R&R

Well I’ve really gone and messed up this time. Despite trying to make you readers (and myself) believe otherwise, I’ve actually been in complete denial about the state of my knee. The weather was much too nice to stay indoors, so on Wednesday I went for a walk. I’ve been wearing my running gear ‘just in case’, so I just couldn’t resist. I ran for two miles without any problems, and when I stopped it was partly because I thought that it would be the sensible thing to do, and partly because I fancied playing around with using my Apple watch as a camera remote. Soooooo much fun.

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I walked the rest of my 4-mile route, not that there was any choice in the matter. Whenever I went down a hill I was feeling discomfort in the side of my knee, so I just plodded along, taking nice pictures on the way.

Gorgeous greenery or what? It makes my heart happy.

Later on at work that night I was full of beans and running up and down stairs instead of taking the lift, but when I went into work the next night I knew something wasn’t right. I spent the rest of the shift limping until my manager finally let me go home early.

When my knee has hurt lately, after a day or two of rest it’s bounced right back. This time I haven’t been so lucky. I went to meet a friend for coffee on Saturday and decided to walk there, gently, but going downhill even on the slightest gradient was excruciatingly painful.

Also the weather has turned, but at least there’s blossom! Blossom means that better things are on the way.

My knee has been feeling a little better today, so I took a really slow walk into town. It held up ok but I know I need to take it easy, and I know I have to stop running. For good. My sister popped round last weekend and we were comparing which of our joints crunch and knock when they move. Did you know that joints aren’t supposed to do that?

As such March’s theme is going to be rest and relaxation. I was thinking about why I’ve been struggling with my diet so much lately and although it’s not directly because I’ve been stressed, I think everything has been having a knock-on effect. Because I’ve been stressed and trying to do too much (again) I haven’t been sleeping properly.

When I don’t sleep properly everything is doubly hard, because I crave sugar for energy and also can’t be bothered to prepare healthy food.

So do you know what I did? I made sleep my number one priority, and since then things have been easier.

Who even knows what the scales will say this evening, but I’m going to have a proper weigh in so I know exactly what I’m dealing with.

I also have a plan. There’s so much I want to do, and it’s true what they say. You can do anything but you can’t do everything. To help with the feeling of being completely overwhelmed, I’ve made a habit tracker in my journal. The idea is to colour just one box in a day. Or more if I feel like it, but to accept that one is enough.

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Right, it’s hours later and I’m back from group. I am DELIGHTED to find that I’ve lost 2.5 lbs since my last weigh in. I’m feeling a lot better about the whole thing.

My current loss is 7 st 11.5 lbs, which is obviously, y’know, a decent amount, but no matter how much I fluctuate I feel better once I’m over the 8 st loss mark. At least in my mind.

As such my goal for next week is to lose 2.5 lbs or more. Which I can totally do.

After group I took the first step to something potentially very exciting, but I’m just going to leave that teaser here and say no more about it just yet. Annoying aren’t I?

Anyway, sleep is calling me and for once, I’m listening.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Here We Go Then

I went back to group today after not weighing in last week, and my consultant was totally behind my decision to do blind weigh-ins for the time being. She said she has a lady at her other group who only gets her results once every four weeks which I think is a great idea, so I’m going to look at the number on the scales on the last weigh-in of each month. The biggest challenge is going to be not stepping on the scales at home, but I’m sure I can do it.

The main problem I have right now as that as soon as I get into the 12 stone bracket I start feeling like I deserve a ‘treat’, then everything goes a bit wonky. If I don’t know what I weigh, then I can’t get into that mindset. That’s the theory anyway.

As usual the weekend has flown by but I’ve spent a lot of it outside which has been wonderful. The weather on Sunday was spectacular so Steve and I went out for a walk/run interspersed with press-ups.

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Later on I spent hours working on my photo album, and I’m finally getting somewhere. Now I only have seven months to catch up on.

Today I’ve been to my sister’s for a crafty day, and although I didn’t get a huge amount done I did try something I haven’t done before which is making an animal using air-drying clay. It was much harder than I thought it would be, but I’m quite happy with my first attempt and have a good idea of how I can improve the next time.

