A New Chapter

Now that the thing I had hanging over my head has been resolved, I can be a tiny bit more open in my blog (without airing my dirty laundry in public of course).

I am once more a singleton, and whilst this is OK it has affected my eating in more ways than one. Even if you know it’s absolutely the right thing to do for everyone involved, ending a relationship is scary, and it hurts. The feeling scared part had me reaching for the bad foods, that’s for sure.

It’s not just that though. Once I’d made the decision and I realised I wasn’t morally obliged (although I never really was, these are obligations I totally put on myself) to tell a partner my results after going to group, I had a bit of a free-for-all. Hence last week’s 5.5 lb gain.

This week I had a bit of anxiety leading up the telling-the-other-person part, which again saw some bad food choices, but not as bad as the week before. I had a 1 lb gain this week which is about right. I knew what I was doing and I’m cool with it.

Whilst I’m feeling super-duper positive about the next chapter in my life, there’s still a little foreword to get out of the way before I really begin. I’m going to the pub with a friend on Thursday, then I’m out with the youngsters from work Sunday night. This is not conducive to a good result on the scales!

I could play it a few ways. I could go to the pub and drink diet coke, and do the same on Sunday. I could say ‘to hell with it’ again and have another mahoosive gain. I’ve thought about it and have decided to do something in between.

My main strategy is to be ‘on plan whenever I can’, so rather than thinking ‘I’m going to be naughty Thursday so I might as well not bother now’, I will make sure that today, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday are perfect days. Although Slimming World do not recommend it, I’m also going to be setting aside a few syns.

As for Thursday and Sunday, they are going to be gin-and-slimline-tonic kinda days, rather than the high-syn red wines I’m normally drawn to. Damage limitation is not my strong point, but I’ll never stop trying anyway.

The Sunday after will be a similar situation, then it’s a clear run till Swingamajig.

Anyway, onwards and downwards.

The week before last I went to Warley Place, which is run by the Essex Wildlife Trust. There was a chap there trying to sign people up to be members, but he was really pushy. I also didn’t have a huge amount of time and could see that he wanted me to fill out forms and things. I said I’d think about it and do it online later if I decided I wanted to go ahead.

‘I’d rather you didn’t,’ was his curt reply. Hmm, that got my back up.

I went on my walk and on the way out he said ‘if you just come over here I’ll finish your application’… Er, no way. You just lost yourself a sale mate!

Pushy people who have no idea how to speak to members of the public aside, the Wildlife Trust do loads of good work so last week I went ahead and registered online. I got a voucher through the post to exchange for a guide to all of their sites in Essex.

I did that today at the visitor’s centre at the nature reserve just down the road, since I was planning to go for a walk there anyway.

As it happens my walk was sublime. There was absolutely no one else around and it was so peaceful. All I could hear were the scurrying of squirrels, a woodpecker pecking, robins singing… it was just the best.

At the visitor’s centre there are some beautiful gardens but they’re looking a bit sparse right now. There were loads of volunteers out working on them though so I don’t imagine it’ll be long before there’s colour everywhere.

The best bit though was walking back and finding a bumper collections of mushrooms.

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Nope, not these ones. Though they are pretty cool.

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Look even closer…

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And even closer…

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That last one was in a dark crevice right at the back. An honourable mention must also be given to the fungus that looks like a poo.

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After seeing a jay, several green woodpeckers, blackbirds, tits of all kinds, pied wagtails, robins and a sweet little wren, I can safely say it has been a most productive day! My plan now is to visit every single site in my guide. Who knows what other treasures I might find?

I’ll keep you posted.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

 

I’ve Been Waiting for This

The security department at work are having a new system put in. Whilst it’s being implemented, the question has been raised – if someone from another site came in and looked at our passes, would they be able to identify them from our pictures?

In my case, the answer is probably not.

I’ve been wanting to get my photo updated for quite some time, but it wasn’t allowed. Now I can finally get what I want! Although it’s fun to have an awful picture of me to hand to show newer members of staff who never saw me when I was bigger, I also don’t really like being reminded daily of how much I was struggling back then.

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Back to the present, and I’m actually feeling rather good. Once I’m done here I’m going to do some hula hooping then jump on the exercise bike. Yesterday I went out for a little walk before having my glorious soak in the tub, but my knee hurt too much for me to fill my exercise ring. Most disappointing.

I’ve been considering swimming on and off for about a year now, but there are still some things putting me off. I’m worried about being too slow and whether I’ll get in someone’s way, and I’m worried about sinking. The last time I swam (in a lake in the lake district, it was awesome) I realised that I’m actually a rubbish swimmer.

But I won’t get better if I don’t practice now, will I?

Since I’m nervous my plan of action is to visit the David Lloyd down the road. I’ve checked and their pool opens at 6am so I could go straight after work, and I’ll simply ask if there are any restrictions for beginners. Is there such a thing as a slow lane? Well that’s what I intend to find out.

