Doing Too Much?

I’ve had a really good week, where I’ve tried to cram in as much as possible. But by the time Saturday night came around it occurred to me that I may be pushing myself too hard.

I suppose the way I’ve felt over the last week can only be described as driven. And I’m just so excited about everything right now, about the possibilities for the future rather than not being able to see past the next day.

On Saturday I got up after only a couple of hours sleep in order to be an awesome friend. One of my bestest chums was working overtime and had no possibility to pick up his prescription before he ran out so I offered to get it for him. So pick it up I did, then I posted it through his letter box.

This friend happens to live right near my favourite park, so I took my brother with me and we went for a wander. A two hour wander actually. Week three of my Gold Body Magic is now complete!

The weather was boring, all grey clouds and flat and ‘orrible. But that’s why I like photography, because even if on the surface everything looks rubbish, if you look closer you can always find something beautiful. Ok, you can’t beat beautiful golden light, but there’s still good stuff to be found.

And even more good stuff.

My brother opened a few of these little things up and it seems that an earwig lives inside every single one. That a lot of earwigs.

Later on we came across a herd of cows I’d tried to approach before but they were way too nervous. But I had little bro with me, and he has a curious affinity with cows. They weren’t interested in him (one gave him a sniff and went back to munching on its grass) but they didn’t run away either, as they did with me.

I zoomed in on one cow when I got home and had to laugh. Even though she’s just chewing the cud she looked super grumpy!

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By the time we got home I crawled straight into bed, but I didn’t sleep very well. As soon as I get disturbed, to wake up for a tinkle for instance, I’ve been finding it really hard to get back to sleep again because I just want to carry on with my day.

This is great in one way, but I need to make sure I don’t burn myself out or I’ll be right back where I started before I know it.

As such when I got into work and found we were seriously overmanned, I jumped at the chance of an impromptu night off. To be honest since I’m out of annual leave I had to take it unpaid, which isn’t exactly sensible given my current financial situation, but this will now come out of my pay at the end of October. So I have plenty of time to adjust my outgoings accordingly. That’s how I’m convincing myself it’s OK anyway!

I actually ended up having a fantastic weekend, doing some walking and hanging out with friends. I really enjoyed a rainy wander through the glen Sunday morning.

Since I’m feeling in a cooking mood lately, yesterday when I got back I made dinner and dessert. I want to cook for people but don’t really want to eat it, so after dinner I made a decadent apple crumble. It went down so well that one friend kept eating it till he felt sick. I’ll take that as a win.

As for me I’ve been avoiding sweet stuff entirely, apart from unsweetened soya yoghurt with fruit and wheat biscuits for breakfast. Because anything like chocolate or ice cream will set off my sweet tooth. With Slimming World (if you aren’t familiar with the plan) nothing is off limits. If you want to eat a chocolate bar every single day and still lose weight, you can totally do that (though it might not be the healthiest way to go!) But when it comes to the sweet stuff I always crave more and more once I get going, and since I’m really enjoying my food lately I’m going to carry on with cutting these things out entirely. It seems to be working well for me anyway, as I haven’t felt deprived at all.

On Thursday I have another friend coming over for tea but I’m planning on making him something healthy. He’s been working so hard and such long hours, he hasn’t had time to feed himself properly and I want to get some goodness into him.

Other than that I want to make sure I get a good balance for the week ahead with plenty of sleep as well as exercise and creativity, because I need food for the soul, too.

Tonight is weigh in and I’m not sure how it’s going to go, because my hormones have gone a little up the wall and I’m feeling huge. But then I felt like that last week and it all turned out OK anyway. Time will tell!

I’ll update tomorrow with how it went.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Earls Colne, and Other Things

Last week was really good. Friday was my brother’s birthday, and although I had work that night I stayed up for the afternoon/evening in order to hang out with the family. And it was great! It’s testament to how much better I’m feeling as hanging out with brother, sister and mother (and all the noise and chaos that brings) was so much fun.

I also had my Body Magic for the day to complete, so I took my hula hoop and kettlebells downstairs and socialised at the same time. When my brother got home from work we had a laugh by comparing what weights we could lift and how many push ups we can do. It wasn’t really competitive – my brother is really tall and naturally strong, I’m tall and fairly weak in comparison, and my sister is a tiny little thing – so we all knew how it was going to go anyway. I still had to laugh at my sister trying to lift a 10kg weight, while everyone laughed at me trying to do one of those push ups where you clap on the up part (and nearly smashing my face into the carpet while I was at it!)

