That’s Enough

Things have been pretty stressful lately, with this and that going on behind the scenes, but I’ve been dealing with it pretty well I think. This has coincided with massive cravings for everything and anything sugary, but most unusually I don’t think the two are connected.

I’m almost 100% sure that it’s not a case of emotional eating. I suppose I could be doing it subconsciously, but that’s not what my instinct is telling me. I think I just got a taste for the sweet stuff again and it’s been like trying to get rid of a genuine addiction.

This morning I decided that enough was enough, and I was out of the house by 6:30 in the morning in order to set off on an epic walk. I knew I’d be hungry by the time I reached an Aldi which was on the way, so I’d already planned what Free foods I’d be picking up.

By the time I was well on my way I realised I’d forgotten my gloves, and it was ridiculously cold even though the weather was set to be nice later on. I was too stubborn to turn back, which is a mistake I will try not to make again. Even after four miles I couldn’t walk fast enough to get warm and the sun wasn’t much use either. At least it had the decency to make everything look pretty.

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At Aldi I warmed up a little and picked up the bits I’d intended to, but just before I got there a message popped up from Steve asking if I fancied going to a Viking vs Saxon battle site in a nearby town.

Well you don’t get offers like that every day! I rang back straight away to say ‘YES!’, at which point he suggested we also got breakfast while we were out. What’s one more day off plan, eh?

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During breakfast I had a really hard time adhering to the signs everywhere telling me NOT TO FEED THE STARLINGS. I reckon I could have got one eating out of my hand, and what a good shot that would have made. It’s a shame I’m so scared of getting told off.

Once we started our exploring we came across a lady making knotted bracelets and other bits and bobs, and suddenly my memory was well and truly jogged. When I was a kid my parents bought me and my sister bracelets just like the ones she was selling, and then I realised – it was the exact same lady! I double-checked and she confirmed that she’s been selling the same things from the same spot for 26 years, so it was definitely her.

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Steven bought me a nice new yellow bracelet, bright and summery to complement the day.

After a frosty start look at how the day turned out! Beautiful or what? Exploring is hard work, so when Steve suggested he treat me to lunch at Mrs Salisbury’s Famous Tea Rooms, I displayed all the resistance of a wet lettuce.

He had to pop off to make a quick phone call while I did the ordering, and I accidentally got myself a passion fruit Bellini. Oops.

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In all honesty it was great to not have to worry about what I was eating. I was well and truly in holiday mode even though it was just a little day trip – I just wanted to relax and enjoy myself. For the most part I don’t feel guilty about it. But the simple fact remains that if I keep eating like I have been, I won’t be able to continue to live the life that I have come to know and love.

A couple of days ago Steve and I were traipsing up the hill of doom in our favourite park when I spotted a familiar pair at the top. It was my ex (my first proper boyfriend in fact) and his wife, and it was a great feeling to bump into them after a good few years and have them struggle to recognise me because I look so different. It’s something I never tire of, and I don’t want to go back to dreading bumping into people I haven’t seen for a while because I know only too well that look of shock that appears on their faces. It’s not the good kind.

Today I had already been walking for 8 miles/three hours before Steve picked me up, and we spent most of the afternoon on our feet on top of that. I don’t have a single ache or pain, and although I’m a bit weary from not sleeping too well last night I could easily go for many more miles. No food is nice enough to warrant giving that up.

I also have a really exciting event coming up in May, called Swingamajig. My friend Paul invited me (he is friends with the organisers and goes every year) and apart from seeing a friend I haven’t seen in aaaaages, it’s also a fantastic photographic opportunity and, by the sounds of it, a whole load of fun.

It’s described as being all about the sights and sounds of the 1920’s (I love that whole era) with a modern twist, and I am going all in. Check out my dress!

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I want to be feeling my best when I go, because I’m hoping to get some fantastic shots. This will no doubt mean engaging with other festival-goers. As such I need to keep my confidence levels as they are currently (or better) and one thing that helps that is being in control of my food and staying fit.

It’s going to be awesome.

I’ve come to the conclusion that a blind weigh-in hasn’t helped one way or another, and I’d rather face up to how I’m doing and just get the hell on with it. I skipped weigh in today (naughty!) so let’s see what next week brings.

This evening I had my first proper on-plan meal in I-don’t-know-how-long, so now I just need to stick to it.

Time to go cold turkey then! There are too many good things in the future not to.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Here We Go Then

I went back to group today after not weighing in last week, and my consultant was totally behind my decision to do blind weigh-ins for the time being. She said she has a lady at her other group who only gets her results once every four weeks which I think is a great idea, so I’m going to look at the number on the scales on the last weigh-in of each month. The biggest challenge is going to be not stepping on the scales at home, but I’m sure I can do it.

