Week Zero

Over the last few weeks I’ve found it really hard to eat healthily for any length of time. In between my holiday and last weekend’s mini break, I found myself in the ‘there’s not much point in being good’ mindset, and as such I’ve gained a few pounds.

Because I feel so much better than I did a year and a half ago, it’s really easy for me to be relaxed about it. But the fact remains I’m not content where I am now, and I want to put what I’ve already done to one side for the time being. It’s really important to look at how far I’ve come, but for now I want to get back the motivation and excitement I had at the beginning.

For that reason, at least as far as Slimming World is concerned, I’ve restarted my progress. I still have weight records via Fitbit dating back to 2015, but it’s good to have a nice blank page and start afresh.

I’ve taken all new measurements and later on I’ll ask Mr. S to help with my new ‘start pics’. I’m going right back to basics with weighing and measuring the foods that require it, and eating plenty of Speed Foods. Plus I want to keep my activity levels up on days I’m not training. A rest day isn’t a euphemism for a do-nothing-at-all day!

I’m still much too sore to train today, mostly because of my butt bruise, but tomorrow I’ll be out there no matter what to see how I get on. I’ve loved all the walking and hiking I’ve done lately, but there’s also nothing quite like running.

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I’m fairly happy with my Fitbit average for the year so far, but I plan to be even happier with it. Last year’s average, even though I started in the 18 stone bracket, was in the 15’s. If I end this year in the 13’s then I’ll be a happy girl!

Right then. I’m now off to do a mountain of washing, drive my mum to an appointment, get some steps in and above all BE HEALTHY!

I’ll let you know how it goes.

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

Aftermath

I’ve got to admit I bloody loved my impromptu Saturday off work, at least at the time. I did fairly well with the food side of things, but I drank way, way too much wine. Yesterday was a complete write-off, and today I feel really low.

There was only one thing for it though. I wasn’t sure if my trainer would be up for a run today because he was at work last night, and while I was getting ready to leave I was starting to make a pact with myself that if he couldn’t make it I’d drive to Tesco, buy a tub of vegan Ben & Jerry’s then bury my face in it. But in an unusual moment of clarity I thought past the initial pleasure and remembered how much worse that would make me feel afterwards.

If I’m going to try to make myself feel better, it has to be something that will genuinely do me good. If I want to modify my feelings, then exercise has to be the way to go from now on. Especially if it’s done outside.

The weather is supposed to take another nosedive this week, but hopefully it’s just rain. My trainer says that running in the rain is a miserable experience, but I do quite like a spot of rain so if I have to I’m willing to give it a go. I still want those three workouts under my belt this week.

It was sunny this morning but by the time training came around (my trainer was indeed up for it) it was grey and horrible, although it was still good to get out and achieve something. Our times were absolutely dreadful, and every step was a massive struggle, but we still gave it a shot. Either way it was better than the ice cream-based alternative.

ACS_0044.jpgI had official weigh in this morning, and the scales show my current weight as 14st 2.5lbs. Although unofficial weigh-in last week showed me at 13st 13.9lbs, from the last official weigh in I’ve actually lost 2.5lbs. Which I’ll take. Normally if I’ve been drinking it means a huuuuuuge gain.

Being in the 13 stone bracket feels just so, so good, that my mission is to get back there as soon as possible. I’m out drinking again with work people on the 5th of April, so I plan to make as much progress between now and then. And after that I have a clear schedule in which to steam ahead and make some real progress.

I’m still pretty chuffed that I seem to have found some sort of balance, and that I haven’t had one of my really wild gains in quite some time. Perhaps I have turned a corner without even realising it.

I spent the early evening cleaning my car, which is testament to how dirty it was because I rarely clean a car at all. The outside is sorted as I put it through the car wash, but the inside needed a bit more care and attention. I wouldn’t even take it to a hand car wash and get it done for me because I would have been too ashamed. It really was that bad.

But a bit of elbow grease, some new mats and a couple of seat covers later and it’s looking a lot better. And I no longer feel that I need a tetanus booster before I touch anything at least. The next purchase is a steering wheel cover, then I’ll be happy.

Right now it’s nearly 9pm and I’ve only just got dinner on the go. It’s totally on plan though! I’m going to be spot on this week.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Weekend Vibes

I have had the best weekend in such a long time. Shopping on Sunday was a huge boost, and it felt so good to be outside despite the awful weather.

