Icy Adventures

Part of my recovery from (ew, I have to say it again) love addiction, involves not using anything to numb the pain and discomfort I’m feeling. No alcohol. No drugs. No distracting relationships, and – the author is very clear on this point – no using food to the same end. Easy for her to say!

This is similar to my decision to stop my course of anti-depressants. Since I’m in a place where I can cope without them, I decided that I needed to let myself feel the things I was avoiding. I can’t address my problems if I don’t know what they are. Although I’ve been an emotional eater for as long as I’ve had emotions, for some reason I didn’t consider until I read the words on the page how much my eating habits should absolutely be categorised alongside those other more insidious things. I’ve been doing ok with that so far, with only one rogue sandwich that wasn’t entirely on plan. Even that wasn’t because I was miserable as such, just annoyed that the scales haven’t been budging. More on that in a bit…

This week I started my ‘inner child’ work. I’m still very new to this side of things so don’t really know how to adequately explain the concept of the inner child, but this first stage involves me writing out every significant event in my life to date – good things, bad things, turning points etc.

I got to age ten and I was done, I needed a break. My time of the month is on its way which in itself brings sadness and a massive dip in energy, so I decided to wait until those feelings abate before I continue. This is self-care, y’all!

Weirdly, the only two events I’ve come up with so far that weren’t negative were the birth of my brother and sister. Weird because I honestly can’t remember feeling worried that they’d replace me as number one child, and weird because once they learned to walk we did not get along. It got even worse when they started talking. Ugh!

The idea of the exercise is to look for patterns and identify what triggers a tantrum in your inner child despite you now being a bona fide grown up.

Already it’s not hard for me to work out. Abandonment, abandonment, abandonment. When someone in my life nowadays disappears, my inner child is scared out of her wits. All she can think is they’re not coming back. They’re never coming back. This always happens. People always leave me.

After growing up with a father who would go out drinking ‘for a couple of hours’ in the afternoon, and next thing you know you’re pacing the living room at 3am with your mum, wondering if it’s time to start ringing around the local hospitals, you would think I’d be more discerning with my own partners. Nope, my relationship past is littered with no-shows and disappearing acts.

Past Hayley has let her inner child take over, and I’ve ended up throwing mobile phones up the wall on more than one occasion, crying, pleading, just quietly being frantic with worry so as not to cause a fuss but being totally unable to function till he shows. Definitely more quietly worrying in recent times – there’s no point telling someone how much their disappearing upsets me only for them to promise they won’t do in future, then… just keep on doing it.

Future Hayley might well end up in this situation again, but future Hayley will be whole and healed. She’ll go about her business when he doesn’t show, because her life is full of things she loves to do. She knows that his behaviour is nothing to do with her not being ‘good enough’. She already knows her worth. When he does surface, she’ll decide that this kind of behaviour is not what she wants from a partner, and she’ll move on, making space for someone more deserving.

Whilst going over all this I cried several times, occasionally over things I thought I’d forgotten about. That’s good, that’s progress. Then I felt crappy for a while, now I feel a bit better. That’s how it works I suppose. I’m pleased I’ve made a start, because I approached this exercise with the enthusiasm of someone who’s about to have their teeth drilled into with no anaesthetic. I’m guessing the teeth drilling would be worse. Marginally.

A chap at work mentioned that I looked serene and asked if it was because I had a new man in my life. I was surprised on two counts – one, because no man I’ve ever been interested in has been the type to bring the slightest bit of serenity, and two, because I have so much inner turmoil right now. I guess my poker face must be improving.

I’ve decided to schedule two afternoons a week for ‘thinking time’, like I’d be possibly be doing if I were seeing an actual therapist. That way (I hope) it won’t overwhelm me.

I’m trying not to panic about weighing in, which is happening later on. This week I’ve been doing a low-carb version of Slimming World known as SP, where you eat lots of protein and lots of low energy-density foods. People in group who have done it have had fantastic losses, but I’ve been absolutely smashing it and yet the scales have refused to budge.

I put off weighing myself till Thursday, then I couldn’t help myself any longer. I was tired and hungry, I was sure I was going to see a great loss, and I wanted to get a buzz from seeing that it was working. Except… one pound ON. I’ve been so good, that shouldn’t be physically possible! So I cracked and ate a sandwich, immediately regretting it.

Saturday and Sunday, I ditched SP before any more sandwich incidents could occur, but to be honest I’m quite proud of myself for stopping at that one sandwich. That’s pretty impressive for me.

I really do have a distinct feeling of not having done ‘enough’ this week. I’ve been too tired to walk every day, but the two trips I did take around the park yielded good fungal results.

Yesterday morning was spent having the best time with my brother. I suggested we check out a country park that’s new to us, but by the time I finished work I was regretting having suggested it. This is normal for me – I get too tired and tell myself ‘next Sunday I’ll just sleep all day!’ Then I go out, have fun, and decide it was worth it after all.

In fact yesterday was the most pure, unadulterated fun I’ve had in ages.

We got to the park a couple of hours before the visitor centre opens, and there were only a couple of dog walkers about. It was freezing, literally. There was a blanket of ice over everything but the sun was out and everything was mightily pretty.

