Only Up

Thursday was supposed to be my getting out day. It didn’t work out at all. The reason will not surprise you at all.

I mean seriously, would you have done anything different? I didn’t make it past the living room floor! I did have to make a deal with myself – if Thursday wasn’t to be the day then I absolutely had to go today. No excuses. Of course the weather on Thursday was quite nice, and today was drizzly. That’s ok by me though. The park was virtually empty and everything was nice and clean and shiny. There was a lot of everything to see as it happens.

Mushroom season is in full swing! One thing I’m rather desperate to see is a red toadstool, but that’s going to take some active searching while I’m not focusing on my fitness. That’s probably not going to happen this season, because getting back into my fitness is the most important thing. It felt so good to be out!

The last time I walked in the park it took me about an hour because I kept stopping to take pictures, but I did the same route today (and clearly took plenty of pictures) and it took about 50 minutes. That’s because whenever I could, I RAN! I only ran on the level or uphill parts, and if my knee started to hurt I stopped, but it was so good! I got all rosy cheeked but the rain cooled me down again nicely. When there are less mushrooms to see I hope to get the time down to under 40 minutes, purely from a time-saving point of view. The quicker I get my route done, the more time I have left in the day for other things. Like drawing and painting!

I’m now up-to-date with #birdtober again, and I’m especially happy with the wren. It came out exactly as I wanted it to.

I’m enjoying it so much I’m going to paint as many birds as I can once the month is up.

That’s it for my news I think. Thanks for reading!

Hayley x

Counter-cursed

The curse of the Sunday night takeaway has been broken! It wasn’t easy, because Sunday night was also family film night. We’re working our way through the Studio Ghibli classics, and Spirited Away night also coincided with mum and brother’s monthly takeaway. I just tried not to think about it too much, and I got through it without too much bother. Even the smell of the pizza dough seemed less intoxicating than usual.

So with this victory in mind how did I get on at group on Monday? Well, I lost a rather wonderful 6.5 pounds! That’s it, that’s exactly what I needed. Now the ball is rolling again I know I can keep going.

My consultant is lovely, but I didn’t enjoy group all that much this week. I think it was a combination of just being really sleepy and wishing I was in bed, combined with the pungent smell of a fish curry. Yuk! We had a curry night in group, and even if I did trust any of the food (I overheard fish curry lady telling someone her dish was vegetarian) I wouldn’t have fancied it anyway. What I am looking forward to is mocktail night which is coming up next month. That could be interesting, especially as I’m off the sauce. No drinkies for me till Christmas Day!

I had planned to do more walking last week but I was so tired that it never came to fruition. I figured if I let myself get too tired, I’m more likely to go off plan, plus it’s good to let yourself have a decent catch up. I must get out this week though because it’s mushroom season and I want to find some good ones.

The trouble is, my sleep pattern is a little bit messed up. It’s mostly because of Newton! When I got in from work this morning, I should have gone straight to sleep. Instead I spent way too long playing with an energetic puppy. Not sensible! I should be sleeping now really, but I just couldn’t get off.

As ever I think it’s just a case if rebalancing again. I’m doing a more physical job at work tonight and I’m determined to get out for a walk tomorrow, so that should help me reset my pattern.

Yesterday a lot of time was taken up at the hair salon. About three hours actually, but it’s always good to catch up with the awesome dude who has been styling my hair on and off for the last seventeen years. Or thereabouts.

In recent times as you know I’ve struggled to locate my mojo, and I haven’t felt much like myself. However as myself has come back stronger than ever I felt it was time that the outside should match the inside.

I thought about getting my haircut once I’d lost a bit more weight. Then I thought… eff that!

This was me yesterday morning:

This was me yesterday afternoon:

Richard has mulleted me many times over the years. It’s something that really shouldn’t work, but I absolutely love it. Just like the mullet, I’m back!

In fact I’d say I’m more ‘me’ than ever right now. After my latest foray into the world of relationships, I really wondered why I allow myself to be treated badly. The usual suspects didn’t ring true – I don’t crave love or relationships (at least I don’t think I do, perhaps I should question that assumption), I’m really happy when I’m on my own, and I never go actively looking for partners. So I figure it’s not a case of just feeling like I’m not complete without a boyfriend.

