weeks, but I had entered my home weigh-ins into the app because I have a complete record of my weekly weight from August 2015 so I can’t be having gaps now!

It was a bit of shocker – I lost SEVEN POUNDS and got my SEVEN STONE AWARD!

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Initially my Christmas goal was to get into the 13 stones, and even though I’m 14 stone 3.5 lbs now and it’s doable, I changed my goal to getting this award because I didn’t want to feel bad for not achieving the first one. Although it’s within the realms of possibility, I have a lot going on over the next couple of weeks so if I can just maintain the weight I am now I’ll be very happy indeed. I’ll keep trying though, I just don’t want to pile on the pressure too much.

Next Tuesday I’m not weighing in because in the afternoon I’m taking my mum to a hospital appointment, then a little bit later I’m going to give blood. What with having to go to work later as well, I think it would just be too much to do in one day. On Sunday I’m out with my sister and naughty food will be had, so I have to stay extra focused during the in between times. The past week shows that I am absolutely capable of doing that, and I’m not even grudgingly on plan as I sometimes am. I’m damn well enjoying it again! I keep trying to find the balance between food-orientated social events and not backtracking and undoing everything I’ve achieved so far. I feel that I’m actually getting there!

On that note it’s time to prepare a perfectly on-plan and delicious dinner before work.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Abandoned

Not much has gone to plan this week, with the exception of decorating the living room. The end result turned out to be less dreadful than I’d expected, even if the actual doing it was hell. I despise decorating!

I managed to stay on plan for two days this week, with the remainder of the days seeing some of the most out of control eating I’ve done in months and months. I completely abandoned all of my goals and did A LOT of burying my head in the sand. I’ve still been doing it today.

I don’t know whether I’m going to weigh in tomorrow. I know I should, because it will help to draw the line, but I know group won’t help in itself because it’s a taster session. I really try to like these events but I just don’t, and no amount of me trying to convince myself otherwise seems to help. So if I really can’t face the scales then I simply won’t. I’ve got to do what I think is best.

Every time I think I’ve cracked this slimming business, that seems to be when things take a massive nosedive. Maybe I let myself get too relaxed? Maybe it’s the opposite and I’ve been too strict which caused me to want to eat all of the things? Maybe it’s that I’ve had some really non-eventful star weeks lately and it’s all been saved up for this one and it’s why I feel so awful?

It’s one of these occasions where I just can’t reason it out at all, which doesn’t help. If I can’t figure out what the problem is it makes it that much harder to fix.

I have to sort this out though, otherwise before I know it I’ll be back in the 15 stone bracket and it’s the 13 stones I’m aiming for dammit!

On Saturday I was supposed to go and see some Fireworks but I just wanted to stay in bed. So that’s what I did. Sunday I still wanted to stay in bed, but me and my brother had plans to visit a castle (which was also his birthday present to me) so I couldn’t really sit and mope any longer. It was nice to get out and I did enjoy myself, but at the same time I found it really draining.

Today Pea went for her annual check up at the vets which was a complete and utter waste of time. The usual avian vet wasn’t there which is a shame as he’s so good. He knows how to hold her properly, never lets her fly off, and always gives her a thorough examination. Today though the lady let her escape (only into the examination room but still, that’s always problematic with Pea) and we had to chase her with towels to get her back. It was so stressful for Pea, the next time I’ll have to make sure we’re seeing the specialist vet. Although I thought we were this time, we waited weeks for an appointment for when he was back from holiday! The lady trimmed the toenails on Pea’s left foot, after saying they didn’t really need doing, and didn’t manage to trim the one that could have done with being a teeny bit shorter. To be fair Pea just wasn’t giving up that foot for love nor millet!

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Another thing that didn’t go to plan was the delivery of some vintage Levi 501’s in a size 14 that I treated myself to. The size 14 is the largest waist size I can get whilst also getting the right leg length, and they are so far off fitting me it’s untrue. I have a lot of tummy to get rid of before those babies are going on. I suppose it hit home how much further I have to go, just when I thought I was getting close. I will not give up though. These jeans are now my target jeans, and the second I can do them up comfortably, that’s when I stop. I think I was lulled into a false sense of security by looser-fitting size 14 items of clothing, but I still need to remember I’ve never been able to get into any kind of 14 until now, loose-fitting or not. It’s still excellent progress! Writing it down though I now realise how much I let that little knock of confidence affect me. Interesting…

This week hasn’t been a complete write-off though. The positives are that I watched the new series of Stranger Things in one day, which was pure, unadulterated pleasure, and last night I read an entire book – La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman. If you’ve read the His Dark Materials trilogy then you just have to read this book, because it’s the first book of a prequel trilogy that revisits Lyra’s Oxford. If you haven’t read the original trilogy then what are you waiting for? It’s the best thing ever!

One thing that’s clear is that I do not cope well with time off work, and I had 6 days in a row to contend with on this occasion. In December I have nine days off in a row as I’m looking after my sister’s birds. I only need three of the days, but where I work in order to book holiday in advance you have to book the whole week. I’ll have to keep myself busy over this period, but only doing fun stuff. Because the decorating proved that busy or not, if I’m not enjoying it then it’s no good. As for the actual bird-sitting, that will keep me on my toes without a doubt. All of my energy will be spent trying to keep my face in one piece. Last time I was bitten on the cheeks, earlobes, nostrils and fingers, all for the crime of not actually being my sister. They are waaaaaay too attached to her!

