At Least One Step

I often flick through my previous posts to see what was going on when we last spoke, sometimes to see what I planned to do but didn’t. The broken promises just keep on coming. This weekend was no exception – it was going to be my sorting out weekend, but that didn’t happen. Not even close!

That’s not to say I didn’t do anything though. On Friday, I was supposed to be meeting a friend for drinks in the pub, but he couldn’t make it. Part of me was relieved. I wasn’t sure exactly what our drinks were all about (was it going to be a date?) and since I’ve been feeling so awful about myself I somewhat freaked out. When it didn’t happen, I thought ‘ok, great, I can stop worrying and get back on plan’.

I had to work Saturday night, then on Sunday my friend rearranged his own working week so he could have Sunday off as well as me and we could go out together. Ok, back on plan Monday then! Or maybe not…

We stayed at the pub until closing time, then ended up back at mine chatting and playing YouTube videos until the small hours. Did he stay over all night? Was it a date? Did anything happen? Sorry, a lady never tells!

I do feel like I’ve received some external validation, which is kind of helpful, and I can believe that someone can find me genuinely attractive at my current size. This is a big deal for me, because the last person I was ‘involved with’ didn’t want to see me naked until I lost more weight (I was 3 stone lighter than I am now when he said that) and got extensive plastic surgery (which didn’t happen by the way, I got out in time!)

That doesn’t do much for a gal’s self esteem.

The other end of the scale has its own problems though, because when someone is nice to you, you can start to rely on others to make you feel ok about yourself. Then there’s always that fear about what happens when the person goes away, for whatever reason.

This is where my current learning about myself comes in. I need to realise I have worth without needing anyone to tell me. Needing to hear it from a significant other leads to nothing but misery. Believe me, I know. We aren’t doing that any more.

Still, it’s a work in progress.

I spent most of the day Monday in bed asleep because I didn’t get much rest the previous night before, and I was feeling somewhat delicate shall we say, but I did manage to drag myself to group to get weighed in.

I didn’t really have much choice to be fair. I had two friends who didn’t know each other separately attending the Slimming World ball last weekend, and when I suggested one go find the other (I sent the estimable Davey, of MOTY 2018 fame, to track down my lovely consultant, Amanda) I wasn’t sure he’d be successful. There were a lot of people there after all. But find her he did, and he had a message to pass on to me:

Message received, loud and clear!

Amanda, being the lovely person that she is, said that I could weigh in first and that she’d do it personally, so I wouldn’t have to worry so much. I still wasn’t feeling wonderful about it though.

Since I haven’t had many weigh ins since I rejoined, and I’m much heavier than when I started, I decided to turn over a new page. Literally.

That’s 14.5 pound ON. Ouch! But there’s always a silver lining. It’s about half a stone less than I thought it would be.

I still haven’t managed a full day on plan since then, but I’m determined to make the next 120 hours count. It’s not too late for me to get a loss, so I’m really going to try. Starting from… NOW!

I have shiny Christmas planner to help me along too!

There’s a space in there for my Christmas wish, which is to get into the 14 stone bracket. It’s a big ask, but it’s possible. I’m gonna go for it, I’m really gonna!

I am feeling marginally better since I got the weigh in part over and done with, now I just need to actually eat some healthy food. How hard can it be, eh?

Hayley x

That Time in 2014…

What. Am. I. Doing? I feel like my sense of self has broken into a thousand tiny pieces, and every time I start gluing them back together they just fall apart again. I keep looking for external solutions. Maybe if I just had some stronger glue, for instance. I think the truth is though, these pieces aren’t ever going back together.

Time to rebuild from scratch.

First up? My weight. How about I put everything to one side for now and concentrate on something I can actually do something about. This will be my foundation on which to build more things.

In one way I’m trying to forget about what came before. My past achievements are irrelevant to me now if I can’t stay one day on plan. On the other hand, I need to learn from past mistakes. Yes, I am a walking contradiction.

In 2014, I got down to 14.5 stone and I did not stay there for long. Once I started putting on weight, then came the self denial. So, so many occasions of ‘just one last takeaway. Tomorrow I’ll get back on it’. This is my main problem right now. I keep lying to myself that this will be the last time. I need to make it true.

In 2014 I kept saying to myself – as long as I don’t go over 15 stone, I’ll be ok. 15 became 16, 16 became 17, 17 became 18.

This is me in August 2014, on holiday in Bath. I had to go emergency shopping in Sainsbury’s because I burst out of my size 20 clothing on that trip and didn’t have anything to wear. I was 18 stone-something.

