Hmm, Maybe

Flipping HECK I’ve been busy! There have been countless times over the last week where I’ve wanted to blog but something else has had to take a priority. That something has mostly been sleep. For once in my life I’ve done the sensible thing that will pay off in the long-term rather than just making everything harder for myself.

Now it’s time to remember what on earth I’ve been doing lately.

One day I had to pop to the local shops, which are now mostly shut down, but the post office and the charity shops are still there till next month. After dropping off a parcel to be returned, I headed to the Sue Ryder which is where I get my best and most bargainous purchases.

Since I’ve been looking for materials rather than actual items of clothing, I find it really hard not to just zoom in on my own size and the things I automatically know will suit me. I dragged my eyes away from the 16’s and started from the beginning of the rail nearest me.

Bingo!

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I now have a lovely selection of sequins to fulfil all of my craft project needs, but can I really butcher this rather fetching scarf for materials? Well yes, because that ain’t no scarf.

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It is in fact a size 8 mini skirt that wouldn’t look out of place on a Spice Girl. My mother, bless her, thinks that I can shrink into it but I proved that unless I have reconstructive surgery on my skeleton, then that will never be the case. My hip bones are wider than the actual skirt, which I really don’t have a problem with – as a 6-footer getting into single digit clothing has never once been an aspiration of mine! Regardless, it’s a brilliant non-scale victory to be able to feel my hip bones at all. The NSV’s are coming thick and fast lately.

For the record I don’t think I would wear it even if it did fit me.

On Friday I, wait for it, went for a walk in my favourite park. No surprises there then. The light was gorgeous though, and after carefully making sure my shadow was out of shot I then took another photo with my shadow in shot. Because, and I know it doesn’t exactly count because it’s stretched anyway,  my shadow has never looked that good! Another NSV for the collection…

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On Saturday I went to my dad’s to have a soak in his tub before he came back from holiday in the afternoon, where I spent a good couple of hours reading and getting wrinkly. It was delightful.

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Did I mention I’ve been getting lots of NSV’s lately? While I was waiting for enough hot water for my bath, I decided to get on my dad’s exercise bike and get my minimum 30 minutes cardio in for the day. Except even with the resistance set to the maximum and cycling as very fast as I could go, I just couldn’t keep my heart rate up enough for it to count! I know it’s not the best bike, but there was a time when I couldn’t do ten minutes on it and half the resistance, so I’ll take that and run with it.

After getting home, doing 30 minutes on my own exercise bike with one of the fancy hill-climb programs, the rest of the day was meal prep and sleep. The meal prep was especially important because I was out for a birthday lunch with a friend today, at his mum’s, and I insisted on taking my own grub so I could remain totally in control. It might seem a bit drastic, but being vegan I have a cast-iron excuse for doing it that people don’t tend to question. I told you, I’m serious about this getting to target business!

While we were in the area we took a peek at Abberton Reservoir which looks stunning. We didn’t have time to have a proper look but we’ll definitely go back to explore in future.

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My friend insisted on my wearing one of his many flat caps because he said it suited me, and though his noggin is quite a bit larger than mine and I’m not entirely sure I carried it off, I’m now taken by the idea of hats. Maybe I am a hat person after all.

Perhaps I can’t pull all three off at once though?

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Either way I’ve been thinking about my personal style more and more lately, and I’m rather excited now that I’m brave enough to wear pretty much anything that catches my eye. Except sequined mini-skirts perhaps…

This post reads as rather sedate, but I swear I haven’t had a minute to myself! Knowing me I’ve probably forgotten half of what I did.

As for tomorrow, I was thinking of having a waaaaaay overdue get-stuff-done day, but when my sister reminded me she’s off work for the week instead I asked if she wanted to meet up and do something. My being sensible streak couldn’t last forever you know, and in any case the boring chores will still be there on Tuesday.