Things are so different to how they used to be. When we were kids my sister would be out with her friends, my brother would be playing Runescape on the PC, and I’d be trying to get him off the PC, because it was my turn dammit! Then my sister would come home and also want the PC, and the place would turn into a war zone.

But the real difference isn’t that we are all such good friends now (although that’s awesome and one of the best things about my whole life) it’s that we are so much more healthy and active. I’m not sure we’d be as close if we didn’t get out and do things together.

Speaking of getting out, the weekend has been very outdoorsy. I went to visit a friend on Saturday on one condition – that we go out for a walk. I had a load of stuff I should have been doing that day, mostly to prepare for my Sunday, and if I was going to put it off it had to be for a good reason. For one thing I wanted more Body Magic, and this particular walk meant I completed week two of my Gold award. Whoop whoop!

Signs of autumn are beginning to show everywhere, and I have a very strong impulse to make the most of every single day before everything is grey and barren again. Autumn is one of my favourite times of year, and I don’t want to waste a second.

When I got home I got myself straight to bed for an hour’s sleep, then made sure I got up in time to at least do some prep.

Me and my brother agreed that we were going to do a walk from my ’50 walks in Essex’ book, that I bought months ago and hadn’t looked at since. Weirdly, since I’m useless at planning such things, he left the choice of walk and all the details up to me.

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So I chose a walk, worked out how long it would take us to drive there, how much sleep I’d need in the morning in order to do the drive safely, and told him what time we were leaving. Then (even more importantly) I pre-made my lunch for the next day, because if I don’t have food with me it could mean disaster. That done, I toddled off to work for my final shift of the week.

In the morning we were out of the door by 10:15 am (I almost managed 3 hours sleep) with plenty of coffee in tow. We were headed to Earls Colne to do a 6.5 mile circular walk which would take us through Chalkney Mill.

I had a little moment where I wasn’t sure what to wear – I didn’t think I had anything warm enough to hand (the weather looked a bit grim) but eventually I decided on a t-shirt dress and leggings because I’d no doubt warm up during the walk anyway.

I made the right choice – when we got there the skies turned blue and we were treated to a beautiful day. So beautiful I was starting to worry that I should have bought sun cream with me.

Do you know what my favourite part was though? THE FOOD! First of all we found plenty of blackberries, and since I’d left my lunch in the car to have once we were finished these were most welcome.

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Further along the route we came across an apple tree, but all of the fruits within reaching distance had been started on by birds and bugs. But I had my brother with me, and he’s always up for a challenge. He found us a couple of really tasty looking apples.

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I do like apples, but I’m seriously fussy about them. I’ll NEVER buy them from a supermarket (unless it’s for a pie or crumble) because they are invariably disappointing. The apple I had from the tree though – it was hands down not only the best apple I’ve ever had, but the tastiest fruit I’ve eaten in my whole life hands down. It was utterly delicious!

Later on we came across a friendly little family, whose young son was very interested in what I was doing with my camera. I was photographing fungus at the time (as you do) and I marvelled at the fact the kid has clearly been raised to appreciate the outdoors rather than simply plonked in front of a TV or tablet. Most other kids his age would probably be more familiar with technology than nature.

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I don’t normally know what to say to tiny humans (I find them quite frightening) but it was easy to explain what I was doing and show him the camera screen. Then we got talking to the dad who told us what other kind of fungi we could expect to see around this time of year.

As it happens we didn’t see any stinkhorns (although I’d really like to) but it’s good to know they can be found in that area for when we return at a later date. As I’m sure we will.

In contrast to all the nature, one part of the route also took us directly underneath a pylon. I’m quite happy with that, as I’ve never been so close to a pylon, so I took the opportunity to get an ‘arty’ shot.

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When I got home I had leftover curry that I made the other day which was completely Syn free, packed with Speed foods and even tastier than when I originally made it. Thinking ahead has definitely helped me this week.

As it happens I have group this evening and despite feeling really confident earlier on in the week today I’m feeling a bit bloated so I don’t know how it’s going to go. What I do know, is that I have been completely on plan without a single slip-up for two whole weeks now. And that feels soooooo good.