This is me in September 2015, at 19 stone-something. As long as I don’t go into the 20 stone bracket, it’ll be ok. Right?

Christmas 2015, and I’m back in the 20’s. I’ll be over 21 stone by the new year.

So you see, this is how it goes. I’ve been saying to myself – just don’t get into the 16’s! Yet this morning I hadn’t just dipped a toe into that bracket, the scales were reading an undeniable 16 stone 6 pounds.

S#!t.

It’s weird seeing those three smiles, because I wasn’t happy in any of them. Just increasingly desperate. I don’t want to repeat this history. I can’t, I just can’t do that again.

No matter how I’m feeling right now, which to be honest is quite dreadful, I need to get it together because getting bigger has and will make everything incrementally worse. No doubt about it.

I’ve come across people talking online about fat phobia recently, and although I’d like not to be fat phobic (and the same goes for the rest of humanity), truth is, I am. And what’s more it seems like a rational response. Being fat is hard. People treat you differently. Clothes aren’t made for us. Chairs aren’t made for us. Planes, cars, hospital beds, forklift trucks. People shout at us in the street. Make jokes about us. Yes, I’m scared of being fat, of being fatter. Downright terrified.

I must apologise for how bleak this post is coming across, but that’s what’s in my brain, and it has to come out. Often, my brain is not a nice place to be.

I think I just needed to recognise that this can be my rock bottom. I don’t need to let things get any worse before I can truly say ‘enough is enough’. It’s time to act now.

I’ve been putting off going back to group, because the lady who does the weigh ins is going to look at my result and be confused, thinking that something is wrong with the scales. They are going to say at least one stone on. They say ‘no judgement’ at Slimming World groups, which is true, but she’s not going to be able to control that initial look on her face. It’s not her fault, but it still makes me feel like crap.

What’s the alternative though? I could waste a lot of money (I’m a paid member up until about March) and start over somewhere else, or I could face this moment of discomfort in exchange for preventing the rest of my life being in continuous discomfort. Seems like the more sensible option.

If I didn’t have faith somewhere deep down that I can do this, that I can face reality and turn it around, then I wouldn’t be writing this now. So perhaps things aren’t quite as bleak as they seem.

I’ve got good friends, I have family who love me, and I have a Newton to snuggle.

It’ll all be ok.

I’m in work tonight then I have three days off, and I’ll use that time to get the ball rolling again and make a plan. I do love a good plan.

I have a sibling Christmas dinner booked on the 1st of December at an amazing vegan restaurant and already I’m worrying about it due to my ‘all or nothing’ mindset. All I have to do is stay on plan before and after, so why am I worrying about that already? Why can’t I just enjoy a nice meal out without freaking out about it? Stay tuned for how I figure this one out, because I swear one day I will!

If you’ve made it to the end of this post, thanks for reading. Here’s for nicer posts in the future!

Hayley x

A Wet Start

Oh look, it’s November! October was a really hard month for me, but it all turned out ok. I’m alive, I’m breathing, I’m ready to try again continue. Life goes on, things get better, and progress isn’t linear.

I opened a can of worms, which was totally necessary. I’ve been unpacking a load of crap from my past which has made me (amongst a plethora another emotions), angry, sad… and hopeful. There are things I didn’t want to look at ever again, things I didn’t know to look for in the first place, things I thought were gone, but all of these buried things have a way of showing up in our lives without us even realising. Until I acknowledge them and deal with them, I can’t have a full life.

Last week I did wonder if it would have been better not to have opened the can and stay quietly yet comfortably miserable for the rest of my life, but in recent times it’s been anything but comfortable. The only way is forwards.

On a very soggy walk this morning, I had an epiphany regarding my first proper relationship in 2005. When I was a kid my dad would often go out, get drunk and not come home when he said he would. I’m not talking a little bit late, I’m talking more like a day late. Kids pick up on things, and I saw how it left my mum bereft.

Fast forward back to 2005, and the logical part of me knows that all men aren’t like that. Then the guy I was seeing at the time, quite reasonably, couldn’t make the last train home after hanging out with work friends in London and had to stay over. He let me know so I didn’t worry, but I felt abandoned. It was so, so painful. My head knew that his behaviour was reasonable and ordinary, but my body was reliving everything from when I was a kid, making me feel scared, anxious… bereft.

I’ve been reading about how the body remembers what the mind forgets, which I couldn’t really understand at first. Then when I thought back to that example, I totally got it.