I’ve suddenly been reminded of #onplanoctober, and I’m happy to say every single day of the month so far I have been absolutely 100% on it. As ever I’m not convinced this will show on the scales tomorrow, especially after my long walk and fabulous loss last week. Oh, and I should also give the appearance of star week this very morning an honourable mention. Damn.

I can’t control any of these things, but I can control what I eat. So that’s exactly what I intend to do.

Until tomorrow,

Hayley x

Awards & Results

I had intended to get up early on Monday morning and be on a train by 6am, but do you think I could wake myself up? Course not. Taking into consideration the epic walk I had planned, I thought it best to snooze for another hour. It was probably wise.

By 8:30 I was at the train station, in a massive queue for the ticket office. Of course all of the machines were out of order, which is just great for a monday morning. I got my tickets at 8:35, the exact time my train was due to leave. However my train was exactly 1 minute late, and I got on the platform just as it was arriving. Woo!

I got off at Benfleet station, which is just around the corner from my favourite park, and is actually two parks – The Benfleet Downs and Hadleigh Park. As I started trudging along my planned route I decided that I wasn’t going to stop too much to take pictures and things, mostly because leaving late meant that time was now against me. I’ve walked this part of the route what feels like a thousand times now, but there is always something that catches my eye and I have to stop for. Last time it was a caterpillar, this time it was some teasels with a lovely pinky/orange background.

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The autumn leaves and a very small amount of editing make the day look a lot nicer than it was. In actual fact there was an oppressive iron grey sky for the entire day, but I’m sure not complaining. There was no rain like there was supposed to be, just a really fine mist that kept me cool while I was walking and made my fringe go curly.

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So where does one walk to on such a day? The beach of course! My route took me through the two parks and right down to the coast. After a few hours of walking I was thoroughly enjoying the views and just having a good old think to myself, but there was nothing very photogenic until I got to Southend-on-Sea.

There didn’t seem to be much open that would sell a coffee, but when I came across a really nice looking place advertising that it was family run, I decided to give it a go. The gentleman who served me was so sweet, even suggesting that I have my drink in a mug instead so I can stay and sit in the very nice covered outside seating area, but I didn’t have much time to spare so I declined. I was already thinking about how lovely it would be to leave a good review and shop independent (which usually it is of course) but unfortunately the coffee was absolutely vile and I had to throw it away. You can’t win ’em all! The man still left me with a smile on my face so that’s nice.

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A quick shot of the water fountains, which kids and dogs LOVE to play in during summer (who can blame them) and I headed for the beach.

Walking along the beach seems to be a great butt (perhaps I should say glutes) workout, because that’s the only part of me that is still aching a little today. I’ll keep that in mind for future outdoor pursuits.

I always love looking at the shells and struggle not to take more home with me every time. Oyster shells are so beautiful, I just love the blues and purples. As far as bird life goes you are always guaranteed to see oyster catchers, so I’m assuming they are responsible for all the empty shells!

As I got away from Southend and headed into the less touristy areas I took the opportunity to use the camera remote on my watch again. It’s not the composition I was after, but I didn’t want to stop for long so I just went with the first one. I am enjoying how either the boat looks small or I look like a giant!

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11 miles and four hours after setting off (NOT including the train journey), I arrived at my destination – Shoeburyness. So I turned around and started walking back in the other direction.

This next part of the journey was completely uneventful. When I got to Leigh-on-Sea train station I checked my watch and Fitbit. I was wearing both because I am totally smitten with my Apple watch, but also wanted to go out on a bang with Fitbit. Had I beaten my previous record of 35.5k steps?

You bet!

I was currently on 45k, so despite being quite weary by this point and wanting to cheat and jump on the train at Leigh, instead I decided to continue. Google told me that it was another 1 hour 45 minutes of walking back to Benfleet. I had time, I could do it.

So on I trudged.

I took a different route back through the park and to the station, which was extremely fortuitous because it was cow and mushroom heaven! This was the boost I needed to get me through the rest of the journey.