Yesterday training went ahead but I was also the coldest I have been in a long, long time. Where I go to train is higher up than the surrounding areas plus it sits next to an estuary so there’s no protection from the absolutely brutal wind. I had a snood on but it made my glasses steam up so I took it off, and subsequently lost all feeling in my nose.

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On the plus side I broke a personal record and ran for about 15 minutes straight. My Fitbit even automatically recognised I was running for the first time ever.

Workout done we went to Aldi for lunch supplies and I had to be really strict with my trainer. I bought a load of salad bits and sweet potato burgers, which are 4 syns each. I had one of the burgers with a jacket potato then spent quite a lot of time telling him that I didn’t want toast, hummus, nuts, seeds, or a bottle of cider! Normally he wouldn’t be quite so persuasive, but on the first night of his weekend, which is Monday this week, he has a bottle of wine and I think he was losing resolve on my behalf.

We had such a lovely evening though. Although apparently Netflix and chill nowadays means that you watch Netflix then have sex, we watched Netflix and actually chilled out. I wasn’t home till 2am, and I was completely sober!

I’d like to say as a result I woke up feeling fresh as a daisy, but in fact I feel pretty weary. I intend to go back to bed shortly to prepare myself for my shift tonight, especially as I have to get up early for a special delivery this evening. But I’ll tell you all about that tomorrow.

When I got up to get Pea’s breakfast, I couldn’t help stepping on the scales. My hormones have gone back to normal, plus I feel a lot less bloated after peeing like crazy for two days straight.

The result?

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THE FIRST TIME SEEING THE 13 STONE BRACKET SINCE TWO THOUSAND AND EFFING FOUR.

I can’t even believe it, and I’m scared it’s just a blip despite weighing myself a few times over just to make sure. But the undeniable fact remains that despite all of my usual fluctuations, it’s still been about 14 years since I saw that 13. And there it is!

I have to keep the momentum going now, I just have to. I’m out with work people on the 5th of April and I’d love to be firmly established in the 13 stone bracket by then.

Fingers crossed I don’t have a huge (undeserved) gain in the meantime!

No matter what happens over the next few days though, I’m celebrating this victory here and now.

Go me!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Signs of Life

I experienced a huge blow today. One of my favourite things in the whole world is photography, and it seems that ordinary photo printing is NOT vegan. I already know that gelatin is used in film, but I didn’t realise that it is also used in most photographic paper. I love getting proper prints, but for the time being I’m going to knock it on the head until I do further research.

I’m definitely not giving up entirely, because I’ve only contacted one photo printing company so far and there are many other avenues to explore. And in any case I’d never give up my photography itself because I still like to share my photos digitally. Also just because there might not be vegan photo printing now it doesn’t mean there won’t be vegan photo printing in the future. Maybe that’s my calling. Maybe I should become a scientist then revolutionise the industry!

Today I was supposed to be training with my friend but he couldn’t make it (he’s got a lot on at the moment and has said we can go more regularly from next week) so I stuck to my guns and went out on my own. I did four laps round the nature reserve (5km), beat my fastest lap time to date, then did another lap just strolling along, saying hello to some horses and a squirrel, and taking note of the signs of spring.

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Google sent me a ‘remember this day’ notification and last year and the year before things were a lot more ‘springy’ in the park, but what with the recent weather I think that doesn’t come as a surprise to any of us. Spring is on its way now though and that’s what matters.

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I came home to a delivery consisting of my Vegan Tuck Box, which I bought by accident after forgetting to cancel my trial subscription. Everything in my last box, with the exception of a tea bag, was incredibly calorific and I ended up scoffing the lot in a very short space of time. This box however is a lot more reasonable, apart from a small box of giant chocolate buttons which inexplicably has nearly 500 calories in it. I’m going to leave those at my friend’s and we can share them at some point, perhaps after a particularly good training session, when we have both earned them.

After today’s run I ate a fruit and chia seed bar (150 calories) and had the bag of coffee that also came in my box. Who even knew there was such a thing? It seems like a handy thing to have, but I wouldn’t buy them myself in future. It does seem like a lot of unnecessary packaging.

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Although official weigh day is now Monday, I did still weigh myself this morning to get an idea of how I’m doing. If today had have been the day then I would have had a maintain, so that’s good to know considering I ate badly for several days last week. I think the combination of increased exercise and my friend keeping tabs on me has meant that I haven’t been able to go quite as badly off the rails as I would normally. After all I’ve been known on several occasions to put on over half a stone in a single week, but there’s something in me now that will do anything to avoid doing that kind of damage in future. Perhaps I’m getting better at drawing the line?