The main problem I have right now as that as soon as I get into the 12 stone bracket I start feeling like I deserve a ‘treat’, then everything goes a bit wonky. If I don’t know what I weigh, then I can’t get into that mindset. That’s the theory anyway.

As usual the weekend has flown by but I’ve spent a lot of it outside which has been wonderful. The weather on Sunday was spectacular so Steve and I went out for a walk/run interspersed with press-ups.

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Later on I spent hours working on my photo album, and I’m finally getting somewhere. Now I only have seven months to catch up on.

Today I’ve been to my sister’s for a crafty day, and although I didn’t get a huge amount done I did try something I haven’t done before which is making an animal using air-drying clay. It was much harder than I thought it would be, but I’m quite happy with my first attempt and have a good idea of how I can improve the next time.

I can’t wait till it’s dry and can be painted!

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Right now I’m fairly sure this is the most tired I’ve ever been in my entire life, so it’s off to bed for me.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Belief

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Valentine’s Day marked another little slip for me. Truth be told I used it as an excuse to have ‘one last day’ of naughtiness before really knuckling down again. That’s OK though! Reading my friend’s blog always helps, because no matter what internal struggle I’m going through the likelihood is that he’s been through it too and has some wise words to say on the subject.

One part of his latest post jumped out at me.

‘I screw up and then I sort it out.

Over and over again.’

Exactly that. It’s normal to slip, everyone does it. Neither of us has quite got the hang of not feeling bad about it afterwards, but we’ve both become experts at the sorting out part. That’s why, for the first time in both of our lives, our (lower) weights have been stable.

Dave also mentioned that our new appearances have become our new ‘normal’. I’ve gone from seeing my reflection in a window or mirror while I’m out and realising with a jolt that the person looking back at me is, well, me, to seeing old photos and not recognising that person at all. I’m not sure exactly when my perception shifted, but it’s a good feeling!

Until now any success on the scales would have been very short lived, something my colleagues would testify to.

I don’t really get many compliments about my weight loss at work these days, because any losses I have now certainly aren’t as drastic or noticable, but I do still get the odd ‘we didn’t think you’d keep it off, you know’ comment. I quite like these comments, because I didn’t think so either, and it reminds me of how flipping awesome I am for managing it.

Believe me though, you can do it too. Don’t ever doubt it. If you screw up, sort it out. Over and over again.  

One thing that has cheered me up is the reappearance of that mystical ball of light in the sky, otherwise known as the sun. A few rays and some warmer days has perked me up no end.

Yesterday I went on a walk to get some exercise in before Steve came over, and there was actual evidence of SPRING.

That bumblebee is quite possibly the biggest one I’ve ever seen.

This week I’ve been thinking a lot about my photography and how excited I am for the future, but I did have a little moment of doubt. I was thinking about how a couple of years ago a friend and colleague asked me to do a wedding but I didn’t have the confidence, so in the end another colleague (who I don’t know personally) did it for him.

I remember seeing the photos and thinking ‘I could have done that’, and it was true as far as technical skills go.

This person quit work not so long ago to go into photography full time, so I thought I’d take a peek at his Facebook page (link) to see how he’s getting on.

Oh. My. Word.

His work is absolutely stunning. Whilst appreciating the hard work that has gone into honing his skills and generally just admiring his style, I also had a sinking feeling. I felt like that should have been me. I should have done that first wedding. I should have had more confidence. I should have pushed myself out of my comfort zone.

Then I metaphorically shook myself, because I couldn’t have just forced myself to become the person that could do that, it’s taken time and effort. I’ve spent the last two-and-a-half years thinking and changing and shrinking and growing in all kinds of different ways, and it’s OK that it took me a while (36 years!) to get to this point. Better late than never.

Today was something of a landmark occasion actually. When I went back to Slimming World in 2016 I met a lovely lady called Steph, who is also a photographer. I knew instantly that I liked her, and that it would be cool to take our cameras out together for a walk and have a chat.

We haven’t attended the same Slimming World group for a long time, but we stayed Facebook friends and I always liked to see how she was getting on. Then last week, after literally years of meaning to do it, I asked if she wanted to go out for a walk and a talk (or a twalk, as Dave the blogger would say).

She has a gorgeous rescue dog called Cinnamon (who for a photographer’s dog annoyingly does not seem to want to look at the camera) but I managed a few nice snaps regardless.

I like this new Hayley who isn’t frightened of talking to people, even people she knows. I’d been hoping to meet her for a long, long time.

