Getting Out

Now I think of it, having this week off of training couldn’t have worked out better. Let’s face it, it’s way too hot to run, even in the shade. Since having that revelation I feel a lot better about the whole resting thing.

Mr. S picked me up this afternoon and for a trip back to Warley Place, which we visited last month. This time we had another friend of his along for the ride, and we all enjoyed the gentle stroll which is mostly in the shade. Which is helpful, because the thermometer tipped a rather toasty 30 degrees celsius today. I took my wide-angle lens with me this time to get a different take on the same scenery.

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I’m already looking forward to coming here in the autumn, I bet it’s absolutely beautiful.

Yesterday was a good photo day too. Mr. S is a member of the Royal Horticultural Society so he took me to Hyde Hall as his non-paying guest. It sounds really fancy if you aren’t an RHS member, but it’s more or less the same of being a National Trust or English Heritage member – you pay a membership fee and visit as many places as you like.

Hyde Hall is well worth a visit if  you’re ever in Essex, the gardens are stunning. It was swelteringly hot, which I’m not complaining about because I hate the cold so damn much, but I’m the first to admit getting caught by sprinkler spray every so often was very refreshing!

They also have a sculpture trail on at the moment, and I know we didn’t manage to see all of them.

It’s been ages since I had quite so many photo opportunities in one place. Afterwards I went back to Mr. S’s for dinner and a movie, where we slowly melted on his sofa, and were periodically visited by an expectant fox.

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Mr. S is a sucker for foxes. This little guy knew full well he had a big chunk of ham coming his way!

It’s back to work for me tonight and I have another busy day coming up tomorrow. My sister is having a little (benign) lump removed from her leg and I’m going with her because she’s a fainter. She’ll sometimes pass out if it’s just slightly warm and she’s a bit dehydrated so the combination of this heat and a little procedure could be troublesome. I reckon she’ll be fine, but I’d best accompany her just in case.

Then I have work Saturday night but I’m already anticipating my next couple of days off because I am just zonked. Although I’ve just remembered that I may have to come into work Sunday because I agreed to swap shifts with someone so he can go out disco dancing… I’m just too nice!

Until next time,

Hayley x

The Wagon

I haven’t just fallen off the wagon this week, the damn thing stopped and reversed over me just to make doubly sure it got me!

It’s coming up to my one year anniversary as a Slimming World member and I’ve struggled this week more than I have in a long time. I say struggled, what I really mean is I practically gave up. I’ve had this week booked off work for months and I couldn’t wait, but when the day actually came my mood changed and it hit me like an absolute ton of bricks. I’m fairly certain it’s hormonal so rather than just try to get through it as best I can I have sought help. The first available doctors appointment I could get was for the 8th of August, by which time I’ll probably be feeling better, but I need to see someone anyway or this is just going to keep happening. I’ve been meaning to try an implant or injection to regulate my hormones for ages, but the annoying thing is it could increase my appetite. But if I still stick to plan it doesn’t matter if I eat more, as long as I’m eating the right stuff. I have to just bite the bullet and give it a try, because right now I’m finding it nigh on impossible to stay in control of my moods/cravings and my sense of perspective (and enthusiasm for just about anything) has up and left me. It took me four days just to get dressed and leave the house, and if it wasn’t for my little Pea then I doubt I would have got out of bed unless it was to get food.

But it’s not all doom and gloom! Although I’m finding it hard to really feel it deep down in my bones I’m sure I’ll be fine. I’ve felt this way before and I can still feel it’s different this time around because I will keep trying and trying until I get to my target weight. No matter how many times I slip up, I will never truly give up. I have been reflecting over the last year and it is super annoying that my mood should hit me like this right now, because I wanted to make a YouTube video about how the last year has gone and how fab I feel (felt/will feel?), but all I want to do is curl up in bed and sleep. It’s hard enough writing this blog post! So I’ll put that on hold until things even out a little, even if at my next weigh in will be exactly a year since my first and I’ll be celebrating it with a nice big gain. Never mind, I’ll just practice damage limitation as best I can until then.

My time so far hasn’t been totally wasted (although that’s a matter of opinion) and I’ve been reading, playing a game (Zelda on DS, and I’m a gnat’s whisker away from completing it) and watching the latest series of Orange is the New Black with my mum. I did have plans to go out visiting some friends I haven’t seen in a long time, but there’s something wrong with my car and it won’t be looked at until Monday. I certainly cannot risk any long journeys. I looked at getting the train but the prices were astronomical – no wonder people drive when they have the option!