When I got in, more than 8 hours and 22 miles after leaving, I reflected on how mental the journey had been. Not because of anything that had happened, but because I’d been on my feet for that amount of time (with a few stops for food and drink but not for any length of time) and for that distance without coming home a complete wreck. My feet were a little achy (as well as the bum cheeks) but other than that I was still good to go.

My fitness and stamina has improved so much this year, I can hardly believe it. I checked my email and I had three letting me know that I’d earned new Fitbit badges for 40k, 45k and 50k steps in a single day. That was the main purpose of my walk so I got exactly what I wanted before I abandoned Fitbit forever!

After getting in you’d think I’d be spent, right? Nah! I had to get ready to go to group and get weighed in! It was a taster night so I prepared some food. I couldn’t decide what to take out of the available options in my freezer, so I cooked up all three. I took Tesco sweet potato falafels (half a syn each), Sainsbury’s veggie meatballs (half a syn for 5) and Tesco meat free nuggets (1 syn each).

I had no idea what the taster was in aid of, because I hadn’t heard anyone on my vegan Facebook groups talking about it as I would have expected. It soon became clear though.

It turns out my consultant, who has been the one constant in my Slimming World journey since 2012, is leaving our group! It’s terribly sad, but I’m not completely despairing because there are some positives.

She isn’t leaving Slimming World, so I can still get weighed in at her Tuesday group from time to time. The only reason I haven’t popped in to say hello to the group members I know there already is that I don’t want to weigh in at a different day or time until I’m at target!

Also, I have a really good feeling about the new lady, Amanda. She’s very friendly and upbeat, I found it easy to talk to her from the off, and she was wearing sparkly shoes. I’m sold.

My consultant pointed out that it’s the members that make the group, not the consultant, but I don’t think that’s true. I’ve found that it’s a lot of different factors that make my group the best. It’s the day, the time, the WONDERFUL people, a good consultant, that all come together in exactly the right combination. I think Amanda will be a perfect fit for this group so I’m not at all worried. I think we still have our winning formula.

So how did I do? I must admit to having a sneak peek before I went on my walk. The reasoning behind this is that if the walk caused a drastic gain, then I would know what was going on and wouldn’t feel bad. Or, if on the flipside I had a massive loss then I wouldn’t get too cocky.

What actually happened was that Slimming World’s scales corresponded with my own pre-walk weigh in and I lost a magnificent four flipping pounds! 

Do you know what that means? I GOT MY 8 STONE AWARD!!!

I got a HUGE round of applause that made me feel really emotional. God knows what kind of a state I’ll be in when I’m at target.

I left group feeling like Christmas had come early – tired and flushed but also happy and excited. It was a really fab day.

This morning I weighed myself again just to check it wasn’t a complete fluke (and it wasn’t) so that’s it for sneak peeks this week.

6.5 pounds to go!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Birthday Weekend

I’m currently a little bit behind with my blogging. Last week was such a busy one! It’s not just the blog that’s fallen by the wayside – I’m behind on absolutely everything. I did want to get started with some crafty pursuits but I decided to make activity a priority instead. I’ve probably done too much if I’m honest (and work was exceptionally hard as a result of that) so I’m looking forward to a calmer week this week.

Friday was a walk in the park before work, which took 1 hour 23 minutes. It wouldn’t have been quite that long, but at one point I was down on my hands and knees getting photos of a furry little critter. I also had to hang around to make sure it made it safely across the path. As you do.

I wonder what it’ll grow up to be? It was an absolutely beautiful day – it was the perfect temperature and everything looked really picturesque. I know that’s not going to last so I’ve been making the most of it.

Saturday was a walk into town (via the park) with two of my absolute favourite human beings, namely my brother and sister. It was my birthday weekend so my sister had visited to drop off my presents and spend some time with me. If Friday was a nice day it was nothing, nothing, to how gorgeous Saturday was.

We took some oats and fed the birdies, and I found some mushrooms. They’re everywhere right now. It also occurred to me how utterly absurdly long a swan’s neck looks when it’s fully extended. Weird.