Another thing I know is that if I don’t get the result I want today, I’m just going to carry on what I’ve been doing. I’m not going to use it as an excuse to have a blow-out.

The only other plan I have for today is to walk into town (Body Magic, yay!) and hunt for Koko vegan cheddar which has been spotted by my fellow vegans in Home Bargains. When I first went vegan there were no cheeses you could have as a Healthy Extra, but this one does count so hopefully I can get my mitts on it.

On that note I’d best get cracking, so I’ll say goodbye for now.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Already?

Guess what popped up on my (dedicated Slimming World, no less) Instagram feed this afternoon?

You’ll never get it, so I’ll tell you.

MINCE PIES. 

This is too early, even for me! I’ve found combining slimming with veganism really hard, not because finding vegan options is a problem, but because there are so many options now.

My trigger foods have always been pizza and ice cream, for as long as I can remember. I thought that not having access to these things would really help my efforts – I can no longer order a 20″ pizza and a tub of Ben & Jerry’s right to my door for £15 after all. But then along comes the release of two (incredible looking) vegan pizzas and a vegan Magnum in the last couple of weeks alone. Oh and Violife have bought out a mozzarella substitute that I like the taste of and melts really well.

That’s now six or so vegan pizzas that are readily available in major supermarkets! And now the vegan mince pies are popping up already. Damn.

Of course I’m not really complaining, it’s fantastic for the vegan movement after all, but it is really hard not to get carried away and try ALL THE NEW THINGS.

I feel a sense of responsibility to try to support businesses making the effort to bring these products to the shelves, but for my own benefit and the benefit of others attempting the same thing, my time (and money) will be better spent showing that it’s totally doable to combine Slimming World with veganism.

For those wondering, you can still eat pizza and ice cream on Slimming World (and sometimes I do) but for me personally I find it best to avoid them all together or I will more often than not lose my head and eat way too much.

As it is those mince pies got me thinking about Christmas already (sorry!) and this year I’m looking for some decent middle ground.

Since I properly started my journey (sorry again, that word!) in 2016 I’ve had two Christmases – the first I stayed mostly on plan, only gained half a pound but felt really deprived. The second I was out of control from the end of November till the beginning of February, put on over a stone and felt really miserable.

This is me in December vs me last month. I don’t think I’m imagining that there’s quite a difference there, but it’s genuinely hard for me to tell what with the angles being different and whatnot. I do remember how the Hayley on the left felt though, and I don’t want a repeat of that.

Thinking back on it, what do I really remember about last Christmas? The actual day was brilliant – the best Christmas I’ve ever had. I remember making the Bosh mushroom wellington which is hands down one of the tastiest things I’ve ever eaten, seeing my family’s faces when they opened the gifts which so much thought had gone into, and playing silly games in the evening.

As far as other food and drink goes, the only ‘must have’ vegan things I remember was the vegan Baileys Almande (quite nice but my tastes have changed a bit, wouldn’t bother with it again) a liqueur from M&S (it was revolting) and trying Besos de Oro which is a vegan-friendly Bailey’s kind of drink (doubly revolting). So if I don’t get all of the must have things this year, it’s no big deal and I won’t even remember what they were by the end of January. Unless they stick out in my mind for being particularly awful.

I also stopped going to group at the end of November, and I tell you now, that is DEFINITELY not going to happen this time around!

My plan of action is to not buy anything at all until about a week before the day, because if it’s in the house I’ll definitely eat it, and only buy enough for one single day of eating and drinking.

If a certain item I want is sold out, so what? Does it really matter? Of course it doesn’t! In the meantime I shall write down my plan of action in my journal, so it’s even more cemented in my mind, then say no more about it at least until December.

I’m glad that’s out of my system (for now) and anyone posting festive pictures on social media is getting temporarily muted!

Anyway! On to more pressing matters. Tomorrow is my brother’s birthday, and luckily I can’t eat the enormous cake my mum has bought for him. Considering she’s a diabetic and my brother is doing fantastically well with his weight loss and fitness efforts, I’m not sure it was exactly wise for her to get a 16-portion cake for the two of them, but what can you do.