Although I do enjoy these ‘sitting around’ activities it’s really hard for me to enjoy them without guilt, especially when my Fitbit tells me how few calories I’m burning this week. But there was a little inspirational moment on Orange is the New Black where one of the characters says something (I don’t exactly recall) about how feeling sad is like when there are loads of clouds in the sky. You don’t think that the sky’s still blue, but it is, it’s just hidden behind the clouds. And the clouds are your mood. They’ll pass eventually.

Speaking of clouds even though it was chucking it down yesterday I went out walking and it was really nice to be outside and to be pretty much alone. I walked to the local country park from home and when I last did that walk I was too tired to do any exploring and had to go straight back home again. This time however I walked around for about an hour and a half, plus I only saw four other people the whole time. One was a hardcore jogger and the rest were dog walkers. One particular dog went absolutely berserk at me because he had never seen an umbrella before. I must have looked pretty scary! The sun even came out just as I was leaving (typical) but it was nice to dry off on the walk home and top up on some vitamin D.

I will go out for another walk later, especially as I’m nearly out of coffee, but this time I won’t eat a load of crap when I get in. I am determined to stay on plan until at least Monday, as I might be going out with a friend and I’m not sure what the food plans are. We might be visiting a vegan restaurant but all this is up in the air for now and I’ll have to see. I think I can handle having one meal out off plan, whereas I have learned this week that if I have stuff in the house then I just cannot control myself, even when I’ve gone way past the point of actually enjoying what I’m eating. I still keep on stuffing it in! This morning the nice man from Ocado delivered an absolute ton of fresh veggies, so I should be OK now that all the bad food has been eaten.

One thing I have learned is that there is absolutely no going back with this veganism thing. When I first became a veggie and I had a ‘treat day’ one of my friends just couldn’t understand why I didn’t eat meat! I tried to explain that stuff like that just isn’t food for me any more, so even on a cheat day it’s not an option. Although I’ve eaten so much bad stuff this week (I’m talking Biscoff spread straight from the jar bad) I am happy to say that not one speck of it came from an animal!

Well I think I’ll end this post now before I depress you all too much.

As ever thank you for reading,

Hayley x

PS I nearly forgot to say – I saw a gosh darn green woodpecker on my walk (and if that’s not a positive then I don’t know what is!)

How are you paying for that?

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you’ll know that when I fall off the wagon, I fall hard. The subsequent gains are usually of epic proportions, and sometimes it takes me a few weeks to get back to where I started. We live in a world where we simply cannot escape the lure of food – it’s absolutely everywhere and available 24/7 – so I’m on a continuous quest to learn how to cope with slipping up, rather than letting it completely derail me.

Yesterday morning I had a breakfast mishap. I was very tired and very hungry when I got in from work, but I knew I had to be up again in two hours to take my mum to a doctor’s appointment. I used this as an excuse to convince myself that I wanted to have a little breakfast treat. I’m still in the transitional period of using up any non-vegan items, so I decided to take the opportunity to get rid of some bits and bobs I had kicking around that contain milk. 20 minutes and about 50 syns later I went to bed, feeling rather guilty.

While I was laying there questioning why on earth I’d just completely sabotaged myself, I realised that I now had a number of options:

  1. I could do what I always do, which is convince myself that since I’ve messed up I might as well spend four days stuffing my face full of all the stuff I fancy before, bloated and disgusted with myself, I have to get back on it.
  2. Draw a line under it and just carry on as if nothing happened, or,
  3. Pay for what I’d done

That sounds a little bit drastic, but hear me out. With everything we do there are consequences. Number 1 is just going to get me further into debt, so obviously that option is out the window. Why it took me so long to see it that way, who can say, but I got there in the end and that’s what matters. With number 2, I’m not making things any worse, but there’s a strong possibility I’m going to charged interest come weigh day! But number 3, now that’s something I’ve never actually tried before.

This week me and my sister have been discussing maintaining weight, which she is doing spectacularly well at right now. But she wants more cake in her life (understandably so) therefore she is taking steps to make that happen. As she is moving closer to me this month, we have agreed that we are going to meet up regularly to exercise. I love her approach right now – she wants more treats, but she’s going to earn some credit before she indulges.