As for my weight loss, whilst mulling it over at work last night I’ve decided to try something new. From now until April, I’m going to do completely blind weigh-ins. I’m even going to ask the social team not to write my results in my book, because I know it’ll be really hard for me to resist peeking.

The reason for this is that whenever I get close to target I get a little bit obsessed with thinking ‘if I can just lose x amount per week I’ll be at target by such-and-such a date’. It’s good to be focused and have goals, but if I get too obsessed it makes me think of all the worst kinds of food for some reason.

I’m still going to work hard and stay active, but without being consumed by the numbers. Let’s see how it goes!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

The Plot

Last Wednesday marked a whole year since me and Steve first went walking together at what is now my favourite park, so I painted him a little card to mark the occasion.

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It depicts the hill of doomwhich neither of us has been able to run up without stopping so far, but is also one of my favourite places to pause and take a picture. In fact we were there today.

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You may notice that I used artistic licence to get the castle in the picture, which is just out of shot to the right. So sue me!

I was taking a walk into town this morning and had just closed my exercise ring on my Apple watch when a message popped up from Steve. He was asking if I wanted to meet him at the park. I stopped in my tracks and turned around whilst ringing him to say ‘hell yes!’

As such I’ve had double the amount of exercise I intended for today, which is good because from a health point-of-view the weekend didn’t go so well and I have some catching up to do.

I totally lost the plot, and some bad habits returned. I’m determined to make it a temporary return though. On Saturday, before work, Steve needed to pop and see his friend José. He said I probably wouldn’t want to come, what with having work and all. I shouldn’t have gone – sensible Hayley would have stayed behind and rested before doing an 8-hour night shift. Sensible Hayley wasn’t home though.

I really like this particular friend, although I’d only met him once before, plus I knew Steve’s son and his girlfriend would be there who are also just the best people. That’s my defence and I’m sticking to it! While I think of it, this is in contrast to a little under a year ago when I was absolutely terrified at the thought of meeting Steve’s son because I was so shy. Now I’m thinking of launching a photography business where I’ll voluntarily be dealing with lots of strangers. Mental. Anyway, I digress…

By the time we got back to mine Steve was coming down with something and I was absolutely cream crackered. Steve went home and I ordered… takeaway pizza.

On Sunday, the first day of my weekend, Steve texted to say he was really feeling poorly and that he wouldn’t be able to come over. I decided to make the most of it and sat down to binge watch the second half of the series The Haunting of Hill House. I watched this alone because Steve wasn’t into it and it didn’t make it on to our shared watch list, so it was the perfect opportunity. The only problem is that after the pizza incident I didn’t really stop eating and drinking for the whole damn weekend.

On Monday I deeply regretted the food side of things, but I decided to eat a couple of things I’ve been seriously craving for weeks, and I think I have it out of my system now. The worst part is that I ditched my Slimming World group because I wasn’t feeling up to it at all. In itself it’s not a good idea, but I know how I bloat and I just couldn’t handle seeing a 10lb gain on the scales.

I’m really cross with myself that I was so determined to get to target by the end of my 12 week countdown, yet I’ve given myself such a huge setback. It certainly isn’t over yet though, so let’s see what next weigh-in brings now I’m totally back on it and fighting again. It’s still doable!

Foodwise it was a three-day black hole, but on the other hand I’m really pleased with myself that I had such a productive weekend. When I eat badly and feel guilty, it makes me want to do absolutely nothing, but I forced myself to do the things that needed to be done and I felt so much better for it.

I put some things up for sale on Shpock, hoping to avoid lots of post office runs, but I’ve given that up as a bad job because there are just too many time-wasters. I’ve had so many no-shows, even for something that was only £3!

I have three or four big items that have to be collection only, but other than that I’ll have to take the time to eBay things properly. Ah well, it was worth a try, and at least I’ve made a start.

After a trip to the tip (the recycling centre) I went to see my dad. Getting out of the house was a good idea and I was feeling a bit better so I then edited my 200 favourite phone pictures from 2018 down into 50 6×4 prints, which didn’t take as long as I thought it would now that the keyboard shortcuts for Photoshop are second nature to me.

I did two lessons for my Wedding Photography diploma, I did my washing, I learned how to use a camera my friend has lent me (more on that at a later date) had excellent quality time with Pea and best of all I got my nan’s sewing machine out to make a new home for all of my pins.

It’s been much too long since I last had it out but weirdly I remembered how to thread it and it wasn’t too long before I knocked this up, using one of Pea’s old perches instead of a piece of dowling. I cleaned the poops off of it first, I assure you.

