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.

ACS_0481.jpg

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.

ACS_0482.jpg

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

Funny Old Week

The theme of this week has mostly been tired and hungry. I haven’t had a huge appetite lately – I’ve even become someone who has dinner left overs. This has never happened before. But over the last couple of days I have felt myself getting hungrier. I’m sticking to Free and Speed food if I need it, but I think it’s my body trying to get more energy in me from the tiredness.

I was about to write that I have no idea where all this sleepiness has come from, but it’s probably down to only getting two hours sleep on Sunday and not really having a chance to catch up since then. I just paused for a little think and I still don’t know when I’ll have an opportunity for a nice big chunk of unbroken sleep, so for the time being I’ll just have to do what I can.

I’ve also been a bit stressed at work, for the most silly reason. My manager is leaving for another job next week and I’ve been put in charge of her collection. Because she has been so good to me over the years I’ve been worrying constantly that I’m not getting enough money out of my colleagues.

I meant to get the card this morning so I could start to collect signatures tonight but I couldn’t find a nice card at the local shops. Instead of driving to the big Tesco, instead I selfishly chose to go for a walk, so now I feel bad about that too. All the while I’m struggling to find the energy to tell myself how stupid I’m being because I’m just so (yawn) damn (yawn) TIRED!

I must go to the shops straight from work in the morning and get the card then, otherwise I really will be cutting it fine.

I probably would have stayed in bed all day today but I had to get up and do some bits for my mum so while I was out I went for a walk around the local nature reserve. The car park was rammed (ah, half term…) but as always seems to be the case away from the main paths I barely saw a soul.

What I did see was a huge amount of fungus – there was so much that the air itself smelt mushroomy!

Considering I am now in full-on winter mode at work, it was lovely to walk around without a coat and not freeze my butt off. Especially as it looks like from tomorrow the weather is going to be taking a turn for the worse.

The walk was quite gentle but it really took it out of me and I was ready to drop by the time I got home. So drop I did, right into a deep sleep. It’s just a shame I didn’t have time for a few hours more.

I did still make time to model my latest charity shop purchase. I bought a bright yellow scarf the other day – just because winter is cold it doesn’t mean it has to be dull. But then I decided I also needed a more festive scarf when the occasion calls for it (Winter Wonderland, I’m looking at you) so I grabbed this bargain while I had the chance.

ACS_0458

I’m definitely feeling a lot differently about the upcoming ‘party’ season. I did mean to go to Winter Wonderland with my sister for the last couple of years running, but it never happened for one reason or another. What I do know is that when I thought about going, the first thing that came to mind was the FOOD. This time though I’m definitely going, and it’s with a friend from work. What I’m most looking forward to is the atmosphere, the lights, photo ops and (most importantly) good company.

Also on the agenda is another trip to London with another friend, a sibling outing, a meal out, and another trip with the wonderful people I met up with in Oxford not so long ago. Out of nowhere I seem to have a social life! I’m so looking forward to just making time for people in the next couple of months, rather than just stuffing my face at every opportunity.

Finally, my wonderful group has nominated me for the Miss Slinky award, which is so kind because I haven’t been going to this group for a huge amount of time. If I remember rightly I have to get up and talk a little bit about my weight loss, and despite writing about it weekly for the last two flipping YEARS I really have no clue what I’m going to say.

IMG_5783

Maybe I’ll just have to wing it!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Scheming

I must admit that writing that long post yesterday took it out of me a bit. It took forever as my brain cogs aren’t used to thinking so comprehensively about something. Later on in the day I felt a little bit deflated, which makes no sense whatsoever, and I had one of my fairly regular ‘this isn’t going to work, I’ll never make it to target’ thoughts.

Of course this is nonsense. There’s no reason why I shouldn’t make it to target. I was invited out for dinner this weekend which I declined, even though I really wanted to go. The truth is I don’t have the money for it anyway, even if I did want to risk delaying my weight loss for the week. Which I don’t.

