Excitement

Well today I just haven’t been able to settle. I mean, it’s so exciting isn’t it? Oh, you thought I was talking about this ‘football’ that people seem so interested in right now? Nope, today all I’ve been able to think about is a big old plate of fried red onions.

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Weird? Me? You bet.

I haven’t had fried onions in about a year and all of a sudden I had a hankering for them. There are four large onions condensed into that pile, but considering there aren’t going to be many people at work tonight then I shouldn’t have to worry too much about any possible… after effects.

In all seriousness though, I’ve found it so, so hard to stay on plan today. I had my A+B choices as soon as I got in from work and was still hungry when I woke up. I had a big lunch and was still hungry. Thankfully dinner seems to have finally satisfied me, but I can’t help feeling that I’ve eaten too much today.

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That’s what Free Food is there for though, and it’s not like I’ve just been eating for the sake of it. It’s just that when I’m freshly back on plan I always feel extra guilty. Which is silly, because the Slimming World plan is so focussed on letting go of that guilt. I’ll keep on trying though.

The important thing is that I didn’t crack, and it’s the first time I’ve had such a strong urge and have been able to control it in longer than I can remember. A pat on the back for Hayley!

Last night at work was unexpectedly motivating. My manager, who was outwardly supportive and positive about my journey from the beginning said he honestly expected me to last about six months before I put the weight back on. I’m so incredibly grateful he kept those negative thoughts to himself though because they could have been really damaging at the time.

He confessed that he can’t remember what I used to look like, which makes me very happy indeed. However I am taking in a picture tonight to remind him, because that’s always fun to do. It’s good for me to remind myself too. If you feel like deleting all the photos of the ‘old you’ and erasing that part of your history, then PLEASE DON’T!

For one you could be wiping records of so many precious memories, even if they might be tinged with pain, but also it’s so useful to look back and see how far you’ve come. It’s how I’m able to look at this picture of me, taken a few minutes ago with pride.

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Hair isn’t done, no make-up, spotty face, messy room… It doesn’t matter. This Hayley is still so much happier than this one:

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And I put on another two stone after that picture was taken! Look at her, crammed into a camping chair that was threatening to collapse under the weight, bloated, struggling to breathe her jeans were so tight… I need to see pictures like this. I need to look at it and not be able to recognise myself, and to know in my heart of hearts that I won’t go back there.

And THAT is why I ate four red onions for dinner, instead of four peanut butter and jam sandwiches.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Fighting

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

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

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

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

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

So. Moving on.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hayley x

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

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Slippery Mountain

Oh my, I am soooooo tired. I am can-barely-sit-up-straight exhausted, but there’s a blog in me just bursting to get out. There’s no use putting it off.

Over the last week Mr. S has been poorly (we overdid it just a tad on holiday and I must admit I was struggling to recover too) so we only trained once. Other than that I’ve just been trying (and failing) to catch up on sleep and chores, despite having the week off. I did make it to the charity shop after clearing out four sacks-worth of clothes, shoes, bags, books and various other bits and bobs, but there’s still a lot more spring cleaning to be done. I want to have minimal stuff so that I can decorate as soon as I get the chance, but life keeps getting in the way, as it does tend to do.

I’m OK with this, because life has been good to me. As it happens, I am no longer entirely single! Me and Mr. S aren’t exactly an official couple, but we’re also not not a couple either. Confused? I don’t blame you! Basically, we have a thing going on. But we aren’t giving it a name or thinking too much about it right now, we’re just enjoying being together. For me it’s been a big change, because in the past I’ve been very much in the ‘I need to know exactly what’s happening’ camp, but lately I’ve been enjoying simply living, instead of fretting about the past or the future. I feel a lot happier for it.

Because we’ve spent so much time together lately, going away for the weekend with my little brother has been FANTASTIC, but also a little tough. I’ve missed Mr. S terribly, but I couldn’t have brought him along in any case. He couldn’t get the time off work, plus I’ve had this booked in with my little bro since before me and Mr. S even started talking.

Anyway, on Wednesday me and little bro went shopping for food supplies. We needed dry/canned goods as we were camping and didn’t have access to a refrigerator. On the way there little bro asked ‘have you had any reliability issues with the car since you’ve had it?’ ‘Nope!’ I replied, confident that my wee Micra could handle the 640 mile round trip drive easily.

The very next day, the day before our adventure, I got in the car to visit Mr. S one last time before we went. I turned the key and… nothing. The battery was as flat as a pancake. I got a jump-start, but the damn thing wouldn’t hold a charge – it was completely knackered. Typical.

