Back Where I Belong

It’s the 1st of August, a fresh new month, and I’m feeling damn good. Finally I’m back in my favourite spot. The number one spot that is, on the Fitbit leaderboard.

I’m also back in the +100k for my steps over the last seven days (actually since I took that screen shot yesterday it’s closer to 120k), which got me thinking.

It’s two years to the day that I rejoined Slimming World and simultaneously started taking my fitness seriously.

I began with a 10k per day step goal, and I found it really difficult to reach. I’d often find myself pacing the living room trying to make my total, because going outside and really giving it some was inconceivable to me at the time.

I also found that I was highly sceptical of other people’s step totals. I had a few people I’d added as friends via Instagram who were smashing it, and I honestly thought they must be cheating somehow.

Yet here I am achieving, fairly easily, something I thought impossible. All you have to do is start, be consistent, and before you know it it’s second nature.

Of course on an anniversary like this I’ve been getting reflective anyway. The temperature is on the rise again so I went for a shady run today – 1.5 miles, without stopping, almost completely pain free!

I felt absolutely fantastic at the end – boy did I miss those running endorphins.

Yet it’s not so long ago, at a family party, that I simply crouched down and couldn’t get back up. It took two of my burly male cousins to hoist me back up again.

I have a kind of life now that I never even imagined. I mean, I didn’t even dream of it because it wasn’t on the radar at all.

Sometimes I’d worry that I’d give myself a terrible disease from the lifestyle I was living, but in a split second the next thought was ‘ah well, at least it’d be over soon’.

This time two years ago I was recovering from a food hangover and the ordinary kind. We’d had our annual family BBQ and as usual I’d totally overdone it. I bought so much food, and since I knew I wanted to do something about my weight (again) starting from the next day, I saw it as my mission to eat the whole lot.

I was fit to burst, probably literally. I’m talking dangerously full up, and that’s not even including the alcohol.

That smile? Not even close to being a real one.

I weighed myself on the day of the BBQ and was horrified at what I saw.

Yet something obviously clicked, because although I came close (I didn’t knuckle down properly until October) I never saw that number on the scales again. And I never will (unless someone gets on there with me!)

When I think back to those times I rarely think about how I look, probably because I’ve adjusted quite well to my mental image of myself. I’m so grateful for that, because in the past I’ve still looked in the mirror and seen 21+ stone Hayley looking back at me and I tell you – that messes with your head.

What I think about now is how different I feel. Back then I felt like my body was something alien to me, and I would have given anything to have all of the bits that ‘weren’t me’ taken away. Now I’m not exactly happy with my body, but I’m coming to accept it for what it is.

It might not look perfect, but it keeps me going whereas before I had no energy. I used to drink two 500ml energy drinks a night just to get through my shift.

These days I only have tea on my lunch break, mainly just because I’m thirsty, and I don’t have coffee because I don’t want to have trouble sleeping in the morning.

My resting heart rate has gone down from 77 beats per minute to 49. I’m sure most of us have seen the meme before pointing out that we only have a finite number of heartbeats in our lifetime, so it’s best not to exercise and use them all up quickly. But if you do live a healthy lifestyle, then for the other 23 or so hours of the day you aren’t working out, you’re still saving those precious heart beats!

So I went to work that night feeling fabulous. I have a little pre-work ritual where I put my Airpods in whilst doing my hair and makeup and drinking a strong coffee, because it prepares me for the work night ahead. I suppose it’s getting my game face on.

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It’s a pretty crap blurry picture, but who cares? It’s the difference between this one and the BBQ picture that matters.

That particular night I was feeling particularly slim and in control, and I thought nothing could bring me down.

Within the first two hours of my shift that changed, and although I can’t talk about it, and it doesn’t directly affect me, my anxiety went through THE ROOF. When I got home I could only manage a couple of hours sleep because I so uptight, and my mind started racing. How can I make myself feel better? Because I can’t stand feeling like this.

Food? No. I’ve been in control, I don’t want it. Plus I feel sick anyway. Alcohol? Don’t be silly Hayley it’s ten in the morning, and even if it wasn’t? No.

So I decided to channel all of that nervous energy into a run. I did 3 miles this time, and my knee was getting sore by the end so I walked the last little bit.