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It was a little bitter-sweet though, because it reminded me of how much I would have had in common with my nan if she hadn’t died just as I’d become an adult. If she’d still been alive now we would have been such good friends.

Bummer.

Anyway, there’s nowt to do but carry on, and after just half a day back on plan I’m already feeling tip top once more.

Here’s to a good week.

Hayley x

Target Talks & Farewell’s

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

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

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

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

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

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Blimey I look sleepy. I really was.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

All the Effs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Buzzing!

Remember I said I was working ten shifts in a row? Well it’s all done now. I expected it to be hell on toast, but as I’ve been getting an adequate amount of sleep, eating well and generally looking after myself, it was a breeze. In fact it was miles easier than doing a 4-day-week not so long ago.

The best part of all though was (is) the four-day weekend which I’m still enjoying now. Friday I hardly sat down and got an absolute ton of stuff done. I did a couple of errands for Steve, I had a massive clear out in the kitchen, I went shopping, I dropped off seven bags of stuff at the charity shop, I did my laundry, I cleaned Pea’s cage and I vacuumed. Then Steve came over and I cooked him dinner. Phew!

On Saturday my little sister came to visit, and I was supposed to drop her off at home. As it happens her boyfriend fell off his bike and needed to go to the hospital, so I drove to hers, picked him up and then dropped them both off at A&E. That’s not exactly the whole story though. He fell off about two minutes from home, did a two hour bike ride, came home, showered, cleaned his bike, then realised that his arm was most probably broken. He’s one of the most educated and intelligent people I know whilst simultaneously being a complete tit. It turns out he broke the radial head in his arm (something to do with the elbow?) so no cycling for him for six weeks. It’s probably for the best.

Between then and the early hours of this morning I barely moved from my desk, but that’s not to say I haven’t been busy.

I have a ‘Project Life’ photo album where I print off and keep all of my favourite shots. I love the layout and it looks great, however it’s very time-consuming. First of all I decide what I want to print, specifically edit them for gloss paper, make sure I have the right number of portrait and landscape shots, then (the really fun part) I have to resize the portrait ones and stitch two together at a time in Photoshop so that they can be printed on 4×6 paper.

Let us not forget that when I collect the prints the little ones have to then be separated, plus I have to be awkward – I don’t like square corners so I then use a corner punch to round them off. No really.

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Since meeting Steve I have taken a lot of photos and had very little spare time, which has resulted in me being a year-and-a-half behind on my editing and printing. It took me hours, but the editing is finally done and some of the prints ordered. I only ordered 36, because that’s how many prepaid print credits I had left. The rest will have to wait until I get my March pay.

Only my best DSLR shots and/or special events make it into the main album, so now I ‘only’ have literally thousands of phone shots to go through. I want them to be even smaller than 2×3 prints (I’ll show you what I’m doing with them at a later date) so that’s going to take even more editing, but I’m getting the hang of it and my workflow is, well, flowing.

I’m going to stay on top of it from now on. Honest.

This morning I was up at 6am to be at a local park for sunrise. My brother asked me if I had a camera he could borrow that would be suitable, but I knew if he just trusted the automatic settings it would be overexposed. The best solution was for me to meet him there (he cycled) so I could take the picture myself.

Unfortunately the light index was rubbish meaning that the photo isn’t very interesting, but it was still sort-of nice to get out in the painfully cold fresh air. I had thermal gloves on and I swear I was on the verge of getting frostbite. It felt like it anyway.

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There just weren’t enough little clouds for it to be a decent shot. Ho hum.

After returning home I loaded the car up for a trip to the local recycling centre, visited the farm shop for a giant Spanish onion, super cheap sprouts, some yummy looking kale and an argument debate at the checkout with a man who said you only see fat people at Slimming World so it can’t possibly work. Then I legged it home just in time for my photography lesson.

Yep, you read that right. Some years ago I made a really excellent decision. I did a foundation diploma in photography for £20 (online) with the Shaw Academy and once I’d finished I found I’d caught the bug. I thought about simply signing up for the advanced course, but instead I bought a package which means I get access to all of their courses for the rest of my life. I think I paid somewhere between £300 and £400, and it was worth every penny just for the two courses I’ve done so far.

Since technology changes so fast and there’s something new in the photography world every other minute, I thought it would be good to be able to revisit the course as and when I please.

When my friend asked me to photograph his wedding I logged in with the intention of redoing the advanced course, just for a refresher, but then I noticed that they do a specific course in wedding photography. BONUS!

My first lesson went brilliantly and I’m positively buzzing with excitement. Until recently I never would have considered it, but I’ve decided to try and do something with my skills, and already I’m seeing benefits from putting out the feelers.

