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

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.

Enlight8I still have trouble believing that the woman on the right is me.

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

Hello October!

If you were reading my blog last year (can someone please tell me where the time has gone?) then you may vaguely recall my disastrous attempts at #onplanoctober. I had the best intentions at the beginning, but overall I didn’t do very well. This time around I’m going to do it – have every single day on plan throughout the whole month, NO EXCEPTIONS.

Why am I going to succeed this time around I hear you ask? Well the difference is my attitude I think. This year I really want to do it, whereas last year I was using it as a tool to try and force myself to stay on track. It had its uses, as I did do better than if I hadn’t tried at all, but now I have no doubt at all that I’m going to do it.

By the time the month is through I will be lighter than when it started, and I will have my Gold Body Magic award under my belt. I’ve just made a strong start to week 5 (of 8) with a 2 hour walk into town and back, with plenty of plans to do more throughout the week. In fact it’s going to be quite a busy week, but I’ll talk more about upcoming events as they occur.

I’m enjoying making the most of these blue skies while they last, as there’s a definite nip in the air now.

Although technically it’s now Tuesday, since I haven’t slept yet I’ll let you know how ‘today’s’ weigh in went. I would have been in bed earlier, but I stayed up to watch a film with the family. I still would have had time to update the blog while it was still Monday, but we paused halfway through when my brother noticed a mouse had somehow found its way into the kitchen.

It was soooooo fast, it was impossible to get a good picture. I took some video but this was as good as I could get:

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Please excuse the bare floor – we should be getting a new kitchen next year so there’s no point decorating until then.

Anyway, I got sidetracked! Group was awesome – I lost 2.5 lbs meaning I’m still on track to reach target in 6 weeks or so. Amazing! Group also gave me a lot to think about, but since I’m so tired I’ll have to wait till tomorrow to explore those thoughts further. Hopefully I can pick up on all the threads in my brain.

I really didn’t think I’d lose that much again this week, and I probably didn’t look as chuffed as I should have when my consultant told me I got Slimmer of the Week again.

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I really wasn’t expecting it, and it’s been such a long day I was a little bit dazed to be honest. I only have 11.5 lbs to go before I reach target.

Less than a stone.

I’m reading the words as I write but it doesn’t seem real.

As I’ve just been wracked with yawns I think it’s time for bed and a good sleep to help me process everything.

Until next time,

thanks for reading!

Hayley x

On Schedule

The other day I was looking back on my losses and gains throughout the year so far. It suddenly occurred to me that I hadn’t lost weight more than two weeks in a row since November last year, which is also the last time I got an award with Slimming World.

Before weigh in I was thinking how crappy it would be if, because of things totally out of my control (ie the inner workings of my body), that I failed to break that trend this week. I wasn’t exactly feeling negative about it though, I was just preparing myself for that particular outcome and making decisions about what I’d do next.

I had it firmly in my mind that if that was the case I’d just carry on doing exactly what I have been doing and wait to get the loss I was owed. If I don’t have a plan in place I might be tempted to go off the rails which is the very worst thing you can do in such situations.

But, and this will come as a surprise to absolutely no-one, I needn’t have worried. I tell myself about ten times a week to trust in the plan, but come weigh day there are always the same doubts.

I lost 2.5 lbs, and got my flipping 7.5 stone award! I got my 7 stone award on the 28th of November last year, so this one has been a bloody long time coming. I could beat myself up for taking ten months to get it, but actually I’d say this is the one I’m most proud of. This is certainly the one that I tried the hardest for, when there are so many, many times when it would have been easier to give up.

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Can you even imagine how glad I am that I didn’t? Where would I be now? Nowhere good, that’s for sure.

And do you see that shiny, sparkly little number there? Yep, most surprisingly I also got Slimmer of the Month! I’m absolutely buzzing right now.

