Monday and More

I’m one of those weirdos who really likes Mondays. Mondays are the second day of my weekend, and since I don’t go back into work until the Tuesday night, I save my pre-work dread for Tuesday afternoon. That means I can enjoy my whole Monday.

I did consider doing nothing at all Monday and having a complete rest day, but I discovered Sunday that I’m really not good at that. I tried to lay with my legs out in the sun for a bit, because to be honest they’re a bit of a hazard. I can’t have them out at all on the street, because if the sun reflects off of them they could blind any passing drivers.

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Instead I spent a little while editing photos from the walk I’d done previously, at my very favourite park in Hadleigh.

I’m just not meant to sit still anymore I think, so much so that I find it really difficult to sit down and watch an entire film. Unless it really grabs me, I rarely make it to the end these days. I don’t think that’s a bad thing!

In between walking and dinner I also had a little gin and slimline tonic from a nearby pub that I never knew existed – Barge Gladys. Yes, it actually is on a barge! Apparently it’s been there for 41 years (how have I never heard of it before?), is right near a handy train station and is of course on the coast so there are plenty of walking to/from opportunities. I’m thinking more of a nice place to have a diet coke or water in future though, I’m really not fancying alcohol much at the moment. Just that one drink went right to my head!

So on Monday instead of trying and failing to veg out, I went for a walk in the park. In 30 degree heat… Thankfully I slapped on the factor 50 before I left the house and am pleased to report I did not burn to a crisp.

I had a really good time by myself at the park, except I wasn’t actually by myself, truth be told. There are always plenty of feathered friends about. When I got to the lake where the majority of the geese hang out, I saw that most of them (apart from four or five milling around the shore) were in the water.

But when they saw me, the whole flock got out of the water and headed straight for me. At this point there was no sign of me having any food for them (although of course I did, it was safely tucked away in my bag) so I wonder if they remember that I’ve fed them lots of other times before? There were other people there and they didn’t get the same welcome as me!

Look how close they were, and still they hadn’t seen the food.

It’s clear that these guys love me!

Then yesterday things took a little nosedive. I was going to weigh in Monday night at my new group, but something came up and I couldn’t make it. So I planned to go Tuesday morning instead.

But then I couldn’t sleep, and subsequently didn’t wake up in time. That also meant I didn’t wake up in time for my planned run, and by the time I got myself moving it was too hot. Then my day ended up being taken up by other stressful things anyway. The upshot of it was that I was tired, hungry, stressed, dreading work, and I ate my feelings. Thankfully it was only one day and I’m right back on it now, and since the temperature is much more reasonable after a little storm last night, I’m definitely running later. As for weighing in, my home scales say I’ve maintained, which I’m happy with.

For the last week or so work has been a bit of a nightmare from which I cannot wake, and I’ve been getting through it by keeping my head down and working hard. But last night there was a planned system shutdown for the first five hours of the shift and I knew I’d just have to mill around. The thought of that was simply unbearable, and that’s what threw me. It’s just excuses though. I could have got through it and stayed on plan, I just chose not to. I took the easy option (or at least the one that was easier in the short term).

As it happens, the shutdown didn’t happen but something went wrong and there wasn’t much to do anyway, so I was allowed to go home. When I go to work tonight I can stick to the original plan and just crack on with my job. So it’s not great, but I can cope with it.

And I will NOT use food to help me get through it.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

I’m Back!

I walked back into my old Slimming World group with a spring in my step. I wore my favourite light floral shirt, light makeup (because I genuinely felt it’d be too hot to add much to my face) and I just felt really comfortable in my own skin.

Going back to a Slimming World group, especially one you’ve been frequenting on and off since 2012, is like entering a room full of puppies. Everyone is just really genuinely pleased to see you! Although there is less peeing on the floor…

I paid extra to keep my old progress, and was chuffed to bits to find that I’ve only gained 2 lbs since the last time I was there. I’ll take that and run, thank you very much!

