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 heard 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 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

Once Around the Lake

I had to get up early today after only a couple of hours sleep in order to get to my doctor’s appointment. The doctor wanted to see how I was getting on with the antidepressants before giving me any more.

I thought back on how I was feeling just a few short weeks ago, and it honestly feels like a fog has lifted from my brain. My main problem when I was feeling my most anxious was ruminating, which Psychology Today describes as repetitively going over a thought or a problem without completion. These thoughts completely consumed me to the point where I felt I couldn’t take it anymore. And that’s when I went to the doctor’s for help.

I’m not saying medication is right for everyone or will even work for everyone (scientists still aren’t sure exactly how antidepressants even work), but during week three the side-effects subsided and I’m not saying I felt immediately OK, but I did get a sense of clarity back.

I can think clearly again!

One thing I was thinking over and over, is that I was a ‘completely useless piece of sh*t’. They were the exact words in my head. Now I can remember the things I do like about myself, and although I’m not perfect I can see that I’m made up of a mixture of good, bad and everything in between. Just like everyone else. It seems glaringly obvious. It IS glaringly obvious. But when you feel like that you just can’t tell yourself these things and actually believe them.

The doctor has said he’ll keep me on this dose for six months with a view to weaning me off of them at the end of the course. I’m happy with that. What I do want, after a rollercoaster of a year so far, is simply stability. I have my routine back, I’m happy, and I just don’t want anything to change (too much) for a while.

Of course change is essential, we can’t grow without it, but some things I’m happy to keep as they are just until I’m positive I’m back on my feet.

But the future’s looking bright anyway!

I only had one pill left so I put my prescription in straight after getting out of the the doctor’s. It was a 45 minute wait, so even though I was pretty tired I decided to get the day’s exercise done right away and headed for the park.

The park was very quiet – I felt the odd spits of rain so I guess most people didn’t want to risk it. I have recently started hoarding an umbrella in my bag because it’s still too warm (most of the time) for a coat, however it would have been completely useless with these winds we’re having. They aren’t too bad here but if you are badly affected, then please stay safe people.

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Luckily it didn’t chuck it down, not that I would have really minded anyway.

Most of my walking was done getting to and from the park, so once I was there I just did one lap around the lake. But that lap took quite a while, because I was very busy getting tons of Boomerangs of fallen leaves (every time I pressed the shutter button the winds mysteriously dropped) and I look even longer getting distracted by pretty leaves.

A passing lady smiled at me as I was jumping up and down in order to grab a branch that was out of my reach. I never succeeded. Bad times.

I also scoped out a few horse chestnuts because after a friend mentioning conkers on his blog the other day I now really, really want some. I am so easily influenced.

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Damn, They’re not quite ready yet though. I’ll just have to keep checking back.

As it happens in terms of active minutes I’ve already smashed this week’s Gold Body Magic goals (twice over actually), but I still need another two active days in order for it to count. I’m feeling very outdoorsy lately so believe me, that will not be a problem.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Going for it!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I held my breath and stepped on the scales…

3lbs off! 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Just… gorgeous.

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

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

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

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

Bad Decisions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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That’s more like it!

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

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

One day at a time, Hayley!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Tired & Wired

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

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

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

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

That is one healthy looking fox!

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Good Vibes

Well I went out and attempted a bit of a run yesterday and it went OK. I only ran for one very slow mile (and walked for another two) and while I’m actually moving there’s no pain. But my knee is rather tender today. I think it’s too soon to be thinking about doing a full run, but I think I’ll go out again tomorrow and jog the flat bits whilst power-walking the hills.

It didn’t really matter what I was doing anyway, because it was gorgeous out there. Plus I did press-ups, so my arms, shoulders and chest are giving me a nice gentle ache which tells me I did some good!

Now I have my car back I’m not feeling quite so disheartened about not being able to run properly, because at least I can drive to more interesting places in order to have a walk. Just traipsing around my estate is pretty grim to be honest.

After my little bit of exercise I had some lunch, and even though I was hyper aware that everything I put in my body was adding weight before group later. I had to be sensible and give my body what it needed, even if that did include two litres of water.

Before weigh in I went to see my father as he lives just around the corner from my new group, and it was nice to have a catch up. I don’t see him that often, which is good because him and his girlfriend love to feed me. And since I hadn’t been for a while it was nice to get the ‘you’re looking so slim!’ compliments.