 

One thing I did learn is that if you don’t prepare yourself properly for a run then it’s so much harder. I went out at 9:30am and hadn’t eaten since early evening the previous day, so what with not sleeping properly either, it was a slog. But it did make me feel a bit better, so that the feelings inside me were manageable.

I managed to stay on plan the whole day, even though I didn’t really eat enough. And I didn’t photograph anything either – I was running on essential services only.

Today though, after a much less stressful night at work, I’m feeling mostly ok. But especially proud of myself for not going off the rails, because I’m doing so well!

I had a sneak peek on the scales and I’m back to the weight I was when I first started getting into running. I even saw that elusive 13 stone bracket again.

However over the weekend I’ll make sure I don’t have any more sneak peeks. If I see a good loss, I’ll think I have space to eat more food. If I see a gain I’ll be disheartened. So no looking until official weigh in Monday evening!

I have a busy weekend planned, but rest assured there will be regular updates. I MUST keep this good thing going.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Practically Perfect

It’s Saturday evening and I’m sitting at my desk to start this blog post, drinking my third cup of coffee since getting up at 7pm and listening to little Pea make sounds of contentment from her favourite perch. I have to get in the shower for work very soon, but life is good.

Today has been wonderfully refreshing. I had arranged to meet up with an ex-colleague for a coffee and a catch-up but to be honest, our schedules are so out of whack I expected he’d have to cancel. Part of me was making plans for what to do if that happened. Or plan I should say. It was simply – GET MORE SLEEP.

But, pleasingly, we were both actually free at the same time and it went ahead. As I popped my sunglasses on and headed out the door just before midday, I didn’t care that I’d had less than three hours sleep, because the wind was in my hair, the sun was on my face, and I could get some mileage in without being a sweaty mess at the end of it.

After I’d drunk about a pint of coffee and we’d run out of gossip, I walked back home via the church on the hill. It was even windier up there and just the right temperature. Oh, and bloody beautiful.

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Very tired, but most content! Despite all that coffee I was still rather sleepy and after eating some delicious grub I got back to sleep with no issues at all.

It has taken me a little while to come to terms with something, specifically the fact that when I eat my tummy is visibly larger. Up until now I’d glance at myself in the mirror and panic, assuming I’d somehow put on half a stone since the morning. But now rational Hayley can appreciate how several cups of coffee, a large meal designed to see me through till my work lunch at 4am, plus several pints of water is going to have an effect on my appearance (albeit temporarily). I always used to think that slim people were being dramatic when they put on elasticated trousers for a big meal, but now I know it’s a real thing.

In actual fact it’s a great non-scale victory – I’m slim enough to be able to see my food baby!

It’s now Sunday night and I am exhausted! I’ve only had two hours sleep after my night shift, and that in itself was a hard one. We were short-staffed so with a lack of anyone to talk to, I did extra work instead to make the time go. I put in the best performance in a long, long time.

My run today was mostly downgraded to a fast walk. But when I did try the tiniest bit of running my knee felt fine. I’m going out tomorrow afternoon to have another go and to do a little bit more, because I think it’s best to take it easy and build up to a full run.

It felt good to be out there doing it again though!

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So it’s weigh day tomorrow and I’m extremely apprehensive, because all of the odds are stacked against me.

Today is the first day of star week (BOOOOO!), because I’m weighing in at a different group I haven’t had a full week between weigh-ins anyway, I’ll be eating before I go, and I may still get a catch-up gain from last week.

Because of this I wanted to be prepared for bad news, so I had a little sneak peek and my fears are confirmed – at least according to my scales I have a 2lb gain.

But I really won’t let it get to me, because another thing I’ve found in addition to my mojo, is patience. When I first started losing weight because I had such a long way to go I was fully prepared to be in it for the long haul.

Just lately I’ve wanted everything to happen yesterday, and the result is that I’ve found myself frustrated and downhearted when I really shouldn’t be.

So what if I do have a gain? So what if I maintain? Am I going to stick to plan anyway? I sure am. It’s a numbers game really. If I stay the course, there’s a fairly good chance I could still get a good result. Let’s say… there’s an 80% chance I could still have a loss. And if I say to hell with it and comfort eat? That pretty decent 80% drops right down to ZERO.

