Turning it Around

Yesterday I was hungry.

All. Day. Long.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Several hours later…

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

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

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

This was back then:

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And these are from today:

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

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

Hayley x

A Wibble

It was weigh in this morning and I put on 1.5 lbs. Despite my recent positivity this (entirely expected) event totally knocked me off track. For a short while, anyway. I hit the bread bin, and I hit it HARD, and now I feel doubly guilty for the initial gain and the subsequent emotional eating.

This will NOT do.

So I did the laundry then had a nap. When I woke up I still felt bad, so I spent half an hour just laying quietly and thinking things through. Until then I hadn’t figured out that it was the gain that made me feel bad. I thought perhaps it was a delayed bad feeling from yesterday, although at the time of eating I definitely wasn’t thinking about why. It was a total knee jerk reaction, without pause for thought, which is unusual for me these days. I think if I’d given myself that pause then the outcome would have been different.

Ho hum, I can’t go back in time! Going forward, I feel better after my little self-therapy session and getting the thoughts out here on the blog is the final step.

I’ve had a healthy dinner, I’m currently writing on my phone whilst pacing around the house to get my step count up before work (it’s quite likely I’m going to walk into something) and I have six whole days in which to turn this completely around.

Depending on hunger levels I’m going to try to reduce my carb intake and up what used to be my Speed Food intake. Speed food is just Slimming World’s own way of describing the less energy-dense fruit and veggies, so I shall henceforth be munching them like there’s no tomorrow. Bring on lots of top up shops in Lidl this week!

I have training on Thursday but in the meantime the cat has the vets and I have to try to find a cheap car as my head gasket is in a bad way. Hopefully I can find a run around to tide me over because I need wheels to get to training and to ferry my mum around to various hospital and doctor’s appointments.

Also, I’ve taken another exciting step even further out of my comfort zone. An ex-colleague saw some of my photos on Facebook and wants to hire me to take some shots of his wife before their wedding vow renewal. At first I said no, and was about to recommend a lady I know, when I thought ‘I can actually do this!’

I AM scared, because it will involve talking to people I don’t know and I’m going to have to my friend’s wife at ease when inside I myself will be the least at ease person there ever was.

But who knows what doors this could open? I was asked to do a wedding once but couldn’t stand the pressure of potentially messing up some of the most important photos of their lives. The very thought still fills me with dread, but I don’t have to start out doing weddings. I can do smaller things and see how I feel.

I’m not sure I’d like a photography business, but it would be lovely to take it further in my spare time. Let’s see what happens!

It’s nearly time for work now, and already I can’t wait for it to be over so I can get back to my own department.

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

The Great Outdoors

It has been so flipping cold this week, but at least the sky has had the decency to be blue from time to time. It makes finding the motivation to actually go outside so much easier.

Yesterday me and the brother went on our long walk, and ended up being out for three-and-a-half hours. It was windy, and bitingly cold, but we both had hoods which kept the worst at bay. When I took mine off I actually got brain freeze.

I was working the night before, so we went out about 6:30am, which coincided perfectly with the blue hour (the hour before golden hour).

I checked the light and sky indices using the (free) app GoldenHour.One, which tells you how likely you are to have a nice sky for a decent shot, but I also use it just to tell me whether it’s likely to be a depressing grey day or a nice interesting one. As it happens Thursday is looking to be a stonker!

The skies were lovely and clear yesterday so I managed to get a blue hour shot that I’m really happy with. There’s something really magical about that these times of day. 110218_2479

And my app informed me that the sky index would be quite good. It was right!

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How gorgeous? We did a gentle 7.5 miles, since my brother is way out of practice with his walking after spending most of the summer either fishing or on his motorbike. I was happy with that too actually, since I was feeling pretty tired after all!

I found out that my expensive new boots are in fact waterproof as advertised, which is always nice to know.

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They’re not quite as shiny as when I first got them though…

After we’d finished exploring one half of the nature reserve, we crossed the road to visit the other part which is also home to the visitor centre.

We arrived there at the exact right time, when it was still empty, so we purchased a bag of duck food and sat down for a cup of coffee. Just as we had finished the place started filling up so we moved on to the duck lake.

Before we got there though we met a friendly robin who hopped into a bush just feet from me. And it turns out robins like duck food too. Who knew?

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In fact the robin seemed to like the duck food more than the ducks, who weren’t all that hungry. We did see some tufted ducks, but they were timid and wouldn’t come very near. Mostly it was just seagulls dive bombing and stealing it all.

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By the time we got home I was absolutely exhausted, and vaguely aware that the only thing I’d put into my body since two in the morning was coffee. But I needed sleep more than food, so I had a quick nap.

When I woke up it was a mad rush to get ready to go to my friend’s house. I took him over a load of dirty washing, because I’m nice like that, and we left the washing machine running while we went to the cinema to see Downsizing.

On the drive to the cinema I realised that I was actually ravenously hungry, and Tesco was due to shut in 15 minutes. Once there I just grabbed whatever I could find, which ended up being a vegan sandwich and wrap from the new Wicked range, and some chocolate.

Not the healthiest choices ever, but in terms of calories in vs calories out I reckon I was way in credit for the day, so I don’t feel bad about it at all.

The film was not something I would have chosen to see myself, it’s mainly that the showing time fit in with mine and my friend’s schedules. It wasn’t at all what I expected, and although it’s been slated it’s actually quite an interesting film. Not great, or perhaps not even good, but interesting (if poorly executed). Hardly a glowing review, but there you go!

After that I dropped my friend off, picked up my laundry, then crashed out for an epic sleep. Today I have a day filled with bits and bobs to do, but with the sun shining through my window it’s not all that bad.

