So Busy!

This has got to be the longest I’ve been without posting in over a year, but for the sake of my own sanity I’ve had to prioritise and unfortunately blogging was one of many things that just had to wait. It’s weird though how hard it is to get my words down on the page now, it’s not coming easily!

Instead of getting my jumbled thoughts down I’ve been cramming as much rest in as possible, and I’m pleased to say that although I don’t know whether I’m coming or going, most of the time things are generally ticking over nicely.

Next week is my holiday, so a lot of my energy has gone into getting everything sorted for that, and I’ve been spending waaaaaaay too much money. I could get by with taking a few backpacks, but instead I treated myself to a new suitcase. It was only £30 and should last for years and years (it has a ten year warranty), and I would have needed one eventually as I’m planning some trips abroad next year, but still… all the little things that I kind of need have really been adding up.

Last Sunday me and Mr. S went to visit his mum because he had an absolutely fabulous idea. The area where we’ll be hiking is where his mum and dad explored when they were first courting. His dad, who sadly passed away back in the 80’s, was a keen photographer who even had his own darkroom, and his mum has an absolutely beautiful photographic record of that time. So Mr. S said we should try to find some of the spots they visited and recreate the photos. And you guys know how much I love my photography, it’s going to be BRILLIANT!

We can’t recreate this particular photo, because we aren’t taking a dog, but I just had to include something from the albums in this post and I don’t want to be putting pictures of Mr. S’s mother here without her permission.

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Digitising the photos was a really emotional experience for me. Because his parents were clearly so very much in love, and the photos are so beautiful, I spent most of the time in tears. And then there’s also glimpses of Mr. S here and there, little expressions that I recognise jumping out of the pages. What a privilege to be able to see them!

On Monday I went into work for overtime (yes, I sicken myself) because we have loads of new starters coming in and it won’t be available for long. I hate doing it, but it makes sense to take advantage while the opportunity is there.

Then on Tuesday me and Mr. S took our first proper shopping trip together to get some bits for holiday. On the last night of our trip we are going out on the town in Sheffield and I needed something nice to wear, so that was my number one priority.

We went to Next and I took a couple of bits into the changing rooms to try on, going as quickly as I could thinking that Mr. S would be bored out of his mind. I could not have been more wrong about that!

Before I’d finished trying on the first thing I could hear him saying to the changing room attendant ‘excuse me, do you know where the tall lady with red hair is? Can you give her these please?’ and the nice lady handed me more things to try.

Mr. S picked out a whole load of stuff for me, and eventually I chose a lovely dress that I would never have thought to try on if I’d been alone.

Another thing I needed for holiday was a swimsuit, and this part was not as straightforward. The hotel we’re staying at in Sheffield has a pool, and I’m determined to have a swim since I haven’t swum for over ten years.

As I’m 6ft tall, I need something that is long in the body so my first stop was Long Tall Sally. A quick glance told me that none would be suitable, because every suit had a ridiculously high leg. Since I have an ‘apron’ of skin, wearing something with a high leg is inconceivable, and in any case I really didn’t want to pay £60 for one.

In the end I chose a suit from Simply Be with tummy control specifically for tall women. That came early in the week and it was a COMPLETE LIE. It was no longer in the body than a normal swimsuit, and again it had a stupidly high leg which wasn’t clear in the pictures. So that went back.

I decided to look for swimsuits while out shopping so I could see how they’re cut for myself and I couldn’t find anything, not a single thing that would have been suitable!

It was getting depressing by this point, so I went back online and tried two suits from Yours Clothing. They looked so awful when I tried them on, so poorly fitting, that I could have cried.

So I went back to Long Tall Sally, and ordered the one with the lowest leg. Considering Long Tall Sally is a brand just for tall people, and they usually cater for people starting at my height, I was surprised that the suit was no longer in the body than the Simply Be one.

At this point I almost gave up. There was one last thing to try. I went on to Amazon, and found something that just might work. But could I really pull it off? Really? It came this morning, and this is the result…

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I’d just got out of bed, so excuse the hair, but just look! This is the first time in my life I have ever, EVER, tried on a bikini, and it’s something I never, EVER, thought I would do. Yet here I am, doing it, and it looks better than any of the swimsuits I tried.