What’s more, while I’m waiting for a professional to talk over these things with, I’ve found a Facebook group run by one of my favourite Instagram accounts, Loving Me After We. When you join you are provided with prompts and guidance to start the work of healing. I see this as a very good starting point. I’ll do that and see how I go.

If it gets too much, I’ll remember that this work is difficult, and cut myself some damn slack.

So, this morning, straight after work, I went for a walk in my up-until-today favourite park. I realised that I don’t actually like the park as much as I thought I did – it is good for working out because it’s very hilly, but the park round the corner from me (the one with all the mushrooms) is actually much nicer.

I’ve been avoiding this particular park because I didn’t want to bump into a particular person I know, but I decided to stop not doing things for that reason. It was only when I got there I noticed it didn’t hold the same appeal that it used to.

This is good, because I faced that particular fear so I can stop wishing I could go there. Now I just don’t want to go there!

Having said that, it was still a nice walk. It drizzled the whole time but it was still warm enough and so refreshing after spending a night in a dusty warehouse. I took a couple of photos, but not too many because I didn’t want to destroy my camera, and well, it was mostly just grey anyway.

Anyway, the important thing is that I got out. My new plan is to be out walking Monday to a Friday, then spend time on the more arty things I like on Saturdays and Sundays. I’m going to try hard to get back into a healthy routine.

November goals right there!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Rule Breaker

I’ve been breaking my own rules lately. Some of it has been not-so-good (this is it, I’m REALLY going to stick to plan this time. Yeah right!) and some of it slightly better.

I love getting second-hand bargains, but I always drew the line at shoes because it’s a bit icky. Then I started trying to save money, and I decided to reconsider my used shoe stance.

I joined a vegan Facebook buy and sell group, with the intention of selling some vegan shoes, but instead I ended up buying some. A pair of rather battered purple vegan Dr Marten’s caught my eye – and they were in my size! I’m an 8 so this doesn’t happen often, but since I didn’t really need them I held off and held off.

Until I couldn’t any longer.

I got in contact, paid the seller, then waited a few weeks for them to be posted to me. I paid £35 for a pair of boots that would have been almost £150 when new, but I thought I had been done over if I’m honest! The seller told me she was poorly but no attempt was made to drop me a quick message to keep me updated. £35 is still much more money than I wanted to lose.

Eventually they turned up, and while the seller had been honest about marks and scuffs, no mention was made of the dodgy zip on one of the boots. I found this quite dishonest, and while they mercifully smelled of nothing worse than incense, there were crisps inside them. I’d say Pringles if I had to guess.

Thankfully I managed to salvage the zip for now by bending the teeth back into shape, and they’re really comfortable and I do love them. Having said that I think I’ve had a lucky escape. I’ll definitely go through eBay from now on where at least there’s more buyer protection.

I have two events I plan to wear these to next year – Swingamajig and Shambala festival, the latter of which I bought tickets for today and I’m super excited! They’ll definitely be perfect festival boots, because I’ve never been able to find a pair of wellies yet that didn’t make my big toes go numb.

Yesterday I got out for another mushroom walk, this time through the other half of the nature reserve (two different areas are separated by a road) where I took another 400 pictures. I edited a lot less of them however because many were very similar to the shots taken Monday. Yesterday’s highlights were definitely the puff balls, which are always fun!

I probably should have been a bit more careful because of the spores but, y’know, it’s too cool!

As you may be able to tell from my tone, I’m a feeling a lot better today. I’ve eaten some rubbish, which I’m not exactly happy about, but I’m feeling more positive and just doing what I can.

I’m hopefully going out to socialise with a friend next Friday, though that’s always touch and go because he’s not the most reliable of going out buddies – he’s very prone to cancelling. If he doesn’t cancel (I hope he doesn’t, we’ve been meaning to go out since his birthday in August) then I’m not going to let the way I currently feel about my body stop me from having fun.

Perhaps I won’t have lost weight the following Monday, but I still haven’t given up on the idea of being able to enjoy the odd night out, not freak out about it before or after, and get back on plan straight away the next day. That’s probably my number one diet goal right now and I refuse to give up on it because I know it’s attainable!

Right, I’m signing off now. I’ll see you next month!

Hayley x

Too Much Whelm

I’m overwhelmed. My brain is currently a swarm of angry bees. When I think about moving forward and making progress with my goals, it goes something like this: Ok, so I need to get this weight off. Which means I need to be PERFECT every day without a single slip-up. I need to be out walking, no running, and preferably doing kettlebell workouts too, and I need to keep on top of the washing, and no early finishes from work, and spend more time with Pea, and Newton, and mum, brother, sister, friends, have a better social life, draw more, make more, be more creative, blog more and if we don’t do all of that we’ve failed and what’s the point in even trying it’ll all go wrong you’ll fail you’ll give up like you always do useless, useless, useless…

Yeah, that.