The place I would have been going was a Turkish grill-type restaurant, and the only vegan option (which admittedly looks lovely) is also likely high in Syns. In general I’m a fan of saying yes to such occasions – you can easily fit this in with Slimming World and normally I’d be happy with a small loss or maintain if it meant I could also go out with friends. But right now I’m so happy with my progress I don’t want to do anything, anything to jeopardise it over the next few weeks. The friend who asked me is also super fit right now and eating really well so thankfully he totally gets it! There will be other opportunities in the future anyhoo.

Yesterday afternoon I went for a nice long, quiet, contemplative walk during which I completely changed my outlook on things back to how they should be.

I’m totally going to get to target, and I’m going to try my darndest to do it this year. Every step I was taking was helping me on the way to achieving that goal.

As I was walking I was also scheming. It’s one of my goals for this year is to beat my steps in a day record, which currently stands at 35,660. I’m going to attempt this on the 15th of October by starting out at my favourite park, namely this one:

IMG_4423

I’ll be continuing all the way along the coast to Shoeburyness, and back again if I can make it, which is a round trip of about 22 miles. I intend to start early and just spend the whole day plodding along and taking in the sights. I’m actually really excited about it!

I’m definitely going to do 40,000 steps – I won’t be going home until I have. But I’d like to completely smash that record too, if I can.

Once everything was back clear in my mind, I really enjoyed the rest of my hour-and-a-half walk.

Today has just been taken up with boring things that needed to be done, so there’s not much else to say. I only have two nights in work this week (including tonight) but it’s the busiest week I’ve had in a long time.

I have so much to do, I’d best get on and do it!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Bye Bye September

What a month, and what a turnaround! August was a such a low point for me, one that I’m sure I’ll be remembering with a shudder for years to come, but I genuinely feel that all of the work I’m putting in now will bring results that will completely eclipse all of that.

This month I’ve lost a total of 10lbs and have finally, finally, found myself well established in the 13 stone bracket. To put that achievement into perspective it was my Christmas goal last year to make it into the thirteens and here I am.

Yesterday I completed day five of my Gold Body Magic award with a two hour walk before work, which may seem like a terrible idea but in actual fact getting active again has given me more energy if anything.

I explored an area I’m not overly familiar with even though I worked there for a good while, but at the time I wasn’t the ‘going out’ type.

I do remember one week I made a half-hearted promise that I’d walk up and down the hill on top of which the office I worked was situated, but that only lasted a couple of days.

I decided to revisit this hill on my walk, and was surprised to see an entrance to some woods that I’d never noticed before.

It might not have been the best idea because I don’t know how rough the area is and I was on my own, so I sent a text to my friend informing him where to look for my body if I went missing.

Thankfully it didn’t come to that, but I did see an interesting tree thank kinda spooked me if I’m honest. It looked like it was… coming for me or something!

ACS_0359ACS_0360

Work later was same old same old, but I was glad when it ended because it meant the weekend could start.

As it’s the weekend it also means it’s weigh day tomorrow, so naturally I’m feeling large. So I had a sneak peek and of course it’s all in my head.

Same old same old.

This morning was a motorbike ride with my brother which quite frankly was AWESOME. And the perfect day for it too.

I’ve only been out with him once before and it was scary and exciting, but this time he wanted to practice leaning into the turns with me riding pillion.

At first I was fairly terrified. You can’t passively be a passenger on a bike – I was looking at the road ahead to anticipate when he’d brake, so I could brace myself and prevent our helmets from smashing together, plus trying to stay on the bike when he accelerated, and also looking for turns so I could lean in the right places.

I had a fantastic arm workout just from clinging on for dear life!

Despite the fear though it was brilliant, and I already feel much more relaxed and confident. We were leaned over as much as the bike is able to without the pegs hitting the road, so that was as terrifying as it’ll ever get. At least I hope that’s the case, I imagine falling off the thing would be pretty scary…

One thing I especially enjoyed was being able to sit on the bike and breathe at the same time. When I first started going out on the back of people’s bikes (I know a few bikers!) my tummy got in the way and all of my organs were constricted. It took the joy out of it.

Now I’m facing the prospect of having to fork out a few hundred quid for gear that doesn’t drown me, but would I have it any other way?

Course not!