Right, it’s nap time now as I’m back to work tonight. Hopefully, hopefully, I’ll have proper training tomorrow and it WON’T be cancelled. Fingers crossed!

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

Not Taken Lightly

Today is weigh day and for the first time in a while I haven’t been dreading it. I wasn’t as excited as I should have been, and that’s because I had one sneak peek yesterday. It’s still an improvement on last week though!

But nothing counts until official weigh in, which is when I get up to get Pea’s breakfast on a Tuesday morning.

I’m wearing the same thing I always wear – a muscle top, a pair of undercrackers and the lightest, most threadbare pair of leggings that I own.

This morning I weigh 14 st 6 lbs and I am bloody happy with that! I’ve mentioned it before but 14 st 7 lbs was the lightest I managed to get when I joined Slimming World in 2012 (before putting nearly all of my 7 st loss back on) so to be back there now after struggling so much (since October, if I’m honest) is no mean feat. I’ve also reset my goal within Fitbit and I have just 1 st 10 lbs to go till I reach target!

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I have 2.5 lbs so go until I’m back at my lowest ever Slimming World weight and before I re-earn my latest 7 st award, so let’s see if I can do that this week.

I don’t have a date (or dates) set for training this week but since my trainer went out on Saturday night and didn’t get home until Monday morning I’m guessing he’s going to want to do some damage control!

Either way I still have my kettlebells and my exercise bike, plus I might, might, go out on running on my own one day this week. But I’m not sure about that yet.

In the meantime I’ve been thinking long and hard about my relationship with Slimming a World, and I’ve decided we are going to take a (possibly permanent) break. I’m not going off the rails though! Let me explain…

Whenever I’ve joined Slimming World it’s because I know it works. I need to know, without a shadow of a doubt, that if I eat what they tell me to then I WILL lose weight (bar the odd exercise gain or needing a big poo…)

Now I instinctively know what I need to eat to lose weight. I used to need accurate Syn values, because with my dinner I’d eat a whole packet of Quorn nuggets, or a whole packet of Linda McCartney sausages. Now I have an actual portion of these things and the rest of my meal is generally free and speed food.

The last time I checked a Syn value it was for a vegan burger from Aldi, where I don’t normally shop. I checked the ingredients and since there was oil in it I guessed 6 Syns. And that’s exactly what it was. No matter what I would have had one burger for dinner, so even without counting Syns I would have been ok.

I couldn’t even tell you the last time I had to check a Syn value before that.

So since I don’t go to group and don’t use the app or website, why exactly am I still a member? I’ve no idea! So I’m knocking it on the head to see how I get on.

I have no intention of changing a single thing about the way I eat, except for trying not to binge (but then Slimming World can’t help with that anyway) and I’m also not too proud to go back if I feel my new approach isn’t working.

I reckon I’ll be fine though. Apart from when I’m going madly off the rails, I’m doing really good at eating sensibly. The regular exercise is helping immensely to control my appetite, because I don’t eat before and don’t feel like eating for ages afterwards. I thought I’d really struggle with this and have no energy but in fact it’s the exact opposite, which really surprised me. It’s yet another reason to keep up with my training.

What I will say to anyone reading this who is thinking about joining Slimming World is that you absolutely should! It took me a (very long) while to accept the lesson, but it really does sneakily teach you how to eat healthily. The plan taught me how to cook, how to really fall in love with veggies again, and although I’m still working on it I love the way Slimming World encourages you to remove guilt from your diet. It has no place there!

The only thing I will miss is my little graph, but I have complete weight records on my Fitbit account going back to 2015 so I can manage without it!

Best of all I’ve made some wonderfully supportive friends, and I wouldn’t change that for the world. I couldn’t do it without them.

Well then, serious stuff aside I’ve had a great weekend. After bird-sitting three messy parrots last week my room was smothered in millet husks, pellets, vegetables and feathers. And probably a couple of poops too. And since the washing machine is broken the vacuum cleaner thought it would take a turn too.

The washing machine should (everything crossed) be fixed tomorrow, but thankfully the replacement parts for the vacuum came Saturday so I spent yesterday cleaning, tidying, sorting and generally getting everything ready for the week ahead. I feel organised now, so it was time well spent.

Tonight I’m back at work, so in between now and then I need to get 10,000 steps, get on the exercise bike, do some weight training on the old arms, spend time with Pea and get a couple of hours sleep.

Here’s to a fab week!

Hayley x