So that means I’m still on schedule to hit target by the end of the year, something that I’m keeping in the forefront of my mind. I’m actually ahead of schedule, but still aiming for a 2lb loss every week. For every week I do better, like this one, then I see it as a bonus and that I’m giving myself even more time to get to where I want to be if things slow down.

Even though I’m feeling positive and VERY excited, I’ll be honest – there’s a certain amount of fear that’s going with it, something I didn’t think I’d be feeling at this stage.

I’m really scared that it won’t be enough, which is silly because I already know it won’t be enough. What I mean is that losing the last stone is not going to magically make all of my problems disappear. I know I still have to work on accepting the imperfections in my body (of which there are many) and learning to do that could take a whole lifetime really.

What do they say? Feel the fear and do it anyway. Because there’s no alternative really. At least if I’m a healthy weight then I’m giving myself a body that’s capable of fighting for all the other stuff rather than slowly killing it with sugar.

I do still think I may have to adjust my target weight at a later date, but for now 12 stone 10 pounds is where I want to be. I won’t know for sure how I’ll feel till I get there, but this is the weight I’ve had in mind for literally decades so it’ll be mind blowing when I get there. I have no idea how I’ll react!

Once there I’ll spend a little time maintaining and getting used to my new weight before I decide what to do next. Either way it’s always good to have a plan, even if I don’t always stick to it.

Yesterday I took some photos I was really happy with. My friend bought me a bunch of flowers to say thank you for getting his prescription, but he also accidentally broke the heads off of a load of them. Of course I didn’t mind, there were plenty left in tact and I decided that the others were begging to be photographed. So I took them out into the garden for a little shoot.

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When someone buys me flowers I always take photos anyway, because then they will last forever, but I’m especially happy with these.

The light was briefly rather beautiful yesterday, then it turned damn cold. So it was lovely to wake up this morning to a message from my union rep asking if I want to trial some new thermals. HELL YES I DO! Every year that goes along I can stand the cold less and less, so who even knows how I’m going to cope this year. Hopefully these new thermals are something special, then maybe I’ll wear them at home, too!

Soon I’m walking into town and I’m on a mission to visit every charity shop there. Which is probably for the best because most every other kind of shop has shut down anyway. Hopefully I can find a nice bargain, and get my exercise done in the process.

So I’d best get cracking!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Going for it!

Oh my, so it’s all kicking off again in the Slimming World community it seems! Yesterday the news broke that all flavoured yoghurts will now carry a Syn value, and of course, people aren’t happy that the Mullerlights are no longer free.

For me though, vegan agenda aside, I think this is a good thing. Even before I went vegetarian I stopped eating Mullers because basically I thought they were crap. Overpriced, chemically tasting, watery nastiness. But it is really easy to overeat them, and although they’re ‘only’ 99 calories per pot, if you eat six a day (as some people I know have done) then there’s a chance it’ll negatively affect your losses. Slimming World are just trying to protect our losses, and I’m glad they’re on the ball.

It’s an unpopular opinion among the plant-based members out there, but I agree with Slimming World that avocados shouldn’t be free. I would like to see them given a Healthy Extra allowance or maybe even see the Syns reduced, but if they were free… oh boy, I doubt I’d lose a single ounce!

But there is some EXCELLENT news for us vegans. In fact I was the only one in group last night with a massive grin plastered across my face. Canned jackfruit is now FREE. Plain/smoked seitan is now FREE. And… AND…. we even have FREE plain yoghurt we can eat! I’m chuffed to bits, because it’s nice to be able to plonk a dollop of (soya) yoghurt on a curry or something without having to worry, or to make a salad dressing or whatever.

I’ve just checked the app and Alpro, Asda, M&S and Tesco unsweetened plain soya yoghurts are all free now. Wonderful!

Some Syns for the Alpro yoghurts have increased by a small amount, but again I’m not bothered. I’d rather have to use an extra half a Syn than be frustrated that I’m not making as much progress as I should be.

