Expectation vs Reality

It’s a lot longer between blog posts than I intended it to be, but it’s been a difficult week-and-a-bit. First of all, the bug I caught wasn’t too bad, but also not conducive to getting much done.

On day one I felt awful – I went to bed shivering and unable to get warm, and woke up with a temperature. As I was lying in bed mustering the energy to get up and prepare Pea’s breakfast, I remembered how as a child my mum would be ripping off my cosy blankets right now and sticking a fan in my face to cool me down, much to my displeasure. But I’m a grown up now, so I had to rip off my own blankets and make sure I got my temperature down before steam started coming out of my ears. Being a grown up sucks.

Once Pea’s breakfast was done I got back to bed and spent the rest of the day literally sweating the bug out. I mean I was drenched, so much so that I had to sleep on a towel at one point, but when I got up for work I felt strangely fine. This is ok with me, because I don’t like using sick days during the peak period at work. It looks suspicious and I feel guilty even when I’ve done nothing wrong.

This carried on for a few days – feeling fine for work at night and getting weirdly sweaty in the day. Attractive, I know! When Sunday’s family Crafternoon came around, I was still feeling pretty rough.

I had a lovely plan of putting decorations on the table, getting a few nibbles, setting out loads of different art and craft options and in general being an awesome host. I just didn’t have it in me though, so what we did have was a great big mess.

I decided to just do one thing – start work on the donkey decoration I’ve been meaning to sew since December 2017. I’ve been so long getting round to it I even convinced myself it was a donkey when it is in fact a bloody reindeer!

I managed to get the body done before our meal, but I ended up finishing it in the early hours of the next morning because my sleep patterns at the weekend are still very much broken.

It’s a bit messy for my liking, and if I make another one there are some changes I’ll make to the instructions to make it better, but it’s still cute and it still looks good on the rainbow tree.

The meal itself was delicious, but still, it would have been so much nicer if I’d been feeling myself. I’ve been to the restaurant once before and I love how cosy it is, and we even had some live music. I’m not sure how I feel about that though. Are you supposed to clap while you’re eating? No one seemed to know what to do. Was I supposed to tip him? Nope, no idea.

Of course we did some pictures before the food came, and as it happens this is the last picture of my hair like that. More on that in a minute.

For starters, we had ‘prawn’ cocktail. I have no idea what it was made of, but it tasted exactly like a real prawn. Unnervingly so. The only reason I wasn’t totally freaked out is because the texture was too firm to be a real prawn.

Once I got used to the idea I really enjoyed it, but not as much as the mains. The cauliflower/broccoli ‘cheese’ was the absolute best bit which I could have eaten all day long.

Dessert was a bit average, but I was stuffed at that point anyway.

It was a very successful first Christmas dinner of the season, but I must admit I’m struggling to find my Christmas spirit this year. I just don’t feel like I normally do, which might be because I’m still finding my feet after a pretty tough year. Plus life keeps throwing spanners in the works every time I start to feel settled.

I think I need to let go of the illusion of control, because let’s face it, there’s very little in life we have any control over whatsoever.

When I started Slimming World in 2016, to a certain extent I forced control on my life. I stopped socialising, I didn’t really do anything as long as it was in line with my goals, completely avoiding anything that wasn’t.

Part of me wants to go back to that so that I can get back on track, but the other part of me wonders if I even can. Maybe it’s just not possible for me to do that any more.

I mentioned a gentleman friend recently, but I’ve realised I’m not even ready to have casual fun. Even at this early stage I feel myself starting to ‘perform’ for affection and not really be my true self. Plus I don’t feel like I’m getting enough respect, and I just can’t go ignoring red flags any more. I know where that leads and it’s nowhere good.

I am worried that this is me controlling this aspect of my life the only way I can right now (by avoiding the situation) but I’ve decided to go with instinct on this one. I’m trusting that it’s not the right time for this – I still have more work to do on myself before I can potentially be with someone in any capacity. It’s just a distraction, stopping me from getting the work done, which maybe I’d be going along with if my feelings weren’t getting slightly hurt along the way. Time to put a stop to that, because gentleman friends are not supposed to make you feel sad. At least I realised this now. Progress, right?!

So, on Tuesday, even though it was the very last thing I felt like doing, I went to get a hair cut.