After a nap I went to visit a friend for dinner, and although it was a bog standard popping over for the usual boring stuff I’d eat anyway, I wanted to wear a new dress I bought that I absolutely love. Plus he has a mirror in the loo that’s good for selfies.

I have two dresses at the moment that get me loads of compliments. There’s this one, and the other is one I got in a sale yonks ago. I tried it on to show my mum the other day, not expecting her to say much.

The last thing I wore, I pointed out that it was fitting a lot better these days. Her response? ‘Well your boobs are shrinking that’s for sure’. Er, thanks mum!

But with this other dress she blurted out ‘HAYLEY, YOU LOOK BEAUTIFUL!’ Which is definitely a good sign!

I’d say this means things are looking hopeful for weigh in, so I’ll update tomorrow evening.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Doing Too Much?

I’ve had a really good week, where I’ve tried to cram in as much as possible. But by the time Saturday night came around it occurred to me that I may be pushing myself too hard.

I suppose the way I’ve felt over the last week can only be described as driven. And I’m just so excited about everything right now, about the possibilities for the future rather than not being able to see past the next day.

On Saturday I got up after only a couple of hours sleep in order to be an awesome friend. One of my bestest chums was working overtime and had no possibility to pick up his prescription before he ran out so I offered to get it for him. So pick it up I did, then I posted it through his letter box.

This friend happens to live right near my favourite park, so I took my brother with me and we went for a wander. A two hour wander actually. Week three of my Gold Body Magic is now complete!

The weather was boring, all grey clouds and flat and ‘orrible. But that’s why I like photography, because even if on the surface everything looks rubbish, if you look closer you can always find something beautiful. Ok, you can’t beat beautiful golden light, but there’s still good stuff to be found.

And even more good stuff.

My brother opened a few of these little things up and it seems that an earwig lives inside every single one. That a lot of earwigs.

Later on we came across a herd of cows I’d tried to approach before but they were way too nervous. But I had little bro with me, and he has a curious affinity with cows. They weren’t interested in him (one gave him a sniff and went back to munching on its grass) but they didn’t run away either, as they did with me.

I zoomed in on one cow when I got home and had to laugh. Even though she’s just chewing the cud she looked super grumpy!

220918_2957

By the time we got home I crawled straight into bed, but I didn’t sleep very well. As soon as I get disturbed, to wake up for a tinkle for instance, I’ve been finding it really hard to get back to sleep again because I just want to carry on with my day.

This is great in one way, but I need to make sure I don’t burn myself out or I’ll be right back where I started before I know it.

As such when I got into work and found we were seriously overmanned, I jumped at the chance of an impromptu night off. To be honest since I’m out of annual leave I had to take it unpaid, which isn’t exactly sensible given my current financial situation, but this will now come out of my pay at the end of October. So I have plenty of time to adjust my outgoings accordingly. That’s how I’m convincing myself it’s OK anyway!

I actually ended up having a fantastic weekend, doing some walking and hanging out with friends. I really enjoyed a rainy wander through the glen Sunday morning.

Since I’m feeling in a cooking mood lately, yesterday when I got back I made dinner and dessert. I want to cook for people but don’t really want to eat it, so after dinner I made a decadent apple crumble. It went down so well that one friend kept eating it till he felt sick. I’ll take that as a win.

As for me I’ve been avoiding sweet stuff entirely, apart from unsweetened soya yoghurt with fruit and wheat biscuits for breakfast. Because anything like chocolate or ice cream will set off my sweet tooth. With Slimming World (if you aren’t familiar with the plan) nothing is off limits. If you want to eat a chocolate bar every single day and still lose weight, you can totally do that (though it might not be the healthiest way to go!) But when it comes to the sweet stuff I always crave more and more once I get going, and since I’m really enjoying my food lately I’m going to carry on with cutting these things out entirely. It seems to be working well for me anyway, as I haven’t felt deprived at all.

On Thursday I have another friend coming over for tea but I’m planning on making him something healthy. He’s been working so hard and such long hours, he hasn’t had time to feed himself properly and I want to get some goodness into him.

Other than that I want to make sure I get a good balance for the week ahead with plenty of sleep as well as exercise and creativity, because I need food for the soul, too.