To top it off we even have TWO vegan cheeses we can use as a Healthy Extra now, but I wasn’t able to get either in town yesterday. But on Thursday I’m going out hunting so we’ll see what I can find.

There will be a new book coming out late December reflecting all the changes, and I’m pretty sure current members will get a new one for free. At least that’s what’s happened in the past when I’ve been a member.

You can read all the info in full on the Slimming World website, which I’d recommend because there are other changes I haven’t talked about here.

Anyway, enough of that. Let’s talk about yesterday. I’ve got into a really good routine where I pop in to visit my dad before going to group (he lives just around the corner) then I leave the car at his then walk the rest of the way.

But yesterday I’d just got up to leave when I realised I’d left my book and card at home. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem, but since I joined at another group (and wasn’t sure if my details had been transferred over) I’d probably need my card in order to weigh in.

So I rushed back home, grabbed my book, and rushed back to group. I did make it (with plenty of time to spare actually) which was such a relief because I was very anxious indeed to find out how I’d done. It turns out because it’s the same consultant at both groups I needn’t have worried, so that’s good to know for the future!

I held my breath and stepped on the scales…

3lbs off! 

I now weigh 13st 12.5lbs (mini goal achieved, yay!) and have a mere 1st 2.5lbs to go till I reach my target weight.

Now, I’ve been giving target quite a lot of thought and it occurred to me that it’s now truly within reaching distance. At first I was worried to even think about it, but I’m feeling so confident about Slimming World at the moment that I’ve decided.

I’m going for it. I’m going to try to reach target BEFORE Christmas. 

For me there are 13 weigh-ins lefts before the big day, and if I lose 2lbs a week I will be at target in nine weeks. At the start of the year I was convinced that I would hit target in 2018, but assumed as time went on that I’d blown it. But it IS still possible. There is a chance I’ll fall short, but eff it. I’m going to try anyway.

How amazing would it be? I’m daring to dream, and why the hell shouldn’t I?

Group itself was fab as always, and by the end I was absolutely made up to have got Slimmer of the Week. When you have been at it for as long as I have (I’ve been on this current ‘journey’ for over two years now) you just don’t expect to get it any more.

But get it I did, and it was a very generous haul. Among other things there was a bottle of Fry Light, some delicious looking apricots, a tin of water chestnuts and a bunch of flowers. What a nice thought! I especially thanked the lady who put them in because it was such a lovely idea and really brightened my day.

Earlier on in the day I made a fantastic start to week 3 of my Gold Body Magic Award with a 2.5 hour walk around the park and into town. I was thinking about putting it off till today but I’m so glad I didn’t, because the light was so much nicer yesterday.

Along with other kinds of mojo I’m definitely getting my photography mojo back. My favourite thing from the walk though was a silvery bush where the odd few leaves had gone yellow and green.

One of my favourite things ever is light shining through the leaves, so it was good to be able to combine these two things.

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Just… gorgeous.

In town I didn’t get much except a couple of bottles of Fry Light, and a little retro robot for my brother for 99p, but it was such a lovely day I’m really glad I got out. Of course it goes without saying really, but I did feed the geese as well.

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It’s back to work tonight so my only real plan for today is to get some exercise in and have a nap. Normally I’d feel that this wasn’t ‘enough’ but I had a really active weekend so what the hell!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Bad Decisions

This is the third attempt at writing this blog post. Sometimes they just don’t come easily, and in this case it’s mostly because I haven’t had much at all to write about!

This weekend I have made a couple of bad decisions, which revolve around staying up when I really should have had an early night. Sunday I spent the afternoon with friends and had a lovely walk in the park.

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I was planning to get home early Sunday evening, be in bed by 8pm and get up early the next day to get sh*t done. Instead I let myself be tempted into staying and watching a couple of movies. I didn’t have any dinner with me, as it was Sunday the shops were shut, and I was starving.