And it was thinking of this that spurred me into action – I decided to earn back the progress I’d lost.

This still isn’t something I want to make a habit of, as unlike my sister I still have problems controlling myself around junk food. When I’m at target I do want to increase my exercise in order to make it easier to stay there, and so I can start adding more healthy fats into my diet like nuts, seeds and avocado. I don’t want to get into a habit of eating rubbish and trying to make up for it afterwards, but right now I feel really good about accepting the consequences of my actions but also taking steps to make up for what I’ve done rather than just sit on my backside and accept my fate.

That evening I ramped up my steps and did twice as many as the previous day, I worked my absolute butt off during my shift, and as soon as I got in at 6am I went straight back out again for 3 hour walk at the local nature reserve. I’ve also just embarked on a 30 day squat challenge and have a step aerobics workout planned for tomorrow. Maybe I will have done enough to avoid a gain/maintain, or maybe I won’t have, but one thing I’ve certainly got rid of is the guilt that normally comes with a slip up, guilt which would be a sure-fire way to make me want to eat more junk. It feels like progress to me, anyhow.

As for the walk I took my camera out but the light was rubbish. There are so many lovely flowers in the gardens at the visitor centre, I can’t help but wonder how much more beautiful they will be with a bit of sunshine! Hopefully I’ll be able to go back there when the weather is nicer, but we’ll have to see. I daren’t go on my own because I have absolutely no sense of direction and will be lost for hours (good for exercise but not so good for getting everything done that I need to) and my brother (or the human compass as he is otherwise known) selfishly has to go back to work tomorrow whereas I am off until Thursday.

There were two major highlights though – seeing a baby coote (it’s a scruffy little creature!) and the one single, solitary, ripe and juicy blackberry in a sea of other completely unripe blackberries that was obviously just waiting for me to come along and eat it. Note to self – get a blackberry bush ASAP.

After the walk I stopped off at Lidl’s to pick up some Guatemalan ground coffee, which I like better than the fancy Tesco Finest one and a posh one from M&S that I tried recently, so now I must be off to get my caffeine fix. The posh coffees were OK, but I like my coffee to be nice and (figuratively) punch me in the face. The Lidl one certainly fits the bill!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Holiday Mode

Tuesday was a bit of a weird day. I weigh in on a Tuesday, plus it’s the first day of my working week, and I’m finding it difficult to get into a decent routine. But I have a plan – I’m going to switch groups and weigh in on Tuesday morning instead which works a lot better for me. The walk to and from the group is about the same distance but it’ll be good for me to get some steps in at the beginning of the day. Once I’m weighed and home I can then get some sleep to prepare me for my night shift. At the moment group occurs just as my body starts to think how lovely it would be to have a nap! There is a small problem – I’m not keen on the consultant and the last time I went I wasn’t that taken on the group either, but I’m finding I’m getting less and less from group as the weeks go on. To be honest I’m just finding it boring at the moment. Also, my time is very precious to me and it just drags on for so long. I’m out of the house for two-and-a-half hours every week, and it’s just crazy. So I’m going to weigh and go for a while, but when I have the chance I’ll still pop back to my old group. I do like that about Slimming World, that you can go to any group in any part of the country!

This week I lost a very respectable 2 lbs, which I’m very pleased with. Although I’ve been on plan I expected water retention for various reasons. There’s always that little part of you that wanted more though, isn’t there! I needed 3 lbs to get into the 15 stone bracket, but that will just have to wait until next week. I have found it incredibly difficult to stay on plan for the last couple of days, and that’s because my brain is well and truly in holiday mode. I’m not actually on holiday until next week, but I only went into work Tuesday and probably won’t be back until next month. I can’t go into the details as I might get in trouble, so let’s just say there’s a dispute going on. Either way, as soon as I’m off work my brain is thinking HOLIDAY FOOD but I’m keeping it firmly in check! I have been given a fantastic opportunity to get stuff done around the house, and also I have plenty of time to exercise. When I’m off work my typical calorie burn (according to my Fitbit) is about 2700 so I’m going to fight to keep it above 3000 a day for the whole time I’m off.