I’m terribly self-conscious of my wibbly, dimply thighs, but I still feel like I can swim in public like this. I hope this feeling stays, and that I can get into the pool with my head held high, because right now I feel amazing. And in any case, what difference would it really make if that middle bit was covered up? None at all actually! So there we have it, a huge first for me and a wonderful NSV.

Anyway, Wednesday we trained, and yesterday I finally got a haircut as my fringe was starting to migrate into my eyes. My hairdresser was very disappointed that I wasn’t having anything mental done, but all the same he assured me that he can do ‘normal’ cuts just as well as he can do the weird stuff. I asked for something soft and feminine, and this is what I got:

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I’m so happy with it, I’m absolutely loving the 60’s vibe! It’s a terrible photo, but it’ll have to do for now because I don’t intend to do my hair until I have to go to work this evening.

That’s pretty much all that’s been going on so I’d best get on with trying to cram too many things into one day. Today’s priority is going out for a run, because I haven’t been for a couple of days and it just feels wrong! Plus the weather is too perfect not to.

Hopefully I’ll be back to updating a bit more regularly soon.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Melting

Blogs have been a bit thin on the ground this week and for that I apologise. The ‘getting more sleep’ thing didn’t work out at all and rather than setting time aside for myself I’ve been busier than ever. I only just have time to hang out with Pea and write a quick post before I really must get my head down to prepare for work tonight.

My main problem is that everything is taking much longer than it should these days. I trained this morning, in the woods where the temperature is much more agreeable, and I still melted. It felt like the air was made of soup!

We did a short route, but the heat just saps the energy out of me. I’m really not complaining though – I’ll take this over the cold any day of the week. I think it’s just that since I’m so new to running I’ve never run in these conditions before, so with every change of the season there’s a new challenge to face. It sure keeps things interesting though.

Last week as well the training sessions have been less intense because, let’s face it, staying out of hospital is the number one priority!

There’s been a lot more fast walking where I’ve just run out of steam, and that’s OK, because it’s still better than doing nothing. The thing that IS bothering me is that the heat has made me swell up like a balloon and I put on 9 lbs (yes, NINE POUNDS) of fluid overnight which doesn’t seem to be showing signs of going anywhere for the time being.

It’s disheartening, but I’ve been eating well so there’s no way on earth that’s 9 lbs of fat. I just need to keep my head until it’s gone and not freak out.

Speaking of training, I need to stop referring to my trainer as ‘my trainer’ because even though we aren’t a couple he certainly is more than that now. Friend doesn’t quite cut it either, because we’re just so close (we do seem to spend every spare minute together!) so I shall henceforth refer to him as ‘Mr. S’. It might get a bit confusing, but I’ll see how it goes.

Anyway, the last week with Mr. S has been great. After training we’ve been sitting in his garden, which backs directly on to some woods. He doesn’t even have a fence at the bottom which I think is just lovely, so it’s even easier for the wildlife to come and go as it pleases. He gets loads of incredibly tame foxes so I’ll have to get a good photo when I remember to take my camera.

We’ve also been watching a series called Detectorists, which somehow managed to completely pass me by until now. It’s on Netflix and it’s absolutely wonderful. It’s sweet, charming and a little odd, and I’m totally in love with it from everything from the camera angles to the theme song, which ‘gives me all the feels’ every time I hear it. I’ve now bought the song and have listened to it quite possibly thousands of times already. Well, I may have exaggerated a bit but it’s certainly been a lot.

Check it out below:

Another benefit from having to decrease the intensity of training is the opportunity for more photos. Just look how glorious it’s been. Everything seems right with the world when it looks like that.

On Sunday I decided to have a rest day and spend some time with my sister. Sister times are always great – I really don’t know what I’d do without her. She lives a 20 minute car journey away but I just didn’t want to be in a car on that particular day so I walked 20 minutes to the train station, took a ten minute train journey, then walked another 40 minutes the other side to her house.

I’ve certainly been treating myself lately (perhaps a little too much) but after I tried my friend’s Apple Airpods I knew I just had to have them. They. Are. Amazing.

So I was walking with a spring in my step blaring out my music and I must tell you – the sound quality is incredible. I had the sun on my face, a breeze blowing through my hair and everything was a damn near perfect as anything ever gets.