So we went to the local Co-op which is mercifully open till 10pm even on Sundays, and I was presented with an array of vegan-friendly goodies. Unfortunately only one item (apart from fruits and veggies) also fit in with Slimming World, so I ended up eating a pack of Linda McCartney vegetarian sausages for dinner. It’s only 3 syns for the pack, and I ended the day on about 7, but let’s just say it’s not the most exciting of dinners!

My friend tried his hardest to convince me to have a pack of Jammy Wheels (Co-ops own Jammy Dodgers) which are vegan and delicious, but I wasn’t budging off plan for ANYTHING.

I am very glad that I didn’t let one bad decision turn into two bad decisions.

Yesterday (much like today actually) I found it really hard to get going, even with a shed load of coffee. I did get all the boring stuff done though (laundry, hoovering, cleaning Pea’s cage, blah blah blah…) and got up in the loft to dig out my thermals for work. The days have been lovely and warm but the nights? Yeah, not so much.

In fact in about a month or so I reckon I’ll be digging out my work salopettes, but I’m hoping I can lose a bit more weight before then.

Last year was the first year I was able to fit into them – before then I’d end each winter shift on the verge of hypothermia. I’m not even exaggerating – it would take me hours and hours to warm up. I’d go to sleep straight away because I was so tired, but be woken up an hour later by my body being absolutely wracked with shivers despite having the heating on, extra blankets and two hot water bottles. I’d touch my thighs and they’d still be ice cold to the touch. It was no laughing matter.

Yet last year I had one of my biggest non-scale victories to date when I could not only fit into the salopettes, but also not feel that everyone was looking at me and sniggering behind my back.

This is me when I first got them last November, and I already know that they fit me better already despite only being a few pounds lighter now than I am in the pictures. Because of the exercise I’ve been doing my body shape has changed quite significantly and I’ve lost a good few inches from the waist and tummy area.

I want to make as much progress between now and… whenever it’s so cold that I have to wear them, so that they feel really different when I wear them next. Then next year I can get another pair (we get a free pair every two years) because the only thing better than one pair of the coziest salopettes you can possibly imagine is having two pairs!

Speaking of making progress, last night was weigh in and for the first time in ages I was really looking forward to stepping on the scales. I didn’t feel like I’d managed to lose much, but I was confident I had at least lost something. Which is a rare feeling these days!

So I was pleasantly shocked to find that I lost 4.5 pounds.

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That’s more like it!

Group was another good one, though I did miss the lady who gave me the high five last week. She’s on holiday in Devon (and determined to stay on plan) so I’m looking forward to finding out how she got on next week.

I now have 1st 5.5lbs to go till I reach my target, and it occurred to me yesterday that it’s still within the realms of possibility that I could achieve that this year. I’ll try not to think about that too much though, as I might get disheartened.

One day at a time, Hayley!

I did spend a little bit of time yesterday evening looking at my Fitbit stats and reflecting on how far I’ve come since I started recording everything in September 2015. And as it happens it’s almost exactly a year since I came out of the ‘obese’ BMI category and entered the ‘overweight’ one. As you can see I’ve had some ups and downs (I briefly went back up into obese over Christmas) but I’ve managed to stay ‘only’ overweight for the best part of a whole year.

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My goal for the week ahead is to try my hardest to get into the 13 stone bracket, but I also want to keep a level head and prepare myself for the fact it might take an extra week or two. As long as I keep going, I’ll do it. I’m still bloody excited though!

I went to bed late again last night. Monday’s are always late anyway, because group doesn’t finish till around 9pm, but I also stayed up to watch Deadpool 2 with the family. Yep, another bad decision. I’m so sleepy today! It was good, with some laugh-out-loud moments, but not brilliant.

As such there’s not a huge amount going on today even though there is plenty I could be getting on with.

I’ve just had an Iceland shop delivered, now that there’s enough of a vegan range to warrant getting a whole shop, which has come at just the right time. My local shopping centre is being knocked down and rebuilt, so that it’s had a knock-on effect at the local Lidl’s. They just can’t cope with the extra business, so every time I’ve been there lately it’s been an absolute ordeal. Plus the shelves have been virtually empty anyway.