But when I fall for someone, I ignore all the red flags and will fold myself in half trying to keep the person who is tearing me apart. I have a telephone assessment for counselling coming up later this month, but from what I can the gather the thing I’m mostly likely to be offered is CBT in order to cope with feelings of depression and anxiety in the future.

But I don’t want to cope. I WANT TO HEAL!

I’ve been asking myself if that’s even possible. Do people ‘get better’ or do they just learn to live with it? Is there something wrong with me? Can I be ‘fixed’? If I want more than CBT, what do I even ask for? Is a more in-depth treatment accessible to me? Do I deserve it? Am I depressed ‘enough’?

The answer popped up most unexpectedly, in the most unlikely of places – Instagram! I stumbled across a whole plethora of help and information after reading about dating advice from someone I follow for a completely different reason and it’s been a total game changer.

I thought I was weird, that others don’t have the same problems as me, but when it comes to love it seems I’m pretty much textbook. Everything I read is almost word-for-word my own experience, and what’s more, I’m learning what do to about it! I’ve never felt so sure that I can stop repeating past mistakes and that something/someone really good is out there waiting for me. I could actually share my life with someone in a really fun, healthy and special way, without destroying myself in the process. WHO KNEW?

Well, a lot of you knew. You tried to tell me, but I didn’t really understand, or if I did and happened to believe it, it didn’t think it could be true for me. I’m sure I’ll go into this more in future posts where I’ll share really valuable resources (I need to make a list and get all of the information in order) but for now let’s just say my mind is well and truly blown. If you are struggling with absolutely anything in life, although social media obviously isn’t a replacement for actual therapy, you can guarantee there’s an Insta-therapist who can point you in the right direction. In my case it simply helped me learn what to ask for. That’s a pretty good starting point.

In the meantime I’ve added a couple of paintings to my Birdtober collection, but I am now a couple of days behind. I intend to catch up tomorrow though and I’m ridiculously excited about fairy wrens. Watch this space.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Life is Poo!

Life isn’t bad by any means, but over the last week or so life has become somewhat focused on poo – specifically whether Newton has done one, what consistency it was and where it was ‘deposited’. We have a Newton group chat so we can give various updates while my sister and her partner are at work, which has occasionally been used to share things such as a video of Newton being able to jump on the sofa for the first time. Mostly though, it’s just poop. That’s what life is now. It’s well worth it though, because his cuteness is reaching critical levels. I may actually explode.

Today, I feel good. Actually I feel fantastic, because I genuinely feel (with no having to force it) like I can and absolutely WILL hit my target. When I’ve tried to get myself back on plan for, ooh, the whole of this year, I’ve felt in the back of my mind that it was only temporary, that the cravings were just waiting in the background for the first signs of weakness. Talk about a self fulfilling prophecy.

This week I’ve got my patience back. I’ve relearned to accept that these things take time and maybe I’m not going to get huge losses like I’ve been used to in the past. I’m now willing to accept consistency. As long as I have a loss each week, I will be grateful for that, and little by little, a little will become a lot.

I’m entirely sure that this week there will be no Sunday takeaway, because I’m sick of being a slave to my cravings. I was doing fine until I got back into the habit of eating rubbish – I didn’t eat ice cream or pizza for months and months and wasn’t the slightest bit bothered. I can get back to that state of mind, and now the weather is getting distinctly chilly it’s the perfect time to do it. It’s way too cold for ice cream!

Over the last few days I’ve been immensely enjoying Newton’s company. His personality is coming out more and more each day, and he has me wrapped around his little finger. I got told off yesterday for sitting in his favourite spot on the sofa.

He actually barked at me because he wanted my seat!

Now we are in October, that also means it’s Inktober, which I dabbled with in 2017. You are supposed to do an ink drawing every day of the month, but I gave up after day 5.

This year I’m doing birdtober, and I doubt I’ll chuck it in this time around because I’m enjoying myself too much. I only found out about it on the 2nd but I caught up straight away.

