Doing Too Much?

I’ve had a really good week, where I’ve tried to cram in as much as possible. But by the time Saturday night came around it occurred to me that I may be pushing myself too hard.

I suppose the way I’ve felt over the last week can only be described as driven. And I’m just so excited about everything right now, about the possibilities for the future rather than not being able to see past the next day.

On Saturday I got up after only a couple of hours sleep in order to be an awesome friend. One of my bestest chums was working overtime and had no possibility to pick up his prescription before he ran out so I offered to get it for him. So pick it up I did, then I posted it through his letter box.

This friend happens to live right near my favourite park, so I took my brother with me and we went for a wander. A two hour wander actually. Week three of my Gold Body Magic is now complete!

The weather was boring, all grey clouds and flat and ‘orrible. But that’s why I like photography, because even if on the surface everything looks rubbish, if you look closer you can always find something beautiful. Ok, you can’t beat beautiful golden light, but there’s still good stuff to be found.

And even more good stuff.

My brother opened a few of these little things up and it seems that an earwig lives inside every single one. That a lot of earwigs.

Later on we came across a herd of cows I’d tried to approach before but they were way too nervous. But I had little bro with me, and he has a curious affinity with cows. They weren’t interested in him (one gave him a sniff and went back to munching on its grass) but they didn’t run away either, as they did with me.

I zoomed in on one cow when I got home and had to laugh. Even though she’s just chewing the cud she looked super grumpy!

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By the time we got home I crawled straight into bed, but I didn’t sleep very well. As soon as I get disturbed, to wake up for a tinkle for instance, I’ve been finding it really hard to get back to sleep again because I just want to carry on with my day.

This is great in one way, but I need to make sure I don’t burn myself out or I’ll be right back where I started before I know it.

As such when I got into work and found we were seriously overmanned, I jumped at the chance of an impromptu night off. To be honest since I’m out of annual leave I had to take it unpaid, which isn’t exactly sensible given my current financial situation, but this will now come out of my pay at the end of October. So I have plenty of time to adjust my outgoings accordingly. That’s how I’m convincing myself it’s OK anyway!

I actually ended up having a fantastic weekend, doing some walking and hanging out with friends. I really enjoyed a rainy wander through the glen Sunday morning.

Since I’m feeling in a cooking mood lately, yesterday when I got back I made dinner and dessert. I want to cook for people but don’t really want to eat it, so after dinner I made a decadent apple crumble. It went down so well that one friend kept eating it till he felt sick. I’ll take that as a win.

As for me I’ve been avoiding sweet stuff entirely, apart from unsweetened soya yoghurt with fruit and wheat biscuits for breakfast. Because anything like chocolate or ice cream will set off my sweet tooth. With Slimming World (if you aren’t familiar with the plan) nothing is off limits. If you want to eat a chocolate bar every single day and still lose weight, you can totally do that (though it might not be the healthiest way to go!) But when it comes to the sweet stuff I always crave more and more once I get going, and since I’m really enjoying my food lately I’m going to carry on with cutting these things out entirely. It seems to be working well for me anyway, as I haven’t felt deprived at all.

On Thursday I have another friend coming over for tea but I’m planning on making him something healthy. He’s been working so hard and such long hours, he hasn’t had time to feed himself properly and I want to get some goodness into him.

Other than that I want to make sure I get a good balance for the week ahead with plenty of sleep as well as exercise and creativity, because I need food for the soul, too.

Tonight is weigh in and I’m not sure how it’s going to go, because my hormones have gone a little up the wall and I’m feeling huge. But then I felt like that last week and it all turned out OK anyway. Time will tell!

I’ll update tomorrow with how it went.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Earls Colne, and Other Things

Last week was really good. Friday was my brother’s birthday, and although I had work that night I stayed up for the afternoon/evening in order to hang out with the family. And it was great! It’s testament to how much better I’m feeling as hanging out with brother, sister and mother (and all the noise and chaos that brings) was so much fun.