After a quick stop at Starbucks for a cold brew we headed to the park to feed the swans. Of course we know that swans have bloody strong beaks, but we’ll do anything to get ‘the shot’. I have little cuts on my fingers but I don’t even care!

 

 

 

Now I just have to hang things out at work for another two weeks then I’m off on holiday, spending four days in the Peak District (everyone please cross their fingers for reasonable weather) followed by a night at a posh spa hotel in Sheffield. I simply CANNOT WAIT.

I must be cracking on now, so as ever, thank you so much for reading!

Hayley x

Super Sunday

First of all I’d like to bring you an important public service announcement.

There is a new vegan range available at Tesco called Oumph, and I feel it is my civic duty to let you know that the kebab spiced pieces are the flipping bees knees. No word of a lie, they’re delicious. I’ve also tried the ‘pulled pork’ pieces and guess what? They’re even better than the kebab pieces.

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They’re currently on offer too, so everyone get yourselves down to Tesco right this second! 

Any readers doing Slimming World? Well I sent pictures of the kebab packaging off to head office, and had a reply saying they’re currently reviewing syn values for the whole Oumph range. In the meantime they came up as FREE in the syns calculator. A word of warning though – they’re more filling than you’d expect so you don’t need much!

Ok, normal service has now been resumed.

Happy Hayley is BACK baby! Saturday was a tough one because my sister came to visit during the day, which in itself isn’t a problem. When she left I had time to have three hours in bed before work, and I fell almost instantly into a most marvelously deep sleep.

About half an hour into this sleep though my friend rang me with urgent business. We are going on a little holiday together at the end of May and he’d found the perfect cottage in the Peak District which needed to be booked NOW. Since I was the one holding the monies, I was the one who had to book.

I’m so glad he did ring because the cottage and the surrounding areas look absolutely gorgeous. Of course once that was all booked up and our holiday was confirmed I was too excited to sleep!

My last shift of the week went by in a daze, but I actually worked slightly harder than usual just to keep the momentum going. And I knew it would be ok because I had an epic catch-up sleep planned for Sunday night.

But you know what they say about best laid plans…

Sunday morning I got four hours sleep then woke up with enough time (or so I thought) to get ready for the meal out with my trainer. Somehow though an hour came and went in the blink of an eye so I was running late by the time I got into my (swelteringly hot) car.

When I got to my trainer’s house I was a bit hot and bothered, a bit tired and a bit nervous about meeting his family later in the day. However I think I successfully managed to hide it.

ACS_0067I found the most cool and lovely summer shirt to wear, and I felt fab. And totally ready to meet a load of potentially scary family members!

Of course they weren’t actually scary, and I was particularly taken with my trainer’s mum and daughter. His mum is 80 and still living a full and exciting life, plus she’s just the loveliest person you could hope to meet. His daughter is also lovely but on top of that she’s so strong and confident. She’s a total badass!

I did the driving on the way back to my trainer’s, and if I’d left it there it would have been quite a healthy day. At the meal I had gnocchi with aubergine and tomato sauce plus some olives, but then the festivities continued afterwards with us visiting a sparkly cocktail bar then heading back indoors for some wine.

Thankfully we didn’t drink tooooo much,and despite me falling asleep on the sofa at 4am then waking up at 6am, I don’t feel too terrible today. A little tired shall we say, but also happy because I had such a good time.

I had to get home to accompany my mum to the doctors, but I couldn’t drive so instead of getting a cab I decided to walk to the train station which took an hour. It was a chilly but gorgeous morning and it felt wonderful to be out in the world. And since I’m too delicate to train today it was good to get some exercise in.

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I have now rescheduled my epic sleep for tonight and intend to be in bed by 8pm. Nothing is going to get in my way this time.

Although I don’t have training until Wednesday, which means four whole rest days in a row, I think the down time will do me the world of good. Especially as exciting things are happening this week. I’ll keep you posted!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

 

Something of Meltdown

Me throwing myself back into Slimming World did not go to plan. In fact since my last post I’ve mostly been eating (vegan) ice cream! I did feel much more positive after my last post, but then my mood took another massive nosedive. Actually it’s the worst I’ve felt in several years.