I’ll take my chances thanks.

The only thing I might do in the coming week is give SP a real proper go because I’ve never tried it before. I do see on various vegan forums a lot of people asking what others eat on SP days, so I’ll try it myself and perhaps I’ll be able to offer advice to my fellow vegan slimmers in the future.

It’ll be interesting to see if it actually helps, or if I end up too hungry and have to go back to a normal Extra Easy day. We will see!

Either way I’ll let you know how weigh in goes tomorrow.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Odd One Out

Yesterday morning me and my brother were out the door at 3am for our bike ride. Weirdly, he left the navigating up to me. Even though the journey to Southend-on-Sea is one I’ve done plenty of times in a car, doing it on a bike whilst avoiding the A-roads, in the dark, is a bit different. So we went the wrong way a couple of times, but we did find a much nicer route than one straight boring road.

We rode through the park where I usually do my training, and that in itself was a bit hairy. Where it’s been so dry the gravel track was extra loose and dusty and I had to be really careful that I didn’t go too fast and find myself unable to stop.

It was just before entering the park that I fell over, too. Ridiculously, I had stopped and was just setting off again when I completely lost my balance. Yep, I fell over from standing. Which is something I’ve done before actually, and I had a scar on my elbow from that for years.

I didn’t hurt myself this time thankfully, and after a little seat adjustment I felt a lot safer.

As we left the park and went on what was more like a farm track, by backside really suffered. The ground had huge cracks in it from the heatwave, and as my brother’s bike is a hybrid which he mostly uses for commuting, the suspension isn’t built for that kind of thing. It was really hard going.

But we made it to our destination eventually, where we saw a fair few people doing the ‘walk of shame’ after coming out of the clubs. There wasn’t much to see so after a quick selfie I suggested we head back. As far my legs go, which are obviously doing the most work, I would have been happy to keep going. But my undercarriage was really suffering by now so we went back via the main road.

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The journey home was half an hour shorter, but for the last hour especially I felt every little bump. If cycling becomes a regular thing for me then I’ll definitely get some padded shorts. And the largest, comfiest saddle in existence.

We were home by 7:30 am after completing 33, yes thirty-three miles, so I had time for a well deserved nap before getting Pea her breakfast.

I even went out for a walk to the shops later on, and it really hit home how that would have been an impossibility not so long ago. It’s only because of my better fitness levels in general that such a bike ride was even something I could consider. Today I expected to ache all over, but my legs are absolutely fine (must be all of the running) and the only thing that hurts apart from the obvious is my shoulders. The only reason they hurt is because of the shock going through them from the handle bars.

Yesterday I had loads of praise from people I know for completing such a feat, then one negative comment really got me down. It’s always the way – that one person can really make or break a mood. But I’ve been thinking a lot about friendship and support networks lately so I dropped a couple of messages to people that I know have my back.

Well my phone was lighting up like a Christmas tree for a good hour with people offering advice, encouragement and generally cheering me on. The majority of people want to see you do well, and those are the ones we need to focus on as hard as that may be.

I’ve had lots of help too from someone I have as a friend on Facebook. I don’t know him all that well, as we only worked together for a fairly brief period and he was on another department anyway, but his words of wisdom have really been made me feel better. This one from yesterday was especially apt:

Don’t forget that if you’re feeling sh*t people care. Reach out, if you get longed off they ain’t your pal, rinse repeat till you find a human.

And he was right. I reached out and people came to my rescue. So I decided to drop him a message to let him know what a difference he has made. If someone moves you, tell them! Let people know they’re appreciated! And don’t let that odd one out (there’s always one) dampen your spirit.

Anyway, today I was supposed to be going back to Slimming World but I can’t make the group I wanted to go to as I need a car for that. So I’m waiting till tomorrow and going back to my original group.

I’m going to be knackered at work afterwards, especially as I have to walk there too, but I don’t especially care. This is too important! It’ll be lovely to see everyone, so what I might do is weigh in at that group periodically. In fact I really like the idea of weighing in at different groups anyway, especially if I’m visiting a Slimming World friend. It’d be fantastic to meet the people helping them get or stay at target!