I can’t wait till it’s dry and can be painted!

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Right now I’m fairly sure this is the most tired I’ve ever been in my entire life, so it’s off to bed for me.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Target Talks & Farewell’s

If I had kept to my original target of 12 stone 10 pounds, the one that I’ve had in mind for most of my adult life, then last night would have seen me just nudge back into target range. I have lowered my target to 11 stone 7 pounds, so I still have a little way to go. Even so it’s a good feeling to know that once upon a time getting to this weight was so important to me, and that I’ve actually done it. I’m really proud of myself y’know? Especially since I’ve managed to turn things around after a difficult (as far as staying on plan goes) start of the year.

I purchased myself a nice 12 week countdown, which comes with Slimming World’s ‘Free Food on the Go’ book (can’t wait to try some of the recipes in there) and some added incentive. In the past I’ve said ‘wouldn’t it be nice to be at target by the time I finish my countdown?’ Now I’m saying ‘I WILL DO EVERYTHING IN MY POWER TO BE AT TARGET BY THE END OF THIS COUNTDOWN!

I have 20 lbs left to lose, which means I have to lose just under 2 lbs per week on average in order to achieve that. In terms of doing ‘everything in my power’, all I really need to do is stick to plan and everything should take care of itself.

Last night I did ‘only’ lose 1.5 lbs, but I think I’ll do better next week when my hormones have sorted themselves out again.

Group last night was an unusually sad one, because my consultant Amanda has to leave to go back to her usual group. She is so lovely that I forgot on a weekly basis that she wasn’t going to be with us on a permanent basis, yet all good things must eventually come to an end.

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Blimey I look sleepy. I really was.

I will miss her so much, but in all likelihood I’ll be moving to her area at some point this year and I’d love for her to be my consultant once more. I even got crafting for her, something I’ve never done for any other consultant.

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The only problem is, I’d want to take all of the group members with me, and I don’t think every single one of them will want to move house just for my benefit! It’d be nice if they did though.

For now we have another temporary consultant as we will probably get a shiny new person when we get our next consultant. That’ll be fun, having someone fresh out of the Sparkly Castle!

This week is definitely still about moving more, although yesterday I didn’t manage much of that at all. I went to visit a friend of mine who I used to work with and we had a lovely catch up. I also got to take a couple of pictures of her kitty, who doesn’t look very relaxed for the sole reason that the sound of my camera shutter completely freaked her out.

I did manage a long walk on Sunday, but Steve joined me and we did a lot of talking. It was lovely, but we didn’t go fast enough for me to get my heart rate up in order to fill the green ring on my Apple Watch.

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Despite not filling the one ring (hehe) as you can see I was hardly sitting on my behind all day.

Because I was out all day yesterday I didn’t have time to make much progress as far as rings are concerned, but today has been pretty good with 55 mins added to my exercise ring. Steve and I did some running, my knee isn’t hurting, and I’m looking forward to getting out again Thursday. It feels sooooo good to be outside.

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For now I’ll sign off as dinner is calling me, and I have a rather special day tomorrow that I’ll tell you about later.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Peak Hayley

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

Damn and bother.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great weekend!

Hayley x

The First

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Short Arms

After Sunday’s run I’ve been feeling really good – it’s given me the energy boost that I’ve sorely needed over the last couple of weeks. I haven’t had any problems with my knee at all, so I’m going to try to do another run on Friday. Since I have so much to do, my recovery has come at the exact right time. It means I can get the same benefits from 30 minutes of running that it takes an hour-and-a-half to achieve by walking alone.

That’s not to say I won’t keep up with the walking though, because apart from the fact that I really enjoy it, I still can’t bring myself to drive into town even when I am short on time.

I had to go into town anyway to return some things, but after my Tuesday shift at work I knew that wasn’t the only reason I’d be going.

First of all I bumped into a day manager who I used to work with on nights. I’ve known him for years and years, and I was greeted with a ‘bloody hell Hayley, you’re wasting away!’ I never quite know how to take those comments, because it’s not exactly a compliment as such, but since it’s ambiguous I can choose how to take it.

