Not Wonderful

I’m feeling a bit under the weather today, because I think I’m coming down with a bug. So far though, it seems to be a small and manageable bug so I’m not letting it stop me (even though I’d quite like to be in bed instead of going to work).

This morning I woke up before 5am so I forced myself to get out into the world. It took a while for me to convince myself, so I didn’t make it to the park till gone 6am. That meant it was light enough to not be dangerous but the sun had not yet risen. Happily I got to witness it!

It was a misty morning but my phone camera couldn’t quite capture the beauty of that. There were other things of interest though once the sun was on its way up.

By the end of my 1.5 hour walk my throat was sore and I was feeling distinctly sleepy, so once home I headed back to bed before getting up again three hours later for… meal prep!

I’m still tweaking this meal prep thing I’ve got going on. So far I think it’s best to do three lunches and three dinners in one go, twice a week, then every Sunday just cook fresh. It seems to be the most manageable way.

I’m also getting better at spending less money on food so spread over the next three nights I’ll be munching on 1kg of sprouts, amongst other things. What could possibly go wrong?

For the rest of the week I want to get outside for my Body Magic every single day, but that will depend on how I feel. Fingers crossed I’m up to it!

Right now I can hear the sprouts calling so I must leave you and eat my dinner.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Feelin’ Slinky

Years ago, back at my old Tuesday Slimming World group, I was voted our group’s Miss Slinky. At the time I was doing well with my weight loss, but I felt anything but slinky! It’s one of the stranger Slimming World awards I think, but at least when my lovely group nominated me this time around I was at thankfully feeling a lot better about myself.

In fact I’ve spent a lot of time over the last couple of weeks becoming familiar with my body again, because after pretty much maintaining for six months, the recent changes have been pretty drastic. When I first started it took about three stone before I even noticed any physical changes, but as I get closer to target I’m finding that half a stone can make a huge difference.

It seems like every day I’m finding a new part of my skeleton that I never knew existed!

Yesterday was such a busy day. I did my laundry, I took my mum to an appointment that took a lot longer than it should have, then when I got home I headed straight back out again to go veggie shopping in Lidl’s. I bought all the veg I’d need for my meal prep (and then some) that I would start as soon as I got back.

I then spent roughly three hours in the kitchen. The fruits of my labour were three soups for the freezer (syn free), four work lunches (half a syn in each) and four dinners (max two syns in each). Since I’m out Friday I don’t have to prepare any more food until Saturday lunch time. I like that a lot!

There are other benefits to this batch cooking malarkey. I don’t have anything in the fridge that needs to be used up so I have completely eliminated the prospect of any food waste. The only fresh thing I have is a bag of apples for snacking and I’m sure to use those up.

I also wildly overestimated how much veg I’d need so next week I’ll be spending even less money on food.

After meal prep I got on the exercise bike and I felt really in the zone so I smashed my workout, then I went to visit my dad before walking around the corner to my Slimming World group.

By this point I was feeling very sleepy, and since it was lovely and warm in group by the time Image Therapy started I was feeling a tad spaced out (but totally content!) I remembered to pick up my Gold Body Magic award, so I have a nice new shiny sticker and certificate, and I lost a marvellous 2 lbs! 3 to go till target!

After our group chat we voted for our Miss Slinky and Mr Sleek. There was only one Mr Sleek nominee present in group, so he won by default, but I would have voted for him anyway. He’s a smashing guy who is always helpful in group and always has a cheesy joke to tell, plus since I’ve been going he’s been roughly at target. If he’s been out of target range he’s just worked through it till he’s back where he wants to be, plus he loves walking. A man after my own heart, and an inspiration too.

Then the lovely people voted me as their Miss Slinky which gave me all of the warm fuzzy feelings inside. This is my weight loss graph for 2018 so far, and I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the graph has taken a nice downward trend since I started coming (and staying) to that group.

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Once home I had just enough time to scoff my dinner, pin my new certificates onto the wall of inspiration before going out again.

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My current favourite part of my wall is my October calendar, where I’ve been crossing off every day I’ve spent on plan. And I’m nearly there!