Today’s offering is a little more rough and ready, but I’m getting better at being ok with that. Last night at work I had unexpected training, and since I smashed the theory part and finished quite a long time before anyone else, rather than just stare at the walls I sketched out an oriole on a bit of scrap paper. I gave him a little colour this evening.

Oh, I also smashed the practical with zero faults. It wasn’t hard but still, it’s nice to have a perfect little moment!

I also went into work early on Wednesday, for free and on purpose. Our Union rep, who is also in charge of lifelong learning, suggested getting a gardening group together. I’d love to learn more about gardening in order to improve our own garden, but don’t know where to start.

The big bosses have agreed that we can use any spare green areas on site and has also agreed to give us a small budget for tools and supplies.

Others in the group are day shift people I don’t know (yet) with some experienced gardeners to tell the rest of us what to do. We can do as little or as much as we like and I’m really looking forward to it. I’m currently encouraging the implementation of many bird feeders and boxes, and there’s a lovely lady I met who wants to come charity shop hopping with me. The Union rep told me we’d get on, and he wasn’t wrong!

Although life has been great I’ve been feeling especially sleepy this week, so I’ve spent most of today actually asleep. Who is this sensible person I’ve become? As a result though, I’m a bit behind and really should finish cooking my dinner.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Disentanglement

Although I’m not ready to jump straight into the world of intuitive eating, that doesn’t mean I haven’t considered some small and immediate changes I want to start making. It also doesn’t mean I haven’t been giving things a significant amount of thought. That’s kinda my thing you see, chronic over-thinker for sure. As long as my thoughts aren’t going round in circles and I’m making progress though, I can deal with that particular character trait.

What I’ve started doing is untangling the mess that is my current view of what my health means to me. The problem is, the threads of diet culture are mixed right up in there, and it’s going to take a while to separate them. There are a fair few knots to undo.

My first priority is to isolate my reasons for eating healthily that have nothing to do with weight loss. If I were giving intuitive eating a proper go, then I’d have to put weight loss completely out of my mind, however I’ve already established I’m definitely not ready for that. What is clear though is that my increasing weight is not enough of a motivator to stop my binge eating behaviours.

What I’ve been doing then is thinking about my other reasons, and it turns out they’re pretty damn solid as reasons go!

    Smells. When I eat a lot of rubbish, my tummy goes wrong. TMI? Undoubtedly, however you guys know I keep it real on here as much as I can. I’ve eaten well for just under 48 hours and already this windy situation has drastically improved (much to the relief of my poor family).
    Indigestion. It only takes one day of me eating well for any heartburn/indigestion to completely disappear.
    Mood. Healthy food helps with a healthy mood!
    Taste. I really love fruits and vegetables. I genuinely don’t think there’s a person on earth who is as into kale as I am. So when I’m eating rubbish I have no idea why I don’t include lovely veg in my meals. I want to think about what I genuinely enjoy rather than how I can use something sugary to self-medicate my depression.
    Sleep. When I eat better, my sleep quality is better. If I’m having trouble getting off I can send myself into a ‘sugar coma’, however a good sleep that does not make. Afterwards I’ll wake up after a short, restless sleep with my heart pounding and feeling like it’s trying to escape my chest.
    Skin quality. Crappy food means crappy skin, and lots of really itchy, painful spots that get redder and sorer without breaking the surface of the skin.
    Energy. The more crap I eat, the more lethargic I feel, the more I crave a sugar fix, the longer the cycle continues.

As you can see that’s more than enough to be getting on with! At the same time I’m going to switch to weighing myself on the first Monday of every month, starting in October. I’m going to try really hard not to weigh myself at all until then. I’m tired of being a slave to the scales, but I also want to keep an eye on things to a certain extent.

If I can do this (and I’m sure I can) I think it will reinforce the above reasons for eating well rather than waiting for affirmation from the scales. This way I hope to be more in touch with how I’m actually feeling. All the while I’ll keep reading and learning more about intuitive eating on the whole, building up my knowledge for when I take my next step.