Thankfully I have a wonderful friend who came over at 11:30pm with a new battery, so after he kindly changed it over for me we got on the road. I was full of nervous energy and just wanted to get going.

Driving in the middle of the night is a great idea, especially if like me you’re a night worker and you’re used to driving around in the small hours. You get to see stunning sunrises like this one, for a start.

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Five hours into the journey, we were just making our way into the Lake District – the views were getting more and more beautiful and my sense of wellbeing was increasing exponentially.

Then the car suddenly started losing power. I couldn’t believe it – I’ve done plenty of journeys and not had a single problem. So why now?!

Luck was on our side again though, because it was fine in the lower gears, and I could get to 60 miles-per-hour. So I decided to carry on the journey and just hope it got us to the campsite. After that we didn’t need to drive again until the ride home, so I put that particular concern to one side until Sunday morning. I was damn well going to enjoy my holiday no matter what!

My little car did spectacularly well – she made it up some INSANE hills, many of which I had to crawl up in first gear. That’s not my bad driving, they really were that steep. But the old girl did it.

As we got nearer our destination things went from beautiful to STUNNING.

And that was just the beginning.

As we’d left so early, we still had a whole day in which to explore. So we set up camp, had a little rest, then headed out to see what we could find. There were sheep absolutely everywhere, but this little bundle of fluff was my favourite. Look at that adorable face!

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We walked to a little inn where I enjoyed an ice cold G&T whilst taking in the views and listening to the river water making its way down from the mountains. The weather was turning out to be glorious, too.

The rest of the day was spent wandering around, then we both struggled to stay awake until 8pm. Then we allowed ourselves a well-deserved early night early night as we were heading up Scafell Pike at daybreak.

The next morning we were up at 4am because we wanted to miss the crowds. We were on our way from the beginning as the trail started right from our campsite, so there wasn’t a moment wasted.

After doing Snowdon last year I was confident that Scafell Pike was completely doable, but it’s a whole different kettle of fish. Snowdon is higher than Scafell Pike (though not by much) but I’d say it’s easier. You go up a bit, then along, and down at times, and there’s enough variety in the terrain that it doesn’t feel too bad. But Scafell Pike is just UP, UP, UP! Plus there are loads of points on the way where you think you’re at the summit, but the next part is hidden behind the current peak you’re on. I was prepared though – my brother climbed it last month and pre warned me!

We made it to the summit in good time, and without incident. And just as the sun was making it over the peaks, too.

It was breathtakingly beautiful.

As it happens climbing Scafell Pike was a lot easier to climb than Snowdon, but that’s mainly because I am SO MUCH FITTER now! Not to mention over two stone lighter. At least, it was easier on the way up. The way down… now THAT was hard.

My brother warned me that it was slippery, and boy he wasn’t kidding. It’s basically gravel and loose stones the whole way down, and it really is treacherous. Me being me, I went over and managed to land on my arse and elbow.

I’ll be honest – I really thought I’d done some serious damage. I went down hard, but luckily it just shook me up, gave me a nice deep cut on my elbow (which is painful but healing nicely) and some pretty impressive bruises on my right bum cheek. It could have been a lot worse.

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So, having given my tribute of blood to the mountain I made it safely to the bottom again. After another nap, me and my brother had a really special evening.

Just like me, my brother has struggled with his weight most of his life. He’s currently getting back into the swing of things and getting fitter and healthier, but all the same… neither of us are happy with our bodies just yet.

We were camped right near a beautiful lake, so we decided to take our camping chairs and stove down to the rocky shore and have dinner there. It was so hot, and the water so clear and inviting, we put our feet it and splashed our faces. It was delicious, it’s the only word for it.

Then we wondered… even though it’s been over a decade since either of us swam, could we go all the way? Well of course we could!

It was utterly freezing at first, but we found out that we can in fact still swim. Which is good, because there wasn’t a soul around to save us if we couldn’t, and what with this particular lake (Wastwater) being the deepest in England, it would have been… problematic shall we say.

In all seriousness, we stayed in the shallows before being sure we weren’t going to drown. We’re not quite that stupid.

Well, it was absolutely magical. After years and years of spending summers hot and sweaty, afraid to show ourselves and get in the water, here we were swimming in a crystal clear lake. It’s a wonderful memory that will stay with us forever.

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As you may have guessed I made it home, and it was without incident. The car seems to have fixed itself, as we didn’t have any problems at all. I wonder if it was just all too much for it on the way there.

Now I’m going to sign off, because my exhaustion has reached critical levels and I haven’t even had dinner yet. I’ll update again tomorrow (I promise!) to let you know what comes next in Hayley Land.