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So I headed in to work on my day off to say farewell to my manager and hand over the cash that everyone had so generously parted with. It’s certainly the end of an era – this lady has helped me so much since I’ve known her and I’ve made a friend for life, so I’m very happy to see her go on to better things.

Once home do you think I could sleep? Nah! As is usual lately I was too excited after group, but I did have a nice lay in before I start another busy week. There’s lots of hard work to be done to make sure I don’t mess up over the weekend, because I would so love to have a loss next Monday. I’ll do all I can to make sure that happens, but if luck isn’t on my side then I have no doubt that I’ll sort it out the week after!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Prep

The only reason I made it through last week with #onplanoctober intact was planning and preparation. I’ve thought about meal prep quite a lot but I’m desperately unimaginative. All I could think of was freezing piles of curry, chilli and bolognese, none of which I’m overly keen on anyway.

My attitude towards food has certainly changed over the last couple of months though, and rather than eating being a significant part of the day (although I still really enjoy my food) it’s become more of a something-to-get-out-the-way-so-I-can-do-more-interesting-things situation.

My work lunches are always standard – pasta, veggie meatballs and passata bulked out with veg – because even though it’s repetitive I always enjoy it. Besides, my coffee is always the highlight of my lunch break anyway.

As for dinners my favourite veggies are the kind you can roast, so I’ve been cooking up huge piles of aubergine, courgette, peppers and butternut squash which all keeps well in the fridge. I’m still totally addicted to aubergines and have been getting through at least seven a week, so weirdly I’ve been enjoying my veg more than any other part of my meals.

Now I have everything down pat there’s no reason why I should have to cook more than twice a week, plus I’ve got a good supply for emergencies consisting of rice pouches, the Slimming World frozen curry sauces from Iceland, tinned tomatoes and chickpeas. These are things that are easily stored, easily transportable if I’m visiting friends and family, and can be whipped up in the microwave in ten minutes. Oh, and totally on plan!

This week planning is more important than ever because I’m out for a meal on Friday. I’m doing my food preparation today, so that leaves me loads of time during the week for plenty of exercise which is more important than ever.

I’m staying over a friends house Friday night, so I’ll make sure I take my wheat biscuits and oat milk with me for breakfast the next day, then I’ll go on a nice long making-up-for-the-night-before walk first thing in the morning. I really mustn’t let that one night out seep into the next day, or the day before for that matter. I think I’ll be OK because the main draw of the meal for me is the amazing dress I’ll be wearing, and if I want to keep on wearing the collection of amazing dresses I’ve been building up, then I simply can’t afford to backtrack.

After the meal there are four weigh days left for November, and I really, really want to be at target before December. I don’t really see why I shouldn’t be, as long as I stay focused. I can do it!

If I am delayed for any reason (such as undeserved gains) then I do have a little buffer which I’m SUPER PLEASED about. My last weigh in was due to be on the 17th of December and I was really worried about it being so long between then and Christmas day. However our new consultant has decided to do a session on Christmas Eve morning, which is bloody brilliant! She is doing the same thing for New Year’s Eve, so I have a fantastic incentive for getting straight back on plan Boxing Day. I wonder, I just wonder, if I could scrape through the holiday season without a gain? It could happen! What does it all come down to? PLANNING!

In other news yesterday was extremely productive. First of all, I officially qualified for my Gold Body Magic award with a walk into town and back. That’s 8 whole weeks of 30 minutes exercise a day over five days of each week (or more). Next up is the Platinum award, which I kind of qualify for already anyway. It’s when exercise has become a permanent part of your lifestyle, which it absolutely has for me. I can’t imagine going back to sitting on my bum all day watching TV!

Nature trumps TV all day long.

Once in town I had a simply BRILLIANT shopping session. I have almost, almost, completed my winter wardrobe with a couple of Primark finds. I now have enough pinafore dresses and tops to go underneath to see me through the entire autumn, winter and spring. This one completed the set.

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But the real game changer is the Primark leggings which have a furry lining and are super warm. I got a couple of pairs so now I know they’re a good fit I’ll go back for a few more. Then that’s it, I don’t need any more clothes until spring!