Whilst my knee is recovering I do need to find something that’ll get my heart rate up a little higher, because limping along just isn’t cutting it right now. Swimming could quite possibly be the answer. We’ll see.

It was nice getting out and about yesterday, but I must remember not to visit this particular park next time. I always forget how weird and grim it is.

The WWII pillbox is pretty cool. We used to go on trips there when I was in junior school, but I am sad to say that people are still using it as a toilet.

The giant metal cockroach is a relatively new addition, as are the creepy wooden people. I’m not convinced they were a great idea. My main issue with the park though is that it’s just not very explorable.

On the plus side they do have some seriously old houses there. On one of my school trips I remember going inside them. This one was actually moved to make way for an additional terminal at Stansted airport, and I remember being fascinated that they could actually do that. How do you go about moving a house?

I could look it up, but I’d rather be happily baffled in this instance. Sometimes it’s ok to just look at something and think… bonkers. Just bonkers.

After I was done at the park I was early for my bath appointment, and I knew I wanted something nice. I was determined to stay on plan, so I went to McDonald’s for the teeniest little cup of coffee. I’m so easily pleased!

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HOW CUTE!!!

I’ve done quite a bit of thinking over the last couple of days and I think I know specifically why I’ve been struggling to stay on plan. I think it always helps to figure out the ‘why’. Annoyingly it’s another of those things I can’t talk about publically, but hopefully you get the idea. Now I’ve figured out what’s really going on in my subconscious, I can fight it properly.

Right, it’s time to get cracking with my exercise now.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Binge Behaviours

Something is definitely rearing its ugly head and I’m not happy about it. After months of not giving it a second thought, binge-eating tendencies have started resurfacing and I want to get them nipped in the bud right now.

I’ve had a Saturday/Sunday slip-up after stupidly having a sneak peek on the scales and seeing a massive and quite undeserved gain, which saw me managing to go about things all the wrong way and do the exact opposite of what I’d recommend anyone in my position to do. What did I do? I ate. A lot.

It’s Monday morning and I have group tonight. Our ‘Greatest Loser’ will be announced. I’m fairly sure that even with the huge gain I’m due it’ll be me (out of everyone who stays at my group I’ve lost the most weight) and I’ve never felt less deserving of the title. I knew it was coming, and I really wanted to have a loss so as not to ‘let my group down’ (not that any of them think that way) but I screwed up anyway.

Rather than making the decision to have something off-plan, this felt more like a compulsion, and it really scares me. I must regain control.

Something that should help me regulate my currently insatiable appetite is getting off my arse again. I’m currently sitting on a train en route to meet my friend (when said friend suggests an impromptu meetup one does not say no lightly), and luckily my knee is back to a fairly ordinary ache rather than the pain I was experiencing. Come rain or shine, this week is going to be about getting out of the house and making progress again.

I’ve just passed through London to get on my connecting train, and it’s looking rather nice, at least from a distance. I’m not really a fan of the city so it’s nice to be heading out in a different direction.

It’s now Tuesday and I’m picking this post up after finally getting some sleep! I was on the go all day and didn’t have the mental or physical energy to write, so now we’re changing over to past tense. I say on the go… a lot of it was based around sitting down drinking coffee but once all that caffeine wore off, I assure you I was pooped.

Coffee, chatting, strolling and charity shop browsing were the themes of the day, which are some of my very favourite things. I found a nice pair of thermal tights which were perfect for wearing to Slimming World later in the evening.

Spending time with my buddy Davey is always a great experience. He’s a font of excellent advice, an interesting fellow in general, and a positive influence when it comes to food. I only munched on fresh Syn-free grub the whole day, washed down with cup after cup of black Americano. I didn’t once feel like eating everything in sight, and in fact only ate in the first place as I knew if I didn’t I’d let myself get too hungry and be more likely to reach for crap food later on.

Once every single charity shop had been exhausted, and there were a few mind you, we headed to a park across the road for a walk around and somewhere nice to munch on not just any fruit, but M&S fruit. Ain’t we posh?

What did we find in the park? Only an outdoor gym!

It’s actually really cool. It uses your own body weight for the resistance. My arms even have a nice little ache today, and I’m so impressed I’m going to write to the council and ask for something like that locally.

Dave did much better than me what with his strong swimming arms. That reminds me, I really must get around to going swimming one day…

The park turned out to be quite beautiful once we found a secluded area up some stairs. I don’t think anyone had realised what was up there.

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Plum in hand, we investigated.

After a little sit down I learned a valuable lesson – my knee will start hurting again if I sit with my legs crossed. So I really must remember not to do that. Thankfully it recovered again really quickly and it’s mostly OK today.