‘THANK YOU!’ I replied, and (after prompting) I revealed my current loss. I was then treated to a great big hug, a well done, and a kiss on the cheek.

Secondly I did something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time. I approached a good work friend of mine who is also slim, image conscious, and prone to the more ‘Photo-shopped-looking’ kind of lady. I asked if he could please tell me when he thinks I’m skinny, because I trust his opinion, and also trust him to be honest whilst still considering my feelings. The reason I asked is that I still genuinely have no idea what I really look like.

I was looking at some old pictures the other day and although I was unhappy with my appearance (understatement of the year perhaps?) I didn’t see how bad it really was. Stumbling across old pictures was nothing short of truly shocking, but also raised the question – even now, am I still in denial?

However without missing a beat he replied ‘now!’ Bless him! I was wearing a baggy top though so in the new year (after making some more progress, hopefully) he’s going to tell me what he thinks. It’ll be interesting to get a reasonably impartial viewpoint since my own is so utterly skewed.

How I appear is one thing, but what size I am is now undeniable. After all that I knew a trying-on session was needed, so I spent Wednesday afternoon visiting every single shop in the town centre that sells women’s clothing.

One of the highlights was going into River Island. The last time I looked in there, even their newly-released plus-size range didn’t come close to fitting me. Just to get an idea of how I’m doing, I picked up a few of the snuggest-fitting items I could try.

These are ‘bodycon’ dresses, which I’ve always wanted to wear because they are always plentiful, come in a huge variety and are generally cheap. But they don’t leave a huge amount to the imagination so after I’d lost about 6 stone and still wouldn’t dream of wearing one, I started to believe that it would just never happen.

Looking at the pictures from yesterday though… I’m starting to believe. I’m not that far off (I think) so a few more pounds and a good pair of control panties and the bodycon world will be my oyster!

On top of that I realised it was the first time I’d ever set foot in the River Island changing rooms.

In Debenhams I tried on a jumpsuit for the first time ever, but apart from the fact it was miles too short and in the most clingy, unflattering fabric, I still think they might not be for me. I’m not ruling it out though. Who the hell even knows what the future will bring?

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I tried on a fancy purple velvet dress, just for fun, but there was a definite curtain vibe going on. Does mother know you weareth her drapes?

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I had fun trying stuff on, but I didn’t end up buying anything. Then I decided I wanted a fancy coat that I can wear over one of my nice dresses. Hmm, sounds simple doesn’t it? On the plus side I had a huge non-scale victory. Every single size 16 I tried on was absolutely massive on me. Win!

On the flip side, when you go down to a size 14 it seems that manufacturers assume people who are a size 14 all have very short arms. I swear to you, I tried on a coat in every single shop, and it was the same everywhere.

So yay for size 14, boo for short arms. When I went in Peacocks and an assistant asked me if I needed help, I actually asked if they had any coats for a woman who has the arms of an orangutan. He laughed, but wasn’t able to help.

Later on I spoke to my sister and she reminded me of the tall range from ASOS, so today I had a nice delivery of two size 14 coats I found in the sale with 50% off. They were long enough in the sleeves, but miles too big. I was getting a bit of an ‘old lady’ feeling off of them too.

Sigh.

For now, I’m giving up. I only have one night out where I’m wearing a dress but I should only need to go from the car to a nice warm pub, so I’ll just make do with what I have for now.

It’s a pain in the bum, but still pretty awesome when it comes down to it!

I’ve still been super busy, but I’ve been doing great with staying on plan during these times. Last night I didn’t have a dinner prepared and didn’t have much indoors, so I roasted some veg, stuck a rice pouch in the microwave, poured over some Slimming World jalfrezi sauce from Iceland and served with the only thing I had in the freezer – Linda McCartney veggies sausages.

A sausage curry you ask? Yes, it’s weird, but it worked! Who knew?

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I’ve been doing a terrible job of posting my meals on our group’s Slimming World Facebook page because of a lack of spare time, so I don’t think I’ll be winning that five pounds. Even so, the most important thing is that I’ve been eating a lot of Speed food.