So instead of being sensible, doing what I can and inching towards the person I want to be, it all gets too much and I shut down. I just want to be in bed all of the time and not move or think.

What I’m doing right now is not in line with the person I was/want to be, and I don’t know how to get that back. I have a couple of weeks where I feel back on top of things, then I do too much and end up right back where I started. I’m not sure what the answer is right now. I wish I could just not think for a moment, but ridiculous overthinker that I am, I’ve been having trouble with that.

I’m going to try meditating. I wanted to find a class, but I can’t find one that I can get to/doesn’t clash with other commitments, so I’m going to start off with an app that was recommended to me by a friend and go from there. In the back of my head I’m thinking ‘SO POINTLESS! You’ll stick with it for a week then give up!’ which may be true, but I’ve gotta try, right? Maybe if I can quiet my brain and live more in the moment, it’ll really help.

Ok, so I just went and tried that app and it was actually really good! I’ve set a reminder to do it every day and see how I go, but I certainly feel less overwhelmed right now. Huh, who knew?

So, I skipped weigh in yesterday because I couldn’t face being in a room of people, but I did weigh in at home. Since I last went to group I put on 13.5 pounds. Yep, nearly a stone. On the plus side, I think about half of that weight was dough in various forms (pizza, bread, donut etc) as today I weigh 7 pounds less. I still weigh more than when I rejoined Slimming World but still, it’s better than it was yesterday!

Although I haven’t been feeling great, I did manage to do some things this weekend. I watched Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind with my brother (a 1984 Studio Ghibli film) which was excellent, then I went to see the new Zombieland with a friend. It was nicely entertaining, and the first time I’ve been to the cinema with this particular friend in ages where we didn’t end up seeing something we both despised. Next Sunday I’m seeing Joker with my brother, on the IMAX screen which should be pretty awesome.

Yesterday I woke up feeling like complete poop. I couldn’t get to sleep till 5am and when my alarm went off to get up to feed Pea, I wasn’t feeling very happy about being awake. Since I was up, I just grabbed what I needed and got out of the house. Although I’m not a huge fan of cold weather, the fact that it’s cold enough to wear a hat so I don’t need to do my hair, is very helpful indeed. If I need to spend too much time getting ready, it’s just too much effort to go out.

My plan today is to prep some clothes into piles so when I get up tomorrow, everything is laid out and I can get out for a walk quickly before I change my mind.

Yesterday I was out for over two hours, because I saw more mushrooms and fungi than I’ve ever seen in my life. The woods were absolutely smothered in them. I took over 400 pictures, but these are my favourites:

I also found one of the teeniest mushrooms ever. I forgot about it until just now as when I was editing my photos it was so small I never even noticed which shot it was in.

Crazy tiny! Much too small for my camera to even focus on! It’s at this point I regret selling my macro lens, until I remember how heavy it was and how I really wouldn’t have wanted to lug it around the woods…

Aaaaanyway, I’m feeling kind of better now. Hopefully I can keep my s**t together and stop going backwards every time I start getting somewhere! Here’s hoping.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley X

Indoorsy

This time last year I was spending a lot of time outdoors. I had ‘enough’ energy to be getting with and I was going for long walks nearly every day and loving it. What with one thing or another, despite photographic evidence apparently to the contrary, I’ve hardly been out at all. At least not compared to how often I used to be.

It’s better if I’ve got someone with me, because I’ve been feeling anxious – as I’m not happy with my appearance right now I’ve been putting off going for walks alone. I’ve been intending to walk to town every day for the last two weeks (something I used to do at least once a week, whether I needed to shop or not) but every day I found an excuse not to go.

Today I didn’t run out of excuses (I’ve still got plenty of those) but the desire to find cute slippers simply became too strong. Well, whatever works eh? The desire to change my current state of affairs was probably the main reason, but cute stuff always helps!

I was in town for ages before I found these. Cute slippers are thin on the ground this year for some reason. I almost went for giraffe ones, but I figured Newton would probably think they were a toy so I decided against them.

It was so refreshing to get out, especially as there was a really light rain that felt bloody lovely on my face. It wasn’t that cold, but cool enough that I could wear a hat and save time not having to style my hair before leaving the house.