I did need a nice coat for winter, but no longer after a most successful charity shop crawl. I spotted a few coats that would have been suitable but they were all in the £20 price range and I wasn’t really wanting to spend that much. Then I spotted one in my size that I didn’t really like so much, but I decided to try it on anyway.

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The moral of the story? ALWAYS TRY THINGS ON! Not shown in the picture is my behind, which looks really good as the coat is fitted and kind of flares out at the back. I absolutely love it! Do you know what I also love? The price tag – £4.99 from the PDSA shop. Get in! And doesn’t it go well with my scarf from Sue Ryder?

Now I must be off as I’ve got a very busy Monday ahead of me.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Hmm, Maybe

Flipping HECK I’ve been busy! There have been countless times over the last week where I’ve wanted to blog but something else has had to take a priority. That something has mostly been sleep. For once in my life I’ve done the sensible thing that will pay off in the long-term rather than just making everything harder for myself.

Now it’s time to remember what on earth I’ve been doing lately.

One day I had to pop to the local shops, which are now mostly shut down, but the post office and the charity shops are still there till next month. After dropping off a parcel to be returned, I headed to the Sue Ryder which is where I get my best and most bargainous purchases.

Since I’ve been looking for materials rather than actual items of clothing, I find it really hard not to just zoom in on my own size and the things I automatically know will suit me. I dragged my eyes away from the 16’s and started from the beginning of the rail nearest me.

Bingo!

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I now have a lovely selection of sequins to fulfil all of my craft project needs, but can I really butcher this rather fetching scarf for materials? Well yes, because that ain’t no scarf.

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It is in fact a size 8 mini skirt that wouldn’t look out of place on a Spice Girl. My mother, bless her, thinks that I can shrink into it but I proved that unless I have reconstructive surgery on my skeleton, then that will never be the case. My hip bones are wider than the actual skirt, which I really don’t have a problem with – as a 6-footer getting into single digit clothing has never once been an aspiration of mine! Regardless, it’s a brilliant non-scale victory to be able to feel my hip bones at all. The NSV’s are coming thick and fast lately.

For the record I don’t think I would wear it even if it did fit me.

On Friday I, wait for it, went for a walk in my favourite park. No surprises there then. The light was gorgeous though, and after carefully making sure my shadow was out of shot I then took another photo with my shadow in shot. Because, and I know it doesn’t exactly count because it’s stretched anyway,  my shadow has never looked that good! Another NSV for the collection…

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On Saturday I went to my dad’s to have a soak in his tub before he came back from holiday in the afternoon, where I spent a good couple of hours reading and getting wrinkly. It was delightful.

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Did I mention I’ve been getting lots of NSV’s lately? While I was waiting for enough hot water for my bath, I decided to get on my dad’s exercise bike and get my minimum 30 minutes cardio in for the day. Except even with the resistance set to the maximum and cycling as very fast as I could go, I just couldn’t keep my heart rate up enough for it to count! I know it’s not the best bike, but there was a time when I couldn’t do ten minutes on it and half the resistance, so I’ll take that and run with it.

After getting home, doing 30 minutes on my own exercise bike with one of the fancy hill-climb programs, the rest of the day was meal prep and sleep. The meal prep was especially important because I was out for a birthday lunch with a friend today, at his mum’s, and I insisted on taking my own grub so I could remain totally in control. It might seem a bit drastic, but being vegan I have a cast-iron excuse for doing it that people don’t tend to question. I told you, I’m serious about this getting to target business!

While we were in the area we took a peek at Abberton Reservoir which looks stunning. We didn’t have time to have a proper look but we’ll definitely go back to explore in future.

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My friend insisted on my wearing one of his many flat caps because he said it suited me, and though his noggin is quite a bit larger than mine and I’m not entirely sure I carried it off, I’m now taken by the idea of hats. Maybe I am a hat person after all.

Perhaps I can’t pull all three off at once though?

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Either way I’ve been thinking about my personal style more and more lately, and I’m rather excited now that I’m brave enough to wear pretty much anything that catches my eye. Except sequined mini-skirts perhaps…

This post reads as rather sedate, but I swear I haven’t had a minute to myself! Knowing me I’ve probably forgotten half of what I did.