There were loads of puddles that were frozen over, and I think we stepped in every single one. Any toddlers arriving later on would no doubt be disappointed, but that’s not my problem. They should have got their parents up earlier, right?

Just look how thick the ice was!

Stomping over icy, crunchy grass and stepping in creaky, glassy ice puddles are two of the most satisfying things in the whole world. Fact.

I also did something scary, something I haven’t done in years. Have you been down a slide as an adult? Looking from the top it seemed so steep. Surely I’d go flying off the end and possibly really hurt myself? My brother decided to film it, because if I did hurt myself, filming it would of course be even more hilarious. Thanks bro.

Ok, perhaps I wasn’t in danger after all! Injury averted, a walk through the more wooded parts got me a few more lovely shots.

As we headed back towards the visitor centre, we realised our early start paid off because it was packed. But we absolutely had to go in to get deer food. The park has fallow deer that live there all year round and they are cuuuuuuute!

Back to reality though, and the weigh in results are in. I’m in shock, because I was so sure I’d messed it all up. In fact, I lost 3lbs!

This week I’m really not going to weigh myself at home, honestly. It’s more trouble than it’s worth.

With that I must sign off as group is about to begin. Have a fab week everyone!

Hayley x

Addictions

Now that I have significantly less troubles on my plate, I’ve found that some brain fog has dissipated and I can think clearly again. Since I currently have the mental capacity to do so, I’ve started reading Women Who Love Too Much by Robin Norwood.

It took me a long time to discover this book. Every relationship I’ve had so far has found me getting myself in worse and worse situations, so much so that with the last one (not counting Gentleman Friend, he was just a slight regression) I thought another one like that might very well be the end of me. I knew something had to change, but didn’t know what. I had no explanation as to why I got involved in the first place (knowing full well he wasn’t right for me), why my feelings were so intense, why I found it so hard to walk away… I felt lost and hopeless, doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over.

I eventually found my way to this book via several Instagram accounts and a Facebook support group for women like me, but I had it on my Kindle for a long time before I found the courage to start reading it.

Basically, and it’s absolutely mortifying for me to admit this, I am addicted to what I have (up to this point) perceived as love. It’s even more cringy that when I think of that, I think of that godawful Robert Palmer song too. Aren’t things embarrassing enough already?

Thus far, I’ve been attracted to men who I think need me. If they need me, then it won’t matter if I’m essentially unlovable. I’ve made myself so useful, that they won’t want to leave me. It never occurred to me in any of my relationships whether they were actually worth it or not. Some of them, I’ve realised afterwards, I never even particularly liked. Yet the feelings were so all-consuming at the time, I felt compelled to act the way I did. I don’t think it would be exaggerating to call it obsession.

It’s so exhausting, trying to keep him happy all the time and feeling absolutely, 100% responsible if he isn’t, that it starts to take a physical toll on the body. You know how I’ve been struggling with my energy levels for so long? Totally normal. I spent over a year just giving and giving but riding off the adrenaline of conflict and uncertainty. When that was gone, well, I was spent.

The book says that people of my background often have an underlying depression (yep) but when we are so full of adrenaline it’s physically impossible to be depressed. Bad news is, this is of course unsustainable and you’re left with a deeper depression that the one you started with (yep).

Such women may unconsciously seek the powerful stimulation of a difficult and dramatic relationship in order to stir their glands to release adrenaline-an exercise similar to whipping a tired, over-worked horse in order to get a few more miles out of the poor, exhausted beast. This is why, when the strong stimulant of involvement in an unhealthy relationship is removed, either because the relationship ends or because the man begins to recover from his problems and relate to her in a healthier way, a woman of this type will usually sink into depression.

Robin Norwood

Damn. I did wonder why, after the initial relief of ending things for good, I felt so awful all the time.

Then there’s the emptiness that you feel. I’m still struggling with how to just sit and be me and I still feel pretty much detached from everything and everyone. One woman described how she felt after the relationship ended: ‘At first I was so empty I felt like the wind was blowing through me’. I really felt that. I spent so much time and energy pouring everything I had into another person, I didn’t know what to do when he was gone. It felt like I was gone.

Of course there are many more facets to why I am the way I am that need to be examined and dealt with, but already this book has been so helpful that I found I had to get a physical copy so that I can more easily highlight and bookmark the bits that are helping me the most.

As for how to actually heal, well I’m just starting on those chapters, but it’s going to be intense. Simple, but definitely not easy. With Gentleman Friend, I’m pretty sure he was just a very unhealthy distraction, because even with what I’ve learned so far I can’t go back to how I was. Now I know better, I have the responsibility to be and do better. I definitely found myself trying to recreate those ‘highs’ I’d known from before, but thankfully it never got that far.

Okay, enough of the deep stuff. I’ll only be doing that in small, manageable chunks. It takes it out of me I tell you!

This week has seen things just getting better and better. I’ve managed to go out on a few walks, and although I’d planned to do more than actually got done, I also managed to sleep when I needed to instead of trying to pour from an empty cup. I got an average of 9 hours a day, which is unheard of, whilst also having plenty of Pea time, time for journaling, and making sure I stayed on plan with food.