I’ve got to say, I felt especially wonderful on Saturday. I put on my dungarees and a mustardy stripy top, and came down to check with my sister that it wasn’t a little too much.

I bumped into my brother first who exclaimed that my outfit was just ‘so me’. Which made me very happy because I thought the same thing! My mum and sister agreed wholeheartedly, so I went into town in (what I think is) a bold outfit without worrying what people would think.

Non-scale victory? You bet! As it happens my outfit went perfectly with a sunny autumn day in the park.

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It was also the perfect opportunity to play with my new gadget – a series 1 Apple Watch. As anyone who has read more than one of my posts will know, I’m absolutely terrible with money. Having said that, even I have been sensible enough not to blow several hundred pounds that I don’t have on something that isn’t really necessary.

But then my good friend offered me first refusal on his old watch and I managed to get myself a bargain! You would never know that it wasn’t brand, spanking new, it’s been that well looked after.

The first picture I took using the camera remote is one of my favourites of all time. I love these guys!

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Sunday was more birthday shenanigans, but I was so tired I can barely remember what happened. The day passed in a blur really. I opened my presents in the morning, then a friend visited and we went shopping in Tesco and Lidl. It was crazy busy, so somehow that managed to take up a huge chunk of the day. After that I did a little food prep for my walk on Monday.

I really wanted to get ahead on some chores but I was so tired I just had to have a little sleep.

When I got up I realised that I hadn’t done my official exercise for the day, so I managed to squeeze in 30 mins of hula hooping before I went to visit a friend for some dinner and more presents, and some flowers too. Yay!

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Actually, when I got there I hadn’t quite filled my green activity ring (I’m really getting into the Apple Watch fitness app now, but more about that another time) so while my friend was having a quick shower I jogged around the house to make sure my goals were entirely complete.

By the time I got home I was cream-crackered, so I got myself straight to bed. Not before reflecting on how proud of myself I was. My friend really wanted me to have a bottle of prosecco but I outright refused, my mother listened to me when I said I didn’t want cake, so I spent my whole birthday weekend entirely on plan.

I did do the same thing last year, but it was different then. I didn’t really want to be on plan, so I spent the whole time feeling like I was missing out on something. What happened next was that I eventually cracked and had a massive binge.

I’m so glad I didn’t feel like that this time around.

So, did all of this hard work pay off at weigh in yesterday? Well, you’ll have to wait till the next post to find out otherwise this post will turn into a novel!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

 

Teeny Hot Water Bottles

I am happy. Really really happy. It’s mostly down to some marvellous purchases I’ve made over the last couple of days, and although I’d say generally I’m not that materialistic, I’m quite happy to call myself a material girl in this instance. Mostly the best things in life are free, but some of them are £36 and £4.50.

I love dungarees. Always have done. I have a memory of being at play school (so I couldn’t have been more than 4 years old) of the teacher having to undo the clasps of my denim dungas so that I could pee. I think that was the last time I had a pair that fit me though.

After that I remember wearing pinafore dresses at school, which is like the top bit of dungarees that then go into a dress, and it makes me so, so happy that they have made a serious comeback in recent years. I have two in my wardrobe currently and they are among my very favourite things.

Dungarees have now also become readily available, but the last pair I tried on (about a year ago) looked bloody awful on me. Until now my tummy has been covered up with something loose-fitting at all times, and I didn’t imagine that would be changing any time soon. But after my success at getting my Levi’s to do up I decided to give dungarees another go.

As luck would have it, I’ve been following a company on Instagram called Lucy and Yak for some time, who make the most wonderful collection of dungarees and other cool items of clothing. The dungas though… they are particularly awesome.

I’ve been thinking about them for a while, but when I saw a post where someone had put a mini hot water bottle in the front pocket… well I knew I had to have a pair.