This plan of action will mean that next week the days between weighing will only be 6 rather than the usual 7, which scares me a bit. But hell, I need to get over all that. It doesn’t matter if the scales don’t reflect my exact losses because I’m in it for the long haul, and I’ll get what I’m owed the next week if I don’t let it get to me and stick to the plan.

In the meantime, it’s coming up to 11am and I haven’t eaten yet. It’s time to get me some brunch!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Excitement

Well today I just haven’t been able to settle. I mean, it’s so exciting isn’t it? Oh, you thought I was talking about this ‘football’ that people seem so interested in right now? Nope, today all I’ve been able to think about is a big old plate of fried red onions.

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Weird? Me? You bet.

I haven’t had fried onions in about a year and all of a sudden I had a hankering for them. There are four large onions condensed into that pile, but considering there aren’t going to be many people at work tonight then I shouldn’t have to worry too much about any possible… after effects.

In all seriousness though, I’ve found it so, so hard to stay on plan today. I had my A+B choices as soon as I got in from work and was still hungry when I woke up. I had a big lunch and was still hungry. Thankfully dinner seems to have finally satisfied me, but I can’t help feeling that I’ve eaten too much today.

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That’s what Free Food is there for though, and it’s not like I’ve just been eating for the sake of it. It’s just that when I’m freshly back on plan I always feel extra guilty. Which is silly, because the Slimming World plan is so focussed on letting go of that guilt. I’ll keep on trying though.

The important thing is that I didn’t crack, and it’s the first time I’ve had such a strong urge and have been able to control it in longer than I can remember. A pat on the back for Hayley!

Last night at work was unexpectedly motivating. My manager, who was outwardly supportive and positive about my journey from the beginning said he honestly expected me to last about six months before I put the weight back on. I’m so incredibly grateful he kept those negative thoughts to himself though because they could have been really damaging at the time.

He confessed that he can’t remember what I used to look like, which makes me very happy indeed. However I am taking in a picture tonight to remind him, because that’s always fun to do. It’s good for me to remind myself too. If you feel like deleting all the photos of the ‘old you’ and erasing that part of your history, then PLEASE DON’T!

For one you could be wiping records of so many precious memories, even if they might be tinged with pain, but also it’s so useful to look back and see how far you’ve come. It’s how I’m able to look at this picture of me, taken a few minutes ago with pride.

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Hair isn’t done, no make-up, spotty face, messy room… It doesn’t matter. This Hayley is still so much happier than this one:

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And I put on another two stone after that picture was taken! Look at her, crammed into a camping chair that was threatening to collapse under the weight, bloated, struggling to breathe her jeans were so tight… I need to see pictures like this. I need to look at it and not be able to recognise myself, and to know in my heart of hearts that I won’t go back there.

And THAT is why I ate four red onions for dinner, instead of four peanut butter and jam sandwiches.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Fighting

I’ve had four hours sleep today and I have work in a couple of hours. What could possibly go wrong, eh?

I did a good deed this morning/afternoon. My sister needed to have a little anomaly in her leg cut out and she asked me to accompany her, so of course I said yes. She’s my little sister after all! We had coffee beforehand, which was me being clever because I knew if I had real coffee shop coffee too late in the afternoon then I’d never sleep before work.

Despite having the coffee before midday, I still couldn’t get off this evening and eventually gave up. I’ll be ok, I’ll just catch up tomorrow (and make sure I’m topped up with caffeine before work).

Anyway, my sister’s appointment did bring it’s own little bit of happiness. The doctor and assisting nurse she saw were such lovely people, and the first thing the nurse said is that you can tell we are sisters because we look so alike. This brings me nothing but joy, because it’s only very recently that I’ve looked anything like my sister. My face was so… distorted by fat that we didn’t look at all alike, but we sure do now. We get the same comment from every new person we meet in fact.

It’s extra good because I’ve always thought that my sister is beautiful, and now by default that must mean that I’m not quite as ugly as my internal thoughts try to tell me I am. I can’t be mean about myself, because that means I’m being mean to my sister too. There’s some logic in there, honestly!

So. Moving on.