I also had my Body Magic for the day to complete, so I took my hula hoop and kettlebells downstairs and socialised at the same time. When my brother got home from work we had a laugh by comparing what weights we could lift and how many push ups we can do. It wasn’t really competitive – my brother is really tall and naturally strong, I’m tall and fairly weak in comparison, and my sister is a tiny little thing – so we all knew how it was going to go anyway. I still had to laugh at my sister trying to lift a 10kg weight, while everyone laughed at me trying to do one of those push ups where you clap on the up part (and nearly smashing my face into the carpet while I was at it!)

Things are so different to how they used to be. When we were kids my sister would be out with her friends, my brother would be playing Runescape on the PC, and I’d be trying to get him off the PC, because it was my turn dammit! Then my sister would come home and also want the PC, and the place would turn into a war zone.

But the real difference isn’t that we are all such good friends now (although that’s awesome and one of the best things about my whole life) it’s that we are so much more healthy and active. I’m not sure we’d be as close if we didn’t get out and do things together.

Speaking of getting out, the weekend has been very outdoorsy. I went to visit a friend on Saturday on one condition – that we go out for a walk. I had a load of stuff I should have been doing that day, mostly to prepare for my Sunday, and if I was going to put it off it had to be for a good reason. For one thing I wanted more Body Magic, and this particular walk meant I completed week two of my Gold award. Whoop whoop!

Signs of autumn are beginning to show everywhere, and I have a very strong impulse to make the most of every single day before everything is grey and barren again. Autumn is one of my favourite times of year, and I don’t want to waste a second.

When I got home I got myself straight to bed for an hour’s sleep, then made sure I got up in time to at least do some prep.

Me and my brother agreed that we were going to do a walk from my ’50 walks in Essex’ book, that I bought months ago and hadn’t looked at since. Weirdly, since I’m useless at planning such things, he left the choice of walk and all the details up to me.

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So I chose a walk, worked out how long it would take us to drive there, how much sleep I’d need in the morning in order to do the drive safely, and told him what time we were leaving. Then (even more importantly) I pre-made my lunch for the next day, because if I don’t have food with me it could mean disaster. That done, I toddled off to work for my final shift of the week.

In the morning we were out of the door by 10:15 am (I almost managed 3 hours sleep) with plenty of coffee in tow. We were headed to Earls Colne to do a 6.5 mile circular walk which would take us through Chalkney Mill.

I had a little moment where I wasn’t sure what to wear – I didn’t think I had anything warm enough to hand (the weather looked a bit grim) but eventually I decided on a t-shirt dress and leggings because I’d no doubt warm up during the walk anyway.

I made the right choice – when we got there the skies turned blue and we were treated to a beautiful day. So beautiful I was starting to worry that I should have bought sun cream with me.

Do you know what my favourite part was though? THE FOOD! First of all we found plenty of blackberries, and since I’d left my lunch in the car to have once we were finished these were most welcome.

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Further along the route we came across an apple tree, but all of the fruits within reaching distance had been started on by birds and bugs. But I had my brother with me, and he’s always up for a challenge. He found us a couple of really tasty looking apples.

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I do like apples, but I’m seriously fussy about them. I’ll NEVER buy them from a supermarket (unless it’s for a pie or crumble) because they are invariably disappointing. The apple I had from the tree though – it was hands down not only the best apple I’ve ever had, but the tastiest fruit I’ve eaten in my whole life hands down. It was utterly delicious!

Later on we came across a friendly little family, whose young son was very interested in what I was doing with my camera. I was photographing fungus at the time (as you do) and I marvelled at the fact the kid has clearly been raised to appreciate the outdoors rather than simply plonked in front of a TV or tablet. Most other kids his age would probably be more familiar with technology than nature.

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I don’t normally know what to say to tiny humans (I find them quite frightening) but it was easy to explain what I was doing and show him the camera screen. Then we got talking to the dad who told us what other kind of fungi we could expect to see around this time of year.

As it happens we didn’t see any stinkhorns (although I’d really like to) but it’s good to know they can be found in that area for when we return at a later date. As I’m sure we will.