Speaking of cold, the cold weather clothing has arrived at work and was dished out to us last night. Everything I’ve ordered is uncomfortably tight so I know I won’t be wearing it just yet, and I have no idea if I’ll still manage to get last year’s salopettes on. I’m retrieving them from my locker tonight for a test run. I think this is scary enough to get me back on plan, because if they don’t fit I need to shrink back into them and do it quick, because life at work without them is painfully cold.

I think I’m going to be ok, because comfort eating just isn’t working for me any more. I simply don’t get the same sort of high from a binge as I used to, so what’s the point? This is a very good thing, but I need to get back into my walking as a way to calm myself because it’s no good if I don’t have an alternative. After I realised the food wasn’t helping over the weekend, I was mainly driven to eat more rubbish because I didn’t have the mental energy to prepare any food. It really sucks when you feel that crappy, and I usually have stuff in the freezer for such occasions, but I’m currently low on supplies. I must get organised again. I also realised that I don’t really like drinking alcohol any more. If I have any more than one glass with a meal, I feel awful afterwards. Again, it ain’t worth it.

So it isn’t all bad! Work hasn’t been a nice place to be just lately, but over the last week I’ve reconnected with someone I hadn’t spoken with for over a year (01/08/18 was the last time to be precise) and it’s actually been lovely. I can’t go into details of course, but it was all connected to my last relationship. Although I didn’t set out to hurt anyone, I made some really poor judgement calls and this colleague got caught in the crossfire. It’s been really awesome catching up with him and repairing something I thought was broken forever. Yay for good things!

Now what I need to do is learn how to deal with it when people have a problem with me, specifically when I haven’t done anything wrong. You can’t make people see you for who and what you really are, and if someone is determined to see you as a bad person then there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. I’m currently in this situation at work and all I can do is suck it up. Logically, I know that it doesn’t matter what this person thinks of me. Everyone who is important to me or whose opinion I value knows the truth, so why should I care? Why can’t I get the fact out of my head and stop playing things over and over in my mind? No idea, but it’s something I’ll be asking the counsellor about for sure! In the meantime I plan to avoid confrontation, which is not a long-term solution but until I can deal with it I need to protect myself. I just don’t think I can take any more feeling bad right now, I desperately need some peace.

Lately all I feel is sick and anxious, all the time. It’s getting boring now.

One continuous little ray of sunshine is Newton of course, so I’ll leave you with his sweet little face enjoying the one time this week that yellow orb in the sky made an appearance.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

A Dip

I normally get really down when it’s my birthday but weirdly, this year it never happened. Once my birthday was done however I found my mood dropping drastically by the day. It’s probably a coincidence, because I no longer get those ‘oh my god I’m failing at life! I should have a husband, children, my own house and a fulfilling job by now!’ moments. In fact these days I’m positively relieved I don’t have some of those.

I thought perhaps I’d had some kind of breakthrough where I wouldn’t ever feel as bad again as I do right now. Perhaps that was naive of me. Ok, definitely naive of me, because once more I feel more than a little lost and I suppose betrayed by my own body and mind. We weren’t supposed to be doing this any more!

I haven’t helped myself this weekend. I’ve eaten aaaaaaall the pizza in an attempt to numb the pain, and had a couple of bottles of wine, too. Which has definitely just made me feel even worse in the long run, and helped me put back on all the weight I lost over the last couple of weeks. I skipped group this week too, and might do the same next week. It’s the Mr Sleek and Miss Slinky awards (the most cringe-worthy of them all) and I’m really not feeling up to a taster night.

So what I’ve done is add to the bad feelings I already had, which now I’m feeling guilty about. Guilt, guilt and more guilt, about so many things! In a matter of days I’ve gone from feeling pretty much ok and quite positive to completely overwhelmed with everything and like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel.

I’ve hardly touched the art supplies I got for my birthday that I was so excited to get, (more guilt) because I’ve barely had the energy to even sit and watch a movie. Quite frankly, this is all bullshit and I’m sick of this awful cycle.

On the plus side I had a telephone appointment today to find out what help I can get for all of this. I’ve been referred for counselling, with the only downside being I will have to wait somewhere between 6 to 18 weeks for my first appointment. I suppose I’ll just have to keep doing the best I can in the meantime.

I did manage to drag myself out on Sunday even though it was the last thing in the world I wanted to do. Newton has now been fully immunised and is allowed out for walkies, so me and little brother visited the sister so we could all take him to the park.

He was loving it! It took us a while to get there because he wanted to stop and sniff everything, but eventually we got to an open area where he could have a good run. He’s still so tiny but he’s bloody fast!