I used the opportunity to ask her not to buy me any food items for my birthday (which is next month) to which she responded ‘Ok, but do you want a cake?’ Bless her, she really does mean well, but NOOOOOOOOO I don’t want a cake! While I was at it I messaged my sister to ask her not to get me any food either, and to cancel plans we had for a food-based get together. I still want to do something, but it doesn’t have to revolve around food. So I think I’m covered. I don’t think anyone else would get me anything edible anyhoo.

On Sunday me and my brother are doing some sort of healthy ‘outdoorsy’ thing in order to celebrate, though we haven’t decided exactly what yet. Whatever we choose I’m sure it’ll be fun though. He’s my number one adventure buddy.

I also want to start taking more photos again, which is best done with my brother because he’s so patient with me. Some friends wander off while I’m trying to get a good shot whereas my brother is more than happy to mill around for a bit while I get totally lost in what I’m doing.

He’s such a good brother, and I am so lucky to have him.

The Google Photos app has yet again been reminding me that last year I was taking a lot more photos than I am this year…

This needs to be rectified, and I need to get out and do more interesting things, more often.

Today though, so far, all I’ve managed to do is write this post which has taken hours because I keep procrastinating. I reckon I’m done for now though, so it’s time to get exercising. This Gold Body Magic award won’t earn itself you know!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Budget

I’ve written about trying to be more careful with money several times since starting this blog, but somehow I never seemed to do anything about it. In fact being sensible financially ended up right at the bottom of my list of priorities and it’s now caught up with me. I’m in just a little bit of a pickle, so trying to be careful has turned into ‘really Hayley, you MUST be careful now or we’re screwed‘.

Thankfully I checked my accounts and my outgoings kinda just in time. I’m currently £30 into my planned overdraft, I have £87 left to pay out for the month, and £36 in cash to spend on food. Oh and 10 days until payday.

Because I have some catching up to do and a few expensive things to pay out for, things are going to be tight until about November, and then it’s Christmas. It’s going to have to be a frugal one this year!

I only just got around to trying ‘The Chunk‘ which is a vegan meat replacement from Oumph! I’d already tried the kebab pieces and the pulled ‘pork’ which are both delicious, but they have syns so I thought I’d try the plain pieces, which are syn free.

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I wish I hadn’t put if off for so long because even without seasoning ‘The Chunk’ is really tasty. After I’d tried it on its own I added garlic and paprika and it was delicious. The only problem is, although totally worth it, the Oumph! products are quite expensive and I can’t afford to get any more for the time being.

Ho hum, it’s my own fault entirely.

Thankfully some of the best things in life are completely free, so I took advantage of a very rainy Thursday and went out for a run. It’s probably an unpopular opinion, but running in the rain is FANTASTIC! At least if it’s still quite warm, as it was then.

There’s something really peaceful about it all, especially as I had the park almost exclusively to myself. I only saw one little family with their brollies and wellies walking in the opposite direction, right at the beginning.

I did 3.7 miles, at what is a good pace for me, without stopping. My knee was a bit stiff the day after, but I think as long as I don’t run on consecutive days then I can keep going.

It. Felt. So. Good!

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Not my best photographic work, but an accurate representation of my afternoon!

Yesterday I didn’t do much, because after a couple of weeks of not sleeping all that much I’ve been allowing myself extra time in bed. I did however still get out for a walk before I went back to bed before my shift, and took some nice flower pictures up at the church. I’m not religious, but I do like going up there and the church gardener definitely takes pride in their work. Plus it’s right at the top of a very big hill, and hills are bloody good exercise.

I have work tonight so I’ll have another little walk soon to top up my steps then have a nap, and think about what I’m going to do with my weekend. I know that Monday evening I’m going out for dinner at Harvester for my dad’s birthday, and I know that I can stay on plan, too. Unlimited salad it is, and do you know what? I may even have a jacket potato. I know how to live!

I hope you lot out there are having a lovely weekend, and don’t have to work tonight.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Fight or Flight

I’ve always been prone to fairly regular bouts of mild depression, ever since I was a teenager, and now I’m in my mid-thirties I’m getting pretty good at dealing with the bad patches when they come along. At the very least I’ve managed to stop using them as an excuse to gain huge amounts of weight.

On the other hand I’ve never really suffered from anxiety, until now. I’ve had anxious times when I’ve been in bad situations, and this is similar. I’m not feeling like this for no reason, it’s a product of my environment and I haven’t been dealing with it very well. In fact it’s been two weeks of hell.

