One or the Other

From tomorrow (or right now, actually) I am throwing myself back into Slimming World. I’m still reading about body positivity, but sitting on the fence about it isn’t helping me. I need to commit to Food Optimising, or commit to never following another eating plan ever again. I am going to do that eventually, because I want to be free of the bad relationship I’ve had with food for roughly twenty years, but I have no intention of doing so until I’ve lost just a little more weight. I’m going against the advice of the book, but I truly believe this is the best path for me. So I’m that’s what I’m doing!

I’m going to get that last bit of weight off, for a few reasons:

  • Those vintage Levi’s that I want to fit into. I’ve never wanted to wear an item of clothing so much in my life!
  • I want to make sure I have minimum pressure on my knees. Now I know that running is my ‘thing’ then I will continue to do it until my bones crumble. I’d like to avoid that for as long as possible (preferably into my 80’s, at least!)
  • I want my tummy to go down a bit more so that clothes hang on me better
  • I’m so close to where I want to be, it seems silly not to have that last little push

It’s been good to reevaluate why I want to lose more weight, and exactly what I’m aiming for. I’ve been reading about people in situations where they get to their target weight and it’s never enough; they think they will be ‘fixed’ with just another 7lbs. Which becomes another 7lbs, and another. It’s a dangerous mindset, but I don’t think it’s one that I have.

I know that in a stone’s time I’m still not going to be entirely happy with my body, and that’s when I’m going to learn to truly love it. Because I sure as hell ain’t having surgery. What I do know is that I’m almost happy with my weight, and that I know when to stop. And it’s soon. It’s tantalisingly soon!

I must admit that I had been reconsidering a tummy tuck recently, and was even going to speak to my doctor about it. But then I cancelled the appointment because I was considering it for all the wrong reasons. Mostly because of a male interest, and that is NOT the way to go.

Not that the male in question has said that my body would be a problem, or has even seen it, or anything like that, it’s just that the old doubts came creeping back saying that I’m not worthy of his love or affection if I look the way I do. Naked at least.

I’ve said in previous posts that if someone has a problem with your body then they are not the one, but when you start falling for that particular someone then jeebus, it’s sure easier to talk the talk than it is to walk the walk!

Deep down I do know – if someone can only love you if you have bits hacked off of your body, then that is not the kind of love that you need or deserve. That’s not love at all.

Again, this situation has not arisen I must stress! No one has said anything like this to me, it’s purely me saying these things to myself. Because at times I’m harder on myself than anyone else ever could be.

Tummy concerns aside though, I’m actually feeling FABULOUS! I’ve spent the winter wearing salopettes at work, and in recent months the least amount of clothes anyone has seen me in has been jeans that are miles too big for me with thermal long johns worn underneath.

This week as the weather has improved I wore joggers to work for the first time EVER. I didn’t think much of it – the main draw is that since I’ve been exercising I have a good supply of them, they don’t need ironing (RESULT), and they are damn comfortable. I never considered how I actually look in them.

On my first night of the week though I got off of my forklift truck to put my warm jacket on and was shocked by a loud exclamation of  ‘F**KING HELL HAYLEY, WHERE HAVE YOUR LEGS GONE?!’

Although I haven’t lost much weight recently, my body is definitely changing and it would seem that I have runners legs now. They’re definitely leaner than they’ve ever been, and this is coming from someone whose mother used to say she had ‘thunder thighs’. Charming, I know.

Later on in the night I also got a ‘F**K, YOU ARE SO SKINNY NOW!’ and I got all excited explaining to the person in question that I’m so, so nearly ready to stop.

In other news yesterday I had my best. Run. EVER.

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Look at that, 11:07! I’m so nearly in the ten minute bracket! As soon as I stopped stressing over it, then good things started to happen. There will be runs in the future where my times are atrocious, and I need to accept that. It’s entirely normal.

I’ve also discovered what kind of running I love most, and it’s cross-country. I love, love, LOVE trying to stay on my feet whilst running through mud and roots and rocks and all sorts. It’s just so much fun! This is one of the best parts of the run, where after slipping and sliding down a huge muddy hill, then splashing through what is basically a bog, we run along a line of planks.