Later on it turned chilly and he was getting tired so he was carried some of the way home, the lazy little git. Who can resist a face like that though?

I found more mushrooms too. Ok, so admittedly the weekend wasn’t a complete write off.

Tomorrow I’ll get back on plan and get out for a walk, because I know it will help. It’s just the getting up and starting it that’s the problem. All I want to do is sleep. Anyway, that’s enough moaning for one day.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Uncharted Territories

I’m not entirely sure where to begin with this here post. I feel like I have travelled enormous distances these past few weeks, and from here on in we venture into the unknown. It’s scary, and exciting.

I’ve changed so much in the last 18 months. At my core I’m still the same, as a wonderful friend pointed out to me. Perhaps neither of us knew it at the time, but I felt like I was drowning and she threw me a lifeline. I still have the same core values – I may mess up, and I may have messed up more frequently and severely lately than ever before in my life, but I’m still me and I still want the same things. I want to be the best version of me that I can, and I want to be happy. I want the people I love to be happy too. That’s it in a nutshell.

I’ve been at a bit of a crossroads, because the best version of me no longer equals the slimmest version of me.

One of the ways I’ve changed a lot relates to dieting, and because of that Slimming World is no longer a good fit for me. I have much to be thankful for, such as incredible friends I may not have met otherwise. That’s the most important thing to me of all. The support at Slimming World is great, but with around 50 people attending a group it’s understandable that you can only delve so deep. After all, consultants aren’t trained as psychologists. Even if they were they aren’t there for full-on emotional support, and although most I’ve met would do it in a heartbeat it wouldn’t be fair to ask that of them.

I’ve scratched the surface, but I have a lot more work to do. A Slimming World group just isn’t the place for me to grow anymore, as much as I didn’t want to admit it to myself. I’ve been going for the best part of three years now, and trying to force myself to carry on when I don’t want to has been having a negative effect. I felt guilty because I didn’t want to abandon my friends, I felt scared I was using it as an excuse to abandon my diet, and I felt trapped because deep down I really didn’t want to be there. In the end the new part of me, the one I’ve been nurturing for a while, decided that I was just going to do what was right for me. Nothing more and nothing less.

I’ve been thinking about learning how to eat intuitively for a while now, because there are a whole bunch of people out there learning how to have lives free from diet culture. It’s possible to be happy, and whole. It takes a long time, but it can be done. I can barely even imagine it, but I want it. I want it bad.

However, I know I’m not ready yet. Intuitive eating isn’t about weight loss, and I want to get my recent gains off, for good. Ordinarily as soon as I feel happier or resolve something that’s been bothering me, I jump straight back on the wagon and get on with things. Since a lot has been bothering me lately, I figured I’d got the taste for the sweet stuff and needed to go cold turkey, but no matter how good I felt or how much I filled up on healthy food, I couldn’t seem to get it together.

This last week I’ve had a few downs, but now I feel good. Not just good, SUPER GOOD. So why then, do I still feel truly, ravenously, tummy-achingly hungry ALL THE FRIKKIN TIME? I normally feel a bit like this when I’m hormonal, but it never lasts for this length of time.

I just couldn’t understand it.

I decided to spend a few days just eating what I wanted whenever I wanted, whilst trying to gauge my feelings and cravings as an outsider. To just be an observer, and not be invested in what was happening. There was no need to feel guilt, or worry about gaining weight. It was an experiment. Weight gain would just be an interesting data point to analyse.

I didn’t worry or fret about the results, and do you know what happened? I only went and figured it out. It was a genuine facepalm moment. I went back to check my dates and weight history to check I was right.

Yup.

It’s the flipping anti-depressants messing with my appetite, I’m sure of it!

Now what I feel is sweet, sweet relief. If you don’t know what the problem is how can you fix it? But now I have something I can change! I have to consider my options. Am I ready to come off of the pills now I’ve removed so many damaging things from my life? Shall I go the doctor to ask about trying a different medication where I may get different side effects? Something else I haven’t thought of yet? I’m not sure, but what I do know is that there is hope. In any case I’m not taking my mental health lightly and I’m waiting for a referral to come through for some kind of counselling, so I’ll still be getting help.

When I thought about intuitive eating I never thought it could ever work for me, not when my body was screaming at me that we really, really wanted a tub of Ben & Jerry’s even though we’d just eaten a pizza, a load of garlic bread, plus 3 peanut butter and jam sandwiches. That’s six slices of bread on top of what is already a significant amount of pizza dough! I’m pretty sure that in such cases the body is not to be trusted.