I also found even more cool stuff at the park.

We’re now entering the quiet time of work – February and March are typically the months where we have the least amount to do, and as such we’ve been offered the opportunity to book unpaid leave.

Make no mistake, I really cannot afford to do this, but I’ve decided to make my wellbeing a top priority. I have a week off at the beginning of February, and a week off at the end of March. Apart from doing a few odd things I’ve been meaning to get around to, I’m going to go on some fabulous walks, do plenty of work on myself and generally take time to look after myself properly. Because to be quite honest, I really need this. I see it as the perfect opportunity to completely recharge before I get on with evolving into the next version of myself. The one that doesn’t get into bad relationships!

Today was weigh day, but before I went I made the time to make myself an espresso using some very thoughtful Christmas presents from my brother. Ironically, I’ve been too tired to use them until now.

I was given roasted coffee beans, a hand bean-grinder and a stovetop espresso maker, along with a cute-as-hell double-walled glass to drink it from. It was smooth as hell, but also nearly blew my head off! In a good way.

There are certainly quicker and easier ways to make coffee at home, but I really enjoyed the process of the grinding and smelling the intense aroma of the beans. It was quite relaxing… until I drank all the caffeine and got the jitters!

This week I really wasn’t sure whether I’d lose any weight come weigh-in time. Not because I haven’t been on plan (I’ve been a veritable angel) but because my home scales just weren’t budging. I know, I know, I shouldn’t weigh at home! In my defence I did manage to prevent myself from self-sabotaging, and as a result I got a 2lb loss and Slimmer of the Week, again! This time I did share it with four other very deserving people-it’s nice that so many of us got a piece of the action.

I’m trying not to think too far ahead, but it cannot escape my notice that I still have 8 lbs to lose before I’m lower than my start weight, and that I cannot wait for. In the meantime all I can do is keep plodding on.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Busy

Weirdly, the first work week of January was quite busy, with no opportunity for going home early. This is good, because it means I won’t lose money. The first sniff of an early finish and I’m outta there.

Although outwardly I thought I seemed quite calm, what with waiting for mum’s hospital results and the added stress of man trouble, apparently I wasn’t fooling anyone.

At work, my friend J was a huge support, but we spent way too much time talking. So this week (I’m back in tonight) I’m going to have to crack on. Even when I’m being ‘lazy’, I’m normally more than capable of hitting my targets, however if you have a good work ethic and put in that extra bit of effort, at the times when you aren’t feeling so great you’re more likely to be given a bit of a reprieve. Give and take and all that.

At home, I mostly just hid, but I think I’ve finally snapped out of my hibernation phase. For the first time in months, I’ve been able to get up during the day and do stuff. Thinking about the past and trying to heal those wounds is really, really tough. Exhausting, actually, and since I’ve still got a long way to go I’m likely to have many more periods where it gets worse, then better, then much worse, then great, then average, then worse… you get the idea. It must be done though, because I think this is the culmination of 37 years of stuffing everything I didn’t know how to deal with deep down inside me, and it simply refuses to be contained for one second longer.

People have come to the rescue though. Although I was busy with chores on Sunday, when my friend M offered to meet for coffee in the evening I nearly bit his hand off at the chance of a distraction. I didn’t finish the things I needed to do, but never mind, it’ll wait.

It’s impossible to stay any kind of unhappy or stressed when you’re chauffeured to Costa in an ex Royal Mail van painted (badly) to look like the van from the A-Team.

You’d think that having coffee in the afternoon might have hindered my sleep, but I was that tired it really didn’t make a difference. I’m glad I managed to sleep, because I wanted Sunday over and done with quickly before I had the chance to freak out too much over my mum’s hospital results on Monday morning.

When I woke up Monday morning, really not wanting anything else to deal with, I found that Gentleman Friend had messaged me at 3:30am. The reason for his silence was that he needed ‘me time’. He said he was sorry, and that he knew it was selfish, and asked what I was up to.

I waited till I’d calmed down a bit to reply. You see, everyone, and I mean everyone is absolutely entitled to time alone or to have space whenever they want or need it. Therefore I made it totally clear that needing that isn’t selfish at all. But for the love of god is it too much to ask for that to be communicated rather than just being ignored for 8 days? I didn’t say it quite like that, but that was the gist of it.

I mean, if you really do want time alone then surely you don’t go out of your way to invite someone out then just not bother to follow through without a single word?

So, I said thanks for getting back to me, wished him well, deleted all of his pictures and messages, and carried on with my life.

Done.

Back to the hospital results then. I haven’t gone into details, because I didn’t want to think about it too much, but before Christmas the reason my mum was in hospital was to have a tumour removed. Yesterday’s appointment was to find out what it was and what happens next.

I’ll be forever grateful that my brother came along with us, and that the doctor was running very late, because it took me 50 minutes of driving round and round the multi-storey before I found a parking space. I believe the barriers were broken and saying there were spaces when there weren’t, because I was not the only one doing circuits of the car park.