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I can’t believe I actually considered getting a treadmill. I would have absolutely hated it.

Today I did briefly consider having an off-plan meal later on, as uncharacteristically I’m doing overtime tomorrow (for the first time in about two years) and have subjected myself to a one-day weekend. I felt that because I only have one night off then I deserve a ‘treat’.

Apart from the fact that it’s a really silly mindset to have, I mostly remembered how awful I feel when I train after eating badly so I dismissed the idea almost as soon as it appeared.

This morning I went for a walk with my brother around my usual running route, and the contrast between the weather yesterday and the weather today is fairly drastic.

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From the same position as the first picture the castle wasn’t visible at all, so I had to get closer. Walking around the route I realised just how tough it is, even walking, and the eventual aim is to be able to run the whole lot without stopping. Even the Hill of Doom. One day, anyway. Even my trainer can’t do that yet.

It might even be years before I achieve that, but that’s OK. One thing I do know is that I never want to give this up. It feels way too good.

Now all of my thoughts are in order and I’m feeling motivated, it’s time to get on with what’s left of my day.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Trust

I’ve become a little bit obsessed with times and figures. I love using MapMyRun and seeing the breakdown of how long it took me to do each mile, but it’s easy to get disheartened if I pay too much attention to them in the short-term.

I’ve made myself a little spreadsheet where I have all of the times broken down from different routes that I do with accompanying graphs. Because who doesn’t love a good graph? There’s not enough data to make them interesting enough for me to share yet, but I’m looking forward to doing that one day in the future.

When it comes to timing yourself though, there are just too many varying factors. Even more so if you’re training outdoors. There’s the weather, your mood, how much sleep you’ve had, what you’ve eaten, what you’re wearing… so looking at one run then the next and feeling disappointed that it took me two seconds longer is not very productive! It’s all about overall trends.

Yesterday, my trainer took me to a park he hasn’t trained at for about four years but it used to be one of his favourites. We ran around the perimeter which is about three miles (when he lived in that area he used to run around it four times in a row) and he expected me to be able to run about the first mile without stopping. It’s a lot different to our usual place – the hills aren’t as intense but instead there are long slopes that you have to pace yourself on. When we were a third of the way around the perimeter he asked if I needed to stop. It took me a few breaths before I could blurt out a strangled ‘NO!’

It was so muddy, we had to keep leaping over huge puddles and picking our way through brambles just to make sure we kept the momentum going and didn’t stop. And that’s all absolutely fantastic for strengthening the core muscles but it was also very tiring.

Even so I made it the whole way around without stopping! I felt fantastic afterwards – I had the biggest hit of endorphins I’ve had so far I think.

Here’s a picture of me afterwards. It’s not a great one, but in the body positive book I’ve been reading the author mentions that you don’t have to look like a model in pictures. They aren’t taken because you’re on a photo shoot, it’s a snapshot of a memory and it’s enough that you are present no matter what you look like.

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It’s a bit blurry, it was a grey and horrible day, and I do not look comfortable even though I was trying to. But still, this is a record of the day I ran the furthest yet, and the first day I felt confident enough to wear leggings on a run.

I’m so glad I did because I was much more comfortable. I would also like to point out that my hair was not messed up by the run, my trainer thought it looked too neat and very kindly messed it up for me. Bless him.

I have been feeling a little bit frustrated with my apparent lack of progress after the last week or so, but after this I feel right back in the zone again. I just have to trust that even though an app on my phone might not immediately show it, progress is always being made.

After training we went for a meal at the pub around the corner where I had a tasty, albeit expensive (nearly £14 for a bowl of veggies and some balsamic vinegar) vegan lunch that was also full of goodness, washed down with a not-so-healthy diet coke.

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I’ve got to admit that I spent the rest of the afternoon/evening grazing on not unhealthy foods as such, but foods that are not really Slimming World friendly. If I wasn’t on track again today, I reckon I’d be in for a gain but I’m trying not to stress about going off plan and focusing more on whether I’m actually hungry now and what I actually want to eat.

I’ve just eaten my porridge and oat milk, which I wasn’t going to eat yet because it wasn’t ‘time’. But I listened to what my body was telling me and realised that I was in fact experiencing genuine hunger. So I ate!