From tomorrow I’m looking after my sister’s birds so that should sure keep me busy, training with my friend has been pencilled in for either Wednesday or Thursday, and I’m doing the physical job at work for four weeks that I should have been doing for the last four weeks, only for it to be cancelled. Hopefully it actually happens this time!

I will update again tomorrow with weigh in results, especially since I’ve no clue how it’s going to go.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

 

Frustration

I’m really proud of myself for the last week. It was so hard to get back on plan after the Christmas period (which for me started in November) and even harder because of being off work and unable to do all of the things I wanted to do. Some of the time I was genuinely hungry because I couldn’t eat properly, other times I was just plain hungry. I know I overate free foods at some point during the week, but I didn’t go over my syns on any day. I also made sure I did my 70,000 steps even though for two days I barely moved and for the others I had to hold my cheek a lot of the time to stop it from hurting too much. But I did it!

My reward for all of this hard work? Half a pound off.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed. I’d by lying if I said I wasn’t completely peed off, truth be told! But I am pleased it’s still a loss because I’d feel a lot worse otherwise. This week there is nothing holding me back. I’m definitely back to work tonight, which comes just at the right time because when I woke up this morning for the first time in a week my first thought wasn’t ‘ouch!’

I have an inkling that I could be due a catch-up loss next week, but that’s certainly not guaranteed so I won’t pin my hopes on it. I would like two pounds though, because then I will be back in the 14 stone bracket. I’m so desperate to get there, I think that’s what’s going to keep me from eating my feelings regarding this half pound business!

Never mind. I just have to keep moving forwards and this week is going to be a good one. Plans for the week ahead? No sneak peeks on the scales (starting from right now), 70k+ steps, plenty of speed food, keep working towards that elusive push-up.

In other news my camera has finally come!

Look how teeny it is! As the sun has now gone to bed what I can tell you is that it doesn’t do very well in low light conditions (which I suspected anyway) but the whole reason I bought it is so I don’t have to lug my gear up a mountain so in that situation low light is unlikely to be a problem. Plus if I’m indoors, likelihood is I’m going to have my proper camera with me anyway.

The main draw for me is that it shoots in RAW, which is an absolute must. With an ordinary point-and-shoot camera, when you take a picture it saves as a JPEG. When the picture is taken there’s an absolutely huge amount of information captured, but to save space the JPEG decides what information to keep and what to throw away. It dumps anything it doesn’t need and you’re left with a much smaller file. When you shoot in RAW however it keeps EVERYTHING. Most importantly it means you get to decide for yourself what stays and what goes, and you can edit the photo to look how you think it should look.

For the kind of photography I do it’s mostly about representing the scene as it was, at least in terms of colour and exposure. I’ll never not want a shallow depth of field (blurry background). It’s also much closer to traditional photography, because that’s what people would have done in the dark room – deciding on how much contrast and whatnot. Other bonuses are that the file doesn’t degrade when you edit it (with the JPEG it’ll keep dumping and dumping the information until you’re left with an unusable pixelated monstrosity) and the fact that you can sometimes ‘rescue’ a badly exposed photo. This is why I love photography, there’s just so much to it! You can make it as simple or as complicated as you like.

Overall the excitement of the camera has cancelled out the bad feeling about my disappointing loss, so everything is quite alright in Hayley land.

Until next time, thanks for reading!

Hayley x

SERIOUS Budgeting

I’ve come to the conclusion that I need a new camera, and after nearly impulse buying one particular model I thankfully stopped myself and did proper research. This is most unlike me. I’ve found something for £330 (an RX100) that has pretty much all of the functions of an SLR that I like but is teeny tiny. That’s the main draw for me.

Because the equipment I’m using is so old anyway I’m not even sacrificing picture quality (unless you count the macro capabilities of my remarkable 100mm lens) but the major benefit is that it’s portable. At the moment when I go out and about I’m literally carrying a couple of stones worth of equipment around with me and I end up with extremely sore shoulders. Since I can take the new one with my everywhere, even the shops, I’m never going to miss a photo opportunity that my phone camera can’t handle.

I can just about afford it, so after carefully looking through what’s left to pay out this month and pooling the money from several different accounts, I made the plunge and ordered it. I would have liked to order it through my work and get a 10% discount, but it’s out of stock. I suppose I could have waited till they got more, but it’s an old model so it’s not guaranteed, plus when I checked on Amazon they only had FOUR LEFT. It would have been silly of me not to get it right away!

So that leaves me with £60 to spend on food and petrol until payday on the 26th. Hmm…

I have quite a bit of food in the freezer already, so if I only buy fruits and veggies from Lidl then I should be able to do it. It’s within the realms of possibility shall we say, and I might even be able to make the petrol in the car last too, although I am taking my mum to an appointment on the 23rd. That may throw a spanner in the works.

It’s exciting though! Seeing it as a challenge that I want to complete rather than a burden that’s been placed upon me changes things entirely. Plus my new super lightweight camera will encourage me to get out and about more, without having to decide what lenses to take and inevitably regretting my decision as soon as I see something interesting.

In the meantime #onplanjan has been going fabulously, especially now I can eat normally. I definitely went overboard with my kebab dinner, but I was Hank Marvin I tell you. Now it’s time to up those speed foods again.

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I’ve also been taking photos of my daily food diaries (excuse the handwriting) and adding them to my #onplanjan page. If you’re that way inclined then feel free to take a peek!

Yesterday I forced myself to get my 10,000 steps, and today I am forcing myself to return to work because I’m sick of these four walls. The pain has mostly gone, it’s just an unpleasant feeling from the stitches that remains (plus I still have a chubby cheek and will no doubt be made fun of tonight). But I can handle that.

The difference between staying at home and going to work, even with exercise, is in the region of a thousand calories, so I’m better off going if I can.

Well, if I’m going to make it to work then I really need to get my butt into gear.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x