I really feel for the people who have what I would call a proper medical condition and feel like this all the time for no reason whatsoever.

As for me I’m confident things will be back to normal now that I’ve had some resolutions to the things that have been bothering me. For the last six months I’ve been treading water, trying to fit everything in that I want to do, but now I should have more free time and more of a balance in life. That’s the plan anyway!

In the meantime I was explaining to a colleague what it’s like to feel seriously anxious. So back in the olden days when we were hunter-gatherers if we saw something scary, like a lion who wants to eat us, then we got a nice big shot of adrenaline to help us out of the situation. It would make us more alert, get the heart pumping, and give us that extra bit of juice to either leg it or take that lion on.

But now, simply sitting doing nothing and having a scary thought will give me that same reaction. Which really isn’t helpful! Sitting still but (seemingly randomly) having my heart pumping out of my chest and struggling to get my breath is not fun, and that’s not taking into account that horrible shaky feeling you get when the adrenaline subsides. Unfortunately evolution is quite a way from catching up with modern life.

I haven’t really thought much about Slimming World over the last fortnight, mainly because I’ve felt so uptight I’ve only managed small portions of highly palatable food. Anything else I just couldn’t stomach, and since I wasn’t sleeping well either was just doing what I needed to do to get through.

I’m feeling more relaxed today though, now that things are falling into place. After a sneaky night off work and a very deep and dreamless sleep, I’m ready to sort my eating out again, before too much damage is done.

I had planned to get right back on it on Monday, but by that point I was feeling so anxious that I was wondering how I could spend another second in my own head. That was when a friend came to the rescue and took me out to dinner. Luckily it also had the effect of taking me out of myself for a while, and I was able to just sit back and turn my brain off for a short period.

We went to Wagamama’s, and it’s the first time I’ve been there since I became vegan. Luckily, they introduced a vegan katsu dish (the Vegatsu) a while back and I’ve been desperate to try it ever since.

The food didn’t disappoint, although I do think they need to get on and introduce more vegan options!

To accompany my meal I had jasmine tea, which always goes well with this kind of food and makes me feel super cultured.

As for my friend, I’m so proud of him. When we first met I cooked him a chilli, and asked how it compared to others he’d had. He confessed that he’d never eaten a chilli before, and hadn’t tried anything else that ‘exotic’. It was always meat and two veg in his house!

He was very suspicious of his ramen bowl at first, but he was soon a convert. He’s definitely becoming more adventurous!

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It was a gorgeous evening, and I even had another result – we passed The Whisky Shop so I decided to pop in to get a miniature for my brother. While I was there I found the perfect birthday present for him. It’s not his birthday till next month, but I nabbed it while I was there. I had no idea what I was going to get him, now I don’t have to worry. Until next year…

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Yesterday I went out for a little run, but it was mostly walking as I still need to build back up to a full run. It was lovely to blow the cobwebs away though. I’m going to go for another run on Thursday, assuming my ankle is OK. I twisted it yesterday as an interesting bug landed on my wrist and I stopped looking where I was going. That’ll teach me! (She says. It probably won’t to be honest…)

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My current running strategy is to do about 5k, three times a week, at a pace which is purely enjoyable. I don’t really care about any other factors such as speed or intensity, I just want to have fun whilst getting my exercise. I’ve lost sight of that recently.

Although there is a little something inside of me that wants to do a 10k some time soon, but I’m trying not to think that far ahead. I just want to have fun and see where that gets me.

I will sign off now as my sister is on her way over for a coffee and a natter.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Monday and More

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s clear that these guys love me!

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Back Where I Belong

It’s the 1st of August, a fresh new month, and I’m feeling damn good. Finally I’m back in my favourite spot. The number one spot that is, on the Fitbit leaderboard.

I’m also back in the +100k for my steps over the last seven days (actually since I took that screen shot yesterday it’s closer to 120k), which got me thinking.

It’s two years to the day that I rejoined Slimming World and simultaneously started taking my fitness seriously.

I began with a 10k per day step goal, and I found it really difficult to reach. I’d often find myself pacing the living room trying to make my total, because going outside and really giving it some was inconceivable to me at the time.

I also found that I was highly sceptical of other people’s step totals. I had a few people I’d added as friends via Instagram who were smashing it, and I honestly thought they must be cheating somehow.