In contrast to all the nature, one part of the route also took us directly underneath a pylon. I’m quite happy with that, as I’ve never been so close to a pylon, so I took the opportunity to get an ‘arty’ shot.

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When I got home I had leftover curry that I made the other day which was completely Syn free, packed with Speed foods and even tastier than when I originally made it. Thinking ahead has definitely helped me this week.

As it happens I have group this evening and despite feeling really confident earlier on in the week today I’m feeling a bit bloated so I don’t know how it’s going to go. What I do know, is that I have been completely on plan without a single slip-up for two whole weeks now. And that feels soooooo good.

Another thing I know is that if I don’t get the result I want today, I’m just going to carry on what I’ve been doing. I’m not going to use it as an excuse to have a blow-out.

The only other plan I have for today is to walk into town (Body Magic, yay!) and hunt for Koko vegan cheddar which has been spotted by my fellow vegans in Home Bargains. When I first went vegan there were no cheeses you could have as a Healthy Extra, but this one does count so hopefully I can get my mitts on it.

On that note I’d best get cracking, so I’ll say goodbye for now.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Already?

Guess what popped up on my (dedicated Slimming World, no less) Instagram feed this afternoon?

You’ll never get it, so I’ll tell you.

MINCE PIES. 

This is too early, even for me! I’ve found combining slimming with veganism really hard, not because finding vegan options is a problem, but because there are so many options now.

My trigger foods have always been pizza and ice cream, for as long as I can remember. I thought that not having access to these things would really help my efforts – I can no longer order a 20″ pizza and a tub of Ben & Jerry’s right to my door for £15 after all. But then along comes the release of two (incredible looking) vegan pizzas and a vegan Magnum in the last couple of weeks alone. Oh and Violife have bought out a mozzarella substitute that I like the taste of and melts really well.

That’s now six or so vegan pizzas that are readily available in major supermarkets! And now the vegan mince pies are popping up already. Damn.

Of course I’m not really complaining, it’s fantastic for the vegan movement after all, but it is really hard not to get carried away and try ALL THE NEW THINGS.

I feel a sense of responsibility to try to support businesses making the effort to bring these products to the shelves, but for my own benefit and the benefit of others attempting the same thing, my time (and money) will be better spent showing that it’s totally doable to combine Slimming World with veganism.

For those wondering, you can still eat pizza and ice cream on Slimming World (and sometimes I do) but for me personally I find it best to avoid them all together or I will more often than not lose my head and eat way too much.

As it is those mince pies got me thinking about Christmas already (sorry!) and this year I’m looking for some decent middle ground.

Since I properly started my journey (sorry again, that word!) in 2016 I’ve had two Christmases – the first I stayed mostly on plan, only gained half a pound but felt really deprived. The second I was out of control from the end of November till the beginning of February, put on over a stone and felt really miserable.

This is me in December vs me last month. I don’t think I’m imagining that there’s quite a difference there, but it’s genuinely hard for me to tell what with the angles being different and whatnot. I do remember how the Hayley on the left felt though, and I don’t want a repeat of that.

Thinking back on it, what do I really remember about last Christmas? The actual day was brilliant – the best Christmas I’ve ever had. I remember making the Bosh mushroom wellington which is hands down one of the tastiest things I’ve ever eaten, seeing my family’s faces when they opened the gifts which so much thought had gone into, and playing silly games in the evening.

As far as other food and drink goes, the only ‘must have’ vegan things I remember was the vegan Baileys Almande (quite nice but my tastes have changed a bit, wouldn’t bother with it again) a liqueur from M&S (it was revolting) and trying Besos de Oro which is a vegan-friendly Bailey’s kind of drink (doubly revolting). So if I don’t get all of the must have things this year, it’s no big deal and I won’t even remember what they were by the end of January. Unless they stick out in my mind for being particularly awful.

I also stopped going to group at the end of November, and I tell you now, that is DEFINITELY not going to happen this time around!