After more coffee and such a lovely day I got the train home, only just making it in time for Slimming World. It’s a good job I left right then as I didn’t have as much time as I thought I did (story of my life).

Group was a surprise to say the least, because somehow, by some miracle, I managed to maintain. I can only assume that the walking, coffee and fruit did me the world of good, and now I just have to be especially on it in order to avoid a catch-up gain.

I’m by no means out of the woods, but at least I got to accept my award without feeling too guilty about it.

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Funnily enough although I’ve gained it’s great to still feel ‘normal’, whatever that may be. This is no time to relax though, because I’ve ordered a new dress for Swingamajig that I absolutely ADORE. It’s in a size 12-14 though (the biggest size it comes in), and I have no idea whether it’ll fit in time. I’m currently a 14-16 but this dress will leave nothing to the imagination so it will definitely be touch and go.

This week I’m restarting my tummy exercises which I let slip over Christmas. It has therefore resulted in everything getting even more squidgy around the middle if I’m honest.

When the dress arrives I’ll take a picture of me wearing it, no matter how silly it looks, and we’ll compare it in roughly 8 weeks time when the big event rolls around.

It’ll be a fun challenge!

Right, I’m off to get dinner then. The plan is the same as yesterday – I must not let myself get too hungry.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Highlights

The last few days I’ve been feeling exceptionally hungry and exceptionally large. It’s all in my head though (HORMONES) so I just have to ride it out, although I’m a little worried that the increased portions I’ve been eating will cause a gain, especially as I’ve sat on my bum for most of my long weekend. What else can I do though? I’ll just keep eating the good stuff and it’ll all come out in the wash.

The weekend has been great though. I’ve started a diploma in Photoshop and although it’s going over a lot that I already know at the moment, I have learned a couple of useful things and it’s good to have a refresher.

I’m all up-to-date with my photo printing and everything’s nicely stuck in my album, but most importantly I’m all caught up with sleep before I go back to work tonight. Let’s see how my knee handles that, because it’s still been sore.

Yesterday I had a little reminder pop up from Google photos, which always pleases me. It’s been roughly four years since I first got a DSLR and I started going out with my brother to the local nature reserve. He took some photos of me while we were out, and I’m so glad I didn’t insist he delete them at the time.

I remember that I’d lost weight at this time because I could finally do that coat up again, which was a size 22. As it happens I did put weight back on afterwards and the coat didn’t fit once more, but you know it worked out in the end so it’s all good!

I also remember feeling frustrated that my shots didn’t come out as I expected them to. I have learned so much since then that I can hardly believe it.

Here’s a comparison so you can see how times have changed…

The thing that really gets me with the photography is that although I was frustrated, I was still having fun along the way. Although I’ve had ups and downs (many of them) I suppose the same can be said with my weight-loss journey. Ugh, sorry about that word.

When I think back over the last couple of years (I began this particular chapter of my life on the 1st of August 2016) the very last thing that sticks out in my mind is feeling deprived of anything.

My memories now are all highlights – climbing mountains, traipsing around London with my sister without being a tired, blistered wreck afterwards, wearing nice clothes, making SPECTACULAR friends…

While we’re on the subject of friends I wanted to show you something I made for the incredible Dave who has just received his Diamond Member award at Slimming World. That means he’s been within target range for a whole year (read about it here).

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Those words? Absolutely true! I honestly don’t know if I’d have done half as well without having his blog to read, let alone his unending support and encouragement. Diamond geezer for sure.

I’ve been feeling frustrated with myself for my lack of progress lately, but I know when I look back I’ll hardly remember that at all.

I just need to keep going, and keep enjoying myself along the way.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

R&R

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

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

Gorgeous greenery or what? It makes my heart happy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Target Talks & Farewell’s

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

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

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

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

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

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Blimey I look sleepy. I really was.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

All the Effs

This week I did something frivolous – I got my poor, shattered, Apple Watch screen repaired. Believe me, I do not have the money to do it, but if I want to eat for the rest of the month then I HAVE to start going through my ‘to sell’ pile that’s gathering dust in my room. Especially as I intend to get a 12-week countdown from Slimming World on Monday.

It’s something I’ve been putting off because fun stuff has been taking priority, and I’m not relishing the thought of dealing with it because, well, it’s boooooring. The fact that I could really do with the money though should make sure I actually get it done, with the added incentive of freeing up some much needed space. If I can raise enough cash to get some decorating done too, then all the better.

Getting my watch in order was especially important to me for two reasons. For one, it came from my good friend Dave (read his blog here) who used it as a tool to help him get fit. Hmm, that’s not a good enough description. He used it as a tool to turn his entire life around. While I’m filling my rings it’s impossible not to think of the incredible feats my watch has recorded, and who wouldn’t be motivated by that? When I say incredible, I mean incredible.