Last night I got angry. Then I decided to fight for what I want. And then I got excited. I’m still excited now. It can be so goddamn tiring, fighting for the life you want, and sometimes you just want to say to hell with it. Sometimes, like me, you do. And you end up eating everything in sight for two weeks, or two months even. It sure feels like two months to me, but the number on the scales shows me that I must be doing something right at least some of the time. And it’s never, ever too late to pick yourself up and start again.

I never give myself enough credit, because what I’ve done so far is incredible. It still amazes me to think that I have enough clothes to wear something different every day of the week, and I feel comfortable enough in every single item that I don’t have to stress about what I’m putting on.

Up until now this kind of heat would see me trying on several different outfits, trying to find something cool enough to wear that also wouldn’t show too much of me, all the time getting hotter, sweatier, more out of breath, stressed and upset. Now when I’m picking my outfit my sole concern is whether I can get away with not ironing it!

What’s really exciting for me right now is that for the first time in months I truly, deep down in my heart of hearts want to get back on plan, and I truly want to do it just for myself. I lost my way for a little while there, but I found the trail of breadcrumbs. So to speak.

And although it feels like a fresh start, I’m not actually starting over. Because there’s something in me now that knows when enough is enough, before any real damage starts to be done. Before I’m telling myself that I really am as happy at 18 stone as I was at 14-something, and ending up at 20+ stone before I admit to myself that it was a complete lie.

After making the decision to really have a big shake-up in my life, and I mean literally minutes after, my first test arrived. A nice chap at work invited me to the pub on Monday and it took every bit of willpower I have to decline the invite.

It’s perfectly reasonable to be following the Slimming World plan and still go out and have a few drinks, but for me I don’t want to risk losing momentum before I’ve even got going again. This particular person is at the pub most weekends, and we get the same days off, so I’ve promised him that I will indeed come out in the future. But for now I have goals to smash. 

And I won’t stop fighting until I’ve smashed them all.

Hayley x

PS I can’t stand a post without anything nice to look at, so here’s me hanging out with the green one. Enjoy!

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Research

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I FINALLY MADE IT INTO THE 10 MINUTE BRACKET! 

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And it wasn’t even a fluke!

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

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

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

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

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

More about that next time!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

One or the Other

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Trust

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

No Fluke

Incredibly, the scales are still showing me to be in the 13’s. It’s not a fluke! I’m now going to stop weighing myself over the next few days since I’ve established that the scales haven’t malfunctioned.

Everything has been a bit of mad rush since yesterday, and I really should be getting dinner sorted but I chose to sit down and write with a cup of coffee first.

Yesterday evening my friend dropped over my new (to me) car. It was dark when he turned up so I didn’t get a chance to look at it properly, but oh my word I am chuffed to bits.

After driving a massive 3l 5 Series BMW for the last two years, I simply cannot look at my new car without bursting out laughing. It’s simply ridiculous!

When I parked up at work and got out it looked positively comical sitting there in my usual spot. I could easily fit another one in the space.

After work this morning I was able to get a picture.

This afternoon I had to go out and in the proper daylight I could see just how filthy it is. It was my friend’s friend’s dad’s and it’s been sitting on a driveway for a long old time, just gathering dust.

There are plenty of perks though. Both my tax and insurance payments have literally halved, and I should be getting more than 14 MPG from now on!

This weekend I should be able to give it a good clean as I have a surprise long weekend. Work announced last night that there’s no Saturday shift while they do a huge stock take. Get in! This week is turning out to be a corker.

To top it all off my brother told me that he’s getting the shocks on his motorbike sorted after payday which means it’ll be able to take our combined weight. Then we can go on a road trip.

I went out with my brother and my ex, me riding pillion on my ex’s bike, for a brief period in 2014. It was the first time I’d ever been on a bike, and it was absolutely thrilling, but there was a downside.

I got the biggest size in trousers and jacket for women that I could (a size 22) and it fit like a second skin. It’s supposed to be snug, so that if you come off your gear stays on and keeps you alive, but sitting on the back of a bike with my knees somewhere around my ears meant that I couldn’t really breathe properly. Kinda problematic.