As for tomorrow, I was thinking of having a waaaaaay overdue get-stuff-done day, but when my sister reminded me she’s off work for the week instead I asked if she wanted to meet up and do something. My being sensible streak couldn’t last forever you know, and in any case the boring chores will still be there on Tuesday.

I’ve suddenly been reminded of #onplanoctober, and I’m happy to say every single day of the month so far I have been absolutely 100% on it. As ever I’m not convinced this will show on the scales tomorrow, especially after my long walk and fabulous loss last week. Oh, and I should also give the appearance of star week this very morning an honourable mention. Damn.

I can’t control any of these things, but I can control what I eat. So that’s exactly what I intend to do.

Until tomorrow,

Hayley x

Awards & Results

I had intended to get up early on Monday morning and be on a train by 6am, but do you think I could wake myself up? Course not. Taking into consideration the epic walk I had planned, I thought it best to snooze for another hour. It was probably wise.

By 8:30 I was at the train station, in a massive queue for the ticket office. Of course all of the machines were out of order, which is just great for a monday morning. I got my tickets at 8:35, the exact time my train was due to leave. However my train was exactly 1 minute late, and I got on the platform just as it was arriving. Woo!

I got off at Benfleet station, which is just around the corner from my favourite park, and is actually two parks – The Benfleet Downs and Hadleigh Park. As I started trudging along my planned route I decided that I wasn’t going to stop too much to take pictures and things, mostly because leaving late meant that time was now against me. I’ve walked this part of the route what feels like a thousand times now, but there is always something that catches my eye and I have to stop for. Last time it was a caterpillar, this time it was some teasels with a lovely pinky/orange background.

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The autumn leaves and a very small amount of editing make the day look a lot nicer than it was. In actual fact there was an oppressive iron grey sky for the entire day, but I’m sure not complaining. There was no rain like there was supposed to be, just a really fine mist that kept me cool while I was walking and made my fringe go curly.

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So where does one walk to on such a day? The beach of course! My route took me through the two parks and right down to the coast. After a few hours of walking I was thoroughly enjoying the views and just having a good old think to myself, but there was nothing very photogenic until I got to Southend-on-Sea.

There didn’t seem to be much open that would sell a coffee, but when I came across a really nice looking place advertising that it was family run, I decided to give it a go. The gentleman who served me was so sweet, even suggesting that I have my drink in a mug instead so I can stay and sit in the very nice covered outside seating area, but I didn’t have much time to spare so I declined. I was already thinking about how lovely it would be to leave a good review and shop independent (which usually it is of course) but unfortunately the coffee was absolutely vile and I had to throw it away. You can’t win ’em all! The man still left me with a smile on my face so that’s nice.

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A quick shot of the water fountains, which kids and dogs LOVE to play in during summer (who can blame them) and I headed for the beach.

Walking along the beach seems to be a great butt (perhaps I should say glutes) workout, because that’s the only part of me that is still aching a little today. I’ll keep that in mind for future outdoor pursuits.

I always love looking at the shells and struggle not to take more home with me every time. Oyster shells are so beautiful, I just love the blues and purples. As far as bird life goes you are always guaranteed to see oyster catchers, so I’m assuming they are responsible for all the empty shells!

As I got away from Southend and headed into the less touristy areas I took the opportunity to use the camera remote on my watch again. It’s not the composition I was after, but I didn’t want to stop for long so I just went with the first one. I am enjoying how either the boat looks small or I look like a giant!

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11 miles and four hours after setting off (NOT including the train journey), I arrived at my destination – Shoeburyness. So I turned around and started walking back in the other direction.

This next part of the journey was completely uneventful. When I got to Leigh-on-Sea train station I checked my watch and Fitbit. I was wearing both because I am totally smitten with my Apple watch, but also wanted to go out on a bang with Fitbit. Had I beaten my previous record of 35.5k steps?

You bet!

I was currently on 45k, so despite being quite weary by this point and wanting to cheat and jump on the train at Leigh, instead I decided to continue. Google told me that it was another 1 hour 45 minutes of walking back to Benfleet. I had time, I could do it.