Tonight is weigh in and I’m not sure how it’s going to go, because my hormones have gone a little up the wall and I’m feeling huge. But then I felt like that last week and it all turned out OK anyway. Time will tell!

I’ll update tomorrow with how it went.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Earls Colne, and Other Things

Last week was really good. Friday was my brother’s birthday, and although I had work that night I stayed up for the afternoon/evening in order to hang out with the family. And it was great! It’s testament to how much better I’m feeling as hanging out with brother, sister and mother (and all the noise and chaos that brings) was so much fun.

I also had my Body Magic for the day to complete, so I took my hula hoop and kettlebells downstairs and socialised at the same time. When my brother got home from work we had a laugh by comparing what weights we could lift and how many push ups we can do. It wasn’t really competitive – my brother is really tall and naturally strong, I’m tall and fairly weak in comparison, and my sister is a tiny little thing – so we all knew how it was going to go anyway. I still had to laugh at my sister trying to lift a 10kg weight, while everyone laughed at me trying to do one of those push ups where you clap on the up part (and nearly smashing my face into the carpet while I was at it!)

Things are so different to how they used to be. When we were kids my sister would be out with her friends, my brother would be playing Runescape on the PC, and I’d be trying to get him off the PC, because it was my turn dammit! Then my sister would come home and also want the PC, and the place would turn into a war zone.

But the real difference isn’t that we are all such good friends now (although that’s awesome and one of the best things about my whole life) it’s that we are so much more healthy and active. I’m not sure we’d be as close if we didn’t get out and do things together.

Speaking of getting out, the weekend has been very outdoorsy. I went to visit a friend on Saturday on one condition – that we go out for a walk. I had a load of stuff I should have been doing that day, mostly to prepare for my Sunday, and if I was going to put it off it had to be for a good reason. For one thing I wanted more Body Magic, and this particular walk meant I completed week two of my Gold award. Whoop whoop!

Signs of autumn are beginning to show everywhere, and I have a very strong impulse to make the most of every single day before everything is grey and barren again. Autumn is one of my favourite times of year, and I don’t want to waste a second.

When I got home I got myself straight to bed for an hour’s sleep, then made sure I got up in time to at least do some prep.

Me and my brother agreed that we were going to do a walk from my ’50 walks in Essex’ book, that I bought months ago and hadn’t looked at since. Weirdly, since I’m useless at planning such things, he left the choice of walk and all the details up to me.

IMG_3662

So I chose a walk, worked out how long it would take us to drive there, how much sleep I’d need in the morning in order to do the drive safely, and told him what time we were leaving. Then (even more importantly) I pre-made my lunch for the next day, because if I don’t have food with me it could mean disaster. That done, I toddled off to work for my final shift of the week.

In the morning we were out of the door by 10:15 am (I almost managed 3 hours sleep) with plenty of coffee in tow. We were headed to Earls Colne to do a 6.5 mile circular walk which would take us through Chalkney Mill.

I had a little moment where I wasn’t sure what to wear – I didn’t think I had anything warm enough to hand (the weather looked a bit grim) but eventually I decided on a t-shirt dress and leggings because I’d no doubt warm up during the walk anyway.

I made the right choice – when we got there the skies turned blue and we were treated to a beautiful day. So beautiful I was starting to worry that I should have bought sun cream with me.

Do you know what my favourite part was though? THE FOOD! First of all we found plenty of blackberries, and since I’d left my lunch in the car to have once we were finished these were most welcome.

160918_2919160918_2921

Further along the route we came across an apple tree, but all of the fruits within reaching distance had been started on by birds and bugs. But I had my brother with me, and he’s always up for a challenge. He found us a couple of really tasty looking apples.

160918_2929

I do like apples, but I’m seriously fussy about them. I’ll NEVER buy them from a supermarket (unless it’s for a pie or crumble) because they are invariably disappointing. The apple I had from the tree though – it was hands down not only the best apple I’ve ever had, but the tastiest fruit I’ve eaten in my whole life hands down. It was utterly delicious!