I was going to ask to keep the same style and just get it tidied up, but then my hairdresser has a way of convincing me to try something new. Instead of a trim, this happened:

Also, how pretty is my eyeshadow? I’ve been saving that one for December. I love the cut and everyone keeps telling me how much it suits me, but I’m mildly freaking out about how chubby my face has got. You’d think it would be enough to keep me on plan really, but sadly it hasn’t.

I did somehow stay on plan all the time I felt poorly, but after the meal out it all went wrong. Having said that, it hasn’t been as bad as it usually is so that’s something. I’ll weigh in later on and start attempt number 482829937.

To be honest I’ll be glad when Christmas is over, as much as I’m trying to go with the flow and take what comes. It’s harder than it looks.

Rather than end on a negative, here’s a picture of Newton modelling his new Christmas jumper (and looking rather fabulous I might add). At least someone’s in the Christmas spirit!

Hayley x

 

Loose Hips and High Arches

From time to time, weighing myself at home isn’t such a bad thing. For most of last week my home scales were showing a 4-5 pound loss, which is awesome! I say most of the week… I mean every day except weigh day, when of course my weight suddenly shot up again. This is the curse of my gosh darn xx chromosomes, so there’s not much that can be done about that.

What’s more, weigh day was also Christmas shopping day so I ventured a few miles out to a town that actually has a high street with shops that are still open. This particular town also has a Wagamama, so I brought a friend along to share lunch with me.

I had my usual kare baruso ramen (14 syns) which is still perfectly on plan but is nonetheless quite a hefty dish. It was also very salty, so after eating a huge bowl of delicious broth, crispy fried tofu, tasty veggies and big fat udon noodles, I was thirsty as hell. When I got home I downed about four pints of water then had a quick nap before group.

I knew that what I’d consumed would affect the scales, but I also knew that it would be temporary. It had no bearing on the actual amount of fat I’d lost over the previous seven days, therefore I wasn’t going to miss out on a nice lunch just to keep the numbers on the scales lower.

Despite all of my heavy foods and drinks, I still managed to lose a pound, so as long as I stick with it I should be destined for an extra good loss come next Monday.

Except… it’s the vegan Christmas meal on Sunday!

As such I’m being extra good for the rest of the week and for once in my life I’m absolutely positive I’m going to stay on plan before and after that meal. Normally it’s a case of ‘I’m really going to try, honest!’ But this is different. I’m doing this.

I nearly messed up Tuesday morning because after a weekend of lots of doing and not much sleeping, I almost reached for many slices of white bread. Instead I had Quorn vegan ham, Ryvita and tomatoes. I win!

Also, my home scales are now showing a midweek 6 pound loss so I’d say it’s fairly likely I’ll still lose next week.

Yesterday I had my physio appointment for my knee, which coincided with the pain in my knee lessening significantly. I felt like a fraud and nearly cancelled my appointment, but it’s a good job I didn’t because it seems there is quite a lot wrong with me!

First of all, the lady asked me to lay down on my back and straighten my legs, getting my knees as flat to the bed as I could. My knees basically bend back the wrong way, so I got them completely flat. The lady was quite surprised – I had no idea that they aren’t supposed to do that!

It turns out I have hyper mobility, meaning that the ligaments in my lower body are waaaaaaay too loose and my knee caps are free to move around much more than they should. Which is why they crunch and click so much. Because of the ligament problem, from childhood I’ve subconsciously learned to lock my knees when I stand for stability rather than engaging the muscles, especially in my right leg, meaning that the muscles are way too weak. Especially in the hip area. So I have some exercises to do to strengthen these muscles which will in turn keep my knee caps where they should be.

In addition to that the physio said she’d never seen arches as high as mine, which cause me to put too much pressure on my toes when I walk. Coupled with my loose hip, it also causes my right knee to turn in when I walk causing more pain.

This is good though, because all of this can be managed with the right exercises. I did ask if I would be able to run, but I was advised to learn how to walk properly first. Fair point I suppose!

Finally, although as I mentioned in my last post it’s a little too early for Christmas things for me, Christmas just will not be contained. There are Christmas songs on the radio at work, and you know what they say – if you can’t beat them, join them!

Most of the presents are wrapped, the tree is up and I’m in love with my decorations. How many people can say they have a bunch of Free Foods on their tree?