It’s not my birthday just yet, but my dad always gives me £40 every year without fail, so that’s what I used to buy mine. I did want a more vibrant colour, but they were sold out in my size for almost everything I clicked on so eventually I went with cappuccino. The cappuccino at least is very autumnal and I have some lovely tops that will go really well underneath.

So my dungarees arrived, and I felt a wee bit disheartened when I took them out of their little (plastic free) bag that they’d come in. They looked really small, and I’d ordered the biggest size they do.

Well then, I’d just see how far they were from fitting. Except… they already fit! They went over my tummy easily, and even though I’m 6ft and they don’t seem to do anything more than a 30″ leg in a large, I could tie them up so that they were long enough, or pull them up properly and have roll-ups. Either way I feel absolutely fantastic in them, and basically intend to live in them and my two dresses for the rest of my life.

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They are pricier than your usual supermarket/Primark stuff, but the extra money comes with extra benefits. There’s been a lot in the media lately about how terrible for the environment ‘fast fashion’ is, but Lucy and Yak are a really ethical company.

This is from a little note I got with my package:

Your Lucy & Yaks are handmade by a fabulous small family business in an impoverished rural part of north India. We know all of the tailors personally. We helped build their factory and we know how much they are paid. Our UK warehouse, studio and offices all run on 100% renewable energy and we are now an accredited LivingWage.org employer. We are 100% self funded and we think profit comes last.

Yep, that’s a company policy I can get behind. If that’s not enough the particular dungaree I bought used cotton woven on an old loom to give it character, so every piece has slight imperfections. It was made by hand, by the same tailor from start to finish, meaning that there’s no other pair of dungarees out there quite like mine. I think that’s awesome.

Of course this is all wonderful, but it hasn’t been all plain sailing this week. On Wednesday I got out of work early, intending to get to the 24 hour Tesco for supplies, get a good sleep, then go for a nice long walk in the afternoon. But things did NOT go to plan.

By the time I got to Tesco, which is a ten minute journey from work, my engine temperature gauge was nudging the red. Damn.

I checked the oil (all good) and water (oh dear, dry as a bone) then went to get my shopping. I topped up the water when I got out but it wasn’t going anywhere. Not good.

I waited for the engine to cool and got home by stopping repeatedly to make sure I didn’t kill the engine completely, then after a very restless sleep I spent the rest of the day with my friend making arrangements to get it fixed.

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He very kindly discovered what was wrong (the water pump is broken), bought the new part, and got underneath the car to see how difficult it would be to replace himself. It would be a load of faff it turns out, so he’s arranged for a mobile mechanic to fix it Tuesday, and is insisting on covering the entire cost as my birthday present.

How flipping wonderful is my friend?

More wonderful than that even, because he has lent me his Jaguar until my car is fixed while he drives around in an old banger. Seriously, I am so lucky.

While we were outside the Amazon guy delivered the package I was waiting for and in it was… a teeny tiny hot water bottle (which is where the £4.50 comes in). I may have car troubles, but my life is actually now complete I think. Winter, I am ready for you!

I’ve spent the rest of my time being a little concerned that my weight isn’t changing (though it’s prolly hormones), but there’s nothing to do about that except carry on with what I’ve been doing. Sometimes I’m easy going about it, other times it niggles at me constantly.

I volunteered for the more physical job at work last night and got some extra calories burned, I’m going out for a walk later, I’m walking into town with my sister tomorrow and will probably do something active Sunday too. Food has been on point, so I’m doing all I can. I just have to be patient and wait for my body to play ball. A loss or not this week, I still fit into some pretty damn awesome items of clothing!

As ever the clock is ticking, so I’ll say bye for now.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Rituals

I’ve developed a certain set of rituals that I now perform every Monday before weighing in, and now that they have been established it’s almost inconceivable to think of changing them.

Every week I eat exactly the same food- wheat biscuits and plant milk for breakfast followed by a punnet of mushrooms and smoked tofu for lunch. I wear the same clothes each week, even down to a specific pair of knickers and a specific pair of socks. I also try to do the same level of activity but this is a bit hit and miss.