Since he started wearing an Apple Watch in September 2015, he has walked over 8549 miles. 

As I write this I thought I’d check my Fitbit stats. Coincidentally I too started tracking in September 2015 and have since walked over 6942 miles. I’m actually rather chuffed and surprised at how large a number that is, however it’s still quite a way off of Dave’s running total. With the work he puts in daily I don’t think I’ll be catching up any time soon!

Secondly, despite having so many dreams and schemes in other areas of my life, I’ve decided to spend February focusing more on the fitness side of things. It’s a really tough balancing act, finding time to do everything I want to, so my approach at the moment is to choose what my priority is and give myself permission to go and do it.

I have become a little bit obsessed with journaling (OK a lot obsessed, whatever) but it’s really helping me because I don’t feel bad about putting things off so to speak. I have a page dedicated to stuff I want to achieve in the first quarter of the year, so I have a clear idea of what I’m dropping this month and what’s getting picked back up in the next.

It’s safe to say I’m enjoying the creativity of it, but most of all it’s fantastic to be able to write down my plans and not have to think about them for a while, because it stresses me out trying to hold all of my ideas in my head at once. It was just becoming too much.

I’ve also allocated Wednesdays as my ‘chill out day’. I made a little ‘to watch’ list in my journal (stuff that Steve has already watched without me or he’s not interested in) but it occurred to me that I haven’t made time to just sit down and watch something by myself for an entire year.

There hasn’t been much I have wanted to watch to be fair, but even when I have fancied a movie or even sitting down to read a book, I’ve found it really hard to not feel guilty about doing so. No more of that though, life is for enjoying which is exactly what I intend to do.

Today I walked into town in order to get my daily activity (and the warmest thermal socks I could find), and I must say it was a bit, um, nippy out there. I discovered though that a mile of walking is exactly how long it takes me to warm up. Besides, I don’t really mind the cold as long as there’s a bit of sun, and as luck would have it there was a little bit peeking through the clouds.

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Even though it’s freezing, the coming week is going to be all about fun, fitness and Free Food. February in the Slimming World community is also known as Free Food Feb, but there’ll be more about that in my next post. It’s something that’s close to my heart, so I’m very much looking forward to it.

Ok that’s enough of ‘F’ related things now, it’s time for me to get as much caffeine in my system as is humanly possible before I start work.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Peak Hayley

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

Damn and bother.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great weekend!

Hayley x

The First

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Worse then Better

Do you know what? I’ve really been struggling over the last week. My anxiety has been playing up a bit, even though I went to the doctors the week before last to talk about coming off my medication. I was feeling so much better up until now. My doctor has reduced the dose, and I’m going to stick with it because life is always going to get in the way, and I still feel like I can handle it.

If it weren’t for the fact that my concentration is seriously suffering these days, which I think is a side effect from the anti-depressants (along with a few others that I’d like to get rid of), then I would be quite happy to just keep taking them. But something’s amiss and if I can find ways to cope without them, that’s what I’d rather do. Plus I’ll save myself £9 or whatever it is on my prescription!

Up until last week I’ve barely had any time for myself, so since the end of November I’ve done hardly any exercise at all. I’m not exaggerating – it’s not a case of ‘well I could squeeze in a workout if I tried…’  Every spare second I had went to preparing food or trying to sleep.

This week my routine, especially regarding Steve, has changed due to changes in living arrangements and work commitments. Although I’m seeing less of him and of course I really miss him, I was planning to use the time to catch up on sleep.

It didn’t work out.

For one I was incredibly stupid and spent my entire weekend cleaning and sorting without taking a break, then when I had time to sleep, I found I couldn’t. Typical.

I started to feel a little bit overwhelmed with everything until yesterday when finally something clicked. Lately my number one priority has been energy conservation. I’ve put off getting back into exercise because I thought it was best to rest, which sounds good in theory, but in reality it has the opposite effect. The less I do, the worse I sleep, the hungrier I get, the more depressed I feel…

The frustrating thing is I know all this, but I kind of got swept up in everything. It happens after all.

So today I forced myself to get out of bed (rather than laying awake feeling increasingly frustrated at the fact I’m not sleeping) and walked into town and back. I took some oats with me with the intention of feeding the huge flock of geese that normally hang out in the park, but on this occasion they were absent.

The lake was recently dredged and a body found after a poor chap went missing over Christmas, so I suppose that might have scared them off for now. The swans were in residence though, and they did not seem to mind getting the pick of the oats.

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It felt really good to get out, and now I’m feeling the right kind of tired, if that makes sense. I’ll be off to bed shortly for a nice long sleep before work. Heaven!

I haven’t been eating right for the most of the year so far, so fueling my body properly is also a huge priority. Hopefully the exercise will help with my cravings and there will be no more slip ups. That’s the plan anyway.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x