13

Things always feel better after a marvellous sleep. Last night/this morning/this afternoon I spent about 15 hours in bed, and 13 of those was spent being most wonderfully, restfully unconscious. I really think I needed that.

In fact I was so relaxed I nearly talked myself out of going for a walk, but positive comments on my last post made me change my mind. It goes to show how much of difference people cheering you on has. Being negative just doesn’t give the same results! I cannot tell you how grateful I am for the help I get from you incredible internet peoples.

Do you know, I think things are on the up (she says, tentatively). My knee has been so painful it’s been waking me in my sleep but last night there was none of that, and out walking today it only hurt when going downhill. It might get aggravated at work where I’ll be driving my forklift all night, but I’m cautiously optimistic. If it keeps up like this then next week I will try three runs. I’ll start off with 1 mile, have a rest day, do 2 miles, another rest day, then finally I’ll do 3 miles.

I have everything crossed that I can, because I’ve just bought some brand new trainers from Will’s Vegan Shoes. I started to break them in yesterday and they are soooooo good – perfect amount of grip and bounce, and I like the style too. I reckon they’ll be great to run in.

img_1480.jpg

They look kinda wrecked already but I assure you they aren’t. It’s just the dry weather we’ve been having, everything’s just so dusty! I love that they don’t have proper laces, too. There’s no chance of them coming undone which is brilliant. Even if I find I can’t run in future, these will definitely have their uses.

It’s a bit cooler today and my walk was really nice. It’s much more like last year’s summer, where is was warm but mostly the sky was covered in a blanket of cloud.

img_1479

I saw the piggies on the way back, and one of them was either snoring or being possessed by a demon. I’m not entirely sure which…

Pea had the vet’s yesterday and that was a relief. Her poops have gone back to normal now and everything else seems fine, so it must have been her perch that was affecting things. So that perch has now been replaced, and Pea has gone back to sitting on my shoulder most of the time.

While we were in the waiting room I couldn’t have her covered as it was way too hot for her, but she didn’t seem stressed at all. Everyone who saw her instantly fell in love – she’s such a sweet bird!

img_1441

It’s also crazy that’s she so small and light she can perch on a fold in a tea towel. Such a tiny bird, but such a big personality.

Finally I had a yummy, completely on plan dinner which I managed to eat just as the sun decided to make an appearance. It’s a shame I have work later, but I always burn more calories there so it has its uses.

img_1481

That’s three days of being on plan under my belt now, and I’m feeling like I’m in control again. I weighed myself and I’m back to my 7 stone loss, which is really important to me. It’s kind of my everything-will-be-ok-as-long-as-I-have-this-total-loss point, if that makes sense. Unfortunately it’s at this stage a nasty little voice in my head tells me that we can eat a load of rubbish and undo any damage we do in a few days.

The annoying thing is, the voice is absolutely right, so it’s tempting to listen to it. The problem with that is, I’ve been doing exactly that for weeks and weeks. So I’m ignoring the voice, carrying on with Food Optimising and I’m finally going to reach my gosh darn target weight!

I’d best get ready for work now anyway. Inner voice, consider yourself ignored!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Turning it Around

Yesterday I was hungry.

All. Day. Long.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Several hours later…

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

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

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

This was back then:

250515_hadleigh_203_jpg

And these are from today:

080318_2520080318_2522080318_2525080318_2528080318_2530080318_2531

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

It’s the Little Things

I’m feeling super duper good today. I’m almost frightened to say it, because whenever I say things like that my mood seems to take a nosedive. But I don’t really believe in that kind of stuff, so here I am saying it anyway. Things are really good!

I’m so thankful that the mood of the last post only lasted a few days. It was intense, and my eating and exercise did suffer, but it went away just as quickly as it arrived.

Yesterday I went out for a family meal, and I wasn’t really feeling it, so I did use food to make myself feel better. We were at Zizzi’s, and their vegan menu is excellent, so I went ahead and ordered my usual – garlic bread to start, peperonata pizza for mains, followed by an insanely delicious chocolate praline torte.

IMG_4267.jpg

There was a small amount of vegan cheese on there, but since I stopped eating the real thing I’ve discovered that pizza is all about that base. If the base is on point then I definitely don’t need a cheesy topping, not even the vegan variety. It’s probably also a huge calorie saving, not that it would make that much difference in the course of my decadent meal.

On the plus side I was worried that I’d struggle to get to my 70k steps for the week after such an atrocious start. As it happens I ended up on over 90k and also managed to hit my minimum calorie burn goal (with a couple of thousand on top for good measure).