When I met up with my mum and brother, we didn’t have to wait much longer before she was called. Here’s the good bit – the tumour she had removed was cancerous, but they got it all, it hadn’t reached the muscle of the organ (the bladder) and it’s the least aggressive type of cancer there is. She doesn’t need any further treatment, just regular check ups. In the event it does return, there’s a whole load of various treatments available. The doctor said if he had to have cancer, then he’d choose this kind.

Obviously it’s still terrifying, but as these things go we really couldn’t have hoped for better. I didn’t realise exactly how stressed we’d all been until we got home and started to process that she’s ok. To be honest, I could have laid down there and then and slept for about 20 hours, but there were more things to be done!

Since the day after Boxing Day, I have been super good. I have been out on many walks, and taken many lovely photographs.

Last Saturday, I took my old Russian Helios Lens out with me on my walk and got some gorgeous shots. What’s more, the sun very kindly made an appearance.

The last one is my favourite. I never usually do anything abstract, but I think it’s lovely.

The question is, did all of this hard work pay off when I weighed in Monday evening? The answer is… YES! I lost 3lbs, which I think is great considering I managed to pull back a huge gain and get away with a maintain when I officially weighed in on the last day of the year.

AND I got this, which was most unexpected!

After group, I went for a coffee with my friend Tom, in a McDonald’s of all places. We met at 7pm, when most coffee shops shut, so we didn’t have a huge amount of options. It was surprisingly nice though, and can someone tell me how long table service has been a thing?

Because I’d love another good result on the scales next week, I’m keeping the hard work going. It’s so strange (but GREAT) to want to get out of bed again. I hope I can keep this going for a good long while.

Today I did a six mile walk, and I took my camera with me again. For my own purposes, I’m choosing one shot a day to add to a ‘Walks of 2020 album’ that I can look back on at the end of the year. If some shots are samey or not that interesting, it doesn’t really matter as long as they capture something about that particular walk.

I wasn’t expecting to get anything interesting since I went to the same park on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, but I still managed to find new things.

Pretty awesome.

Well then, I’d best get a nice, healthy dinner on the go before work. I cannot tell you all how good it feels to be writing whilst feeling something like my old self.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Coffee with Tom

As the last day of my weekend draws to a close I’m reflecting how I didn’t really have high hopes for this one. I was pretty stressed out and not really feeling like I had much to look forward to – it was mostly stuff that needed to be done, but all stuff I didn’t want to do. If it weren’t for the fact I’m so tired all the time, I probably would have preferred to be at work.

During the week I was majorly cheesed off with myself for not sticking to plan like I initially thought I would, and panicking that I’d never in fact be able to lose weight ever again. Which is slightly dramatic, but hey, welcome to my world.

It seems I didn’t really give myself enough credit though. Ok, I only had one single full day on plan, but considering I dragged myself back to group last week even though I was dreading it, and that I wasn’t exactly feeling ready to jump back on the wagon, in hindsight I count every meal I did manage to have on plan as a massive win. I credit those wins with me bagging a miraculous half a pound loss this week. I’m genuinely over the moon that I managed to go back to group with a loss at all, because it was the last thing I expected to happen!

I’m starting off this week with some fresh perspective, mostly thanks to my friend Tom. He’s a work friend, and one of those I clicked with right from the beginning. Thing is, there’s often a tipping point with work friends, where you’re not really sure if you’re ever going to socialise outside of the work setting. It’s that point where a colleague will or won’t turn into a proper, lifelong friend.

Tom is really good at picking up on people’s moods, and he knew I wasn’t feeling so great, so he dropped me a text to ask how I was. I almost replied that everything was fine. But all I could think to write was ‘poo’. I didn’t have the energy to explain further than that. He asked if I wanted to talk about it, and really I did, but I’m not overly keen on phone conversations so I suggested having a coffee. Then I instantly regretted it, because what if he felt like he had to accept, because he felt bad? I quickly sent another message giving him an out, but he wasn’t having any of it. He wanted to meet for coffee, but it’s really hard for me not to feel immense guilt when asking for or accepting help. It’s dumb, because I know so many lovely people. Sigh.

Talking things through helped a huge amount, and I even came up with a plan to get my energy back. I thought it was all to do with depression, and perhaps at first it was, but I have some other things to try.

Tom suggested that maybe the food I’m eating when I get in from work is why I have no get-up-and-go. Nowadays I feel sluggish at best when my alarm goes off, but more often than not it feels like pure exhaustion. He asked what I eat after work. I thought back to the previous day…

Six mince pies‘.

Ah.

Some days it might be ice cream, some days a few sandwiches, at other times maybe a pizza and ice cream. It stands to reason that if I crash out after doing a night shift, just after eating a shedload of sugar with virtually no nutritional value, I’ll wake up feeling like crap. We are what we eat after all.

Tom said he’s been having a lot of success with oats, and since it’s now flipping freezing at work I’ve decided to have porridge with almond milk when I get in. Along with defrosted fruit and some savvy syns used on nuts, raisins and other healthy bits. It’ll warm me from the inside, comfort me, fill me up, give me slow release energy to hopefully have me feeling better when I wake up, and also be totally on plan.