As I need to save money shopping at the big supermarkets isn’t an option either, so getting the best part of a whole shop from Iceland, for £35 with free delivery, has been a huge help.

Along with these bits I also got a load of fresh stuff, and I’ve sent off photos of the new vegan range to Slimming World so hopefully the bits that aren’t listed will be added to Syns Online soon.

Now I’m off to prep all of my work lunches for the week so I don’t have to worry about that, then I need to get some exercise and sleep in before work. It’s not the most exciting of tasks, but I’m happy that I’m on top of things and looking forward to the week ahead.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Omissions

Unbelievable.

I can’t believe that I completely forgot to tell you how I got on at group on Monday! Results-wise it makes sense, because I gained a pound (boo) but for me that is excellent because I’m usually a big gainer (woo!)

After actually staying at group for two weeks in a row I’m getting to know the people a little bit and they are awesome. A load of us made pledges for big losses this week (I said 5lbs) and the lady next to me even gave me a high-five!

Of course we have no real control over our bodies, and I have no idea if I’ll really lose 5 lbs, all I can do it stick to the plan and hope for the best. But I like aiming high. There’s always the risk of being disappointed if you don’t achieve it, but right now I’m in a good mental place where I know I won’t be too disheartened if I don’t get anywhere near that.

I would also love to get my 7 stone award back. AGAIN (I’m sick of saying that!) so I decided to utilize that little ‘plan of action’ box in the Slimming World book.

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I saw a lady on Instagram yesterday who is a target member with a loss of over 15 stone who writes regularly in hers, so I thought why not give it a try? Every bit of motivation helps.

By the way the lady in question is Debbie Fawcett (debster_sw on IG) and she has done so incredibly well. She also has a YouTube channel (link) if you fancy having a watch. AND she has a thoroughly cute doggo!

I mentioned in group that I need to be more organised and taking the Slimming World meals to my friend’s for dinner yesterday was a winner. The meals have really improved since I last had them, and the addition of a flavoured microwave rice pouch (3 syns for the one I had) made it even nicer.

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The observant among you may also notice there’s a sausage on my plate, which is one of the Sainsbury’s caramelised onion shroomdogs. They’re 3.5 syns each and the most sausagey veggie sausage I’ve ever had.

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They used to be 4 syns and contain egg, but when Sainsbury’s took the egg out to cater for vegans (THANK YOU SAINSBURY’S!) the syn value changed to 3.5. You’re all welcome!

I was also racking my brains about Free/Speed foods to snack on (I’m not a huge fruit eater) and I can’t believe it took me so long to remember… PICKLES! So now I have a cupboard full of gherkins, onions and beetroots.

I’m on schedule for completing week 1/8 of my Gold Body Magic award what with doing half an hour on the exercise bike yesterday, and I’m going to repeat that when I’m done here.

Finally I’m being more active on our group’s own Facebook page, and since no one at my new group (apart from my consultant) knows what I looked like before, I posted a before and after picture. In the picture on the right I’m actually two pounds heavier than I am now. And in the picture on the left I’d already lost over a stone.

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Things may have been tough lately but boy, life was so hard back when that first photo was taken. I’m never, ever going back to that.

There are no excuses – I’m totally fired up, prepared, and excited to have a perfect week. In fact even work has been bearable as each night shift means more calories burned than if I’d been at home, plus it’s another day closer to the weekend, getting back to group, catching up with everyone and seeing how I’ve done.

Bring it on.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Tired & Wired

I’m a few days in to my course of antidepressants now and the side effects are hitting me hard. I’ve been on the same medication before but never suffered from anxiety until now, and since one of the (albeit temporary) side effects is, wait for it, increased anxiety, I’m really struggling to keep everything together.