I think you’ll agree that the rainbow tree is frikking awesome. And if you don’t? Well, you are just plain wrong!

I only have to wait till Sunday though, then I’m going full on, completely unapologetically, 100% Christmassy. I don’t even care that I’ve woken up feeling rather pants with an icky bug. I’ll just wrap up warm for work and break out the cold and flu tablets till it’s gone. After all…

ūüé∂ It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! ūüé∂

Hayley x

The Most Sleepy Time of the Year

I woke up late Christmas morning (7am) because I was way behind on all the things I was meant to do, yet I still managed to squeeze in a quick photo session in the garden. In recent years it’s been too warm and sunny and hasn’t felt like Christmas, but there was a nice frost so I got out there to make the most of it.

At 9:30 I left to pick up my sister, her boyfriend and little Petrie (more about her later) which was exactly when the tiredness hit me. At that very moment I think I could have happily crawled into bed and slept for 10 hours straight. But it was Christmas Day, and Christmas Day is for fun things!

I picked them up in full-on Mrs Claus attire, and I must say I think I rocked it.

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What’s especially awesome is that even though this month has seen a fair few gains, I could still do up¬†and¬†sit down in my size 14 dress. That belt has absolutely¬†no give whatsoever,¬†so I feel pretty good about that.

Once everyone was collected and I was home safe, that was when the tiredness really hit me, and I felt pretty rough. I’ve been powering through the sleepiness all month and (typical eh?) it decided to catch up with me Christmas Day.

I wasn’t as ‘present’ as I would liked to have been (no pun intended) but I didn’t have anything left in me so I kind of slumped down in the corner. Of course I still managed to open my presents.

We had a ¬£10 per person limit this year and I’ll tell you this – never again! You think it’ll make things easier, but it’s actually incredibly difficult. However all of the presents I got were super thoughtful and I think I did pretty well, too. The result is that I’m feeling¬†super loved¬†this year.

My sister painted me an absolutely¬†INCREDIBLE¬†fox, but at the time I didn’t realise she’d painted it herself. I looked at the tiny signature on the painting but where I was so tired I honestly couldn’t process what I was looking at so it was only yesterday I realised how special her present is.

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What an absolute numpty I am.

One thing I’d been especially excited about this year was giving handmade gifts, and although I ran out of time and didn’t do as much as I wanted, two special friends were as happy with their embroidery hoops as I hoped they would be. I’ve been itching to share this photo.

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I enjoyed making them so much, I can’t wait to get making again in the new year. After I’ve caught up on my sleep that is.

In the afternoon we sat down to a delicious dinner cooked by mother (my mouth genuinely just watered at the thought of it) then while it was going down Petrie came out to play.

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She took a special liking to my brother’s head, and also the pocket of the dungarees I bought my sister for her birthday. How adorable is she?!

Before I knew it, it was time to meet Steve at his mum’s which was an hour’s drive away. By the time I got there I was flushed with tiredness but glad I’d managed to make the journey safely and exceptionally glad that I didn’t have to go anywhere else for the time being!

I’d bought a few little presents for Steve’s son, daughter, his mum and her partner, and I was very relieved to find that everyone was happy with what I’d bought. They were also really chuffed with my wrapping and label-writing, as I’d hoped they would be. I’m actually quite proud of how my calligraphy has improved this month.

I even made some labels for a work friend to give to his girlfriend.

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At this point I was so tired I forgot that I had presents to open too, and I was absolutely blown away by my present from Steve. I’ll share a picture of that in a future post because I want to take a better picture of it and the light at the moment is rubbish.

Speaking to people at work and whatnot, it seems that for a lot of people Christmas is a time for grudgingly spending time with family members you don’t like all that much, but I’m feeling so lucky that I got to spend my day with all of the people (and animals!) I care about most in the world.

I might have been away with the fairies for a lot of it, but it was still an awesome Christmas.

From a Slimming World perspective the month has not gone well. I made the effort to weigh in Christmas Eve and I’m glad I did, because even though I gained another 6lbs (on top of the 5.5 gained the last time I was weighed) I needed that wake up call.

I finished off the last of my ‘naughty’ food on Boxing Day so now I’m right back on it and feeling exceptionally positive. Me and Steve are planning to have a quiet new year and to, quite literally, hit the ground running on the 1st. We’re planning to train New Year’s Day and I am SO looking forward to it.