So on I trudged.

I took a different route back through the park and to the station, which was extremely fortuitous because it was cow and mushroom heaven! This was the boost I needed to get me through the rest of the journey.

When I got in, more than 8 hours and 22 miles after leaving, I reflected on how mental the journey had been. Not because of anything that had happened, but because I’d been on my feet for that amount of time (with a few stops for food and drink but not for any length of time) and for that distance without coming home a complete wreck. My feet were a little achy (as well as the bum cheeks) but other than that I was still good to go.

My fitness and stamina has improved so much this year, I can hardly believe it. I checked my email and I had three letting me know that I’d earned new Fitbit badges for 40k, 45k and 50k steps in a single day. That was the main purpose of my walk so I got exactly what I wanted before I abandoned Fitbit forever!

After getting in you’d think I’d be spent, right? Nah! I had to get ready to go to group and get weighed in! It was a taster night so I prepared some food. I couldn’t decide what to take out of the available options in my freezer, so I cooked up all three. I took Tesco sweet potato falafels (half a syn each), Sainsbury’s veggie meatballs (half a syn for 5) and Tesco meat free nuggets (1 syn each).

I had no idea what the taster was in aid of, because I hadn’t heard anyone on my vegan Facebook groups talking about it as I would have expected. It soon became clear though.

It turns out my consultant, who has been the one constant in my Slimming World journey since 2012, is leaving our group! It’s terribly sad, but I’m not completely despairing because there are some positives.

She isn’t leaving Slimming World, so I can still get weighed in at her Tuesday group from time to time. The only reason I haven’t popped in to say hello to the group members I know there already is that I don’t want to weigh in at a different day or time until I’m at target!

Also, I have a really good feeling about the new lady, Amanda. She’s very friendly and upbeat, I found it easy to talk to her from the off, and she was wearing sparkly shoes. I’m sold.

My consultant pointed out that it’s the members that make the group, not the consultant, but I don’t think that’s true. I’ve found that it’s a lot of different factors that make my group the best. It’s the day, the time, the WONDERFUL people, a good consultant, that all come together in exactly the right combination. I think Amanda will be a perfect fit for this group so I’m not at all worried. I think we still have our winning formula.

So how did I do? I must admit to having a sneak peek before I went on my walk. The reasoning behind this is that if the walk caused a drastic gain, then I would know what was going on and wouldn’t feel bad. Or, if on the flipside I had a massive loss then I wouldn’t get too cocky.

What actually happened was that Slimming World’s scales corresponded with my own pre-walk weigh in and I lost a magnificent four flipping pounds! 

Do you know what that means? I GOT MY 8 STONE AWARD!!!

I got a HUGE round of applause that made me feel really emotional. God knows what kind of a state I’ll be in when I’m at target.

I left group feeling like Christmas had come early – tired and flushed but also happy and excited. It was a really fab day.

This morning I weighed myself again just to check it wasn’t a complete fluke (and it wasn’t) so that’s it for sneak peeks this week.

6.5 pounds to go!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Good Vibes

Well I went out and attempted a bit of a run yesterday and it went OK. I only ran for one very slow mile (and walked for another two) and while I’m actually moving there’s no pain. But my knee is rather tender today. I think it’s too soon to be thinking about doing a full run, but I think I’ll go out again tomorrow and jog the flat bits whilst power-walking the hills.

It didn’t really matter what I was doing anyway, because it was gorgeous out there. Plus I did press-ups, so my arms, shoulders and chest are giving me a nice gentle ache which tells me I did some good!

Now I have my car back I’m not feeling quite so disheartened about not being able to run properly, because at least I can drive to more interesting places in order to have a walk. Just traipsing around my estate is pretty grim to be honest.

After my little bit of exercise I had some lunch, and even though I was hyper aware that everything I put in my body was adding weight before group later. I had to be sensible and give my body what it needed, even if that did include two litres of water.

Before weigh in I went to see my father as he lives just around the corner from my new group, and it was nice to have a catch up. I don’t see him that often, which is good because him and his girlfriend love to feed me. And since I hadn’t been for a while it was nice to get the ‘you’re looking so slim!’ compliments.