Since this morning was the first time I managed to control myself whilst going to the shops straight after work in over a MONTH, I’m feeling very positive about it all. I thought about what I actually wanted to eat, and it turned out to be a big juicy orange!

I’d tentatively say that things are on the up, since I feel better than I have done in months, but I’m also staying alert and looking out for signs that it’s another false start. I don’t think it is though.

I think that’s enough reflection for one day. I’ve been out for a few walks lately and plan to go straight from work tomorrow morning, but despite the heatwave of the last few days there are definite signs of autumn in the air.

My plan is to get out walking as many times a week as possible from now on, because last year (and every year now I think of it) I’ve failed to find a single conker. This is unacceptable. Since autumn is so gosh darn beautiful, I’ll be recording as much of it as possible in my journal, which I’m completely addicted to.

I won my current journal in a YouTube competition, perhaps two or three years ago, and I’ve only just figured out the style of journaling that works for me. It took trial and error to find out what I like, but better late than never, eh?

This week’s theme is ‘garden birds’, and I’m copying (emulating?) a wonderful artist by the name of Matt Sewell. I have his book ‘Our Garden Birds’ but I never looked through it properly until now. In fact I have a few birdy art books I’ve never dedicated any proper time to.

It’s good practice, and Mr Sewell is SO TALENTED. At the beginning of the book it explains about jizz (is that a rude term in your neck of the woods? Because it certainly is in mine!)

In the bird world it refers to capturing the overall ‘vibe’ of a bird, and I doubt anyone does it as beautifully or simply as this particular artist.

I haven’t felt this inspired to keep up with my art since I was doing my GCSE at school. I got an A* by the way, one of the things I’m still very proud of to this day.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading a much more positive blog than I’ve been posting of late – I’m sure I enjoyed having the opportunity to write something truly happy for a change!

Until next time,

Hayley x

The Beast

In between me paying for my most recent charity shop purchase (namely the 70’s unit) and it being delivered, I managed to shrink it in my mind. When it turned up I was sure it had doubled in size since I last saw it.

The delivery guys left it in the hall at my request because I knew I’d need to move some things in order to get it up the stairs. So I moved the bookcase that lives in the hall then asked my brother to help me lug it up to my room.

Another thing I didn’t realise, is that the unit is make of teak.

Teak is SOLID.

Teak is DENSE.

Teak is HEAVY.

We somehow got the unit to the top of the stairs, at which point it got stuck. We couldn’t get it round the bannister at the top. I felt sick, my vision started going grainy and I was sure I was going to pass out. Luckily my brother was able to hold it at the top while I dashed off for a sip of water, but when I came back to help we couldn’t get it back down into the hall again, at least not without flipping it over. I’d reached complete muscle fatigue by this point and knew I didn’t have it in me.

By now I was considering going to the shops for an axe and smashing the thing to smithereens, but instead I patiently unscrewed the legs.

Let me tell you, they built things to last in those days. When the earth is decimated by nuclear war one thing will still be standing – my beast of a unit. Once I’d removed all of the screws, still nothing was moving.

They were also held on by glue that’d had 40-odd years to set. My little bro was not to be deterred though, and eventually he got the legs off using an ancient chisel, a hammer and plenty of brute force.

Then we got it up the stairs! My brother may possibly have a broken foot, I am bruised and aching everywhere, but it’s in its place. It’ll now be some time before I get around to doing it up, but I’m in no rush. The main thing is that I have places to put all of my stuff.

Clothes and shoes live under the bed (it’s one of those lift-up ones), photography stuff lives in my telephone table (also to be up-cycled), Pea sits on my Ikea drawers and everything else goes in the unit. Lovely. I’ve never been this decluttered and free of stuff in my entire life.

I’d also never repotted a plant, until this week. So I think I am a proper adult now?

Let’s see if I can keep these alive. I absolutely love my yellow pot which is another Ikea purchase, and was originally terracotta. I took a can of cheap spray paint to it and now it’s a lot more cheerful. I’m all about bright colours lately.