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Another bonus from going back when I did? I got to see a lady I remember from the last time I was there hitting target. How. Bloody. Awesome!

Scarily, there’s not much left of July, and next month I have quite a lot going on. My sister, a teacher, has now broken up for the holiday’s and we’ve agreed to do something every weekend for the whole of August. When I say something, I mean we are going on the hunt for vegan treats.

We want to have a pie from Young Vegans, go to the famous Hackney Downs Vegan Market, visit an all vegan pub called The Blacksmith and Toffeemaker (also dog friendly, I’d love to meet some doggos) and we have another day to fill that hasn’t been finalised yet.

What I could have done was to tell myself that there was no point in joining until September. Because let’s face it, there’s a really strong chance that I won’t lose much weight next month. Perhaps I won’t lose any at all, or have a small gain. But eating a vegan pie or whatever is not the same as going off plan.

If I want to socialise with my sister, and have one decadent meal out a week, then I can do that. The group is there to make sure it really is just one meal, and that I don’t spiral out of control.

If I don’t lose a ton of weight, then so be it. I’m still staying on top of things and enjoying myself guilt-free.

As it happens I do suspect that by taking this tack I will lose some weight, but only time will tell. All I know is that I need the support of my fellow slimmers, and group is one of the best ways to get that.

Anyway, regardless of all that there’s still one weigh day left in July for me to try and get my 7 stone award back. And try I will.

I was supposed to go to work after group, but I managed to get a last minute day off. I was so grateful for this – I’m absolutely knackered. I was very busy today, the day I normally get everything organised for the work week ahead, and nothing got done.

As it’s so warm I wasn’t particularly hungry either, so I didn’t sit down to eat until gone ten. It was lovely sitting outside in the garden with my feast, while the gnats were feasting on me, incidentally. Must be my tasty vegan blood.

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Now it’s time for a relatively early night, because tomorrow I really do have to go to work.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Split

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Black Hole

After 83 weeks of weighing in on a Tuesday I’ve decided to switch things up a bit. In the last few weeks Sunday (the first night of my weekend) has become something of a black hole and I need to do something to address that. Yesterday I just ate and ate and as such this morning’s weigh in shows another 1.5 lb gain. That’s 3 lbs in two weeks and it’s in the wrong direction, plus I might not have metabolised all of that junk and have some still to gain!

I’m hoping the idea of weighing the next morning will keep me on track next weekend. It’s worth a try anyway.

I am as ever very annoyed with myself, because I’ve had another week of compliment after compliment. I found a very old pair of jeans on top of my wardrobe at the beginning of the week, and although they’re old they’ve never actually been worn. I reckon I bought them in 2013, to slim into, and finally they fit!

The jeans I had been wearing to work are enormous on me now, so it’s been great having everyone tell me how skinny my legs look now they’re not hidden in clown trousers. It’s a good feeling, but if I carry on like this then they’re not going to fit anymore.

Training is scheduled for tomorrow but I’m making a pledge here and now that if my trainer can’t make it then I’m going to go out on my own. I want to do three sessions this week, no matter what.

I wanted to do some kettlebells today but on Friday at work I picked something up awkwardly and hurt my shoulder, so I need to be sensible and not do any weight training until it’s healed. I’m really angry about that – just as I was finishing my rotation on that department as well.

But most of all I need to eat well, because there’s no point in training if I’m just going to undo all of the hard work I’ve done. The two need to go hand in hand.

I’ve also been thinking a lot about health lately. Up until now I haven’t cared much about exactly what is going into my body as long as overall I’m losing weight. So on a bad day I wouldn’t think twice about eating a whole tub of Ben & Jerry’s, as long as I was sure I could make up for it later.

Now I’m starting to consider the effect that this kind of eating will have on my long-term health, especially as I’m fairly convinced I have Binge Eating Disorder. I have most of the symptoms with the exception of secrecy – although I’m tempted to hide what I’ve done and certainly have done in the past, I’m now brutally honest and feel the need to confess what I’ve eaten.