The best thing though is that I’m not feeling guilty at the moment. I’ve had enough of feeling guilty to last me a lifetime.

Today has been a success on many levels. Although I haven’t eaten entirely on plan, I haven’t eaten unhealthily. I had avocado on toast for lunch which was amazing and great for healthy fats, it just doesn’t fit in easily with Slimming World. I’ll be back to the proper Slimming World way tomorrow though.

In the morning I was at the dentist for 9am for a filling, and after the ordeal of having wisdom teeth removed this was nothing. Having said that I was still shaking when I came out, because I was scared, but I went and did it anyway. And all on my own this time! I also had the hole from the last visit packed out with a dissolvable dressing as food keeps getting in there and was causing pain, and having that done hurt quite a lot. But now it feels so much better and it should heal faster now.

I’m pretty proud of myself for doing two brave things last week, too. At least for me they were brave, so I’m celebrating them even if some may not agree.

Months ago my manager mentioned that he had two 10kg kettlebells that he never uses and said I could have them for free, but then he forgot and I was too shy to ask again. I wondered if he just said that in the moment and didn’t mention it again because he didn’t really want to give them to me.

But this week I decided that I definitely need two kettlebells of the same weight, for certain exercises that I want to do. So I plucked up the courage and reminded him of it even though I felt like a cheeky cow for doing so.

Of course I needn’t have worried, because he was happy to get rid of them. Turns out his memory is just as bad as mine! It seems such a little thing, but for me it’s progress.

I had half an idea of just chilling out after the dentist, but then I decided I wanted to work out so I gave them a little test run. Let’s just say that I’m going to be sore tomorrow!

050218_2471

The other brave thing I did was simply saying yes. You may remember me telling you about an awesome colleague I got talking to a while back. Well he invited me out hiking, which we should be doing tomorrow as long as it isn’t chucking it down. When he asked a rather large portion of my brain was shouting ‘SAY NO, SAY NO, SAY NO!’ because what if there’s an awkward silence, or what if I fall over and make a fool of myself, or what if a thousand other things? But the new, brave part of my brain just said ‘YES! I’d love to!’ Because after all that’s the absolute truth and I can’t wait.

Besides, I’ll also be christening my new walking boots which I’ve been itching to do.

Apart from the kettlebells today I’ve also been hula hooping, and I’m going to jump on the exercise bike in a little while too. I’m wearing a pair of leggings and a sports bra, and although I’d never leave the house like this (for now) I’m feeling really body-positive today.

ACS_0006.jpg

I don’t know exactly how I feel about my weight at the moment, because I’m stressing myself out and getting too desperate to get to target. It’s a shame it has the opposite effect and makes me want to eat.

But then again I need to keep my goals in the forefront of my mind because I can’t afford to let things slip. Otherwise before I know it I’ll be back where I started.

At the moment I feel like I’m walking on a tightrope!

So I’m now hunting for some middle ground, because I don’t want to get into a binge/purge cycle and I can see myself heading that way. I’m thinking of trying to focus on enjoyment. It’s been working with the exercise this week. Yoga was getting boring when I was doing it every single day, so apart from the basic exercises I’m doing that need consistency (press-ups, squats etc) then I’m just doing what’s fun.

I want to do the same with food – I really want to normalise the healthier foods that I like and eat them because I want to, not because they’ll make me thin. I hope this makes sense. Because although I won’t really be eating differently, the way I feel about food will hopefully change so that one day I won’t have to be constantly aware of what I’m putting into my body.

That’s the plan anyhoo.

Now I need to going and get my bits ready for hiking tomorrow, because it’s going to be cold. And while I’m on that subject I’m still waiting for my friend to reply to confirm when we are meeting tomorrow. To be honest a tiny little part of my mind is expecting something to go wrong and he’ll cancel, but I’m trying to shut it up.

I need to start thinking about what can go right!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Car Troubles

Cars stress me out. If it was just me I had to worry about then I wouldn’t be overly fussed about not having one – I already walk or take the train whenever it’s possible and/or affordable anyway. And if I want to go exploring somewhere then there’s always the option of hiring one for a few days. But I do need a car for two reasons – so that I have somewhere quiet to eat my lunch at work because the canteen is gross and crowded, and even more importantly so that I can take my mum to her various hospital and doctor’s appointments.