This way, I figure, my weigh in result each week will be as accurate as possible. However there is a problem.

It’s getting cold and I need to wear thicker clothes!

I suppose it’s just one more motivator for getting to target as soon as possible – once I’m there I can afford to wear heavier clothes. Until then, I will try not to change anything, with the exception of next Monday.

Since I’ve decided that’s the day I’m going to do my long walk and smash my step record, despite the possibility of it messing up my weigh in I’m being stubborn and sticking to my guns.

My walk is sure to help with a loss, it’s just a question of when it’ll show on the scales. It could throw a temporary spanner into the works in the form of an undeserved gain, but as long as I stick to plan I’ll get what I’m owed.

This week I had my fifth loss in a row, which I’m chuffed with even if I would have liked more than 1 pound off. But a loss is a loss, so I shan’t complain.

Now is a great time to look at non-scale victories, especially as I had a doozy of one yesterday.

Almost a year ago now I bought a pair of vintage Levi 501s in the biggest size they do for my leg length, which is a 34 waist and 34 leg (the equivalent of a UK size 14).

When I tried them on I was really disheartened. I couldn’t even get near to doing them up, and eventually I stuck them in the loft because they were making me feel bad. I couldn’t bear to get rid of them though. These are some pictures I took back in June before I squirrelled them away. I was also wearing control knickers at the time.

Since they have absolutely no give in them whatsoever, I figured I might have to be realistic and abandon the dream of ever fitting into them.

Then I was up in the loft going through some old clothes when I came across them again. I hesitated, because if they still fit like the last time I tried them, I knew it would put me in a terrible mood.

I couldn’t help it though. I had to know!

I can actually do them up. Compared to when I was bursting out of size 24 jeans and still wearing them every day, these are practically comfortable. There’s certainly less muffin top than I used to have on a daily basis, and I can even sit down in them. I reckon by the time I’m at target (10.5 pounds to go) they will fit PERFECTLY! Can you tell I’m excited? Oh I am so excited!

But it doesn’t even end there. On Sunday I went out for a walk with my friend to a lovely little village just around the corner that I never knew was there. You walk along a fairly uninteresting path, up a hill, then BOOM, you get a great view.

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As we stopped to drink in the scenery my friend took a photo of me which, after he forwarded it to me, I realised was just begging to be used in a comparison photo.

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Although it was only a short walk (we had to make it to Tesco before closing time as so far that day all I’d eaten was 6 grapes) it’s possible to walk for hours along the… estuary? I don’t know, whatever body of water that is! So that’s one to keep in mind for a future trek.

On the way back I had a Slimming World-related accident. I saw a nice juicy blackberry sitting atop a bush, but it seems that the blackberry bushes have become sentient. To stop Slimming World members stealing its fruits one sneakily grew it’s brambles over a really deep ditch, so when I stepped over to get my blackberry I fell right in.

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My buttocks (where I fell backwards) and my knees (from getting out again) bear similar injuries. And I never got my damn blackberry! I am however still picking thorns out of various body parts.

My plan for this week is to try and get more sleep, give myself time to be more mindful about what I’m eating, to keep up with the exercise, and try not to fall over.

It’s also my birthday this week but I have no plans whatsoever to ‘celebrate’ by being off plan. All I have scheduled so far (apart from my walk) is a boot sale with my friend (more walking, yay!) and coffee with my sister.

Perfect!

Have a fabulous week everyone,

Hayley x

Drinks with Peter

I’m not saying I put things off, but this year I intend to sew two little birds for my sister and her boyfriend after taking just a little while to get round to it. I bought the pattern from an artist I really admire – Ann Wood – via Etsy some time ago, and thankfully the file is still there to download.

So yes, there has been a slight delay between me purchasing the pattern and even thinking about making it. A TWO YEAR delay in fact. Yes, it’s definitely time to get on and do that.