Luckily I also know other people who have been through the same thing and gave me the heads up so I knew what to expect. The other side effects are actually quite welcome. One is that they keep me awake, so I haven’t needed coffee to get me through work (in fact I’ve had to lay off the caffeine otherwise I get completely wired), and when I get home I’ve been sleeping really well. And I’ve had a decreased appetite, but I’m still trying to eat properly because I find if I haven’t eaten my anxiety gets worse.

So things are still tough, but I’m actually feeling stronger and know that I just have to get through the next couple of weeks before things really start to improve. I just have to try and ride it out.

Although my weekend has felt rather panicky, it’s still been OK with a few welcome distractions. I went to drop off some bits at a friends house as they’ve been cluttering up my room for some time now, and while I was there I managed to photograph his regular foxy visitor with my cheap telephoto lens. The photos are noisy (grainy) as hell but there wasn’t much I could do with what I had and the conditions, but I’m still happy with them overall.

That is one healthy looking fox!

Then on Monday another friend invited me out for a stroll around the bank holiday boot sale and I jumped at the offer. It was nice to get a little bit of exercise and he even treated me to some boxing gloves, so now I can hit the man in my garage that my brother has been beating up for some time now. Plus this kind of exercise doesn’t involve my knee.

I didn’t sleep much at all Sunday night (taking the pills in the evening at weekends is a necessary evil), so when I got home from the boot sale I had a little nap before going to Slimming World in the evening.

I finally got to stay at group and meet everyone, and I must say they are all lovely. It’s a much smaller group than I’m used to which is much, much nicer, and very good for me since I wasn’t really up to being in a room with lots of people.

I put on 2lbs since my last official weigh in, which I’m kind of happy with because it could have/would have been a lot worse (I did at least manage some days on plan in August) and I’m already feeling so encouraged by my fellow slimmers I’m sure I’m going to do well from now on.

I was really looking forward to August but it’s been the worst month I’ve had in many, many years. So here’s to September being a lot better (and totally on plan!)

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Monday and More

I’m one of those weirdos who really likes Mondays. Mondays are the second day of my weekend, and since I don’t go back into work until the Tuesday night, I save my pre-work dread for Tuesday afternoon. That means I can enjoy my whole Monday.

I did consider doing nothing at all Monday and having a complete rest day, but I discovered Sunday that I’m really not good at that. I tried to lay with my legs out in the sun for a bit, because to be honest they’re a bit of a hazard. I can’t have them out at all on the street, because if the sun reflects off of them they could blind any passing drivers.

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Instead I spent a little while editing photos from the walk I’d done previously, at my very favourite park in Hadleigh.

I’m just not meant to sit still anymore I think, so much so that I find it really difficult to sit down and watch an entire film. Unless it really grabs me, I rarely make it to the end these days. I don’t think that’s a bad thing!

In between walking and dinner I also had a little gin and slimline tonic from a nearby pub that I never knew existed – Barge Gladys. Yes, it actually is on a barge! Apparently it’s been there for 41 years (how have I never heard of it before?), is right near a handy train station and is of course on the coast so there are plenty of walking to/from opportunities. I’m thinking more of a nice place to have a diet coke or water in future though, I’m really not fancying alcohol much at the moment. Just that one drink went right to my head!

So on Monday instead of trying and failing to veg out, I went for a walk in the park. In 30 degree heat… Thankfully I slapped on the factor 50 before I left the house and am pleased to report I did not burn to a crisp.

I had a really good time by myself at the park, except I wasn’t actually by myself, truth be told. There are always plenty of feathered friends about. When I got to the lake where the majority of the geese hang out, I saw that most of them (apart from four or five milling around the shore) were in the water.

But when they saw me, the whole flock got out of the water and headed straight for me. At this point there was no sign of me having any food for them (although of course I did, it was safely tucked away in my bag) so I wonder if they remember that I’ve fed them lots of other times before? There were other people there and they didn’t get the same welcome as me!