As it happens over this last week I have felt slimmer, and my face definitely is less puffy.

But what did the scales say?

Since I got the time wrong I was 15 minutes early to group, which didn’t help my weighing-in nerves. But of course I needn’t have worried, I lost 2.5 lbs!

I have to say I’m getting a really good vibe about this group. It’s much, much smaller than the one I’m used to, and my consultant (who runs both this group and my old one) was able to spend a lot more time milling around among us. Of course if there are new members that will be different, but it feels a bit more tight-knit. But not cliquey.

I couldn’t stay to group this time, but I’m looking forward to next week when I definitely will be.

I had planned to stop off at the nearby giant Tesco and pick up some bits on the way home, but I was very tired and very hungry and knew if I went in there I’d quite possibly come out with more than I intended to. I’m not quite feeling strong enough to test myself with things like that yet.

Once back I had a delicious completely Free dinner followed by a Rowntree’s fruit pastille lolly for 3 syns. Later on I realised I’d only had 4.5 syns, which just won’t do, so I had another one.

I did go and look in the fridge just before bed, but thankfully I realised that I wasn’t actually hungry. Waking up this morning knowing I’ve spent my whole weekend on plan, knowing there’s no catching up to do or feeling guilty for the first time in weeks was priceless.

As you can see I’ve been carrying on with taking pictures of my food, and have even started creating weekly Google Photos albums along with what result eating that food got me. I imagine I’ll get bored of it one day in the future, but while it’s fun I’m just going for it.

If you want to see last week’s food (I was on plan from Wednesday onwards) then feel free to have a look (link).

Finally I bought a delicious-sounding vegan ready meal from Sainsbury’s the other day. I hear really good things about this sweet potato katsu curry, so before buying I checked I could freeze it. That meant I had time to email the packaging to Slimming World and wait for them to update the syns database.

Sometimes it’s hard getting vegan stuff added, but those lovely people at head office were on it on this occasion and it’s now listed as 15.5 syns. Which I think it quite reasonable. I’ll let you know how it was once I’ve tried it, using half a syn banked from another day. I only had 7.5 yesterday so I do have some spare.

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Well that’s all of my news for now!

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

Research

As recommended by a kind fellow blogger, I’ve been reading a very interesting book called Brain over Binge by Kathryn Hansen. It’s written by a lady who had bulimia but it’s relevant to anyone who is struggling with binge eating. Like me! I’m about halfway through at the moment, which is partly because there’s quite a lot of scientific theory, so I’m going slowly to make sure I absorb as much information as possible, and partly because the parts that really resonate with me are, from an emotional perspective, quite taxing to read.

However! Since I got to the part which tells you how to stop binge eating, which I read with a HUGE amount of scepticism, I have managed not to act on any of my urges to binge since that point. And there have been a fair few. I haven’t been perfect by any means – there was my rather heavy drinking session followed by some hangover-curing snacks, but I never felt compelled to eat them. It was just ordinary overeating that ordinary people do, and I didn’t feel bad about it afterwards either.

Once I’ve finished reading I’m going to go through it again but making notes this time, because there’s a ton of useful stuff that will even be helpful in everyday life. When I’ve done that and got my thoughts in order I’ll write more about it here, but there’s no substitute for reading the book. Despite the fact I’ve not finished it yet I highly recommend it.

In any case I’ve been back on plan since Tuesday and reckon I can be extra healthy (see what I did there?) for exactly the next four weeks. I’m not normally a fan of short-term goals like holidays or fitting into a wedding dress (not that the latter applies to me) but since as of Tuesday it was four weeks on-the-dot until my holiday, I’m going to focus on staying on plan until then.

As for the actual holiday it’s self-catering so there’s no reason I can’t still be sensible.

As ever my training schedule went out the window, because between me and my trainer something is always coming up. That’s why I’ve said I’ll do a minimum of three sessions a week, and I just fit them in whenever I can.

We were supposed to train Wednesday, giving us an extra day (Tuesday) to recover from Sunday night’s shenanigans. But we were both feeling up to a run a day early so went back to Hockley woods, where I did my first almost-three-mile run. That first time it was muddy, but my average time was 13:20 min/mi.

This time around I smashed my personal best with an average of 11:40 min/mi. I don’t consider the lack of mud this time around to be a huge factor for my better time. When I really felt like I had a good pace was in the covered areas of the woods where there wasn’t much mud previously, and my trainer even noticed that he wasn’t having to hold back as much as he usually does. Bless him.