Yesterday was a trip to the doctor’s to get more happy pills and to talk about my knee. As far as the knee goes (it’s been especially painful lately) the doctor assured me it’s just wear and tear and I won’t make it worse by continuing to go on long walks. However he is referring me for physio to strengthen the muscles around the knee, and I’m looking forward to getting more specialist advice.

As for the depression I must say I’m still feeling rather flat. Although it’s not ideal, at least I’m feeling stable and managing to get loads of stuff done. I’m keeping up with my little sketches and generally doing ok, but I’m still not entirely pleased with my progress.

I suppose I just have to be patient and give it time, but apart from feeling flat my eating is waaaaaay outta control, the worst it’s been in years. I desperately want to sort it out, and each evening I pull myself together and tell myself tomorrow will be different. So far it hasn’t been true though. Still, at least it’s now only one aspect of daily life I’m struggling with as opposed to this time last week when I was questioning everything. I’m feeling a lot more settled in that respect!

Ah, it’ll all be fine I’m sure. One constant I have is good people around me, and when it comes to that side of things I couldn’t be more content. Yay for decent folk!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

PS for some reason my commenting has turned itself off and won’t come back, despite it working on a test post I did the other day. I’m currently stumped! So sorry about that, and I’ll sort it when I can!

PPS I figured it out! Lord knows how it got switched off because I had to do it through the ancient WordPress editor that I haven’t used in yonks. Stoopid WordPress…

I’ll do it tomorrow…

‘I’ll do it tomorrow’ has been my motto for the last month. I’ll get back on plan, I’ll go for the walk, I’ll do the thing, whatever the thing may be. But tomorrow never arrives, so yesterday I had to grit my teeth and just do it. I haven’t been doing much, because everything is an uphill struggle again. There’s no real reason why, just the blues I guess.

So I ate the healthy things, and have done the same today. That can only improve matters in the long run, especially as due to the rubbish I’ve been eating my face has erupted with spots. They’re everywhere, in parts of my face I’ve never had a spot in my life! If that’s not my body telling me things have to change then I don’t know what is.

They have started to calm down now, but in any case I think my current house guest is doing a good job at taking the attention away from my face.

Here she is again modelling my latest Ikea purchase which I’m oh so happy with. I fell in love with these boards as soon as I saw them, and luckily they’re some of the crazy cheap things you can get from Ikea.

The little plastic drawers are so cool, they pull out but the lid stays put so you can put cute stuff on top! I’m going back to get another one next month.

Here’s part of my room as it looks now. There is normally more space but since I had to accommodate an extra birdy I had to move things around. I reckon I’ll have the time and money to decorate in October so I thought I’d use this opportunity to show you my ‘before’ picture. I’m really looking forward to the end result.

You can also see that under the window there is an old fashioned telephone table which I bought from a charity shop for £25. I’m going to sand it down and repaint it, then it will be used to store all of my photography equipment. My camera bag fits perfectly in the compartment under the seat and the more fragile bits and bobs go in the drawers.

All I’ll tell you about the rest of my plans for my room is that it’s ‘colourful’. You’ll just have to wait and see what else I have in store!

It’s now the end of my weekend which has flown by in record time. I went to visit the friend whose wedding I’m photographing on Sunday, and I ended up not getting home till gone 11pm after only having 3 hours sleep after my Saturday night shift. It’s taken me the rest of the weekend to recover from that to be honest, but at least I got some important things done. I’m sure this will be the last time he ever gets married so I really don’t want to mess it up.

I did manage to start filling in my sketch book during the week, and although I hadn’t planned on sharing it here is a little drawing of one of our cats.

Her head is a bit squished, but I must keep reminding myself IT DOESN’T MATTER! We all have to start somewhere.

My knee is still sore but I did manage to get out for one lovely walk with a friend.

He’s not the kind who would normally walk for fun so I’m not sure if he’ll come again, but I’ll keep trying anyhoo.

From tomorrow (yes, I really WILL do it tomorrow) I’m going to ramp up the walking again starting with a trip round the park straight from work in the morning.

That’s sure to make me feel a bit better at least.

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