Yet here I am achieving, fairly easily, something I thought impossible. All you have to do is start, be consistent, and before you know it it’s second nature.

Of course on an anniversary like this I’ve been getting reflective anyway. The temperature is on the rise again so I went for a shady run today – 1.5 miles, without stopping, almost completely pain free!

I felt absolutely fantastic at the end – boy did I miss those running endorphins.

Yet it’s not so long ago, at a family party, that I simply crouched down and couldn’t get back up. It took two of my burly male cousins to hoist me back up again.

I have a kind of life now that I never even imagined. I mean, I didn’t even dream of it because it wasn’t on the radar at all.

Sometimes I’d worry that I’d give myself a terrible disease from the lifestyle I was living, but in a split second the next thought was ‘ah well, at least it’d be over soon’.

This time two years ago I was recovering from a food hangover and the ordinary kind. We’d had our annual family BBQ and as usual I’d totally overdone it. I bought so much food, and since I knew I wanted to do something about my weight (again) starting from the next day, I saw it as my mission to eat the whole lot.

I was fit to burst, probably literally. I’m talking dangerously full up, and that’s not even including the alcohol.

That smile? Not even close to being a real one.

I weighed myself on the day of the BBQ and was horrified at what I saw.

Yet something obviously clicked, because although I came close (I didn’t knuckle down properly until October) I never saw that number on the scales again. And I never will (unless someone gets on there with me!)

When I think back to those times I rarely think about how I look, probably because I’ve adjusted quite well to my mental image of myself. I’m so grateful for that, because in the past I’ve still looked in the mirror and seen 21+ stone Hayley looking back at me and I tell you – that messes with your head.

What I think about now is how different I feel. Back then I felt like my body was something alien to me, and I would have given anything to have all of the bits that ‘weren’t me’ taken away. Now I’m not exactly happy with my body, but I’m coming to accept it for what it is.

It might not look perfect, but it keeps me going whereas before I had no energy. I used to drink two 500ml energy drinks a night just to get through my shift.

These days I only have tea on my lunch break, mainly just because I’m thirsty, and I don’t have coffee because I don’t want to have trouble sleeping in the morning.

My resting heart rate has gone down from 77 beats per minute to 49. I’m sure most of us have seen the meme before pointing out that we only have a finite number of heartbeats in our lifetime, so it’s best not to exercise and use them all up quickly. But if you do live a healthy lifestyle, then for the other 23 or so hours of the day you aren’t working out, you’re still saving those precious heart beats!

So I went to work that night feeling fabulous. I have a little pre-work ritual where I put my Airpods in whilst doing my hair and makeup and drinking a strong coffee, because it prepares me for the work night ahead. I suppose it’s getting my game face on.

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It’s a pretty crap blurry picture, but who cares? It’s the difference between this one and the BBQ picture that matters.

That particular night I was feeling particularly slim and in control, and I thought nothing could bring me down.

Within the first two hours of my shift that changed, and although I can’t talk about it, and it doesn’t directly affect me, my anxiety went through THE ROOF. When I got home I could only manage a couple of hours sleep because I so uptight, and my mind started racing. How can I make myself feel better? Because I can’t stand feeling like this.

Food? No. I’ve been in control, I don’t want it. Plus I feel sick anyway. Alcohol? Don’t be silly Hayley it’s ten in the morning, and even if it wasn’t? No.

So I decided to channel all of that nervous energy into a run. I did 3 miles this time, and my knee was getting sore by the end so I walked the last little bit.

 

One thing I did learn is that if you don’t prepare yourself properly for a run then it’s so much harder. I went out at 9:30am and hadn’t eaten since early evening the previous day, so what with not sleeping properly either, it was a slog. But it did make me feel a bit better, so that the feelings inside me were manageable.

I managed to stay on plan the whole day, even though I didn’t really eat enough. And I didn’t photograph anything either – I was running on essential services only.

Today though, after a much less stressful night at work, I’m feeling mostly ok. But especially proud of myself for not going off the rails, because I’m doing so well!

I had a sneak peek on the scales and I’m back to the weight I was when I first started getting into running. I even saw that elusive 13 stone bracket again.

However over the weekend I’ll make sure I don’t have any more sneak peeks. If I see a good loss, I’ll think I have space to eat more food. If I see a gain I’ll be disheartened. So no looking until official weigh in Monday evening!