My plan of action is to not buy anything at all until about a week before the day, because if it’s in the house I’ll definitely eat it, and only buy enough for one single day of eating and drinking.

If a certain item I want is sold out, so what? Does it really matter? Of course it doesn’t! In the meantime I shall write down my plan of action in my journal, so it’s even more cemented in my mind, then say no more about it at least until December.

I’m glad that’s out of my system (for now) and anyone posting festive pictures on social media is getting temporarily muted!

Anyway! On to more pressing matters. Tomorrow is my brother’s birthday, and luckily I can’t eat the enormous cake my mum has bought for him. Considering she’s a diabetic and my brother is doing fantastically well with his weight loss and fitness efforts, I’m not sure it was exactly wise for her to get a 16-portion cake for the two of them, but what can you do.

I used the opportunity to ask her not to buy me any food items for my birthday (which is next month) to which she responded ‘Ok, but do you want a cake?’ Bless her, she really does mean well, but NOOOOOOOOO I don’t want a cake! While I was at it I messaged my sister to ask her not to get me any food either, and to cancel plans we had for a food-based get together. I still want to do something, but it doesn’t have to revolve around food. So I think I’m covered. I don’t think anyone else would get me anything edible anyhoo.

On Sunday me and my brother are doing some sort of healthy ‘outdoorsy’ thing in order to celebrate, though we haven’t decided exactly what yet. Whatever we choose I’m sure it’ll be fun though. He’s my number one adventure buddy.

I also want to start taking more photos again, which is best done with my brother because he’s so patient with me. Some friends wander off while I’m trying to get a good shot whereas my brother is more than happy to mill around for a bit while I get totally lost in what I’m doing.

He’s such a good brother, and I am so lucky to have him.

The Google Photos app has yet again been reminding me that last year I was taking a lot more photos than I am this year…

This needs to be rectified, and I need to get out and do more interesting things, more often.

Today though, so far, all I’ve managed to do is write this post which has taken hours because I keep procrastinating. I reckon I’m done for now though, so it’s time to get exercising. This Gold Body Magic award won’t earn itself you know!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

The Absolute Truth

I’ve got to be honest here, I was thinking of taking a little blog break because I’m feeling so down in the dumps. But it’s so, so important for me to be straight up in this little corner of the internet here. I’ve been wanting to start this post for a while, but getting out of bed has been a big enough challenge.

Thankfully this evening I’m feeling a little more with it.

I thought I’d feel better once some changes had been made in my life, and I was really looking forward to getting some time to myself back. But the problem is… me and myself aren’t great friends right now.

Over the last 6 months or so my self-esteem has gone from being pretty damn good to slowly getting to the point where I basically despise myself. I know it’s a temporary feeling, but at the moment all I have to keep me company when I’m alone is guilt, shame, disgust and other lovely things along those lines.

Being with people is better, but not great, because I can’t concentrate properly on conversations, and if there is background noise/more than one person I’m finding it almost unbearable. Texting is best, and my sister has been brilliant. Plus my mum and brother have been super patient and always available for hugs.

Work has been tough too, but there are also some good, good people that I can speak to there who have been great.

Up until recently I had someone in my life who was not so supportive, and one particular colleague really hit the nail on the head – he said it’s like I’m carrying around a really heavy backpack, but this person keeps adding rocks to it. And is trying to trip me up at the same time.

He gets it.

I haven’t been following Slimming World at all. At 9:30pm Saturday night, even though I started work at 10pm, I was literally crying into a tub of (vegan) ice cream. Of course that’s only a very temporary way of making myself feel better, and I have to stop doing that RIGHT NOW.

So what the hell am I going to do about all this?

First of all, I’m going to keep talking. I had a major breakthrough with my brother and sister who have been helping me get my thoughts in order, and my main problem at the moment is that I had someone in my life who was larger than life (mostly not in a good way) and even though I know I’m better off without them, I’m left with this massive gaping hole that I don’t know how to fill.

I used to love my own company, but thinking back on it, that was something I had to learn how to do. I need to relearn it. If I did it once, I can do it again.