I’ve been trying to analyse what exactly went wrong in my head. The thoughts about surgery and my body image were still swimming around in my brain, then on top of that I couldn’t sleep, I did overtime at work which exacerbated that particular problem, my friend told me a story about when he was a bouncer and they weren’t allowed to let fat women in… all of a sudden I felt angry, helpless and lost, so I went home, got under the duvet and cried my little heart out. It keeps playing on my mind how those women must have felt, being turned away like that, and how it might have affected them. It was decades ago, but it’s still disgusting.

I’ve also been worried about how my diet is becoming mixed up with my fitness regime. I have so many issues (mostly with guilt and shame) relating to food, but exercise has become something pure that I do just for fun. My trainer means well, and keeps saying about how the weight will fall off of us both now we’re training regularly, but for me the training and my weight are totally separate in my mind. Apart from the fact that if I’m too heavy it won’t be feasible for me to run (because of possible knee damage).

I’m going to communicate that to him though, because I’m still trying to unlearn 20 years of behaviours relating to food and really don’t want to make the same mistake when it comes to fitness!

I can’t even remember the last time I cried for myself. I cried a lot before Christmas, because I saw a sad video of a pig about to be sent to slaughter that stuck with me for weeks. I’ve cried a couple of times at films, too, but it’s been so long since anything felt bad enough in my own life to bring me to tears.

Maybe I was just waaaaay overdue!

Things aren’t actually bad though, far from it. Everything just built up and became a little bit too much until something had to give. I’m now caught up on sleep and my eyes have stopped leaking, so I’m ready to go.

Yesterday I went to see my trainer to help him prep for a job interview, which is in fact happening as I type. The weather was bloody marvellous, so I put on my factor 50 and a dress with capped sleeves. I went out in all of my bingo-winged glory, and felt bloody fabulous doing so. That was a boost of confidence that I needed.

I also wore designer sunglasses that my trainer lent me, which he paid £150 for. He likes fancy things, he does, whereas I’m more of a bargain kinda gal. Therefore these are the second most expensive things I’ve ever put on my face (the first being when I tried on his normal glasses which were £400!!!) Madness.

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Anyway, I have a plan in place. Another reason I think I’m struggling is because my daily routine has been completely turned on its head. I’ve gone from having lots of spare time during the week to trying to fit in all of my training, lunches out with friends, quality time with Pea, household chores, spending time with my mum and my siblings… so if I’m going to keep on top of these things I need to adapt and get properly organised.

On Monday, because I won’t have a chance until then, I’m going to go into town to get some jars and I’ll make a batch of overnight oats to eat after training. Then I’ll prep my work lunches for the whole week. When I need an energy boost I’m not going to let myself get too hungry and then mess up, like I have been doing, instead I’m going to eat fruit to keep me going.

From now on Monday’s will be known as Meal-Prep Mondays! If I at least have food ready to go at all times then I’m much more likely to eat well.

I feel much, much better now things are all straight in my mind.

This morning, after two rest days in a row, I went out for a 5k run. I found a comfortable pace and stuck with it the whole way round. I did stop one single time, because I wasn’t sure whether to go left or right, but other than that I kept going even up the hills.

The weather today has been even better than yesterday, so when I was done I went to lay down in the shade and drink some water. It was just so lovely – the grass was cool and damp, and even though my face has erupted in spots after I put sunblock on it, I was all blotchy from the running and generally looking a mess, I felt wonderful.

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When I got home I decided to stick my headphones in and listen to some ‘choons’ whilst cutting the grass, mainly because I was feeling pumped and wanted to move more!

Hopefully there will be more training tomorrow, my sister is visiting Saturday, then I’m out for a meal with my trainer on Sunday. Plus I have three more shifts left at work. Ugh. So it’s busy, busy, busy! Thankfully I’m too busy to really think about how on Sunday I’ll be meeting a whole bunch of my trainer’s family, including his daughter and his mum. So, y’know, no pressure or anything…

Well I’ve sat still for too long now, and there just isn’t time for that.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

One or the Other

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Trust

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

The First Step

I’ve started reading a really important book. It’s called Body Positive Power and it’s by an amazing individual named Megan Jayne Crabbe. It’s about being happy with your body no matter what your size, and it’s something I really want to learn how to do. And it is something we must learn, because we’ve all been subconsciously learning to compare ourselves to people in the media pretty much as soon as we’re old enough to think. So it’s going to be tough as hell to unlearn all of that.