This afternoon I’m taking my mum to visit one of my numerous aunties but tomorrow I’m walking into town. This does serve another purpose – my sister wants me to see if Primark has a jacket she wants in her size. It’ll be quite odd, size 20 me buying a size 8 jacket, but things like that don’t bother me as much as they used to. In the past I’d be really embarrassed and looking at the teeny little jacket would have made me really miserable. Not now though, I’m feeling too good to be worried about such trivial things! Plus I think my skeleton is probably a size 8, so if something like that ever fit me I think I’d be in quite a bit of bother.

It’s currently 10am and although there’s not much sun I’ve been out in the garden photographing the first poppy of the year. Well, we’ve had some little wild yellow poppies for a while but they’re not quite as interesting!

We also have some cherries growing on our still rather small cherry tree, and if only half of the little buds on the apple tree turn into actual apples, then we are going to have a bumper year this year! Which is an improvement on last year where we had one single, stunted apple right on top of the tree that just sat and rotted up there. Poor show, apple tree.

Right, I’m going to toddle off now and get on with my day before the time starts running away from me!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Rain or Shine

I. Am. Knackered.

I was really sensible on Saturday – as I knew I was going out walking in the morning I got some extra sleep in before work. So far so good. When I got to work I was informed that they were switching on the new system, and the last time that was attempted it lasted about an hour before everything crashed and we went back to the old one. This time pretty much the same thing happened, but in the process of trying to fix it the systems guys broke EVERYTHING. So for four hours last night I was doing absolutely nothing. Well, I did spend some time watching two fully grown men throw paper airplanes at each other…

When you are sitting around doing diddly squat the time drags like nothing on earth, and during the downtime I also managed to acquire a banging headache. When I got home after that complete waste of a night I took some painkillers, ate some breakfast and set my alarm for an hours time. After all I had planned to go out walking and nothing was going to stop me.

When I woke up I felt utterly dreadful and wanted nothing more than to stay in bed. But I got up anyway, grabbed a coffee, popped some in a flask for the journey, and set off with my little bro in tow. The weather was looking quite nice for all of five minutes, then it started chucking it down. The wind made it bitterly cold and quite painful at times (I actually got brain freeze at one point), but there was no way I was giving in! An hour later we reached the relative shelter of the woods and after that it was a lot better. I was absolutely soaked but the walk had warmed me up so I didn’t care.

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Forgive the weird expression! In my defence I couldn’t see the screen properly so I thought I looked OK at the time. Once it stopped raining quite as hard because it was so windy I dried off pretty quickly, and eventually the sun even made a teeny escape from the clouds. Luckily I managed to get a nice progress shot of the bluebell wood.

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Well, there are loads more bluebell plants than there were just one week ago, but they aren’t very big. So as I suspected I think it’s going to be a while before they flower. But it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Although me and my brother both agree we have pretty much outgrown these woods and need to find somewhere new to explore, we still managed to spend a couple of hours wandering around with me taking pictures when it was dry enough to get the camera out. With the journey to and from the nature park we were walking for over 4.5 hours and although I’m exhausted I also feel very angelic. It’s the kind of tired you only get from being outside in the fresh air, and I love that feeling. I am so glad I didn’t listen to my inner sloth today!

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050317_1339The only downside is that the walk has definitely made me retain water. I know this because for some reason my normally pretty slim fingers look like sausages ready to burst. This in itself is no big deal, they’ll go back to normal soon enough, I’m just concerned that it might affect the scales on Tuesday. But at least if there is an anomaly I’ll know what caused it.

I have had a nap and although I’d like to spend the rest of the day catching up on my new YouTube subscriptions, I also need to eat dinner (which will come in the form of the remnants from last week’s shop) take delivery of this week’s shop and also (I can’t believe I’m saying this) do more walking. The thing is, I really want my ‘35,000 steps in one day’ FitBit badge and I am just too close to pass it up!

I’ve also started doing a few daily sit-ups and kettlebell exercises which I intend to build up gradually, so there’s that to be done too. Who even is this person?! I don’t know, but I like her.

I am so looking forward to this coming week. I am getting my hair cut, visiting my sister, taking photos of some colleagues having their legs waxed for charity, visiting a castle and as my dad is going on holiday I’m getting the keys to his flat so I can HAVE A BATH! I haven’t had a bath since August (we only have a shower room, I’m not really gross and have washed since that time!) and oh my god I miss soaking in the tub. I have bought my favourite Lush bath bomb too. These are exciting times indeed!

I must be off now as I’m running out of hours in the day. As ever, thanks for reading.

Hayley x