I’m also in quite a good place mentally. I don’t feel particularly guilty about going off plan, and even had a laugh with some colleagues about the ‘food babies’ we have grown. At that moment I felt just like everyone else, and completely normal for overindulging over the festive period.

I think it’s because I don’t feel guilty that I feel particularly good about being on plan now, and totally sure that 2019 is my¬†final¬†target year.

Bring it on!

Hayley x

I Still Didn’t

What an awful week. For the first three days I was perfectly on plan, getting more organised and feeling positive, but then something terrible happened.

Just over five years ago my sister’s boyfriend got a tiny little parrot (a pacific parrotlet, similar to Pea) called Kiwi. It’s really hard to describe to anyone who hasn’t met a friendly parrot what they are like, because no words can really quite convey how amazing they are.

I’m just going to leave this little video right here, because it speaks volumes I think.

I thought I’d include this one as well to show you her feisty side. I was bird-sitting, which she¬†really¬†wasn’t happy about. Bird body-language is quite easy to read, and as you can probably imagine she is saying ‘I would give anything right now to bite the absolute eff out of you’.

On Wednesday evening I got a call from my sister, which is never a good sign as we are texters through and through, to say that Kiwi was badly hurt. That’s the thing about these little birds. Pea is rather shy and reserved but in general parrotlets are ridiculously inquisitive and often get themselves into trouble. Pea has had a couple of visits to the vets already where she’s managed to hurt herself despite all of the bird-proofing I’ve done.

Kiwi was in a bad way but we couldn’t get her to a specialist vet until the next morning. After her vet appointment everything seemed very positive and she really perked up, but as these birds are so, so fragile everything can change in an instant. By Friday evening she was gone.

As you can imagine we are all heartbroken, but my sister and her boyfriend especially so. I’d say Kiwi was like one of the family, but truth is she¬†was¬†family. My little bird-niece.

Since Wednesday almost everything I’ve eaten has been crap that I’ve picked up purely out of convenience. I should have caught up on sleep this week but I haven’t been able to¬†stay¬†asleep (case in point, I was exhausted last night but inexplicably woke up at 4am and have been up since then) so I’ve been exceptionally lazy where it comes to food.

I haven’t even really¬†wanted¬†the rubbish I’ve been eating, the one exception being lunch yesterday.

Steve and I had a meal booked in with his family that was arranged weeks ago, but as is so often the case (especially when there is a big group of people involved) things didn’t¬†quite¬†go to plan. When we got there we did a headcount and there were 12 of us, but the table booked was for 10. Oops.

They couldn’t squeeze us in so Steve and I offered to go and find somewhere else to eat, which was fine by me because I’d looked into another pub just round the corner while I was investigating vegan options and I thought it would be right up my street. Also we’d be meeting the family back at his mum’s house later on so we wouldn’t have to miss out on catching up with everyone.

I was right – the pub was absolutely lovely. Being so close to Christmas everywhere seems to be fully booked but we were able to sneak on to a reserved table as long as we were out by 3:30. We had an hour-and-a-half which was perfect for us.

As it happens we ended up sitting at the best and most sought-after table in the room, we had fast service as they needed us to eat our dinner before the next people got there, and the food was absolutely spectacular.

My nut roast was so succulent – I’d love to know their secret, and Steve absolutely loved his sticky toffee pudding. After eating although there was still time to hang around we left the table and relaxed in comfy chairs in front of a wood burner.

The day started with potential disaster but ended up as absolute perfection.

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I was just sitting here thinking about having a week on plan without any social events to trip me up when I got a message asking me out for dinner one day. In this instance it’s a chain restaurant (albeit a nice one) so at least I can look up exactly what I’ll be having beforehand. I’m also designated driver and I’m working that night anyway so no drinking for me.

Tonight will see me facing another gain on the scales, and although it’s our group’s Christmas party and I¬†really want to go to that, I also¬†really don’t want to go to group either. You could say I’m feeling a little bit conflicted! However I know that once I’ve had my weigh in I’ll start to feel better and I can enjoy the evening.

I just have to focus on the good.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Facing the Music

Yesterday I didn’t make as much progress with my crafts as I would have liked. In fact my latest project took four times as long to complete than I anticipated so I am currently quite far behind. I finished one thing this afternoon though and on the plus side it turned out insanely better than I thought it would. I think its recipient will be well and truly chuffed.