There’s a huge ‘but‘ though, and that’s that I’m not quite ready for this. Not just yet. I’ve only read a few chapters and already my mind has been blown several times over, but whilst I was reading I noticed a little voice in the back of my head saying ‘yes, I’ll do that, as soon as I’ve lost some more weight’. Which is the exact opposite of what the books says I should be doing. Or at least that’s what I shouldn’t be doing if I want to be truly happy with myself and all of my marvellous imperfections.

do want that, but I also want to be a healthy weight. It’s not just that if I’m totally honest now, is it? I want to fit into my vintage Levi’s, I want my tummy to shrink more, and health has never been at the forefront of my mind when I think of these things.

The way I see it though, is that although I’m not ready to commit to the whole Body Positive movement, it is something I want to do eventually and I’m going to read up about it as much as I can in the meantime. There’s also ‘Body Autonomy’, and that I really am going for. It’s basically ‘it’s my body and I’ll do what the hell I like with it’.

This week it started with my new eyeshadow palette from Barry M called Meteor Storm (vegan friendly) which I’m totally in love with, and I wondered if it would be too much to wear it every day. Then I realised I don’t care if it’s too damn much, I’m wearing it anyway. I also wrote some time ago about wearing lipstick, and how I wasn’t sure it was really ‘me’. Well now I’ll damn well wear lipstick whenever I damn well like! And I will damn well ROCK it.

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It was also only a couple of posts ago I spoke about whether I could get away with wearing just running leggings yet. Well, eff it. I’m going out as soon as I have a training-free day and I’m going to buy me some fancy running leggings whether I look ‘acceptable’ or not. To hell with it.

I feel like I’ve taken the first step on a really important journey. I’m excited to find out where I end up!

In the meantime training with my official trainer was much better today than it was last week. I think we were both feeling pretty down in the dumps during our last session, which wasn’t a good combo because normally one of us is cheering the other up. When we’re both sad it makes for a lot of ‘well that was crap’ feelings even though, actually, we’re both total badasses!

Tomorrow will be my fourth training session in a row, because we’re trying to keep the momentum up and too many rest days just make me feel like I’m starting over.

I’m also right back on plan and I’m hoping to make some real decent progress as far as weight loss goes over the next couple of months. I have nothing at all naughty planned – no nights out, no naughty meals, no drinking wine. If someone wants to socialise with me, well, they’ll have to get their trainers or their hiking boots out.

Fortunately/unfortunately the weather has taken a bit of a turn today. On the plus side it means training is easier (I can’t even imagine what it’s going to be like in the summer) but once I stopped moving I was half frozen to death. I had to get snuggled up in a cosy blanket while the drizzle dried from my hair. It was all very well while it was keeping me cool, but since I was at my trainer’s house still and he has a shaved head I didn’t bother asking to borrow a hair dryer!

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That’s NOT real fur by the way, and in case you were wondering how to be certain (it’s a good thing to know) then fake fur has blunt ends. And also, if you pull apart the fur you will eventually see that it’s attached to a kind of mesh. Lots of companies are selling real fur as fake (it’s cheap because no one in their right mind wants real fur these days) so I never just assume because something is on the cheaper side it’s not the real thing. Tesco and Boots got into trouble for doing it not so long ago!

When I got home I had a nice warming bowl of porridge made with soya milk and topped with fresh raspberries. Start as you mean to go and all that.

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Speaking of which it’s nearly dinner time! I’m not the only one who is constantly thinking about what to eat next, right?

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Friendship

April is turning out to be all about friends. After being sociable with the work people, today I’ve visited one of my oldest and bestest friends who moved away from Essex to the lovely city of Canterbury. Luckily for me it’s only an hours drive away, and an easy drive at that. Really I should visit more often, but life gets in the way and we always leave it too long. But when we do meet up, we make the most of it!

I went for my run first thing this morning and I timed it just right. I got to the park just after the gates were opened and there were already a fair few cars there, but by the time I left the car park was RAMMED and there was someone waiting to take my space.

My run was nowhere near as hard as I thought it would be. I felt like I wasn’t doing very well, and I nearly gave up after 2.7 miles. In this park I normally do 3.5, so I had a stern word with myself and carried on.

It turns out I broke a new record and have shaved a significant amount of seconds off of my personal best!