As it happens over this last week I have felt slimmer, and my face definitely is less puffy.

But what did the scales say?

Since I got the time wrong I was 15 minutes early to group, which didn’t help my weighing-in nerves. But of course I needn’t have worried, I lost 2.5 lbs!

I have to say I’m getting a really good vibe about this group. It’s much, much smaller than the one I’m used to, and my consultant (who runs both this group and my old one) was able to spend a lot more time milling around among us. Of course if there are new members that will be different, but it feels a bit more tight-knit. But not cliquey.

I couldn’t stay to group this time, but I’m looking forward to next week when I definitely will be.

I had planned to stop off at the nearby giant Tesco and pick up some bits on the way home, but I was very tired and very hungry and knew if I went in there I’d quite possibly come out with more than I intended to. I’m not quite feeling strong enough to test myself with things like that yet.

Once back I had a delicious completely Free dinner followed by a Rowntree’s fruit pastille lolly for 3 syns. Later on I realised I’d only had 4.5 syns, which just won’t do, so I had another one.

I did go and look in the fridge just before bed, but thankfully I realised that I wasn’t actually hungry. Waking up this morning knowing I’ve spent my whole weekend on plan, knowing there’s no catching up to do or feeling guilty for the first time in weeks was priceless.

As you can see I’ve been carrying on with taking pictures of my food, and have even started creating weekly Google Photos albums along with what result eating that food got me. I imagine I’ll get bored of it one day in the future, but while it’s fun I’m just going for it.

If you want to see last week’s food (I was on plan from Wednesday onwards) then feel free to have a look (link).

Finally I bought a delicious-sounding vegan ready meal from Sainsbury’s the other day. I hear really good things about this sweet potato katsu curry, so before buying I checked I could freeze it. That meant I had time to email the packaging to Slimming World and wait for them to update the syns database.

Sometimes it’s hard getting vegan stuff added, but those lovely people at head office were on it on this occasion and it’s now listed as 15.5 syns. Which I think it quite reasonable. I’ll let you know how it was once I’ve tried it, using half a syn banked from another day. I only had 7.5 yesterday so I do have some spare.

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Well that’s all of my news for now!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

A Mixed Bag

My head has been a little bit all over the shop lately (I say lately, more like for months and months) but at the moment it’s compounded by pure tiredness. I’ve simply been trying to cram too much in and something had to give somewhere!

This weekend I went to see a wonderful blogger buddy and we had some fun times, but on Sunday I reckon everything just caught up with me and I had to go home early. By the time I got back my lips had turned blue (slightly worrying), my hands had turned purple (also not great) and even though I’d been in a car so warm that my iPhone came up with a temperature warning message and wouldn’t work again until it cooled down, I just couldn’t get warm.

Sleep fixed me though, and after sleeping the whole afternoon and all through the night I just about managed to put my weekly sleep average up to seven hours. Some people can get by on less sleep, and for weeks I myself have been getting by on 6, but that clearly isn’t sustainable for me and I need to make sure I get more down time.

Anyway, it’s not all doom and gloom! On Saturday, because the weather was awful, my friend eagerly agreed to see Avengers: Infinity War for the second time. Well, his second time and my first. I really feel like Marvel have found that sweet balance now between action, comedy and story and I loved every minute of it. It’s just pure joy to watch!

After that I had my first ever meal from Las Iguanas since I don’t have one near where I live and I only even learned of its existence fairly recently.

I had hearts of palm to start, which I thought I’d never had before. But it was only a couple of weeks ago when I was out with my trainer and I had something from his plate that we couldn’t identify. Now I’m pretty sure that’s what we were eating. It was nice, but I probably wouldn’t bother having them again.

The Brazilian curry however (moqueca de palmitos) was flipping amazing and I could eat it all day long. They had a fair few vegan options too, or veggie options that can be made vegan on request. I’d highly recommend it as a very tasty and vegan-friendly place to visit.

In the evening we were eating out again. I bloody love trying new places, and it turns out the restaurant we were visiting, Fusca, is the first fully vegan restaurant I’ve been to. I’ve been to a few places in London but since they are takeaway restaurants as far as I’m concerned they don’t count.