Later on we came across a friendly little family, whose young son was very interested in what I was doing with my camera. I was photographing fungus at the time (as you do) and I marvelled at the fact the kid has clearly been raised to appreciate the outdoors rather than simply plonked in front of a TV or tablet. Most other kids his age would probably be more familiar with technology than nature.

160918_2935.jpg

I don’t normally know what to say to tiny humans (I find them quite frightening) but it was easy to explain what I was doing and show him the camera screen. Then we got talking to the dad who told us what other kind of fungi we could expect to see around this time of year.

As it happens we didn’t see any stinkhorns (although I’d really like to) but it’s good to know they can be found in that area for when we return at a later date. As I’m sure we will.

In contrast to all the nature, one part of the route also took us directly underneath a pylon. I’m quite happy with that, as I’ve never been so close to a pylon, so I took the opportunity to get an ‘arty’ shot.

160918_2933.jpg

When I got home I had leftover curry that I made the other day which was completely Syn free, packed with Speed foods and even tastier than when I originally made it. Thinking ahead has definitely helped me this week.

As it happens I have group this evening and despite feeling really confident earlier on in the week today I’m feeling a bit bloated so I don’t know how it’s going to go. What I do know, is that I have been completely on plan without a single slip-up for two whole weeks now. And that feels soooooo good.

Another thing I know is that if I don’t get the result I want today, I’m just going to carry on what I’ve been doing. I’m not going to use it as an excuse to have a blow-out.

The only other plan I have for today is to walk into town (Body Magic, yay!) and hunt for Koko vegan cheddar which has been spotted by my fellow vegans in Home Bargains. When I first went vegan there were no cheeses you could have as a Healthy Extra, but this one does count so hopefully I can get my mitts on it.

On that note I’d best get cracking, so I’ll say goodbye for now.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Train in Rain

It has been chucking it down since I woke up this morning. I had an atrocious sleep (about three hours) and knew I wasn’t getting off again any time soon so I got up to let Pea out while I had my pre-workout coffee. She has been so affectionate lately, but she soon deserted me for her window perch so she could watch the rain for a while.

My trainer couldn’t come out to play today so I headed out to my usual haunt when I’m training alone, except I’m getting bored with my four laps around the green so I thought I’d venture further into the woods.

I am a little concerned over how isolated I am when I do this so I think I’ll invest in some self-defence lessons, just to be extra careful.

I’ll give the local dog walkers credit where it is due, as even though the view from my car window when I arrived at the nature reserve looked like this, there were still loads of people about, at least on the easy access path.

IMG_5573

As I got further in though it was just lil ol’ me for the best part. I only saw one other jogger until I was nearly back at the car.

IMG_5575

Today I wasn’t just exploring a new route – because I knew there would be less people around I decided to try out running without wearing leggings under my joggers. I’ve spoken before about ‘the dreaded applause’ (that noise where your loose skin is flapping about and it sounds like someone’s clapping) and I decided to see if I still get it when I run.

Sadly, I do, so the first mile was mostly just walking until I got away from the dog walkers. Even when I was totally alone the sound was so cringy, I’m definitely not going to be able to wear just joggers any time soon. What I do hope is that my body shape improves enough with my continued fitness/weight loss regime that I’ll at least be able to wear running leggings on their own without looking totally ridiculous.

That’s one goal, but another one I’ve added to my list seems so out there at the moment. My trainer said at some point he wants to get me to do an eight minute mile. Previously I would have scoffed at that, but if anyone can help me achieve it then it’s him. The good thing is he’ll be getting me to work towards it without me even realising, but for the time being I’m just thinking about getting into the 11 minute bracket.

Today’s times were pretty atrocious because of the aforementioned reason, plus I had to stop and look at the map on my phone a few times and backtrack when I’d gone completely the wrong way.

IMG_5594

Plus I had to stop for selfies (gotta indulge when there’s no one else about!) and to take a shot of some slippery ‘shrooms.

IMG_5584.JPG

I say my times were atrocious, but a couple of months ago that would have been inconceivable to me. Yet I managed it today without exerting myself too much. I took it rather gently because I’m training tomorrow and I wanted to save myself. I’m going to really go for it!