I’m so close to being in the 11 second bracket that I can taste it.

I’ve posted a few things about training on social media that my friend has seen, but he thought I was just doing lots of walking. When I told him I’d actually been doing bona fide jogging and sprinting he was really impressed. He even told me out of all the people he knows I’d be in the bottom five of anyone he’d expect to ever go running. I took that as it was intended (as a compliment) because it’s so far removed from the Hayley he first met ten years ago it’s unbelievable. And I was so unhappy back then, this is just more evidence of how much things have changed for me.

After a quick cup of coffee we headed into town to get some grub. We went to the Lady Luck Bar which is just incredible for vegan options. As soon as I saw the menu I knew what I had to have – the Rick and Morty baguette!

It was amazing – the best thing I have eaten in a long, long time. The chilli mayo was divine and the crispy fried pickle Ricks are a work of pure genius. That Szechuan sauce? Delish!

I followed it up with a vegan honeycomb sundae which has even won an award it’s that good.

Unlike when I’ve been eating ‘naughty’ food at home this week, I don’t feel as bloated and awful after this meal so I’m hoping it doesn’t affect my training tomorrow.

I was really disappointed with myself the last time I went out with my trainer, and I don’t want a repeat of that.

After our meal me, my friend and his lovely girlfriend went on a nice long walk where they indulged me while I searched for things to photograph. I didn’t spend too long trying to get decent shots, because it’s too antisocial and I get kinda caught up in it, so I just took some quick snaps without overthinking it. I’m still happy though, it’s a good visual representation of our day!

It was also the first day this year I’ve been able to comfortably walk around with no coat or jumper. More of that please!

I have to wait until the end of the month until my next meet up with a very special friend, but it’ll be worth the wait. It’s going to be awesome.

In the meantime I need to get myself right back on track, and of course I will because I always do. That’s the key – never give up!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Disco Dancing

That’s that then. I’ve had my one night a year where I go out clubbing so now I’m almost ready for everything to go back to normal. I just have a meal out with an old friend tomorrow then I’m going to smash my diet and fitness goals. It seems weird writing this, because I honestly had to work up the energy to even begin this post. I’m that tired.

Although I was sensible and drank a lot of water last night, and I don’t feel ill as such, I do feel like I’ve been hit by a bus. I’m cold, exhausted and aching all over. But I suppose it’s understandable since I danced the night away and didn’t get home till 5am. Full disclosure: I also tackled my friend to the ground (just for fun, I didn’t get into a fight!) but I made sure I didn’t hurt him and landed squarely on my backside. Hard. With him on top of me. So my behind is aching somewhat too!

I did want to get some nice pictures of myself but once I met up with my friends I completely forgot about it. I did however manage to capture my matte lipstick (completely cruelty free, vegan, and from a lovely independent shop called VE Cosmetics) and one obligatory toilet selfie.

Because of hormones and no small amount of falling off the wagon I haven’t been feeling great about myself, but I think I scrubbed up OK and my friends did give me a lot of compliments. I’ve also found that a few of the work guys are treating me a lot differently lately, and some were certainly more, ahem, touchy-feely than they have been on previous nights out.

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I’ll do a comparison shot some time next year (the next time I go clubbing) to see what progress I’ve made, and in the meantime here’s what I looked like the first time I went out with the work people in 2016:

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Yeah… I haven’t been perfect lately but I’m sure happy with my progress when I see these pictures!

This is why when I fall off the wagon I can never truly give up. Even if progress is currently slow pretty much non-existent, one day I’ll be looking back on last nights’ pictures and I’ll be thankful that I kept going. I’ll spend today recovering then despite the fact that I’m out for a meal, or rather because I’m going out for a meal, I’m going out running first thing tomorrow morning.

My last training session was actually awful. I really struggled and for the first time I didn’t enjoy it. I think there were several factors at work but the main ones are my hormones sapping me of energy, and that where I’ve been eating badly I hadn’t fueled my body properly for exercise. I didn’t imagine it would make such a huge difference, but clearly it does. So there’s yet another incentive to eat well!

I expect my run tomorrow to be tough as hell, but if it is then I vow that it’ll be the last time it’ll ever be that bad.

Right now all I can think about is my my bed that’s calling to me, so I’m going to go for a little nap.

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