But if my body returns to sending me proper signals again that I can tune into, then one day I can be free. Free from a lifetime of trying to shrink. Free from points or Syns or macros. I used to think such thoughts meant I was deluded, that such a thing couldn’t be done. That the balance I’ve yearned for all these years could never be attained. In the meantime the evidence keeps mounting up that it yes it can!

As such I now begin a new chapter of my life and I’m absolutely ready for it! As I mentioned before, I still intend to get these gains off, which is going to take a lot of hard work whilst I feel like my tummy is a huge, gaping hole that can never be filled. While I’m doing that my plan is to learn, learn and learn some more, along with feeding my soul with books, art, friends, family and experiences. In other words, with life.

Before I sign off I’ll briefly return to the ordinary kind of blogging where I ramble on about everyday life a little bit. After a few years now of falling in love with nature, I’d say I’m more attuned to it than most. I’m pretty good at spotting things others might miss.

Perhaps that’s why, at work last night, I spotted a small-yet-perfectly-formed mushroom growing out of the wall outside the toilets. It was absolutely thriving in some seepage leaking out between a crack on the wall and the floor, though I dread to imagine the exact nature of said seepage.

As such today’s journal page was dedicated to mushrooms, though the work one was not as exciting as those shown here. They are all drawn from pictures of mushrooms I found myself whilst out and about.

I then spent a ridiculous amount of time going through my photo albums. Even with some relatively nice experiences I’ve had over the last year many of my photos had bad, bad memories attached to them. I was conflicted for a while, thinking that if I removed them it wasn’t an ‘honest’ record of my time.

I then realised it was stupid to hang on to things that hurt me, and when I looked back over what remained for 2018, my year clearly was not nearly the write-off I thought it had been. There was plenty of good stuff to look back on and I ended the exercise feeling a whole lot better.

No more hanging on to the bad stuff, it’s time to move on.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

A Rock and a Hard Place

For some months I’ve been spending too much time with people who set great store by someone’s physical appearance. I’ve met people who I thought were quite nice only for a Facebook status to pop up saying something like obese people are a waste of space and should euthanised. They are of course now blocked, and although I am totally, passionately opposed to these kinds of views, because of the way I tend to put myself down, hearing/reading such things chipped away at my self-worth alarmingly quickly.

When I removed myself from that environment I found that a lot of my motivation to lose weight lately has been to keep others happy. Or perhaps it’s more a case of subconsciously trying to gain their approval, now I look back on it. When I came back to my senses, I took the brakes off and ate EVERYTHING, and I haven’t stopped since. This alone would be problematic, but since eating rubbish does nothing to help depression, my mood has plummeted. On top of that I’ve slipped back into binge eating behaviours with absolute ease, I feel like a failure, I need to retain some confidence to photograph my friend’s wedding and I’m terrified of letting him down. Every time that particular thought comes to mind I find myself back at the fridge door.

The rock is me knowing that my self-worth doesn’t stem from my weight or size, so I’ll eat what I want, right? The hard place is knowing that I’m not at a point yet where I can stop following a plan and just be a bit more relaxed – instead I immediately develop a huge problem with disordered eating.

I know, I know deep down that I want to be 12 stone 10 pounds. I want it for me, only for me, and I will stop at nothing to get there. I’ve had so many doubts about this lately, and in the back of my head I’ve been trying to think of a way out other than admitting that the only way I’ll get to where I want to be is by facing up to the mess I’ve made of the last year-and-a-half and starting over.

Well, not entirely over, I’m still 6.5 stone down from when I started, but you know what I mean.

I’m not going to make promises, because I’ve made promises to myself every day this week and I’ve broken every single one. I’m out with my sister tomorrow for vegan eats in the city, and I’m out for a meal Tuesday for my dad’s birthday. Once they are done with all I can do is try my hardest to truly have a fresh start.

Except I also have other events dotted around up until the 10th of September, and I don’t cope well with having things in the pipeline. After then I’m not making any plans unless they involve coffee, walking or art, all of which I can do with my favourite people. I’m going to do this, I know I’ll never be satisfied till I do.

It hasn’t been all bad though. Today I started my Christmas shopping record-breakingly early, although that was not my intention when I left the house this morning.

My brother and I went to seek out antiques, and that’s just what we found, at Battlesbridge Antiques Centre. There are loads of different traders there, but they were all much of a muchness. Antiques dealers are FLIPPING WEIRD. I found them all invariably unwelcoming, there were all kinds of odd smells that cannot be attributed simply to old stuff, and it was mostly junk that was waaaaay overpriced. Most strange of all was that they didn’t seem to want you to buy anything.