This also coincided with me gaining huge amounts of weight again, so it wasn’t long before I was struggling to get them on at all. When the bikes were put away for winter, I had to put the trousers on with the zip open (they have a kind of flap) and still I could barely get them on. I told myself I’d be back in them by the summer, but it never happened and I haven’t been on a bike since.

Today I got my gear out of storage and had a little try-on.

Wow.

I am over the flipping moon! Everything is too big, to the point where if I end up going out regularly with my brother then I will need new gear and I will need it soon. As it is all of the Velcro straps are pulled in as tight as they go and it’s still too roomy. I’ll have to wear thick layers underneath in order to stay safe.

Buying new gear means hundreds of pounds being spent, but maybe I can sell what I have to raise funds.

Right now I don’t care, I feel too good! I can take the trousers off without even undoing them, and the flap that was like a second skin? Take a look…

I’m so happy I could cry. In fact I just might.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

When Hard Work Pays Off

Last week was a week of much progress. I’ve pushed food and exercise almost to the very top of my priorities (of course Pea will always be number one) and I’ve been reaping the benefits.

I did 5×30 minute sessions on the exercise bike and also used that time to watch an episode of something on Netflix. I haven’t been watching any kind of TV other than when I’m exercising or on my break at work, and I feel better for it.

I’m sure the cardio I’m doing on the bike is really helping my ticker, because I’ve technically achieved one of my goals for this year – my resting heart rate is now back in the 40’s. The reason I say technically is because I want to be sure it’s staying there before I cross it off my list. When my average for the month is in the 40’s, then I’ll count it. Although the work is by no means done at that point – then I have to make sure I keep it there. I’m chuffed though because the last time my heart rate was this low was the 17th of October.

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Apart from keeping up with the cardio (idea for a new TV series?) I’ve absolutely smashed my step goals and have won all of the Fitbit challenges I’ve been invited to. As a result of all this I’ve been sleeping so much better and I’m starting to feel like my good old self again. My mum even commented that I seem a lot happier, and that she was surprised how much having my teeth out knocked me for six. She’d been quite worried about me in fact. I was a bit worried myself, truth be told.

My weekly stats email from Fitbit is looking pretty damn good:

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But the BESTEST bit? This week I lost a whopping FIVE POUNDS! It’s such a relief! I knew something good was going on, because around this weight is my own personal little tipping point. When I first started losing weight, at least visually speaking there wasn’t much difference after losing three stone. And it was another three stone after that before I started looking considerably different.

But the difference between 15 stone and 14-and-a-half stone for me is HUGE. This week my knobbly ribs made a comeback, I’ve noticed my waist making a reappearance and my face definitely looks slimmer. I must, must, must remember this the next time I have a passing craving for something. Nothing I can eat is worth going back to the feeling of dejection I get everytime I backtrack into the 15 stones, so I need to prevent it from happening EVER again.

So, plan of action! I’ve got three pounds to go till I get my 7 stone award back, and although it would be lovely to have it next week (and I’ll certainly aim for that) I’m not putting too much pressure on myself and won’t get too disheartened if it doesn’t happen. For next week, as long as I lose I’m happy.

However  I am still going to be keeping up with the cardio (it definitely has a ring to it) because I’m sure it’s a huge factor in making me feel so good right now, so I’ll do another five sessions this week. Or four I should say, because I did one yesterday.

As for the rest of my exercise routine I’ve added a daily plank (I can currently do 40 seconds), I’m in week three of my press-up challenge and I’m definitely getting stronger, and I’m going to add a kettlebell and a curl to my squat challenge because I feel the squats alone are too boring. In the past when I’ve done kettlebell squats I’ve really felt it working.

I’ve also thought of a new challenge to add to this year’s list – I want to beat my record for most steps done in a day. My current record is 36,571 and I probably get a new Fitbit achievement when I get to 40k so it’s doubly exciting. I need to consider where I’m going to do this, because I’d like to make it somewhere fun. I did consider walking to my sister’s and back, which would take about 3.5 hours each way. I reckon I could do it, but it’s mostly one big, huge, noisy main road so I need to think of somewhere nicer. I’ll wait till April when it’s a new holiday year, book a day off and make an occasion of it I reckon.

Right then, I’d best be on my (exercise) bike!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x