Last week my engine pressure light came on, and it didn’t look good. For minor problems, or when the car is on it’s way out, the light normally flickers on and off intermittently and gradually gets worse over time. I could handle that, because it gives me time to sort out an alternative. But for me it was just BOOM, solid oil pressure light staring me in the face! I didn’t know if my engine was about to seize and die at any given point. But my friend was in the process of selling some variety of Peugeot, and he only wanted £350 for it. Since he owes me £150, and I was going to kind of part-ex my BMW with him, I would only end up having to lay out about £100 for a car to tide me over.

He got the Peugeot MOT’d yesterday and got a puncture repaired, and was going to drop it off for me this morning. But then the battery on it decided to die even though he’d not had any problems previously. Bloody typical! Although it’s simple enough to change the battery it wasn’t clear whether there was an electrical problem causing it to drain, and right now (especially with my recent mood struggles) I’m just desperate for a bit of reliability. My friend is pretty awesome though and had been to have a chat with a BMW specialist before coming to mine. After a little fiddle around under the bonnet we hit the road. According to the BMW man if we drove the distance of the local Tesco and back, if anything was seriously wrong with the engine there would be considerable knocking by the time we got back. And we would know that my poor engine was, and I’m quoting here, screwed. 

So we got in the car and… the warning light had gone out. On the drive it flickered on and off, so when we parked up at Tesco my friend popped the bonnet and used a bit of trim from the inside of my back door (which is hanging off – who needs to use the back doors anyway?) and had a poke around inside the engine. Literally poking around in there with a bit of walnut trim! And after all that stress and worrying about what I’m going to do, how I’m going to get my mum to where she needs to go without major anxiety on her part and mine, the problem turned out to be… THE WIRE LEADING TO THE SENSOR. It has a little break in it, that is all. This theory is strongly backed by the fact that when we got home my engine was still purring like a kitten. Or a tiger I suppose, given that it’s a monster of a thing.

Of course I’m totally relieved that there’s nothing wrong with my engine but still, what a palava! I know I shouldn’t worry about things that are outside of my control – it’s not as if me worrying changed a damn thing – but gosh it’s easier to say that than to actually do it!

Car troubles aside, I’m feeling a lot better now. My mood has improved 100-fold, and I’m in a position to think about what the heck went wrong over the last couple of weeks. The main problem I have is that I don’t have a problem. If I was really unhappy with my lot in life then I could understand it, but you can’t fix something when it isn’t broken. In the past when I’ve felt down for no apparent reason then food has come to the rescue. I could eat a tub of ice cream or a giant pizza and, at least until I next got on the scales, I’d feel happier. It was a temporary fix and I certainly don’t recommend it because let’s face it, in the long term that kind of strategy would literally have killed me, but what do I do now? What do I use to get me through when there’s nothing in my life I can change to make me feel better, because technically nothing is wrong? I don’t have that answer, all I know is that food doesn’t cut it anymore so hopefully I’ll remember that next time I come off the rails. There’s no point looking for that one meal that’s going to boost my mood, because my body and brain no longer work that way. It’s a HUGE positive, it means that my relationship with food is getting healthier all the time. Perhaps I should try something like CBT? Yes, I should definitely look into that! In addition to a chat with the doctor next week that is…

I did make a pretty difficult decision this week – I decided to transfer my Slimming World membership back to online. This is because I’ve been struggling with staying awake at work, which is quite important, and the only group I kind of like is before my shift on Tuesday evening. The last few months have found me dreading group, and that’s not good. Apart from the fact it no longer fits in well with my routine, there’s also the fact that when I’m tired I find it really hard to deal with lots of layers of noise. If the TV is on in the background, even quietly, then I can’t concentrate on anything someone is saying to me. The same for radios and whatnot. I generally prefer as close to complete silence as is possible! So sitting in group trying to listen to the consultant or a member speak during IMAGE therapy is made impossible by at least five groups of people having their own separate and very loud conversations. It drives me absolutely nuts! The consultant drops hints, saying things like ‘ooh, we’re getting a bit noisy today’ but no one is even listening to her so it just continues. So I’ll be weighing in at home for the next three months (that’s the length of the online subscription I purchased) then I will go back to group once that’s up. By then I will be missing it, hopefully the doctor will have given me some help, and I’ll be handling my moods better. That’s the theory anyway!

As for this week’s weigh in, I put on (in true Hayley fashion) an impressive 11 pounds. It’s not my biggest ever gain, and it’s over two weeks, so I’m feeling OK about it. I know that my body does not react well to salt/fat/sugar and that I bloat like a hot air balloon, and the fact that since I’ve been 100% back on plan I’ve been peeing roughly every 20 minutes also points to some considerable water retention!