I have a busy weekend planned, but rest assured there will be regular updates. I MUST keep this good thing going.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Odd One Out

Yesterday morning me and my brother were out the door at 3am for our bike ride. Weirdly, he left the navigating up to me. Even though the journey to Southend-on-Sea is one I’ve done plenty of times in a car, doing it on a bike whilst avoiding the A-roads, in the dark, is a bit different. So we went the wrong way a couple of times, but we did find a much nicer route than one straight boring road.

We rode through the park where I usually do my training, and that in itself was a bit hairy. Where it’s been so dry the gravel track was extra loose and dusty and I had to be really careful that I didn’t go too fast and find myself unable to stop.

It was just before entering the park that I fell over, too. Ridiculously, I had stopped and was just setting off again when I completely lost my balance. Yep, I fell over from standing. Which is something I’ve done before actually, and I had a scar on my elbow from that for years.

I didn’t hurt myself this time thankfully, and after a little seat adjustment I felt a lot safer.

As we left the park and went on what was more like a farm track, by backside really suffered. The ground had huge cracks in it from the heatwave, and as my brother’s bike is a hybrid which he mostly uses for commuting, the suspension isn’t built for that kind of thing. It was really hard going.

But we made it to our destination eventually, where we saw a fair few people doing the ‘walk of shame’ after coming out of the clubs. There wasn’t much to see so after a quick selfie I suggested we head back. As far my legs go, which are obviously doing the most work, I would have been happy to keep going. But my undercarriage was really suffering by now so we went back via the main road.

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The journey home was half an hour shorter, but for the last hour especially I felt every little bump. If cycling becomes a regular thing for me then I’ll definitely get some padded shorts. And the largest, comfiest saddle in existence.

We were home by 7:30 am after completing 33, yes thirty-three miles, so I had time for a well deserved nap before getting Pea her breakfast.

I even went out for a walk to the shops later on, and it really hit home how that would have been an impossibility not so long ago. It’s only because of my better fitness levels in general that such a bike ride was even something I could consider. Today I expected to ache all over, but my legs are absolutely fine (must be all of the running) and the only thing that hurts apart from the obvious is my shoulders. The only reason they hurt is because of the shock going through them from the handle bars.

Yesterday I had loads of praise from people I know for completing such a feat, then one negative comment really got me down. It’s always the way – that one person can really make or break a mood. But I’ve been thinking a lot about friendship and support networks lately so I dropped a couple of messages to people that I know have my back.

Well my phone was lighting up like a Christmas tree for a good hour with people offering advice, encouragement and generally cheering me on. The majority of people want to see you do well, and those are the ones we need to focus on as hard as that may be.

I’ve had lots of help too from someone I have as a friend on Facebook. I don’t know him all that well, as we only worked together for a fairly brief period and he was on another department anyway, but his words of wisdom have really been made me feel better. This one from yesterday was especially apt:

Don’t forget that if you’re feeling sh*t people care. Reach out, if you get longed off they ain’t your pal, rinse repeat till you find a human.

And he was right. I reached out and people came to my rescue. So I decided to drop him a message to let him know what a difference he has made. If someone moves you, tell them! Let people know they’re appreciated! And don’t let that odd one out (there’s always one) dampen your spirit.

Anyway, today I was supposed to be going back to Slimming World but I can’t make the group I wanted to go to as I need a car for that. So I’m waiting till tomorrow and going back to my original group.

I’m going to be knackered at work afterwards, especially as I have to walk there too, but I don’t especially care. This is too important! It’ll be lovely to see everyone, so what I might do is weigh in at that group periodically. In fact I really like the idea of weighing in at different groups anyway, especially if I’m visiting a Slimming World friend. It’d be fantastic to meet the people helping them get or stay at target!

This plan of action will mean that next week the days between weighing will only be 6 rather than the usual 7, which scares me a bit. But hell, I need to get over all that. It doesn’t matter if the scales don’t reflect my exact losses because I’m in it for the long haul, and I’ll get what I’m owed the next week if I don’t let it get to me and stick to the plan.

In the meantime, it’s coming up to 11am and I haven’t eaten yet. It’s time to get me some brunch!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Drenched!