Secondly, I have a doctors appointment on Thursday because it can’t hurt to get a professional opinion. I do think I would benefit from a little chemical assistance to ‘level me out’ a bit. I’ve taken that route before and it’s worked for me in the past, so I don’t see why it shouldn’t help again.

Thirdly, even though I don’t feel like doing anything but adopting the fetal position, I’m going to eat healthily and continue with my running. In the morning I’m going shopping for supplies straight from work (to hell with my budget, staying healthy comes first) then I’ll go for a run in the afternoon. I know it’ll make me feel better once I’m out there doing it.

Finally, I’m going to be strict and get my routine back, because it’s something that I’ve sorely missed. I like structure. I need structure. And it will help everything else fall into place.

I already feel better getting this blog up, and taking a little time for myself. That includes a vegan-friendly clay face mask from Superdrug. I’m not sure how much they really help my skin, but it feels nice and refreshing plus it makes for quite interesting selfies!

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Once I’m feeling better in myself, I can crack on with things I’ve been meaning to do since the beginning of the year. It’s nice to put others first sometimes, but not all the time, and my own things that I wanted to do have recently gone right to the bottom of the pile.

If I can get some concentration back then starting on my ‘to be read’ pile is high up on the list. This doesn’t even scratch the surface though, I haven’t even thought about what’s on my Kindle.

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Plus I really can get back to my Slimming World group which is way, way overdue. I’m going to be in for a huge gain, but I need to take that on the chin and just get on with it.

Everything will be ok in the end, I just need to keep fighting.

Here’s to never giving up x

Fight or Flight

I’ve always been prone to fairly regular bouts of mild depression, ever since I was a teenager, and now I’m in my mid-thirties I’m getting pretty good at dealing with the bad patches when they come along. At the very least I’ve managed to stop using them as an excuse to gain huge amounts of weight.

On the other hand I’ve never really suffered from anxiety, until now. I’ve had anxious times when I’ve been in bad situations, and this is similar. I’m not feeling like this for no reason, it’s a product of my environment and I haven’t been dealing with it very well. In fact it’s been two weeks of hell.

I really feel for the people who have what I would call a proper medical condition and feel like this all the time for no reason whatsoever.

As for me I’m confident things will be back to normal now that I’ve had some resolutions to the things that have been bothering me. For the last six months I’ve been treading water, trying to fit everything in that I want to do, but now I should have more free time and more of a balance in life. That’s the plan anyway!

In the meantime I was explaining to a colleague what it’s like to feel seriously anxious. So back in the olden days when we were hunter-gatherers if we saw something scary, like a lion who wants to eat us, then we got a nice big shot of adrenaline to help us out of the situation. It would make us more alert, get the heart pumping, and give us that extra bit of juice to either leg it or take that lion on.

But now, simply sitting doing nothing and having a scary thought will give me that same reaction. Which really isn’t helpful! Sitting still but (seemingly randomly) having my heart pumping out of my chest and struggling to get my breath is not fun, and that’s not taking into account that horrible shaky feeling you get when the adrenaline subsides. Unfortunately evolution is quite a way from catching up with modern life.

I haven’t really thought much about Slimming World over the last fortnight, mainly because I’ve felt so uptight I’ve only managed small portions of highly palatable food. Anything else I just couldn’t stomach, and since I wasn’t sleeping well either was just doing what I needed to do to get through.

I’m feeling more relaxed today though, now that things are falling into place. After a sneaky night off work and a very deep and dreamless sleep, I’m ready to sort my eating out again, before too much damage is done.

I had planned to get right back on it on Monday, but by that point I was feeling so anxious that I was wondering how I could spend another second in my own head. That was when a friend came to the rescue and took me out to dinner. Luckily it also had the effect of taking me out of myself for a while, and I was able to just sit back and turn my brain off for a short period.

We went to Wagamama’s, and it’s the first time I’ve been there since I became vegan. Luckily, they introduced a vegan katsu dish (the Vegatsu) a while back and I’ve been desperate to try it ever since.