It’s all part of a cycle. With a proper breakfast I should sleep better. If I sleep better I can wake up energised and I can go for a walk. The walk will boost my mood. The better my mood, the more I want to eat nutritious meals. And so the cycle continues. I just need to take that first step and stick with it till the wagon is nicely rolling along again.

This newfound optimism has come at an opportune time, because although my cold weather stuff for work (namely the salopettes) do kind of fit, they aren’t exactly comfortable. A few more pounds on and they will officially be cutting me in half, and I can’t exactly breathe properly whilst sitting down in them as it is.

If everything goes to plan this week I should have a nice big loss, and they could even be feeling more comfy by the end of the month. I hope so anyway.

After I was sufficiently caffeinated and properly unloaded of some worries I walked home via a church at the top of a big hill, getting my heart rate up and taking some outdoorsy pictures for the first time in a while. It is getting damn cold out there, so I’m especially grateful I found a new waterproof teal coat for my winter excursions. I have that coat, waterproof (yet breathable) overtrousers and waterproof boots, so there’s no excuse for not getting out during this cold and soggy season.

I may not have had high hopes for this weeked, but it looks like it turned out just fine after all.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

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

Rivalry

I don’t normally check the weather before I go out walking, but something made me have a look before bed yesterday. In the morning thunder storms were forecast, and since I was going walking in the woods I figured it would be best to wait till the afternoon. I really don’t fancy getting hit by a bolt of lightening.

Before I left the house, just before midday, I double checked. The forecast was cloud then sunshine. Perfect!

In a bid to attempt to free the legs, I got myself some cargo shorts. I wish I’d done this sooner – they are so comfy and airy!

What I might do though, is invest in some of the quick-drying variety, because as I arrived at the nature reserve the heavens opened. The other day I got rained on plenty, but this was something else entirely. It was like someone had poured a bucket of water over my head, and I could barely see in front of me. Then the thunder and lightening started, but since I was well in amongst the trees by then there wasn’t really much I could do but carry on.

I was soaked through to my under crackers.

There’s a bit of friendly rivalry going on between me and a friend, to see who covers the highest average daily distance over the month. With this in mind I walked to the nature reserve rather than driving then walking, did my old 5k running route, then crossed the road to another part of the reserve to go to the visitors centre.

There I bought 2kg of wild bird seed, as you do, because I figure it’s nicer for the profits to go to the Essex Wildlife Trust than some big corporation. They do some damn good work y’know. Plus it’s more exercise lugging the extra weight home.

Since my friend is tracking in kilometres I decided to do the same to make it easier, and I covered almost 20 of them today. Not bad.

As the sun came out to play I was almost completely dry in a very short space of time, apart from my bottom which stayed soggy all the way home.

Can we just take a moment to appreciate how ridiculous I must have looked taking that photo?

From there on in I was able to appreciate the reserve more, so of course I went and got myself licked by a cow. As you do.

Everything was all so nice and fresh after the rain. So good for the soul.

And it also won’t be long till there are plenty of blackberries to forage. I’ve been making a mental note of all the best spots to go back to.

So yesterday I went to the cinema for the first time in months, with a zombie-nut friend to see The Dead don’t Die. I don’t have much to say other than please don’t bother seeing thus awful film! I feel it is my duty to warn you. I kind of see what they were trying to do – they were trying to make a commentary on the materialism of modern society, which could have been interesting but OH MY CRAP IT WAS JUST SO BORING TO WATCH. Go ahead, be arty, have meaning, but Jesus make it watchable yeah? Just a thought. It was so bad, four people couldn’t even make it to the end and walked out!

I’m going to a boot sale tomorrow with the same friend, which will hopefully be a more successful venture. Plus it’s massive so I’ll get more kilometres in. I can’t go wrong.

I’m up early for that, so it’d best get to bed.

Until next time!

Hayley x

The Beacon is Smaller

It took me a while to get around to this post, mainly because holiday mode morphed into EXTREME holiday mode, mixed with some EXTREME instances of attempting to eat my feelings.

That wasn’t my intention. I was going to face my gain (5.5lbs on. Damn) then get on with things. I would be in for another gain on Monday, but I can’t make group because my sister is visiting and I don’t want to have to rush off. It’s been too long since we had a proper catch up.

Tuesday I went with my brother to his fishing lake, which reinforced what I already knew – that fishing would never be for me even if I did think it would be a good idea to put a hook through something’s face, which I don’t. His biggest catch was a bream, which was absolutely smothered in horrifying goo. That’s normal apparently.

This was my view for the day. I was content to mainly sit and contemplate how I was going to tell my friend I no longer wanted him in my life (something I wanted to think carefully about as I don’t do well with confrontation) and attempt to get some colour on my milk bottle legs. Despite rotating regularly, the sun decided to give me two thin strips of sunburn on the front of my legs and nothing anywhere else. Strange.

This summer I’ve been brave and started baring my arms, and I want to do the same in the leg department at some point. However before I’m comfortable enough to do that I would like them to be slightly less pale. I’ll keep trying!