I’ve just had a post-workout snack of kale and soya beans (sounds boring but it’s one of my absolute faves) wolfed down my A&B choices as dessert (porridge and almond milk) and had a steamy hot shower. Which can only mean one thing – it’s now time for a well-deserved sleep.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Back to Seven

Note to Self: When December comes around, remember that it took you until the end of February to get rid of your Christmas gain. Remember how long it took you to truly get back into the swing of things, and ask yourself if all of those mince pies are really worth it. Hint: They’re not.

I originally got my seven stone award at the end of November, and a couple of days later was when I snapped and spent most of December bingeing on sweet Christmas treats. My mood and self-esteem really suffered, although I tried to pretend at the time that I was OK with it. I was trying to convince myself more than anyone else.

This week I lost 3 lbs, and I’m so happy with that because it did not come easily. I’m so proud that instead of using my trainer’s illness as an excuse to be lazy that I faced my fears and went out alone. I’m proud that despite wanting badly to binge, twice, I managed to keep my cravings in check.

All of that hard work means I can now say I have my seven stone award back, with a total loss of 7 st 1 lb. We’re into (relatively) new territory now, as I haven’t been this weight since 2004.

This week training has been put back yet another day, but after yesterday’s walk I’m not too worried. Where I’m off work on a Monday I find it really hard to hit my calorie burn goal but yesterday I smashed it. I’ll do some home exercise before work today and if training goes back another day then I’ll go out on my own tomorrow. Already it feels wrong if I haven’t been running for a while.

This week has the potential to go wrong, but I sure as hell won’t let it. In January me and my sister pencilled in a date for a food trip to London where we can eat loads of vegan goodies (which happens to be this Sunday), but after our run the other day we both agreed that it wasn’t really conducive to achieving our goals.

We are still going out for a meal, at Mildred’s, but I’ve already checked out the menu and have chosen what I’m having. I’m going to have the ‘Soul Bowl’ which includes so many healthy foods!

How full of goodness does that sound? And where I’m not exactly following Slimming World anymore I can eat the avocado, cashew cheese and seeds without worrying too much.

The important thing for me right now is having three sensible meals a day, and having one meal with more healthy fats than I’m used to is not going to do much, if any, damage.

Rather than go on a food tour of the rest of the city, I suggested that we do something more wholesome and revisit St James’s Park. The wildlife there is so tame it can hardly be called wildlife at all – the last time we went I fed a great tit from my hand, had a squirrel run up my leg and ended up covered in beautiful pigeons!

But there’s more to it than that. The last time we went was in April 2016 and I was pushing 20 stone, so it’ll be fun to go back over five stone lighter. I was also only just getting into photography, so I’m looking forward to getting better pictures, too.

These seem ok, but the top one is not as sharp as I’d like and both are heavily cropped. There’s a lot of room for improvement there, especially now I know what I’m doing.

It’ll be extra exercise, too, because I’ll be taking my heaviest camera and lenses. I’ll probably be lugging an additional stone about, but I’m no stranger to carrying extra weight so it shouldn’t be a problem.

As I’ve changed my daily step goal to 15k, I’d best get moving now because these steps aren’t going to do themselves.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Snow Day

I’ve got everything crossed that proper training goes ahead tomorrow because I’ve really missed it. My friend has confirmed that we are going whether it’s snowing or not, the only thing that remains to be seen is whether he’s well enough.

I remembered that I left my hat in my locker at work, and since I’m not back until Tuesday night I’ll definitely be needing one during training. Where we go is quite high and always windy, so I imagine it’ll be bitterly cold, too. Me being me, I decided to walk into town, in the snow, to get a hat.

Y’know, I really could have done with a hat while I was doing that…

As soon as I stepped out of the house the wind was so icy I got brain freeze, but thankfully that didn’t last as I got used to the temperature and warmed up a bit by walking fast.

By the time I reached the park, which is right near town, the snow had stopped and in one direction there was a nice blue sky.

IMG_4931

The other direction (the one I was headed in) was not looking quite so inviting…

IMG_4930

Despite the temperature there was just so much life about! I think it’s because I seemed to have the whole park to myself and all of the creatures could go about their business without being disturbed. I saw a grey heron, swans, canada geese, coots, moorhens, blackbirds, magpies, pigeons, gulls, squirrels, voles, tufted ducks and mallards. Which is pretty damn cool.