See, Petrie looks cute but that’s what she’ll do to you. They are too clever for their own good – they know the exact places that will hurt the most to bite, such as the very outside of your nostril. That’s how I got a bleeding finger – I was trying to get her off my nose – and of course she got that sensitive bit of skin right on the edge of my nail. I still love her though.

The plan of attack for the week ahead is as follows:

  • Move more. My calorie burn for the last week was the lowest it’s ever been. I need to get off my butt!
  • Stop the negative thoughts. I’ve gone from looking in the mirror and saying ‘good progress, Hayley’ to despising myself overnight. That’s gotta stop RIGHT NOW.
  • Write everything down. This was suggested by a friend so I’ll start off doing it for a week and see how I go. I used to write down everything but lately it’s just been Healthy Extras and Syns (or nothing at all) so seeing all the Free and Speed food written down too might help to spur me on. I’ll try to get as much variety as possible.
  • Drink lots of water. I normally drink loads of water because I genuinely like it, but for some weird reason I’ve hardly had any fluids lately. Maybe because I’m always so cold. So I need to turn that around this week, too.

So that’s the plan. There’s nothing groundbreaking there, but if I can do those things then there’s no reason why the coming week won’t be the complete opposite of the one just gone. I just need to believe that I can do it, which is weird considering I’ve done it over and over again for more than a year now.  I told you to STOP you damn negative thoughts!

I can do it. I WILL do it.

That’s enough of that now. The next post is going to be me telling you what a great day I had!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

A Pleasant Surprise

Last night I wore my three layers to work, as has become the norm over the last week, and I nearly bloody melted. It’s been so warm today! I’m not complaining because it’s been beautiful, and it was absolutely ideal as me and my brother had already planned to visit Eltham Palace today.

Autumn colours are always lovely, but it’s even better when the sun is shining on them and there was barely a cloud in the sky all day. After arriving we headed straight to the house (palace my backside) and picked up one of the free audio guides. In fact it was all kind of free now that we are English Heritage members. That’s a very good thing because I would have been slightly cheesed off if I’d paid for the audio guide because it really was dreadful! It sounded like the narrator was trying to be seductive, and I don’t know who wrote the script but after one description of a painting I had to turn if off because I wanted to throw the thing through the window.

Hence I came home knowing nothing about Eltham Palace at all. I have just had a quick read on Wikipedia though and it seems it was a palace once, but it was all but destroyed in the 1600’s. What’s there now is a house that was built on the site, which includes the restored great hall of the original palace. The Art Deco house was apparently a ‘masterpiece of modern design’ and I read a little plaque that said it was inspired by Scandinavian design. I’d much rather kit my home out with Ikea though because I thought it was ugly. The only pictures I took inside the house were not Art Deco at all!

The grounds though, now they are lovely. There’s a big lake that goes part of the way around it and the fish there (I think my brother said they are carp) must be used to being fed because they are so friendly. Normally I have oats in my bag as a matter of course, in case I need to tempt a water bird on my travels, but I didn’t replenish the last lot I used so we had nothing to lure the fish closer with. Then along came a family eating their sarnies who decided to throw bread in the water.

I’m sure most people know that you shouldn’t feed birds bread, because uneaten bread can pollute the water and it doesn’t provide enough nutrition to see them through the winter. I’m not sure what the deal is with fish, but it would be irrelevant in this case anyway. The fish snaffled up the bread immediately and I’m not sure even a single crumb was missed.

We spent most of the afternoon just wandering around exploring the grounds or watching the fish, and I was just loving the colours of everything so much. I’m going to find out what kind of flowers they have because everything was still in bloom and it would be lovely to have our garden looking something like that this time next year. Not that I’ve done anything at all with the garden since I decided I was going to sort it out, however many months ago. I really must do my research in time for spring.

I don’t know why this year has been so different, but documenting the changes in the seasons and trying to enjoy every minute of it has been really important to me. I need to make sure I’m out every week until all of the leaves are gone because I don’t want to miss a single photo op!

Just gorgeous.

When we left in the late morning I’d just eaten breakfast and wasn’t hungry at all so I didn’t take food with me, but I did have the foresight to have a lunch already prepared for when I got home. That was a good call because on the drive back my tummy was rumbling like mad. I’m frightening myself with all of this organisation.

You may notice that I didn’t put any weekly goals up last week, and that’s because I had no intention at all of avoiding the sneak peek. I’m feeling really bloated and I think it’s possible I’ll have a maintain but the important thing is to not freak out about it.

That’s if it does happen at all, because a lot can change between now and Tuesday morning. What I do know is that I have had an impeccable week as far as food is concerned and if I don’t get a good result I only need to look to the people I admire who deal with gains and maintains spectacularly well. There are two in particular. One is Just Julie and I’m pretty sure the other can guess who he is, and the thing about these spectacular people is I see them have disappointing and undeserved results at times, and although they’re obviously not happy about it, they don’t let it derail them. I wait with anticipation for the following week’s results and watch all of the hard work pay off as they are rewarded for sticking with it. Even when it might be the last thing they wanted to do at the time.

And that’s where I must leave you because it’s 8pm and I haven’t even started dinner yet. So much for being organised…

Hayley x