The food didn’t disappoint, although I do think they need to get on and introduce more vegan options!

To accompany my meal I had jasmine tea, which always goes well with this kind of food and makes me feel super cultured.

As for my friend, I’m so proud of him. When we first met I cooked him a chilli, and asked how it compared to others he’d had. He confessed that he’d never eaten a chilli before, and hadn’t tried anything else that ‘exotic’. It was always meat and two veg in his house!

He was very suspicious of his ramen bowl at first, but he was soon a convert. He’s definitely becoming more adventurous!

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It was a gorgeous evening, and I even had another result – we passed The Whisky Shop so I decided to pop in to get a miniature for my brother. While I was there I found the perfect birthday present for him. It’s not his birthday till next month, but I nabbed it while I was there. I had no idea what I was going to get him, now I don’t have to worry. Until next year…

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Yesterday I went out for a little run, but it was mostly walking as I still need to build back up to a full run. It was lovely to blow the cobwebs away though. I’m going to go for another run on Thursday, assuming my ankle is OK. I twisted it yesterday as an interesting bug landed on my wrist and I stopped looking where I was going. That’ll teach me! (She says. It probably won’t to be honest…)

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My current running strategy is to do about 5k, three times a week, at a pace which is purely enjoyable. I don’t really care about any other factors such as speed or intensity, I just want to have fun whilst getting my exercise. I’ve lost sight of that recently.

Although there is a little something inside of me that wants to do a 10k some time soon, but I’m trying not to think that far ahead. I just want to have fun and see where that gets me.

I will sign off now as my sister is on her way over for a coffee and a natter.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Yes I Can

I was going to post about my day last night, but in the end I decided to wait until it was officially over and that I had in fact done what I set out to do.

Yesterday I met up with my sister and we went into the swelteringly hot city of London to sample some vegan treats. I’ve written about similar things on here so many times before, about how I’m going to stay on plan right up until the last minute, and get back on plan when I get home, but normally I start to slip a couple of days beforehand.

Before I know it, by the time the actual event I’ve been so eagerly anticipating comes around, I feel like a total failure and it ruins the whole day.

Not this time though! Work stress may have had something to do with it, but I managed to stay perfectly on plan, even when it came to my breakfast.

If I did it this time, I can do it any time.

I did nearly 20k steps during the day, and covered nearly 10 miles, which may go some way to negating the off-plan things I ate. It’s better than doing nothing, that much is true.

I’ve been meaning to go to the Hackney Downs Vegan Market for over a year now, so it was about time I actually went and did it. And by some happy coincidence (the vendors change regularly) a stall selling epic hotdogs was there (Pig Out), whose wares I’ve also been wanting to sample for many months.

The only question was, which one to have?

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I decided on ‘The American’, because the truffle oil sounded super fancy. And oh boy it was lovely! The hotdogs were so authentic-tasting, yet knowing there aren’t any questionable parts in there and that a cute piggy didn’t have to die to make it had me questioning why I ever ate the non-vegan kind.

I also had a tiramisu, because it used to be one of my favourite pre-vegan desserts. The cream tasted more like marshmallow, but it wasn’t a bad thing because it still worked. But it’s testament to how good Dope Soft Serve ice cream is because ‘The Pornstar’ was incredible in comparison, and the tiramisu was good enough to begin with. One of the tastiest vegan things I’ve eaten so far. I chose it because it sounded the most refreshing – raspberry, passionfruit and chopped nuts. Delish!

Once I got home I managed to stay on plan. I had an uneaten work lunch in the fridge (comprising only of Free and Speed foods) but since I was still hungry after I had some soya beans which never fail to fill me up.

I did it! I did EXACTLY what I set out to do!

I now have the whole of Sunday and most of Monday to try to ensure I still (hopefully) get some sort of loss. What with managing to get out for a couple of runs and how spectacularly on it I’ve been this week, I’m fairly hopeful.

Next Sunday me and the little sis are having a picnic in the park, which is way more adaptable to Slimming World! That means I can stay 100% on plan and enjoy family time.