It was such a gorgeous day. The lake was teeming with butterflies, dragonflies, damselflies and we were sat right opposite a little family of moorhens with two adorable little babies. Sadly I couldn’t get a good picture of those, but a damselfly did land right on me which was handy.

Later on, I did manage to speak to my friend and now that chapter of my life can be closed. I went for option B in the end – I explained why I had to do what I had to do, as hard as that was. Wednesday I had a cathartic day of sorting through pretty much everything I own, deciding what to throw, what to give away and what to sell at a boot sale.

It helped me sort through some feelings too, but to be honest I still feel awful about the whole situation. This person has caused a lot of pain in my life, and whenever I’ve taken gradual steps to protect myself in the recent past, it’s taken a while for me to adjust to the new state of affairs. This time I have to do the same thing, but I take comfort in the fact that this is the last time I ever have to do that. Then it’s over, finally. Only healthy friendships from here on in!

A walk with my little brother yesterday also helped. We started at Ivinghoe Beacon, which we first visited in April 2016. This was a few months before I started my current membership with Slimming World, and the first time I really started trying to get out into the world.

This is the beacon, and it seemed like such a huge undertaking for us at the time. We were so unfit, it really was a feat getting to the top. We went back again in April 2017 as part of preparing ourselves for climbing Snowdon, but even then it was still quite difficult.

Yesterday, it felt as if the beacon had shrunk. It was an absolute doddle! As much as I’ve struggled with my diet for over a year, at least I can say my fitness hasn’t suffered.

After scaling the beacon in no time at all, we then went on a 15 mile walk along The Ridgeway, which is a National Trust trail that starts at the beacon in Leighton Buzzard and ends 87 miles away in Wiltshire. People have been walking The Ridgeway for 5000 years, so although it’s pretty cool to walk the route and imagine what kind of people had been there before us (kings, knights, bandits, wenches, vikings…) the novelty of that wore off pretty quickly.

Although I’m ordinarily happy to keep walking until I drop, it was all a bit samey and we quickly became bored of traipsing through forest that all looked exactly like the last stretch we walked through. At least we know now though – The Ridgeway isn’t quite our bag and rather than try the next stretch of the trail it’s probably better if we look for something new for next time.

One thing that is pretty awesome is that we didn’t even sit down until we were about 8 miles in, and the only reason we stopped in the first place was so my brother could get the stones out of his boots. After that we didn’t stop again until the end of our 15 mile route. Even then we didn’t need to stop, it was just that we had arrived at a convenient place. That’s pretty impressive in my book.

Something that’s apparent is that we don’t have much luck with this part of the world – every time we’ve been here the weather has been awful and we got rained on, a lot. Although having said that it was quite refreshing!

Plus I did see a slug eating a mushroom, some cool fungus, and I had a fight with a tree. Now I have a lumpy head. The tree won.

On today’s agenda is making plans for staying on plan over the coming weeks and months, eating well, then this evening I’m off to the cinema for a nice, mindless zombie movie.

Perfect.

Hayley x

Right Buttock

In my last post I described myself as clumsy. I’d like to add ‘accident-prone’ to that as well, because clumsy just isn’t adequate.

I’ve been away this weekend, but before I went I hurt my fingers by accidentally punching a cupboard. I reached to get something out of it, missed, and somehow punched it instead. That’s just me.

On the long, long drive up to visit my friend my accident-proneness thankfully didn’t extend to the car, because I had quite enough trouble to be getting on with thank you very much. I haven’t had much luck with the M25 lately – last time I did a long journey I got stuck for hours as both sides of the motorway were closed while an injured child was helicoptered out and the police investigated.

This time an hour was added to my journey to avoid multiple crashes on the M25, and although in general I’m happy enough as long as traffic is moving, my new route sent me around the outskirts of London, which is nightmarish. Sirens everywhere, people cutting each other up left, right and centre, shouting, horns blaring, a set of traffic lights every five minutes… not fun.

Eventually I made it onto the M1 where a lorry had broken down in the middle lane of three particularly narrow lanes, in the middle of a huge stretch of roadworks, and was causing absolute havoc. Add another half-an-hour to my journey. Yay!

As these things go it wasn’t too stressful, because there was no particular time I had to be at my friends and for once in my life I wasn’t too desperate to pee. I arrived with dry underwear and plenty of time for us to do something fun.

The fun thing came in the form of disc golf, which is like golf but played with frisbees which you have to get into a metal basket. Golf is something I’ve never been the slightest bit interested in, so I wasn’t expecting to like disc golf either, but it was actually awesome!

The park it was in is absolutely beautiful, and I was doing loads of exercise without even realising it. It was also a gorgeous evening, so even a few mishaps couldn’t bring me down. In fact they added to the experience.

Before I went away I shared my location with my mother via an app on our phones, because I usually forget to tell her I’ve arrived safely or give any information as to what I’m actually up to. Shortly into the course I get a text from her:

‘It’s saying you’re in the river Avon. You’re not in the river Avon are you?’

Or something along those lines. My reply?

‘Well… I’m not in the Avon now.’