I really enjoyed the whole atmosphere of the place and I cannot even describe how nice it is to be able to order a glass of wine without having to do extensive research first to find out whether it’s vegan or not!

The food was tasty, but perhaps a teeny bit overpriced considering that the portions were quite small. That’s probably a good thing though, it means I didn’t feel guilty for getting dessert. Which was DELICIOUS by the way!

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The day after getting home the weather was awful but really I still needed to make up for overindulging at the weekend so I did an hour on my exercise bike. It still astounds me that I can even do that – I remember struggling to complete ten minutes when I first got it. The remainder of the day was spent fairly restfully, but I still didn’t manage to get a decent sleep. Which I put down to a lack of proper training.

Yesterday I went out training on my own and oh my, what a start to the month! The weather was absolutely perfect for running. It was sunny but not too warm, there was a fresh breeze and along most of my route it was dappled shade. It was so gorgeous, and the vibrant colours everywhere made my heart happy.

I didn’t break any records this time around. Well, I can’t smash a record every single time I go out now, can I? But I did feel absolutely fantastic and loved every minute of it. Today the weather is back to being awful so I’m using the time to catch up on some rest, do boring household chores and do some meal prep for the rest of the week. Exciting stuff!

Then I’m training for the next three days in a row which should help regulate me sleep and help me to get better quality sleep, then I have a relaxed Sunday with my lovely siblings planned.

Life is tiring, but good!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Research

As recommended by a kind fellow blogger, I’ve been reading a very interesting book called Brain over Binge by Kathryn Hansen. It’s written by a lady who had bulimia but it’s relevant to anyone who is struggling with binge eating. Like me! I’m about halfway through at the moment, which is partly because there’s quite a lot of scientific theory, so I’m going slowly to make sure I absorb as much information as possible, and partly because the parts that really resonate with me are, from an emotional perspective, quite taxing to read.

However! Since I got to the part which tells you how to stop binge eating, which I read with a HUGE amount of scepticism, I have managed not to act on any of my urges to binge since that point. And there have been a fair few. I haven’t been perfect by any means – there was my rather heavy drinking session followed by some hangover-curing snacks, but I never felt compelled to eat them. It was just ordinary overeating that ordinary people do, and I didn’t feel bad about it afterwards either.

Once I’ve finished reading I’m going to go through it again but making notes this time, because there’s a ton of useful stuff that will even be helpful in everyday life. When I’ve done that and got my thoughts in order I’ll write more about it here, but there’s no substitute for reading the book. Despite the fact I’ve not finished it yet I highly recommend it.

In any case I’ve been back on plan since Tuesday and reckon I can be extra healthy (see what I did there?) for exactly the next four weeks. I’m not normally a fan of short-term goals like holidays or fitting into a wedding dress (not that the latter applies to me) but since as of Tuesday it was four weeks on-the-dot until my holiday, I’m going to focus on staying on plan until then.

As for the actual holiday it’s self-catering so there’s no reason I can’t still be sensible.

As ever my training schedule went out the window, because between me and my trainer something is always coming up. That’s why I’ve said I’ll do a minimum of three sessions a week, and I just fit them in whenever I can.

We were supposed to train Wednesday, giving us an extra day (Tuesday) to recover from Sunday night’s shenanigans. But we were both feeling up to a run a day early so went back to Hockley woods, where I did my first almost-three-mile run. That first time it was muddy, but my average time was 13:20 min/mi.

This time around I smashed my personal best with an average of 11:40 min/mi. I don’t consider the lack of mud this time around to be a huge factor for my better time. When I really felt like I had a good pace was in the covered areas of the woods where there wasn’t much mud previously, and my trainer even noticed that he wasn’t having to hold back as much as he usually does. Bless him.

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We were supposed to train together again today but he was too tired, so I decided to stay in bed and catch up on some sleep. As it happens I’ve really struggled with sleep this week, so I woke up early anyway and couldn’t get back off. I wrestled with myself for a while, thinking that I really should train on my own. But I really didn’t want to!