The treatment guidelines for BED are based around self-help anyway (specifically CBT), and I’m already taking steps to figure it out myself (and have in fact been doing that since I started with Slimming World in the first place). I need to keep working on it, as my binges are already less frequent and less intense than they used to be, although there has definitely been an increase in the last few months. It would just be nice to not have them at all. And I’ll also be much less likely to develop diabetes in future.

It feels really scary talking about Binge Eating Disorder publicly, because even though it has finally been recognised as a real thing a lifetime of people just thinking I’m lazy or greedy doesn’t go away overnight. I haven’t even wanted to admit to myself that I might have it. The way I eat definitely goes beyond ‘being a bit naughty’ though. When I say I lose control I don’t mean I temporarily lost my willpower, I mean I genuinely couldn’t stop myself. I’ve eaten some really weird things when I’ve had no unhealthy food in the house – for instance yesterday at 6am I ate a huge bowl of peanut butter mixed with maple syrup because it’s literally all I had. That is not normal.

Maybe I should go to the doctors, but I have a deep distrust of them when it comes to mental health. My experiences so far have not been good. Would it be better to have an official diagnosis though? Would it be better to have proper CBT sessions? I think maybe I should explore every avenue to try to stop this happening, because I don’t want to have it hanging over my head forever, always threatening to sabotage my efforts.

30 minutes later…

Update: Well, I thought to hell with it. What’s the worst that can happen? I got on the phone and booked myself the next available routine doctor’s appointment. Which is on the 3rd of April. Oh well, at least there’s time for me to get my head around it.

Today I made an excellent start to the week. I’ve cleaned, I’ve tidied, I’ve sorted through old clothes and had another purge of the wardrobe… I had a great trying-on session and found I now fit into several dresses I bought in a sale years ago. However I now realise I don’t actually like any of them and have no occasion to wear them anyway! So off to the charity shop they will go.

I’m now topping up my steps but I’ve done a proper workout too. I did a 30 minute programme on the exercise bike but I was enjoying it so much I kept going for another 20 minutes. During the workout I was thinking back to when I first got my bike, sometime last year, and how I struggled to complete 10 minutes. Oh how times have changed!

I started off this post feeling pretty down, but over the course of the day I’ve done several little acts of self care and my mood has completely changed.

I’m feeling very positive about this week, I reckon it’s going to be a good one!

Look after yourselves people.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

A Wibble

It was weigh in this morning and I put on 1.5 lbs. Despite my recent positivity this (entirely expected) event totally knocked me off track. For a short while, anyway. I hit the bread bin, and I hit it HARD, and now I feel doubly guilty for the initial gain and the subsequent emotional eating.

This will NOT do.

So I did the laundry then had a nap. When I woke up I still felt bad, so I spent half an hour just laying quietly and thinking things through. Until then I hadn’t figured out that it was the gain that made me feel bad. I thought perhaps it was a delayed bad feeling from yesterday, although at the time of eating I definitely wasn’t thinking about why. It was a total knee jerk reaction, without pause for thought, which is unusual for me these days. I think if I’d given myself that pause then the outcome would have been different.

Ho hum, I can’t go back in time! Going forward, I feel better after my little self-therapy session and getting the thoughts out here on the blog is the final step.

I’ve had a healthy dinner, I’m currently writing on my phone whilst pacing around the house to get my step count up before work (it’s quite likely I’m going to walk into something) and I have six whole days in which to turn this completely around.

Depending on hunger levels I’m going to try to reduce my carb intake and up what used to be my Speed Food intake. Speed food is just Slimming World’s own way of describing the less energy-dense fruit and veggies, so I shall henceforth be munching them like there’s no tomorrow. Bring on lots of top up shops in Lidl this week!