I overheard some people discussing whether their business would take off, while standing in the doorway blocking access to potential customers and ignoring people in the vicinity who clearly wanted to come in. We found this a lot, especially in the spaces that were especially cramped. Either the dealers wouldn’t let you in, or we couldn’t find them. It’s like… we would like to give you some money please?

If proof of strangeness is needed, consider this:

Definitely odd. It certainly wasn’t a wasted trip because as I say I managed to stumble across a present that a friend of mine will love, I took my brother to the motorbike museum (he’s a total bike nut) and I found a great place that my nerd friends will love. I shall take them all there one day, though perhaps not at the same time.

Behold, the Nerd Base!

Inside the Thundercats theme song was playing on a loop, there’s a life size model of Deadpool and I found loads of 80’s toys I’d forgotten I even had back in the day. Wicked!

As for buying old stuff I shall stick to the charity shops because to be quite honest I tend to find more interesting things in them than anywhere else. You just have to keep looking. Plus the staff are way nicer (and also actually in the shop).

In between the search for bargains, I really will keep trying to get it together. I’ll never give up!

Hayley x

Never Simple

Is this it now? Am I healing? For the last few weeks my sadness has been pressing on my chest like a physical weight. It actually hurt. But then yesterday and the day before that I started feeling better. Every time I think I’m on the up however, I come crashing down again. I wish there was a simple answer, like THIS is the thing that’s making you feel bad. Fix it and all will be well! If only.

Will it all be for naught once my monthly arrives again? (They seem to be getting worse lately, I’ll have to speak to the doctor about that). Will my cravings, which have subsided a bit over the last few days, come back with a vengeance? I have to carry on as if they won’t, because the only way is forward.

I know I’m on the up because I’ve been tidier and more organised, and I’ve been creative without feeling like a bag of poo. I started a little project last week and loved it at the start. Then I lost my way and almost gave up completely, until yesterday when I decided to give it another shot. I kept looking at it thinking ‘I can’t do it, everything I do is rubbish’.

What happened was that I wound up having a fabulous art session. I put a film on Netflix to have on in the background but hardly looked up. I spent three hours in the end, fixing what I wasn’t happy with, trying something different for the bits that weren’t working out. I’m delighted with the end result and can’t wait to share it with you, but it has to reach the recipient first. It won’t be long I promise.

I think what changed is that, although it was always intended to be given to someone, I stopped thinking that way and did it for the joy of it, for the process, rather than thinking it had to be perfect. It’s far from perfect, but I still love it.

Petrie the little blue house guest has now gone home after causing havoc. Just after the above picture was taken she stole my earring out of my ear and wouldn’t give it back. How she even did it I have no idea, because I find them quite difficult to get out! Then it disappeared and I was terrified, thinking she’d swallowed it, but luckily I found it under the newspaper in her cage. Phew! I put the earring back in and didn’t think anything of it until I took it out to clean.

The little cow! Please excuse the state of my fingers by the way, I got clothes dye on them. I’ve decided to keep my mullered earring because firstly they’re so small you can’t tell unless you look really closely, and secondly I think it’s super adorable to go around with her little beak imprints. I just love her, even if she is a bloody menace.

Bird time goes especially well with journaling, which I’ve got right back into in a major way. Pea is hardly ever quiet but when we’re sitting together with me working on my bits and bobs she’s good as gold. I’ve been using my bullet journal more like a traditional diary but also adding little ten-minute sketches, to illustrate something out of my day. Such as when Petrie visited…

And when a colleague handed me a dead moth at work…

I actually love how it’s just accepted now that I’m a bit odd, and that when someone finds a dead thing they’ll bring to to me because they know I’ll be interested.

Poor headless elephant hawk moth. On this occasion it isn’t as weird as it seems. A work friend has recently got a tattoo so I sent him a picture of my brother’s tattoo of this moth. He had no idea something like that could be found in the UK, then lo and behold one turns up at work a few days later! How cool would it be to see a live one though. Of course I took it home to show my little bro, adding it to the list of other insects I’ve rescued from work, including the live ladybird that I released into our front garden.

Right now I have to crack on because I have an important delivery coming tomorrow -a hideous 70’s wall unit that I have big renovation plans for. It’s going to be AWESOME. Plus it was only £20 from the charity shop. I just need to move everything around first to accommodate it!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x