Hopefully it gives me a good loss come Monday, because I’ve been really good and haven’t weighed myself at all. As such I have no clue how I’m doing this week and weigh in will be a complete surprise. Right now I feel OK, but I know the nerves will start kicking in come Sunday night.

I just have to be strong.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

It Had to Happen

Would someone please press the pause button, just for a minute? Time is whizzing past faster than ever and I can’t keep up.

Last week wasn’t exactly a write-off, but I didn’t do much of note and it has really affected my mood. Probably the one redeeming factor is that yesterday I finally WENT FOR A RUN!

It was brilliant, I have missed it so much. First of all I had to get my running gear out of the loft, only to find that my favourite running leggings (size XL from H&M) are all too big. Four pairs of them!

But when I bought them, I did think ahead and ordered one pair in a large. I tried them on at the time and although I could get them up they were uncomfortably tight. Not now though, they fit perfectly!

I also got a load of other clothes down from the loft while I was at it, which was all stuff that I was convinced I’d be able to use for another summer. Wow, was I selling myself short. It’s all miles too big now, and as I’m skint I’m going to try selling it all. As if this wasn’t enough I went on a charity shop crawl on Saturday and found a lovely long coat, which was also really good quality. It was in a size 16 and it wasn’t just too big, it was ridiculously too big. I found a 14 in another shop which fit perfectly, but I didn’t like it so left it on the rail. It made me feel pretty awesome though.

Anyway, back to the running. Although I felt fab indoors, looking back on a picture taken while I was out makes me think I didn’t look as good as I originally thought I did. Either way I’m still really pleased with my progress so I’m not going to dwell on it.

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I did do a pose in front of the mirror when I got back and initially thought it was cheating, but it still shows progress, because my ‘cheat poses’ have never made me look that slim before!

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Ah, I’m probably just being over-critical.

As for the actual run, now that was progress. Not in terms of speed or distance, but the fact that I have managed to retain so much of my fitness despite not running for months is bloody brilliant.

I had to take it easy because of my knee (so far so good) and I need to build back up to the level I was at, but compared to how I was when I first started… I am unrecognisable from that person now. When I started running back in February, the first thing to give up was my lungs – I’d be so out of breath that I couldn’t carry on. Now it’s my muscles that give up first, and even then only when I’m going up a crazy steep hill.

During the week I did fairly well with not weighing myself, but I wasn’t perfect. This week I’m aiming for no sneak peeks AT ALL. That’s goal number one.

Goal number two is to get as many speeding tickets as possible. Yes, you did read that right, and no, it’s not what you think.

My consultant set us a fabulously fun challenge this week to help with our weight loss. Every time we post a picture of our meals on our group’s Facebook page showing 1/3 visible speed food, we get one of these speeding tickets:

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The person who gets the most tickets wins a fiver to spend in the shop, but to be honest I think it’s such a great idea I’d still be taking part even if there wasn’t a prize at the end.

This week I really will need to be super focused, because I have had (shock, horror) an undeserved gain.

Personally I think it’s my body levelling out again after last week’s surprise 6.5lb loss, but another factor could be yesterday’s run because my leg muscles are really hurting and may be retaining water.

It could be something has slipped into my diet without me realising, so I’ll be keeping a proper food diary this week just in case.

I can’t say for sure what’s caused it, but what I do know is that 6lbs off overall in two weeks is certainly nothing to be complaining about! I’ve only ever had one totally undeserved gain before and it completely derailed me, but I’m in this for life now so it’s about time I learned how to deal with these situations.

All I have to do really is carry on exactly as I have been, and everything will be fine. I do want to get more exercise in this week, but only because it makes me feel good and not because I think it has anything to do with my gain. It’s all about the food people!

I’ve pledged to try for 3lbs off next week, and I’d say I’m in with a good chance.

I also need to get more sleep as for two days last week I had less than four hours, which is less than ideal.

Hopefully this week will be a bit more balanced and I’ll actually have something to write about, so expect more posts than last week.

As ever, thanks for reading,

Hayley x