The thing about frisbees is, it’s really hard to get them to go where you want them to go. I’m also not very good at throwing things (weak arms) so one of my discs was almost guaranteed to go in the river. It didn’t go too far in, so I was getting that baby out!

It is nothing short of a miracle that I didn’t fall in.

Later on I lost a disc in a huge patch of nettles, and although I had to admit defeat, that didn’t stop me from trying.

I got stung. A lot.

There was plenty of laughing and plenty of swearing as I tried, and failed, to beat the nettles down with a stick whilst getting stung around the ankles. All good fun. Then later on, as it started to get dusky and the grass started to collect dew drops, I slipped whilst walking down a hill.

I always, ALWAYS land on my right buttock, and it ALWAYS hurts like hell. Once a boyfriend of mine picked me up. I was feeling pretty good because I’d lost quite a bit of weight at Slimming World at the time (the time I stopped going and ended up putting it all back on) but then he dropped me and, you guessed it. I landed on the right butt cheek. The annoying thing though is that it never bruises, so although it hurts for days afterwards I never have anything to show for it. Life is sometimes so unfair!

For the next day we had planned an epic canal walk, but sections of it were closed off for repair so we gave that a miss (for now, anyway) and just ended up doing a local route before heading back home to chill out while the rain eased off. My friend is just getting into walking and isn’t quite at the ‘all weathers no matter what’ stage.

Later on we just chose ‘a nice bridge’ as a place to aim for and ended up here.

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It’s not my usual way of doing things, but we did end up doing more than 20 miles over the course of the weekend, so I can’t really complain. As for me, I prefer to drive somewhere especially nice then explore from there rather than having to do a long trek through town first.

Sunday morning we went to a boot sale, which I was quietly optimistic about because people from that area seem to give away/sell much nicer stuff than I am used to at home. I have been on the lookout for a cheap Ikea POÄNG chair since I first sat in one over a year ago, at another friend’s house. He lives in the same area, and got his chair super cheap. The friend I was visiting also got his POÄNG chair locally and it was also super cheap. Surely it was my turn?

The boot sale turned out to be really small, but… there was someone selling one! They’re about £60 to buy new, but this one was going for £15. When I asked how much it was going for the seller informed me that a lady had just enquired about it and gone off to get her husband to carry it. However, since no cash had yet changed hands he was happy to give it to me. I felt a bit bad but, y’know, I’ve been waiting for sooooooo long and I wanted it sooooooo badly. So eff it. I now have my comfy chair! Plus I saved that poor chap from having to lug it around, because it really is heavy.

Now I’m back home again and feeling rather pleased with myself. My friend is getting healthy but he is still in the phase where he doesn’t want to give up the ‘nice’ things. Therefore he’s been trying to convince me (and himself) that we deserve the nice things, because we walked far.

My mindset is currently a million miles away from his, so I was able to say no over and over, to the suggestions of pizza, rhubarb crumble, chocolate, and (a favourite of mine) Wagamama. I could have fit a huge bowl of ramen (14 syns for my favourite one) into my day, however he had convinced me to go to a cafe for breakfast and I’d already used my syns for the day on wholemeal bread as the best option available to me was beans on toast.

On the return journey various crashes and holdups mercifully only added half-an-hour onto my trip, and I’d already prepared by packing Quorn vegan ham and cherry tomatoes as my car snacks.

I passed about 20 McDonald’s as I drove home, and I must admit it did take a lot to not stop off and order five portions of salty fries. No one would know, after all. But if I want to get to target this year I have to stay strong. So that’s what I did. When I got in I didn’t feel much like cooking, so I just whipped up a plate of Free pretend chicken and, exhausted, got myself to bed. After assembling my chair of course!

Although this weekend has been slightly lacking in the Speed Food department, I have stayed on plan overall and I’m dead chuffed with that.

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This morning I went out for a walk in the park whilst hoping that the fresh air would clear my head and let me remember where my GODDAMN KEYS ARE. Thankfully I have two cars (sounds fancier than it is) and most luckily the car keys don’t live on the same keyring. So I am still able to get out and about.

I only have one key to each car, so I really need to find them. They can’t have gone far, I drove the car home for eff’s sake! I’m really trying not to let it wind me up. That won’t help anything.

Several Hours Later…

The keys have been found! I sometimes put them on the water butt (as you do) whilst I’m carrying heavy things in through the back door. For some reason I decided to check in the clump of weeds wild poppies growing at the base and there they were! What a numpty.

I’m now back from weigh in. I’ve lost half a pound and I’m cheesed off, because it’s not an accurate reflection of my week. I’ve worked so damn hard, but clearly my body doesn’t know that and how I deal with this for the next seven days is pivotal to my success.

Normally I’d be thinking ‘what’s the point, may as well go and eat crap’ but deep down I know that if I just carry on, then it’ll likely show as a nice big loss on the scales next week.

Time to stop repeating past mistakes. I’ll just keep going.

Hayley x

The Knob Fell Off

I’m clumsy. No matter how far away I am from something, you can guarantee I’ll manage to stub my toe on it. Yesterday morning little piggy was the unfortunate victim, and much swearing was done. But there was still walking to be done, so I just got on and did it.