Speaking of which, I was enjoying how me and my sister are looking more like sisters than we ever have before!

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When we were kids I could have quite happily wrung her neck. Yet here were are, the bestest of friends. It’s funny how things turn out.

Later on today I’m going for a walk in the park, because it’s just too hot to run, and before weigh in tomorrow I’ll definitely be doing some form of exercise. I’m thinking maybe a short run first thing, then I walk into town later on. We’ll see.

Either way, despite the prospect of not losing any weight this week, I’m looking forward to going to group and actually staying this time.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Cleaning House

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about being more open with my blogging, and perhaps (shock horror) I may even let some friends and family know that it exists. The problem is, there are things written here that I don’t want them to read.

I started to go through my old posts and edit them, but that would have taken an age. I like having a record on here of what I’ve been up to, so deleting them isn’t an option either. I then found that you can set a post to private, so when you are viewing your own blog everything appears chronologically as it normally would.

That seemed the best option, but again doing that to every post with sensitive information would still have taken forever.

Going forward, I will still write as open and honestly as I can, but I’ll start archiving those old posts and eventually only stuff from this point onwards will be live.

I can’t imagine that anyone would be that interested, but in case anyone did want to know the timeline of what’s happened since I started writing, I’m going to create a post detailing just that. I reckon it’ll be quite fun for me, and therapeutic to see how far I’ve come.

That should keep me occupied for a while, anyway.

In the meantime I’m still feeling very positive and have enjoyed this day off work immensely.

My car is currently undrivable (the wheel may actually fall off at any given time) and I can’t get it sorted until next week. So me and the brother driving somewhere interesting in order to have a nice walk on Sunday is off the cards.

However, we have instead decided to have an epic bike ride to Southend-on-Sea. Assuming my bottom, which hasn’t been on a proper saddle in some time, can take it!

My brother is lending me his commuting bike, but I was missing one vital piece of equipment. As such I took a lovely walk in the sunshine to the nearest Halfords…

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I am way too accident-prone. Being without a helmet is simply out the question. My brother did suggest I wear my full motorbike gear, but I suspect it’ll be a little too hot for that.

It’s a 28 mile round trip, and y’know, given enough time, I reckon I can make it. But if I can’t, then we’re basically following the train line home anyway and can hop on if we need to. I don’t think we will though.

For the rest of the afternoon I took Pea out in the garden, got the picnic blanket out and settled down for a good read. I’ve been meaning to read Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig for months, but even though it’s been said to help people (it’s even been called a lifesaver) I just couldn’t face reading something so real, personal, and very close to home. It’s about the author’s battle with depression and anxiety, so no light subject that’s for sure.

It’s very good though, and I’m pleased I finally picked it up. I’ll let you know the verdict when I’m finished. I suspect that won’t be too long in the future!

Then I had a delicious dinner (still reading, can’t put it down) of Linda McCartney scampi-style pieces (vegan friendly, 5 Syns for half a pack).

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Now all that’s left to do is watch Thor with the family, if I can stay awake long enough, then I’m looking forward to a damn good early night.

Until next time, thanks for reading.

Hayley x

Fighting

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

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

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

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

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

So. Moving on.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hayley x

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

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One or the Other

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Split

Today I’m feeling wonderful and crappy in equal measure. All things considered I’ve had a pretty good weekend – I’ve crammed in a lot and have barely had a minute to sit down. So I feel like I’ve accomplished something, but also that I haven’t had a moment to breathe.

I went round my sister’s for a vegan-friendly Sunday roast and it was lovely. I forgot that it was Easter, because we aren’t religious and I’m not fussed about Easter eggs, but my sister did put in a lot of effort to make everything look very seasonal. She did me Slimming World-friendly roasties too!

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After that I had to pop to a friend’s house which is an hour round trip. I’d been to work the night before, only had three hours sleep, spent the afternoon and my sister’s and was ready to drop. So to save me driving my brother offered to take me on his motorbike.