I’m away this weekend so today was my last chance to get a proper training session in. I couldn’t just lay in bed feeling sorry for myself, could I?

The times when you don’t feel like it, I think they are the most important times to get out there and just do it. I only stopped to take a picture at the end, so you’ll have to take my word for it that earlier on in the day the sun was out and the woods were teeming with butterflies, bees, squirrels and birds. Even when the sun went in and it started to rain everything was still beautiful and green though.

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As it happens, it was another day for smashing personal bests.

I FINALLY MADE IT INTO THE 10 MINUTE BRACKET! 

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And it wasn’t even a fluke!

Today was the best I have felt running so far – it was full of pure, unadulterated joy. At the beginning I had my usual I-don’t-think-I-can-do-this moment, then I felt like I was flying along. It seemed that I could just keep going forever if I really wanted to. Thankfully the sensible part of my brain made me pace myself.

On the way back there are some pretty steep hills, and for the first time I really started to get my breathing under control. Because I didn’t feel like I was about to collapse, I was able to concentrate more on my form and could even pay attention to how all of my leg muscles were feeling.

Going up those hills I felt effing strong, and I’ve noticed that a lot of the wibbliness in my thighs has been replaced by muscle.

I’m unbelievably glad that I didn’t spend this amazing afternoon hiding under my duvet.

So that’s two training sessions down for the week, and I won’t get an official one in now to make it three. But it doesn’t matter at all on this occasion, because I certainly won’t be spending this weekend on my backside.

More about that next time!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

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

Friendship

April is turning out to be all about friends. After being sociable with the work people, today I’ve visited one of my oldest and bestest friends who moved away from Essex to the lovely city of Canterbury. Luckily for me it’s only an hours drive away, and an easy drive at that. Really I should visit more often, but life gets in the way and we always leave it too long. But when we do meet up, we make the most of it!

I went for my run first thing this morning and I timed it just right. I got to the park just after the gates were opened and there were already a fair few cars there, but by the time I left the car park was RAMMED and there was someone waiting to take my space.

My run was nowhere near as hard as I thought it would be. I felt like I wasn’t doing very well, and I nearly gave up after 2.7 miles. In this park I normally do 3.5, so I had a stern word with myself and carried on.

It turns out I broke a new record and have shaved a significant amount of seconds off of my personal best!

I’m so close to being in the 11 second bracket that I can taste it.

I’ve posted a few things about training on social media that my friend has seen, but he thought I was just doing lots of walking. When I told him I’d actually been doing bona fide jogging and sprinting he was really impressed. He even told me out of all the people he knows I’d be in the bottom five of anyone he’d expect to ever go running. I took that as it was intended (as a compliment) because it’s so far removed from the Hayley he first met ten years ago it’s unbelievable. And I was so unhappy back then, this is just more evidence of how much things have changed for me.

After a quick cup of coffee we headed into town to get some grub. We went to the Lady Luck Bar which is just incredible for vegan options. As soon as I saw the menu I knew what I had to have – the Rick and Morty baguette!

It was amazing – the best thing I have eaten in a long, long time. The chilli mayo was divine and the crispy fried pickle Ricks are a work of pure genius. That Szechuan sauce? Delish!

I followed it up with a vegan honeycomb sundae which has even won an award it’s that good.

Unlike when I’ve been eating ‘naughty’ food at home this week, I don’t feel as bloated and awful after this meal so I’m hoping it doesn’t affect my training tomorrow.

I was really disappointed with myself the last time I went out with my trainer, and I don’t want a repeat of that.

After our meal me, my friend and his lovely girlfriend went on a nice long walk where they indulged me while I searched for things to photograph. I didn’t spend too long trying to get decent shots, because it’s too antisocial and I get kinda caught up in it, so I just took some quick snaps without overthinking it. I’m still happy though, it’s a good visual representation of our day!

It was also the first day this year I’ve been able to comfortably walk around with no coat or jumper. More of that please!

I have to wait until the end of the month until my next meet up with a very special friend, but it’ll be worth the wait. It’s going to be awesome.

In the meantime I need to get myself right back on track, and of course I will because I always do. That’s the key – never give up!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x