I’ve bitten the bullet and made a doctors appointment. I hate going but I really should get a professional opinion about my knee, which is feeling better still but isn’t right. Or even pain free for that matter. I walked today as I said I would, but although it was lovely it added half an hour onto my time for that route. It’s no problem when I’m off work, like today, but otherwise it would just eat up too much of my day. So I must run! I MISS running!

Having said that, it was waaaaay too hot to actually run today. I started at 10:30am and was melting within minutes. I don’t know what the temperature was but the sun was already beating down and being reflected back up from the sand/gravel track. It’s not so much of a problem for me these days, but there was a time when that kind of environment would have floored me. Today it was mostly me trying to be sensible that prevented me from attempting a run regardless.

I remember going to festivals with my friends and although I loved the music I would often only wear jeans and cover up with long-sleeved tops. I don’t think anyone knew how much of a struggle, how utterly exhausting it was. There’s also a lot of walking involved when you’re making your way between stages, and my thighs would rub until they were literally bleeding. I’m glad that kind of thing is firmly in my past, so the only things I have to think about now when it’s hot are ‘do I have enough water’, ‘do I have enough sunscreen on’ and ‘have I remembered my sunglasses’.

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As it happens today I remembered all of those things.

Everything was so gorgeous today, just saturated with colour. It was nice on the eyes but by the time I got back to the car I was drenched!

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Obviously it was well worth it though. So that’s 1 Body Magic session out of a total of 5 planned for this week. I really hope there’s good new at my doctor’s appointment, which is on Saturday morning. No matter what the verdict though I know I’ll keep active one way or another, because now I’ve started I know I can’t stop. There are plenty of options out there.

As mentioned in my last post, I gave it some thought and I’ve decided I’m REALLY going to try to only weigh myself after Lady Time. If I can do it, then imagine the excitement as I step on the scales to get the verdict of a whole month’s worth of being on plan. I just have to stick to it.

I had a really bad sleep last night (my brain wouldn’t turn off) and I think I have just enough time to nap before my friend comes over this afternoon to do some bits to my car. So I’ll be off now.

Mmm, naps…

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

A Chilled Out Day

I woke up today feeling GOOD. I had a tough night at work, so much so that I couldn’t eat all of my work lunch because I felt all churned up inside, but that just meant I had leftovers to eat when I got home. Bonus! By that time I’d worked things through in my head anyway and I was ready for a good sleep.

I got up to feed Pea as usual when the doorbell rang. It was my vegan trainers already! Unfortunately they’re just a teeny bit too small, so they’re going back (freepost, yay!) for an exchange. The signs are good though – apart from the obvious toe-pinching they are super comfortable. Since my knee is feeling almost back to normal now, by the time the exchange arrives then I’ll be more than ready to take them out for a literal test run.

Since I’m not training today I decided I’d go back to bed and sleep in until 2 or 3pm. I haven’t had a sleep like that after a night shift in so long, I always have plans or have to get up early for something or other.

Considering I don’t have anywhere I must be today, do you think I can sleep? Nope! Instead of laying there fruitlessly trying to get off I decided to get up, start this post, then after I’ve had my coffee and let Pea out to stretch her wings I’m going out for a little walk. The weather is perfect out there – cool, breezy and, most importantly, sunny.

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Pea definitely seems in the mood for catching some rays.

Some time later…

Well my walk was… fruitful. I went to the post office to drop off my trainers as the sooner I get them off the sooner the replacements can come back to me (eek!) then I popped into Co-op for some plant-based milk. After a bit of research using Syns Online I decided to get the own-brand coconut drink. You get 500ml for a healthy extra A choice, and it’s much, much nicer than any other brand I’ve tried so far. In fact it’s bloody delicious.

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In Lidl’s I got these little tins of stuffed veg. The vine leaves are listed on the app as 8.5 syns for the tin, and the others aren’t on there. I did suspect that would be the case, and as they were labelled in the shop ‘while stocks last’ I think it’s unlikely they ever will be. I considered this though, and since they have a shelf life of literally years and years, I’ll eat them at some point in the future when I’m not too worried about my Syns. Either way they’re clearly marked vegan, which always makes me happy.

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I’ve just finished a nice healthy lunch (1 syn for the Fry’s vegan sausages) with the green one in the sunshine, and that can only mean one thing. It’s time for bed!

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Thanks for reading,

Hayley x