After I’ve finished my current book I’m definitely going to read more about intuitive eating and try to put it into practice.

Today is a rest day, which is a concept I’m struggling with. I always feel like I should be doing something but if definitely helps to have proper downtime. It seems counterintuitive, but having a proper rest is absolutely essential. So today apart from washing all of my muddy exercise gear I’m doing nothing at all. Until work later that is, booooo.

In fact I feel a nap coming on (which will surprise absolutely no one!)

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Turning it Around

Yesterday I was hungry.

All. Day. Long.

I had an extra meal when I got in from work (though all on plan) and when I woke up I was still ravenous. It didn’t let up until after dinner where I had an enormous bowl of pasta, passata, tomatoes and a whole pack of Sainsbury’s vegetarian meatballs. Seriously, those balls are one of my favourite vegan-friendly items of all time, plus if you’re on Slimming World they’re only 2 syns for the whole pack (20 meatballs, I think). They’re so yummy – better than any meaty version I ever tried. In fact I bought 7 packs when I last shopped at Sainsbury’s. One pack was for my mum because I like them so much I’m getting everyone else to try them too.

Today my hunger levels seem to have gone back to normal, thank goodness, and I’m celebrating by having a really naughty day. It’s naughty because at work last night I went up to my manager and asked if I could have a short-notice night off. And he said yes! Yep, I am a complete layabout. The plan was to go training today, have lunch with my friend and help him move some furniture (I find it really cool that my totally hench friend has called me in for a bit of extra muscle) but that’s been rescheduled for tomorrow, so instead I’ll do the bits I had planned for Friday today. If I ever stop procrastinating on the computer that is…

The first job is to clean out my car. Before I met my new work/training friend I’d spend my lunch breaks in there so there’s an accumulation of travel salt and pepper pots, knives, forks, spoons and various other items. Plus several cardigans, blankets, thermal jackets in various sizes, scarves, hats… I could go on. So I need to go through all of that rubbish and sort out what I’m keeping before my car totally goes bang, because I don’t want to be doing it all last minute.

Another friend is really good at finding cheap cars and is currently on the lookout for one for me, and I’m really looking forward to having something different, if not new. For one the inside of a passenger door is currently in my boot and it takes up a lot of space! Also my current MPG is 14, so I’m hoping to get something a helluva lot more efficient…

After doing that I’m going to pop over to the country park where I do my training and hopefully get some nice sunset photos of the castle. My Golden Hour app tells me there’s a decent chance for a good photo, so fingers crossed. I usually get my brother to tag along as I don’t like going on my own – it’s a photography hotspot so I’m always self conscious that I’ll see another photographer and they will look at me and think I don’t know what I’m doing. Which is bloody stupid – I need to get over that. When I see another photographer, even if they don’t look like they know what they’re doing I just think ‘cool, I hope they get nice shots!’ And I do know what I’m doing anyhoo.

So even if I don’t get the shot it’s still good that I’m going and yet again getting further and further away from that poxy comfort zone.

I need to crack on now and get the car sorted so I’ll update again when I’m back from the castle.

Several hours later…

Well that was a productive afternoon! I wonder if anyone can explain why I had four, yes four jacks in my boot? Two sets of jump leads? Two air compressors? No, I can’t figure it out either… Thankfully now I’m carrying around a LOT less junk, and when it comes to transferring things over to a new car it will now be a lot easier.

It also turns out that I chose the perfect time to visit the country park. The light was gorgeous, and I only saw two other people. One was a cyclist on his way home, and the other was a dog walker. Other than that the place was completely mine. It’s nice not to worry about people walking into my shots.

I’m SO happy with what I got, it was totally worth braving the rush hour traffic for. I’ve made a lot of improvements since I first photographed the castle back in May 2015. For one I only got a single passable shot.

This was back then:

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And these are from today:

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I’d say that’s a fair old improvement. I probably could have stayed longer for more golden hour action, but as the sun made its way down I started to freeze so I headed home. I was planning to go to the shops but then remembered that I left my purse on the kitchen table (that is so me), so I’ll pop out for a veggie top-up once I’m done here.

And that’s that. Until next time, thanks for reading!