Thanks for reading!

X

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

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

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

No Fluke

Incredibly, the scales are still showing me to be in the 13’s. It’s not a fluke! I’m now going to stop weighing myself over the next few days since I’ve established that the scales haven’t malfunctioned.

Everything has been a bit of mad rush since yesterday, and I really should be getting dinner sorted but I chose to sit down and write with a cup of coffee first.

Yesterday evening my friend dropped over my new (to me) car. It was dark when he turned up so I didn’t get a chance to look at it properly, but oh my word I am chuffed to bits.

After driving a massive 3l 5 Series BMW for the last two years, I simply cannot look at my new car without bursting out laughing. It’s simply ridiculous!

When I parked up at work and got out it looked positively comical sitting there in my usual spot. I could easily fit another one in the space.

After work this morning I was able to get a picture.

This afternoon I had to go out and in the proper daylight I could see just how filthy it is. It was my friend’s friend’s dad’s and it’s been sitting on a driveway for a long old time, just gathering dust.

There are plenty of perks though. Both my tax and insurance payments have literally halved, and I should be getting more than 14 MPG from now on!

This weekend I should be able to give it a good clean as I have a surprise long weekend. Work announced last night that there’s no Saturday shift while they do a huge stock take. Get in! This week is turning out to be a corker.

To top it all off my brother told me that he’s getting the shocks on his motorbike sorted after payday which means it’ll be able to take our combined weight. Then we can go on a road trip.

I went out with my brother and my ex, me riding pillion on my ex’s bike, for a brief period in 2014. It was the first time I’d ever been on a bike, and it was absolutely thrilling, but there was a downside.

I got the biggest size in trousers and jacket for women that I could (a size 22) and it fit like a second skin. It’s supposed to be snug, so that if you come off your gear stays on and keeps you alive, but sitting on the back of a bike with my knees somewhere around my ears meant that I couldn’t really breathe properly. Kinda problematic.

This also coincided with me gaining huge amounts of weight again, so it wasn’t long before I was struggling to get them on at all. When the bikes were put away for winter, I had to put the trousers on with the zip open (they have a kind of flap) and still I could barely get them on. I told myself I’d be back in them by the summer, but it never happened and I haven’t been on a bike since.

Today I got my gear out of storage and had a little try-on.

Wow.

I am over the flipping moon! Everything is too big, to the point where if I end up going out regularly with my brother then I will need new gear and I will need it soon. As it is all of the Velcro straps are pulled in as tight as they go and it’s still too roomy. I’ll have to wear thick layers underneath in order to stay safe.

Buying new gear means hundreds of pounds being spent, but maybe I can sell what I have to raise funds.

Right now I don’t care, I feel too good! I can take the trousers off without even undoing them, and the flap that was like a second skin? Take a look…

I’m so happy I could cry. In fact I just might.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

When Hard Work Pays Off

Last week was a week of much progress. I’ve pushed food and exercise almost to the very top of my priorities (of course Pea will always be number one) and I’ve been reaping the benefits.

I did 5×30 minute sessions on the exercise bike and also used that time to watch an episode of something on Netflix. I haven’t been watching any kind of TV other than when I’m exercising or on my break at work, and I feel better for it.

I’m sure the cardio I’m doing on the bike is really helping my ticker, because I’ve technically achieved one of my goals for this year – my resting heart rate is now back in the 40’s. The reason I say technically is because I want to be sure it’s staying there before I cross it off my list. When my average for the month is in the 40’s, then I’ll count it. Although the work is by no means done at that point – then I have to make sure I keep it there. I’m chuffed though because the last time my heart rate was this low was the 17th of October.

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Apart from keeping up with the cardio (idea for a new TV series?) I’ve absolutely smashed my step goals and have won all of the Fitbit challenges I’ve been invited to. As a result of all this I’ve been sleeping so much better and I’m starting to feel like my good old self again. My mum even commented that I seem a lot happier, and that she was surprised how much having my teeth out knocked me for six. She’d been quite worried about me in fact. I was a bit worried myself, truth be told.

My weekly stats email from Fitbit is looking pretty damn good:

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But the BESTEST bit? This week I lost a whopping FIVE POUNDS! It’s such a relief! I knew something good was going on, because around this weight is my own personal little tipping point. When I first started losing weight, at least visually speaking there wasn’t much difference after losing three stone. And it was another three stone after that before I started looking considerably different.

But the difference between 15 stone and 14-and-a-half stone for me is HUGE. This week my knobbly ribs made a comeback, I’ve noticed my waist making a reappearance and my face definitely looks slimmer. I must, must, must remember this the next time I have a passing craving for something. Nothing I can eat is worth going back to the feeling of dejection I get everytime I backtrack into the 15 stones, so I need to prevent it from happening EVER again.