Look how close they were, and still they hadn’t seen the food.

It’s clear that these guys love me!

Then yesterday things took a little nosedive. I was going to weigh in Monday night at my new group, but something came up and I couldn’t make it. So I planned to go Tuesday morning instead.

But then I couldn’t sleep, and subsequently didn’t wake up in time. That also meant I didn’t wake up in time for my planned run, and by the time I got myself moving it was too hot. Then my day ended up being taken up by other stressful things anyway. The upshot of it was that I was tired, hungry, stressed, dreading work, and I ate my feelings. Thankfully it was only one day and I’m right back on it now, and since the temperature is much more reasonable after a little storm last night, I’m definitely running later. As for weighing in, my home scales say I’ve maintained, which I’m happy with.

For the last week or so work has been a bit of a nightmare from which I cannot wake, and I’ve been getting through it by keeping my head down and working hard. But last night there was a planned system shutdown for the first five hours of the shift and I knew I’d just have to mill around. The thought of that was simply unbearable, and that’s what threw me. It’s just excuses though. I could have got through it and stayed on plan, I just chose not to. I took the easy option (or at least the one that was easier in the short term).

As it happens, the shutdown didn’t happen but something went wrong and there wasn’t much to do anyway, so I was allowed to go home. When I go to work tonight I can stick to the original plan and just crack on with my job. So it’s not great, but I can cope with it.

And I will NOT use food to help me get through it.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

I’m Back!

I walked back into my old Slimming World group with a spring in my step. I wore my favourite light floral shirt, light makeup (because I genuinely felt it’d be too hot to add much to my face) and I just felt really comfortable in my own skin.

Going back to a Slimming World group, especially one you’ve been frequenting on and off since 2012, is like entering a room full of puppies. Everyone is just really genuinely pleased to see you! Although there is less peeing on the floor…

I paid extra to keep my old progress, and was chuffed to bits to find that I’ve only gained 2 lbs since the last time I was there. I’ll take that and run, thank you very much!

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Another bonus from going back when I did? I got to see a lady I remember from the last time I was there hitting target. How. Bloody. Awesome!

Scarily, there’s not much left of July, and next month I have quite a lot going on. My sister, a teacher, has now broken up for the holiday’s and we’ve agreed to do something every weekend for the whole of August. When I say something, I mean we are going on the hunt for vegan treats.

We want to have a pie from Young Vegans, go to the famous Hackney Downs Vegan Market, visit an all vegan pub called The Blacksmith and Toffeemaker (also dog friendly, I’d love to meet some doggos) and we have another day to fill that hasn’t been finalised yet.

What I could have done was to tell myself that there was no point in joining until September. Because let’s face it, there’s a really strong chance that I won’t lose much weight next month. Perhaps I won’t lose any at all, or have a small gain. But eating a vegan pie or whatever is not the same as going off plan.

If I want to socialise with my sister, and have one decadent meal out a week, then I can do that. The group is there to make sure it really is just one meal, and that I don’t spiral out of control.

If I don’t lose a ton of weight, then so be it. I’m still staying on top of things and enjoying myself guilt-free.

As it happens I do suspect that by taking this tack I will lose some weight, but only time will tell. All I know is that I need the support of my fellow slimmers, and group is one of the best ways to get that.

Anyway, regardless of all that there’s still one weigh day left in July for me to try and get my 7 stone award back. And try I will.

I was supposed to go to work after group, but I managed to get a last minute day off. I was so grateful for this – I’m absolutely knackered. I was very busy today, the day I normally get everything organised for the work week ahead, and nothing got done.

As it’s so warm I wasn’t particularly hungry either, so I didn’t sit down to eat until gone ten. It was lovely sitting outside in the garden with my feast, while the gnats were feasting on me, incidentally. Must be my tasty vegan blood.

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Now it’s time for a relatively early night, because tomorrow I really do have to go to work.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x