I spoke to a friend yesterday who invited me to an event in Birmingham in May. Just on the off chance (because he knows A LOT of people) I asked if he knows the organisers and if he could find out whether I’d be allowed to take a professional-type camera in just for personal use. I need to practice shooting with a flash in low-light conditions because until now I’ve purely been in love with natural light, plus I need to start building a portfolio. He thinks that wouldn’t be a problem, but even better than that, he can probably get me in for free if I agree that they can use the photos I take.

Experience AND exposure? Erm, YES PLEASE!

In addition to the photography stuff, when I’m done with the wedding course there are a ton of other courses I can take to help with the business-side of things such as promotion and whatnot.

Until now I never thought I had anything to offer in an industry that’s already so competitive, but I think my style is developing and that I have something quite out-of-the-ordinary to offer.

Whatever direction I decide to go in, what I know right now is that I’m EXCITED at the uncertainty of it all for the first time in my life.

ANYTHING could happen!

Speaking of which it’s time for weigh in. Talk amongst yourselves…

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I lost 3 lbs! I had one of those weeks where I felt like I hadn’t lost much, and I was concerned that my change in schedule over the weekend and the fact I’ve barely moved would have an impact but it seems I’m home and dry.

I now weigh 13st 0.5lbs and I’m tantalisingly close to being back into the 12 stone bracket. Not to worry though, I’ll have that next week for sure.

Group overran this evening so I’d best get on with cooking dinner before I start trying to eat my keyboard.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Cold Snap

Yep, the weather has turned in the UK. I used to be hot all year round, but now I have less insulation my default setting is cold. When the sun is shining, like today, I’m perfectly happy with that. Now I’m slimmer I can fit into the cold weather clothing provided by my work, so for the last few shifts, what with a thermal base layer, joggers, a long-sleeved t-shirt, a woolly hat, two pairs of socks, gloves and a fleece snood, I was positively toasty.

The best part though is that I’ve discovered I’m a hat person. When I gain weight my face gets really big and hats just don’t look right. This is the only old photo I can find of me wearing a hat but I’m sure you can, um, kinda get the idea…

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Don’t ask.

This year has definitely been the year of the hat which has saved me SO MUCH TIME. I don’t think I’ve done my hair for work since November, which means an extra 10-20 minutes in bed. Yay!

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This is my favourite hat, because I’m currently obsessed with mustard. I have quite a collection going on now – this is just a small sample. The Christmas hats have of course been packed away until December but if I remember rightly I now have enough to wear a different one every day of the week (and then some).

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While we’re on the subject of cold I decided this year to keep the garden birds fed over the winter, but this is proving to be quite difficult. The sparrows have been going absolutely bananas for the seeds and they have been getting through around two whole feeders’ worth a day. Unfortunately the greedy gits are going to have to wait till payday before I can get any more.

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Even though I haven’t been able to run again I did still increase my Body Magic last week with a walk around my favourite park, among other things. Although it was freezing (literally in places, including the lake) it was beautifully sunny until the very end of the walk.

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Since I haven’t had a weekend (I have a four-day one coming up though, phew), there’s not much to tell you about apart from weigh in yesterday.

I lost 4.5 pounds! 

For a very small moment of time I had the audacity to be disappointed with that, as normally when I’m back on plan after a blowout I can lose more. Then I reminded myself of how big my appetite was during the week and how I managed to eat quite frankly a huge quantity of food and still get that kind of loss. It’s a win.

Thankfully my appetite has now returned to normal, so I could get on with enjoying group and feeling positive. Unfortunately my usual consultant Amanda was poorly (boo) but on the plus side it meant our group was covered by the awesome Ryan (yay!)

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If there’s ever any doubt in your mind whether your consultant genuinely cares about your journey, then just look at what Amanda and Ryan (@amanda_sw_leighonsea and @southendslimmer on Instagram) did yesterday. Ryan was in Norwich but as soon as he found out he was needed he made the TWO HOUR journey to Essex, including 45 minutes stuck in traffic, to make sure our group still ran. Amanda, despite feeling really ill and despite the fact she isn’t local to our group, braved rush hour to meet up with the social team (also awesome) to hand over everything needed to make sure group could go ahead.

That’s what I call above and beyond.

Group was an especially inspirational one with people sharing really personal things about how far they’ve come and how differently they feel now. After struggling for the last couple of months having a full seven days on plan and seeing everyone yesterday has made me feel like I can do anything again.

Anything also includes having a decent sleep, so it’s off to bed for me before I begin my 8th shift in a row. On the plus side after tonight, I only have two more to go!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Peak Hayley

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

Damn and bother.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great weekend!

Hayley x

The First

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x