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We were supposed to train together again today but he was too tired, so I decided to stay in bed and catch up on some sleep. As it happens I’ve really struggled with sleep this week, so I woke up early anyway and couldn’t get back off. I wrestled with myself for a while, thinking that I really should train on my own. But I really didn’t want to!

I’m away this weekend so today was my last chance to get a proper training session in. I couldn’t just lay in bed feeling sorry for myself, could I?

The times when you don’t feel like it, I think they are the most important times to get out there and just do it. I only stopped to take a picture at the end, so you’ll have to take my word for it that earlier on in the day the sun was out and the woods were teeming with butterflies, bees, squirrels and birds. Even when the sun went in and it started to rain everything was still beautiful and green though.

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As it happens, it was another day for smashing personal bests.

I FINALLY MADE IT INTO THE 10 MINUTE BRACKET! 

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And it wasn’t even a fluke!

Today was the best I have felt running so far – it was full of pure, unadulterated joy. At the beginning I had my usual I-don’t-think-I-can-do-this moment, then I felt like I was flying along. It seemed that I could just keep going forever if I really wanted to. Thankfully the sensible part of my brain made me pace myself.

On the way back there are some pretty steep hills, and for the first time I really started to get my breathing under control. Because I didn’t feel like I was about to collapse, I was able to concentrate more on my form and could even pay attention to how all of my leg muscles were feeling.

Going up those hills I felt effing strong, and I’ve noticed that a lot of the wibbliness in my thighs has been replaced by muscle.

I’m unbelievably glad that I didn’t spend this amazing afternoon hiding under my duvet.

So that’s two training sessions down for the week, and I won’t get an official one in now to make it three. But it doesn’t matter at all on this occasion, because I certainly won’t be spending this weekend on my backside.

More about that next time!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Train in Rain

It has been chucking it down since I woke up this morning. I had an atrocious sleep (about three hours) and knew I wasn’t getting off again any time soon so I got up to let Pea out while I had my pre-workout coffee. She has been so affectionate lately, but she soon deserted me for her window perch so she could watch the rain for a while.

My trainer couldn’t come out to play today so I headed out to my usual haunt when I’m training alone, except I’m getting bored with my four laps around the green so I thought I’d venture further into the woods.

I am a little concerned over how isolated I am when I do this so I think I’ll invest in some self-defence lessons, just to be extra careful.

I’ll give the local dog walkers credit where it is due, as even though the view from my car window when I arrived at the nature reserve looked like this, there were still loads of people about, at least on the easy access path.

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As I got further in though it was just lil ol’ me for the best part. I only saw one other jogger until I was nearly back at the car.

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Today I wasn’t just exploring a new route – because I knew there would be less people around I decided to try out running without wearing leggings under my joggers. I’ve spoken before about ‘the dreaded applause’ (that noise where your loose skin is flapping about and it sounds like someone’s clapping) and I decided to see if I still get it when I run.

Sadly, I do, so the first mile was mostly just walking until I got away from the dog walkers. Even when I was totally alone the sound was so cringy, I’m definitely not going to be able to wear just joggers any time soon. What I do hope is that my body shape improves enough with my continued fitness/weight loss regime that I’ll at least be able to wear running leggings on their own without looking totally ridiculous.

That’s one goal, but another one I’ve added to my list seems so out there at the moment. My trainer said at some point he wants to get me to do an eight minute mile. Previously I would have scoffed at that, but if anyone can help me achieve it then it’s him. The good thing is he’ll be getting me to work towards it without me even realising, but for the time being I’m just thinking about getting into the 11 minute bracket.

Today’s times were pretty atrocious because of the aforementioned reason, plus I had to stop and look at the map on my phone a few times and backtrack when I’d gone completely the wrong way.

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Plus I had to stop for selfies (gotta indulge when there’s no one else about!) and to take a shot of some slippery ‘shrooms.

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I say my times were atrocious, but a couple of months ago that would have been inconceivable to me. Yet I managed it today without exerting myself too much. I took it rather gently because I’m training tomorrow and I wanted to save myself. I’m going to really go for it!

I’ve just had a post-workout snack of kale and soya beans (sounds boring but it’s one of my absolute faves) wolfed down my A&B choices as dessert (porridge and almond milk) and had a steamy hot shower. Which can only mean one thing – it’s now time for a well-deserved sleep.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x