I needed to go to town as I’m in the market for proper walking sandals that will look better than trainers, for when I want to walk far but also want to wear something nice. On Sunday for instance, sandals would have been perfect.

And cooler too, my feet were way too hot. I found some I liked that weren’t made from the skins of dead animals, but they didn’t have them in my size anywhere so I had to order them online from somewhere else and pay £12 extra in the process. Damn. They’ll get a lot of use though so I’ll take it on the chin.

Not content to just walk to town and back, of course I had to go through the park and say hello to the goose army.

By the time I got home my toe was rather painful, and when I took my sock off I soon discovered, also purple. Toes aren’t supposed to be purple.

Being clumsy by nature also means just getting the hell on with things for the most part, so I just carried on regardless and all seems fine today. I give it roughly a day before I do it again.

So, how did I get on at group? To be quite honest apart from everything looking up anyway, I knew that our group was being covered by a very special consultant. I’ll happily admit I wanted to be teacher’s pet, so that was extra motivation for staying on track last week.

This is Ryan, and he’s such an inspirational, motivational person. Most importantly though, he’s an all-round diamond of a chap. I haven’t come across anyone who’s met him and doesn’t think the exact same thing.

It was fab to have him in group for my first weigh in this year where I had no idea what to expect. Oh the excitement!

I lost… 5.5 pounds! I also had a friend of mine join last week who was convinced he wouldn’t get a good result. He lost 7.5 pounds on his first weigh in! Another lady I got talking to when I was out promoting lost 9.5, and it was also her first week. So much awesomeness all round!

There’s a lovely lady in my group who is part of the social team, and I’ve never met a member more supportive than her. She helped me so much when I thought I was going to be a consultant. My uncle also joined our group last night and went on to tell me that I’m distantly related to her. All this time I’ve known her and she turned out to be family. Mental.

Can we have some icing on this cake of a day? Well why not.

For the first time in YONKS I got Slimmer of the Week. I was totally not expecting that. I also got my Platinum Body Magic award which means exercise is now a part of my day-to-day life, forever. I was thinking about when I would qualify for it (the member decides themselves, when they are ready) and I realised how much my fitness meant to me when I genuinely didn’t have time to do as much as I’d like.

Now I have more time I’ve barely sat still and I’ve LOVED it. I have a great active weekend planned too. Can’t. Bloody. Wait.

Today I have been out tackling the garden, which is frustrating because although I worked really hard my Apple Watch didn’t give me enough credit for it. I even got in a bin!

After that I gave my friend a lift to pick up a rather beaten up ex-Royal Mail van, and in return for that he’ll fix my knob, which came off in my hand as I was driving yesterday.

Hopefully once that’s done I’ll be able to damn well actually drive my new car! It’s just so typical of me though. Always something silly going wrong, but now I’m feeling better I was able to just laugh at it. Knobs falling off isn’t the end of the world.

Well then, I may as well go off and have another good week!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Perfect Week

I’m currently laying in bed feeling tired, a little crisp (sunburn, didn’t realise how… sunny it was) but most of all content.

For the first time since I’ve had my Apple Watch I’ve had a perfect week – meaning I achieved all of my activity goals every single day. Finally!

What’s more, I’ve had a week of being perfectly on plan for what I believe is only the second time this year. It hasn’t even been that difficult, which is something I struggle to get my head around. Why, oh why does it have to be so damn hard sometimes and plain sailing the rest of the time? Why am I unable to channel whatever it is I’m doing now during those other times? If I had the answer to that I’d be sorted for life.

For the first time in a long time today I went on a little adventure with my siblings. I was looking at Google Maps for potential walks near a friend’s house as I hope to one day badger him into getting a little fitter, when I swiped a little bit too far and ended up in Kent.

Quite accidentally I came across ‘Deer Park’. On further investigation I found out it’s part of a National Trust site called Knole House, so that’s where we ended up going.

The whole place is rather beautiful, but I fancied being outside on such a lovely day so rather than pay full admission I asked if it was ok to just explore the grounds. Their website said the car park gets really full on Sunday’s so we arrived slightly before opening, and as the gatehouse was unattended at the time the lady at the information desk told us we didn’t have to pay a thing. Result!

As soon as we entered the grounds we discovered that the deer are really not difficult to find. Some hang out near the house and are clearly accustomed to scavenging from visitors (even though you are told not to feed them) where as some who seem to live nearer the middle of the park are a lot more skittish.

It was great for all kinds of nature. We saw woodpeckers, squirrels a rabbit and plenty of bugs.

And a huge mushroom. I didn’t pick it though.

When it comes to food these kind of places can be really difficult for me, especially if they’re National Trust. They sell a dark chocolate-covered bar of marzipan which I find really hard to resist, but resist it I did. We bought packed lunches so everything I had was Slimming World-friendly.

After all this hard work if I don’t get a good result on the scales tomorrow I may well throw a hissy fit. This week has also been the first week in maybe a whole year where I haven’t weighed myself at home at all. Not even once. Weigh in will be complete surprise, and I’m already a bit nervous about it.

Not long till I find out though! Here’s to another good week ahead,

Hayley x