It was the first time I’ve rode pillion with my brother, and it was AWESOME. My brother was extra careful with me on the back and didn’t go too fast, but even when we were doing 70 on the dual carriageway it blew me away just how quickly we got to 70. It was bloody exhilarating!

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When we got back I posed for a photo on his bike (I can’t actually ride a bike myself) and felt amazing. If you remember from previous blogs I’ve only just recently been able to fit back into my safety gear and even then it’s never fit as well as it does now. In fact it’s too big!

But it’s a game of two halves right now – I’ve had successes and failures, and my mind doesn’t know what to process first. Well a blog always helps with that!

I weighed in yesterday and had maintained, but that will be short-lived. Because afterwards I just ate and ate and haven’t really stopped since. I feel bad about it, really bad, and I need to pull myself together. Until Thursday, when I have naughty things planned. I ALWAYS do this. Whenever I’m looking forward to going out I screw it up just before and feel fat and frumpy!

Although today is nearly done and dusted, tomorrow at least is going to be perfect. There may only be one more day before I go and and drink more alcohol than is good for me and dance until the clubs close, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be good for that day. It’ll make me feel better about myself anyhoo.

On the plus side I did train yesterday, at least in a way. I didn’t work as hard as normal, because my trainer was knackered from work the night before and my sister came along to pick up some tips. On an ordinary surface her split times are better than mine, but she’s not used to the kind of training I’ve been doing.

Where I go it really is like a free gym. It’s hilly so you can be constantly shocking your body by sprinting up the hills as fast as you can and then when you go down the other side you use the downwards part to recover rather than having to stop. We also do a lot of running on lumpy grass and mud which is great for your balance and core muscles, plus it keeps it interesting. I haven’t fallen in the mud yet, but it’s only a matter of time.

I did quite a lot of sporadic sprinting yesterday, and I’ve picked up so much speed from when I first started. When I tried to go as fast as possible before I started training, it felt like running in a dream, where you frustratingly just can’t get anywhere. Now when I run I’m actually cracking on and it feels incredible!

After training I took my sister back home, had the quickest shower ever, wolfed down a dinner that I barely managed to finish in time, made myself presentable (I actually felt fairly fabulous) then had to leave to go to the cinema with a friend.

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We went to see A Quiet Place, and I honestly can’t tell you whether I liked it or not. The premise of the film is that you can’t make a noise or something bad happens (I won’t go into more detail than that) so I was looking forward to a lot of build-up and suspense. But I couldn’t get into it because I was sat next to the most annoying person. This always happens to me! He ate like a noisy pig the entire time, so much so that when someone did speak in the film I have no idea what they said. And I don’t know how it’s even humanly possible for the person to breathe just as loudly as he did. That’s it, I’m never going to the cinema again because I always, always get stuck next to the WORST people!

I have training again tomorrow, then I have to accept that the weekend I have planned is going to be a setback. When I made my plans I weighed up the pros and cons, now I have to just commit and go with it otherwise I’ll feel bad if I do go and still feel bad if I don’t.

After drinking on Thursday I have Friday to recover then I’m going to visit a friend I haven’t seen since October. We’re going to a vegan-friendly pub/restaurant near him that I LOVE and I fully intend to have their award-winning vegan honeycomb sundae.

That’s scheduled for Saturday, and I’m going to train in the morning before I go otherwise it’s just too big a gap between sessions and I’ll make things extra hard for myself. It’s going to be hard enough anyway because the last time I had alcohol the next training session was brutal.

Then after this weekend I am only saying yes to healthy pursuits, mostly because I’ve been enjoying training so much. I was reading my friend’s blog today (check it out! Start on this post. You won’t be disappointed) where he was recapping his journey to health and fitness. At some point he found that walking is ‘his thing’. Well, I’ve found that running is my thing and I want all of my other pursuits to compliment that passion rather than make it harder.

From Sunday everything I do will get me closer to my goals rather than further away from them.

Right then, I’d best get myself ready for work. I only have two shifts left before my naughty extended weekend begins, and I’m going to make sure I enjoy every second of it. Preferably without guilt!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x