One of my biggest problems right now is that I spend way too much time thinking about doing things and writing lists and making plans, and never actually doing the things. Today for instance I have wasted so much time thinking about what to do with the day that the day is nearly done.

I need to get straight out of bed and GET GOING if I’m ever going to get on. She says, writing a blog post instead of doing exactly that.

I am letting myself off for today and tomorrow though because I’m meeting a friend later, then I’m spending tomorrow afternoon with another friend. Friday though? On Friday I’m going to DO SOMETHING.

Today I’m starting off by printing off the pattern because I think it’ll be easier if I have it on paper, then I’ll need to check what supplies I’m going to need because you can guarantee I’ll have to buy at least a couple of bits. I’ll try to get as much as I can, fabrics and whatnot, from charity shops. The artist in question makes her work from vintage pieces which is a fabulous idea. And economical too.

Oh damn. I just visited Ann’s Etsy shop and saw a load of other things I want to make. But first things first Hayley. Stop getting distracted!

Yesterday I started off the week’s exercise by walking into town and back, which took two hours. A nice start I think.

It’s been a bit chilly (I’m wearing thermals to work tonight) but the sun has been out anyway and that’s what really matters. And the grey heron was about, so that was my day complete already really.

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I do believe I was successful in visiting every single charity shop in town. I’m still on the hunt for sequins, and it seems that you will only find that particular thing when you no longer need it. People of Essex, why aren’t you donating your sequined clothes? What people do seem to be getting shot of though is little bags, so although I didn’t really want to spend £3, I just had to get this monstrosity.

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Classy eh? But there are different kinds of beads there which will come in very handy for future projects, plus the sequins are holographic. And sitting underneath that very understated little clutch is my bargain of the day – a skirt I bought that’s perfect for autumn and also shows off how many inches I’ve lost from my tummy lately. This item of clothing is going to get a lot of outings this season!

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Even though money is tight I enjoyed these bargains guilt free. I rarely use cash these days, and I’ve had a spare change jar gathering dust for some time. I forgot all about it but stumbled across it a couple of days ago. I managed to get a tenners worth of 10p’s out of it, so that paid for my charity shop excursions and then some. Get in!

I’ve also found that charity shop workers and customers alike are more patient when you are digging around for coins in your purse, which is not so much the case in the supermarket.

My final stop was Iceland’s to pick up a few essentials since I was running out of food. Ages and ages ago I lent a friend some money, and he had some vouchers kicking around which I took as part repayment. Of course me being me I forgot all about them until yesterday, and was relieved to find out they don’t expire till next month.

Even better, you can use them to buy FOOD so off I toddled to get some fruit, veg and Slimming World bits. I was starving by the time I got there, so I bought some lovely watermelon to eat in the park on the way back.

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I’d call that a day well spent.

For now I’m off to get everything ready for work then I’ll meet my friend Peter. I’ll check back with you later!

Some hours pass…

Well I’m sitting in the pub garden waiting for Pete, and reflecting that some unusual things have happened today. For one, I’m wearing my new skirt with the top tucked into it.

I haven’t worn anything tucked in since I was forced to do so in the early years of secondary school (towards the end the teachers gave up on enforcing any rules about uniform). So that’s quite monumental.

Also, while Peter was stuck is traffic I was feeling confident enough to walk into the pub, on my own, order and Diet Coke and plonk myself down on a bench outside.

Yep, I’m a total badass.

Even more later on…

Well I’m home and knackered, which doesn’t bode well for work tonight. The problem is me and Peter find it really difficult to find times when we are both free so I thought it was important to just damn well do it.

It was lovely to meet up, but boy am I wanting my bed now! At the pub I just had two diet cokes and wasn’t tempted at all by all of the food sights and smells (despite them having many decent vegan options) because I am just so determined to get to target. Yep, ain’t nothing getting in my way.

Now after a positive yet tiring day, it’s time for me to get some grub, a bucket of caffeine, and prepare myself for work!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

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