So, plan of action! I’ve got three pounds to go till I get my 7 stone award back, and although it would be lovely to have it next week (and I’ll certainly aim for that) I’m not putting too much pressure on myself and won’t get too disheartened if it doesn’t happen. For next week, as long as I lose I’m happy.

However  I am still going to be keeping up with the cardio (it definitely has a ring to it) because I’m sure it’s a huge factor in making me feel so good right now, so I’ll do another five sessions this week. Or four I should say, because I did one yesterday.

As for the rest of my exercise routine I’ve added a daily plank (I can currently do 40 seconds), I’m in week three of my press-up challenge and I’m definitely getting stronger, and I’m going to add a kettlebell and a curl to my squat challenge because I feel the squats alone are too boring. In the past when I’ve done kettlebell squats I’ve really felt it working.

I’ve also thought of a new challenge to add to this year’s list – I want to beat my record for most steps done in a day. My current record is 36,571 and I probably get a new Fitbit achievement when I get to 40k so it’s doubly exciting. I need to consider where I’m going to do this, because I’d like to make it somewhere fun. I did consider walking to my sister’s and back, which would take about 3.5 hours each way. I reckon I could do it, but it’s mostly one big, huge, noisy main road so I need to think of somewhere nicer. I’ll wait till April when it’s a new holiday year, book a day off and make an occasion of it I reckon.

Right then, I’d best be on my (exercise) bike!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

A Proper Start

My mouth is truly getting better now. There’s only a small part of my cheek that’s really painful now, where I’ve had stitches it’s healing nicely, and I feel like I can now properly make a start on my plans for this year. I’m going to leave any high intensity exercise till next week, but that doesn’t mean I’ll be sitting on my backside until then.

I spent some of yesterday reading up on modified push-ups and then decided on a plan of action. I’m going to start with wall push-ups, and I’m doing 3 sets of 12 reps, 3 times a week, for two weeks. Then I’ll do 3 sets of 15 reps, 3 times a week, for another two weeks. After that, I make it harder by choosing a more difficult modification (I’ll decide which one nearer the time) and repeat until I can do a proper, standard push-up! Well it sounds easy enough, I just have to keep at it.

Yesterday I made a start on my new vegan blog, and the first post is about why I became vegan (link). If you’re interested in the ins and outs behind my decision then please feel free to check it out! I shared it on Twitter, too, as I have a few vegan followers on there, and I was strangely nervous. But then I thought back to when I first started blogging about Slimming World and I was just as nervous then. I always assume people are going to be unkind, but so far that hasn’t happened.

I’m crazy excited at the moment because even though I’m back at work tomorrow, my new camera will also be delivered. Although I have Amazon Prime this particular model is only available via third party sellers so I couldn’t get it the next day. How utterly frustrating! I could have had the whole of today playing with it, but it’s probably best that I don’t have it yet because I really need to catch up on some household things.

Speaking of household things, because I’m catching up I had a completely out of the blue NSV. A couple of days before Christmas I popped into Tesco straight from work. Even though it was only 6:10am the place was absolutely rammed, so I vowed to get in and out as soon as possible. As I was passing the clothing section I noticed a penguin hoody. The penguin face was in the hood (cute as hell) plus it was all warm and fluffy. It was on a size 16 hanger (perfect) and reduced to £7. I didn’t even stop to think about it, just rammed it in my trolley and carried on shopping. When I got home I put it on, and although it was a wee bit snug I felt comfortable enough in it.

It wasn’t until today, though, when I actually got around to washing it (don’t judge, I was waiting for other bits to wash it with to be more economical!) that I noticed it is, in fact, A SIZE 12. I’ve never bought anything in a 12 before, never. And although in reality I’m nowhere near fitting into the average size 12, I did, in actual fact, put on a size 12 and do the zip up without realising that something was amiss. This is insane. This is huge. This is amazing! Once it’s dry I’ll pack it up with the Christmas things (they’re all boxed up, just waiting for me to make space for them in the loft) and won’t try it on again until I unpack everything in December. And you can bet your life I’ll be blogging about it when that day comes!

I’ve uploaded my latest food diary to the #onplanjan page, so that’s all of January on plan so far and a ten day streak for me. And my resting heart rate has already gone down another beat per minute. Everything’s looking up!

 

Well I simply must crack on, because as much as I’d love sit here typing all day there’s just too much to do. I’ll update with my weigh in results tomorrow (eek!)

Hayley x