I have training on Thursday but in the meantime the cat has the vets and I have to try to find a cheap car as my head gasket is in a bad way. Hopefully I can find a run around to tide me over because I need wheels to get to training and to ferry my mum around to various hospital and doctor’s appointments.

Also, I’ve taken another exciting step even further out of my comfort zone. An ex-colleague saw some of my photos on Facebook and wants to hire me to take some shots of his wife before their wedding vow renewal. At first I said no, and was about to recommend a lady I know, when I thought ‘I can actually do this!’

I AM scared, because it will involve talking to people I don’t know and I’m going to have to my friend’s wife at ease when inside I myself will be the least at ease person there ever was.

But who knows what doors this could open? I was asked to do a wedding once but couldn’t stand the pressure of potentially messing up some of the most important photos of their lives. The very thought still fills me with dread, but I don’t have to start out doing weddings. I can do smaller things and see how I feel.

I’m not sure I’d like a photography business, but it would be lovely to take it further in my spare time. Let’s see what happens!

It’s nearly time for work now, and already I can’t wait for it to be over so I can get back to my own department.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Back to Seven

Note to Self: When December comes around, remember that it took you until the end of February to get rid of your Christmas gain. Remember how long it took you to truly get back into the swing of things, and ask yourself if all of those mince pies are really worth it. Hint: They’re not.

I originally got my seven stone award at the end of November, and a couple of days later was when I snapped and spent most of December bingeing on sweet Christmas treats. My mood and self-esteem really suffered, although I tried to pretend at the time that I was OK with it. I was trying to convince myself more than anyone else.

This week I lost 3 lbs, and I’m so happy with that because it did not come easily. I’m so proud that instead of using my trainer’s illness as an excuse to be lazy that I faced my fears and went out alone. I’m proud that despite wanting badly to binge, twice, I managed to keep my cravings in check.

All of that hard work means I can now say I have my seven stone award back, with a total loss of 7 st 1 lb. We’re into (relatively) new territory now, as I haven’t been this weight since 2004.

This week training has been put back yet another day, but after yesterday’s walk I’m not too worried. Where I’m off work on a Monday I find it really hard to hit my calorie burn goal but yesterday I smashed it. I’ll do some home exercise before work today and if training goes back another day then I’ll go out on my own tomorrow. Already it feels wrong if I haven’t been running for a while.

This week has the potential to go wrong, but I sure as hell won’t let it. In January me and my sister pencilled in a date for a food trip to London where we can eat loads of vegan goodies (which happens to be this Sunday), but after our run the other day we both agreed that it wasn’t really conducive to achieving our goals.

We are still going out for a meal, at Mildred’s, but I’ve already checked out the menu and have chosen what I’m having. I’m going to have the ‘Soul Bowl’ which includes so many healthy foods!

How full of goodness does that sound? And where I’m not exactly following Slimming World anymore I can eat the avocado, cashew cheese and seeds without worrying too much.

The important thing for me right now is having three sensible meals a day, and having one meal with more healthy fats than I’m used to is not going to do much, if any, damage.

Rather than go on a food tour of the rest of the city, I suggested that we do something more wholesome and revisit St James’s Park. The wildlife there is so tame it can hardly be called wildlife at all – the last time we went I fed a great tit from my hand, had a squirrel run up my leg and ended up covered in beautiful pigeons!

But there’s more to it than that. The last time we went was in April 2016 and I was pushing 20 stone, so it’ll be fun to go back over five stone lighter. I was also only just getting into photography, so I’m looking forward to getting better pictures, too.

These seem ok, but the top one is not as sharp as I’d like and both are heavily cropped. There’s a lot of room for improvement there, especially now I know what I’m doing.

It’ll be extra exercise, too, because I’ll be taking my heaviest camera and lenses. I’ll probably be lugging an additional stone about, but I’m no stranger to carrying extra weight so it shouldn’t be a problem.

As I’ve changed my daily step goal to 15k, I’d best get moving now because these steps aren’t going to do themselves.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x