In town I finally found a vegan deodorant I like so I stocked up on those, and also got a hat for £1.

IMG_4941.jpg

I must admit that despite my ethical new year’s resolutions I did get it from Primark. They have all of their summer stuff in now and only had a few hats left in the corner so I grabbed one while I could. I have made progress with that particular resolution but it still needs work.

IMG_4947

Well, it’ll keep me noggin warm in any case, and it’s also highly likely that I won’t bother doing my hair for future runs!

I had loads of things that needed doing today but most of them have been postponed. One of our cats has been off her food so me and my brother took her to the vets to get checked out. They’ve done a blood test and sent it off for speedy and detailed results, so we should find out something tomorrow, and they have also kept her in to try her on appetite stimulants and to get some fluids into her.

She’s a very old cat now, but I have everything crossed that it’s nothing terrible. Things just wouldn’t be the same without that kitty…

100617_1604

Somehow a trip to town, the vets and just doing a few bits around the house has eaten up the whole of the day and I’m just about ready to drop. It doesn’t help that I woke up early after having really grim nightmare with my heart trying to escape from my chest!

The good thing about being this tired is that I should sleep well. At least I hope I do, because it’s weigh day tomorrow and I’d rather not spend the night anticipating what the results will be. I’ve had a couple of sneak peeks but you never really know till the official time. I reckon it’ll be OK but it would be so awesome if my Christmas gain has finally been eliminated!

I’ll keep you updated.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Give No Effs

I  got an early from work last night because I was bored, tired, and so, so cold. I’ll have been working at the same place for ten years this October, and I’ve never, ever had a fire drill during the summer. It’s always in the winter. We had one last night, and although I was grateful that it wasn’t snowing this time around, I still didn’t manage to get warm again until I got home.

I’ve got to say I had a thoroughly decent (and warm and toasty) sleep and feel all the better for it, but what about my steps for the day? I normally finish a shift on about 7,500 these days but this morning when I got home I was only on 3,500. Well something had to be done about that, especially as I’ve changed my daily goal from 10,000 to 15,000.

When I got up I pottered around a little bit but I still had loads of time left so I decided to GO OUT RUNNING. ON MY OWN! 

The important thing about running, I have discovered, is to give no f**ks. I went to my local nature reserve and stuck to the paved, circular route because I didn’t think it was a good idea to go traipsing around the woods on my own. The route is 0.7 miles (ish) so I did it three times intermittently running and walking. Then I had a fast walk on the fourth lap but took a detour and stopped to say hello to the pigs. As you do.

IMG_4855

On my way around I kept seeing the same lady going in the opposite direction and she gave me a smile each time. Part of me was wondering if she was laughing at me because even though it was only 2 degrees out I was sweating like mad and more closely resembled a tomato than a human. But it doesn’t matter. She was probably just being friendly, and if I did amuse her then so what? It’s good that I brightened her day.

IMG_4877

I’m so pleased with myself, because although my trainer must of course take some credit for starting me off, it was me who did that. And it’s HUGE. A couple of years ago I wouldn’t have gone out walking on my own, and look at me now!

I’m also pretty chuffed with my lap times. It’s a new record!

IMG_4879.jpg

Although I found I pushed myself harder as far as speed goes without my friend there, I did miss the strength training which I wasn’t confident enough to do on my own. And it’s not the same without company. But the fact is I’m going to need to be able to train more than once a week if I’m going to make significant changes, and I’m finding that I’m getting itchy feet if I don’t have plans to go!

Normally after posting the day before about not having a binge I’d now be posting to say that I did in fact blow it after all. But not this time! I’m still on the straight and narrow and LOVING IT.

I also got confirmation last night that I have a few days booked off at the beginning of April so I will be going out disco dancing with the young work men. I really, really want to get a nice outfit and get on that dance floor. I can’t wait! Plus it’s all extra exercise, after all.

There might be a cold snap at the moment but I’m definitely feeling excited for spring and fun times ahead. It can’t come soon enough!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x