Hayley x

Renewed Focus

I was so excited about going walking with my new friend that I almost forgot about weigh-in this week. It’s a double-edged sword – on the one hand it’s been freeing not being quite so concerned about food and the scales this week, but for now it’s not what I need. I need to keep my eyes on the prize, so this week is all about staying focused on my goals. It still has its positives – I’ve managed a few days without weighing myself at all which I really need to work on.

This week’s main goal is to STAY AWAY FROM THOSE SCALES. I’ve said this so many times, but it’s incredibly important because daily weighing is not healthy and is making me miserable. I need to learn to control myself dammit!

The results of official weigh-in are half a pound on. I’m now 14 st 11.5 lbs and need to lose 2 st 1.5 lbs to reach target. I’d like to lose at least 2 lbs this week to make it so I have less than 2 st to lose in total. I am disappointed in myself, especially since I had another day of bad eating yesterday, but I am glad I’m still in the 14 stone bracket and that my gain this week wasn’t more.

Over the next seven days I am going to be on it.

Well, on to my walk. It was great! Walking with my brother is good and all, but when we go somewhere we’re mostly just strolling around and I’m looking for stuff to take photos of. The incidental exercise is wonderful, but it’s not the primary aim.

Walking with my new friend is a whole different kettle of fish. His focus is absolutely on fitness, and although at first he asked if I’d like to come on a hike, it quickly became clear that what he really meant was would you like to come training? After all, hiking does not normally involve press-ups (I’m getting better at those by the way!)

There were no gentle strolls to be had on this occasion, and no stopping half way up a hill to catch my breath. Even walking up the hills he usually runs up had me lagging behind slightly, which just goes to show what regular training can do. Although I’m no stranger to hill walking, I was still eating the dust of a man 16 years my senior.

In between hills I did have enough breath left for us to get to know each other better, which is good because if I’m to go training with him in future then there won’t be much chatting. I’ve been told in no uncertain terms that I will have to RUN (Shock! Horror!) and I have agreed to this torture. I’m not sure when this will be happening, because I don’t want to interfere with his usual training and hold him back (plus I’m very busy over the next couple of weeks) but it’ll sure be happening one way or another.

I can’t say with any certainty that I’ll do it again afterwards, but I get the feeling I will. And maybe running with him a few times will give me enough confidence to do it on my own. I sure hope so!

Either way I’m so pleased I decided to go out and be sociable, despite the warnings of snow and ice, because otherwise I wouldn’t have seen anything like this:

060218_2473060218_2472060218_2474With the sun out (mostly) it actually wasn’t that cold – we couldn’t have picked a better day I reckon.

Afterwards my friend treated me to breakfast at a local café by the name of Café Max. To be honest I expected to be taken to a greasy spoon that didn’t have a hope in hell of having vegan options, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. There weren’t any vegan options on the menu, but the nice lady serving us said that they have one other vegan customer (a regular) who has a selection of vegetables with hash browns and beans. So I ordered that, and wasn’t too excited about it but glad to have something.

We sat down at a nice table which was spotlessly clean (no grease here!) and got stared at by some old ladies. That was weird, but I think it might have been because me and my friend are both so big. I’m not talking about being overweight, it’s just that I’m 6ft tall myself and my friend is so tall he makes me feel dainty (a first) so we probably look quite imposing as a pair!

Anyway when breakfast came I was blown away. The hash browns were light, crispy and fluffy on the inside, and the accompanying veg wasn’t just your bog standard fried tomatoes and mushrooms swimming in oil. I had cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, yellow pepper (I don’t know what they did with it but that was especially delicious) and asparagus. I would be more than happy to have that again every single time, even if I wasn’t vegan.

It’s now gone 3am and I hope I can get some sleep soon (the joys of being a night worker) because tomorrow I have more strength training planned with my new kettlebells. I have started a little routine that I want to do three times a week, along with two exercise bike sessions and at least one day of yoga. And of course some running (eek!) thrown in at some point. I honestly never thought I’d get this excited about exercise, yet here I am. The girl who faked notes from her parents to get out of P.E. for five years (and got away with it) is now working out ON PURPOSE.

People actually can change!

Hayley x