While I was working I brought Pea with me and she ventured out to explore the living room for the first time¬†ever, then sat on my shoulder and watched what I was doing. That’s a perfect afternoon right there.

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Yesterday’s weigh in wasn’t as disastrous as I thought it would be. After two weeks between weigh-ins, I gained 5.5 lbs, which for me is practically nothing. I honestly thought it would be at least 8.

I hope I can get that all off be next week, but even if I don’t I’m already excited about group next week. It’s our Christmas party and just like with Dress Like an Elf Day, I’m dressing up and I don’t care if no one else does.

Another exciting thing is that we get our new member packs on Christmas Eve, along with all new stickers for our books. When I rejoined although my consultant offered to give me all of them, I only put new stickers on my book. If I’m honest I did regret it afterwards. Now I can cover my whole book with all of my shiny stickers and I can’t wait. I know, I’m easily pleased!

I’m back feeling focused again which is great, and I even tried a new recipe (Slimming World chicken Waldorf salad) for the first time in an age. I just swapped the chicken for Iceland No Chick strips (Free) and Greek yoghurt for Tesco Free From unsweetened soya yoghurt (also Free).

To keep me on track I’m posting more on Instagram, plus filling in an old-school food diary that my consultant will check for me next Monday just to check no bad habits have crept in without me even realising.

Finally, the main tree is up in the living room and everything is right in the world.

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Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Of Course I Can

Little doubts have been creeping in lately, which is probably down to not getting enough rest more than anything else. I have been planning my homemade Christmas presents since September and made a small start on the first one at the time, but as I was making it I started thinking that it would be rubbish and I lost heart.

It took me until yesterday to really get going with it, and once it all started to come together I began to enjoy myself. I finished it yesterday afternoon, and I’m really happy with how it turned out. I now have the motivation to start the next one and finish it by the end of the week, because I’m very much running out of time now.

I can’t share any pictures until after Christmas day, so you’ll just have to wait to see what I’ve been up to.

After yesterday’s post I had a bit of a defeatist attitude. I started to wonder how I’m going to get away without a massive gain over the festive period, and I spent the first few hours of my shift mulling things over in my mind.

A blog post and a good think can work wonders though, and by 1am something clicked. Of course I can still make progress this month! I sat and worked it out – I am away with Steve on the 1st and 2nd of January and food will largely be out of my control, but between now and then it’s possible for me to be completely on plan at least¬†21 days out of 29.

Furthermore, not all of those off-plan days will be complete write-offs. Often I’ll still be able to make good choices. If I stay away from bread (and believe me I will) then I should manage to avoid a downward spiral.

After my little moment last night I decided to try to avoid feeling bloated on Saturday, mainly because I’m wearing my favourite dress and want to feel comfortable in it. The plan for the next three days is to be perfectly on plan, eat loads of speed food, meal prep, and¬†drink loads of bloody water.

Once I’d decided on my plan of action I went straight to the water fountain to fill up my water bottle, and I haven’t really stopped peeing since. It must be done though – as soon as I touch bread I bloat like crazy and I want to be feeling slinky for the weekend. I’m glad I got my act together before it was too late to do anything.

Now it’s December I have been going all-out with the Christmassy stuff. As promised here are some pictures from family craft day, with the prize for best bauble obviously going to my sister for her ‘rabbit in a jumper’. It’s not fair though, she¬†is¬†an art teacher and she¬†does¬†have a degree in illustration.

Although the main tree isn’t up yet (we don’t need to rush these things) the desk tree is now in its place.

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Pea has been in a bit of a weird mood lately and I was worried that once it was up she wouldn’t want to come out to play. But since it’s been there she’s actually been exceptionally happy. Maybe she likes Christmas as much as I do.

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Unfortunately it seems that no-one else at work is quite on the same page as me as I’m the only one wearing a Christmas hat (so far) and I’ll be interested to see if anyone else is going to partake in ‘dress like an elf day’, which is this Friday. I’m going all out, and I don’t care who joins me. Don’t worry, pictures will follow…

The Friday after is ‘Christmas clothing day’, and the Monday after that is my Slimming World group’s Christmas party. I have an¬†excellent¬†outfit planned for that one. I can’t wait to show you.

So it’s all looking positive again. I damn well got this!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x