The last two days have been filled with such delicious Slimming World food, and as ever I’m left questioning whether the binge was worth it. And as ever, it really wasn’t. Next time someone please remind me how much I love corn-on-the-cob!

Speaking of food, it’s now time to get dinner. I’m making a cheats lentil curry using a tin of (syn free) Heinz Creationz with added okra, onions and tomatoes. Hopefully it’ll turn out as nice as it sounds!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Sea and City

I’ve got to admit – I’m still not 100% back on plan. I’m not even 10% back on plan! But I will be tomorrow. I’m feeling so much better today, so in typical fashion it’s also (almost) time to go back to work. This is my last night off in fact. There’s nothing like the end of a ‘holiday’ coinciding with the 1st of the month to make you feel like it’s time to go and smash those goals. This is the time it’d be reasonable to be cheesed off, but not for me. I never do things conventionally!

I did feel like I’d wasted my entire week off but when I look back on it, actually I haven’t. As long as we don’t put food into the equation that is.

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were dire. My best day was the Sunday where, because I’d been at work until 6am, I actually had some steps under my belt. 8533 steps to be exact. Monday was 1925, Tuesday was 3722 and Wednesday was 1761. If I get less than 70,000 steps over the week then I feel extremely guilty, and even then I still feel like I could have done better. Well I could have! 70,000 is the absolute bare minimum!

So I needed to turn it around. Thursday I had my walk to, around and from the country park (18236 steps), Friday was a rainy walk up a big hill and back (15731 steps), Saturday was the park (16745 steps) and Sunday, well, that was the icing on the cake.

I didn’t realise how super cheap train fares are on a Sunday, so I paid for me and my brother to get the train to Leigh-on-Sea. From there we walked along the coast, passing through Chalkwell, Westcliff-on-Sea and Southend-on-Sea, finally reaching our destination of Shoeburyness. We were gone for a good few hours, mainly because we kept stopping to look at interesting things. The beaches were absolutely teeming with oysters, both alive and long dead, and I was really hoping to see an oystercatcher (the bird, not a fisherman) but it was not to be.

Crabs are actually my biggest phobia, so the photo credit goes to my little brother for this one. I’m fine with them from above, but when you see the underneath… Well… I just did a genuine shudder. I accidentally threw a crab once (when I was young), in the hands-on rock pool bit you get at Sealife centres. I was fine picking it up, but then I turned it over to look and it was one of those purely primal instincts to get the thing as far away from me as possible. I do hope the little guy was OK though, because it wasn’t his fault! This one is carrying another, smaller crab, and I’m hoping they were having (ahem) ‘sexy time’ rather than partaking in crab cannibalism.

It turned out to be an absolutely glorious morning for a walk, as you can see from the pictures. Passing through Southend is always depressing as it’s such a dump of a town. I had to pop to the loo and there are places for you to put your used needles. That’s the kind of town Southend is. But as soon as you’re five minutes away from there it’s beautiful, with quaint little beach huts to rival Brighton and hardly another soul about. 

By the time we got home I was rather pink, rather tired, and rather pleased to have accumulated 28,901 steps. That meant I was over 80,000 for the week, and that’s not bad considering it got off to such a lazy start.

Today was another very bad eating day, but it’s the last one, I absolutely promise! I went to Canterbury with a friend with the intention of going to a vegan pub where all the food and all the drink is totally vegan. I’ve only been vegan for a few weeks and already I can only imagine the joy of being able to go somewhere and just eat something without having to research it thoroughly beforehand. I checked their Facebook page and the week before last, when they were closed for a private function, they let their customers know. But there was nothing for this week so I thought it must be OK. WRONG! Even though online it said they were open, they were in fact closed.

Thankfully Canterbury just happens to be a lovely little city that caters for all sorts, and because of this situation I found a fantastic little pub that I’ll definitely be visiting again, called The Lady Luck. It’s an awesome place – they have regular live music, and I haven’t seen anything live for an age so I just have to go back and see something. The walls are plastered with album covers and artwork, the staff are lovely, and they are so inclusive. There’s something for everyone, and although when my food came out my heart sank just a little, because it didn’t look all that tasty, it was actually bloody lovely! I had a soya burger with tofu bacon, onions, gherkins, fake cheese and fake garlic mayo. It was so nice! Everything about the place just made my heart sing. The day was certainly not wasted!

I took just a couple of snaps of Canterbury, because we were a bit short on time and because I hate going anywhere without recording a memory of it. They’re not going to set the photography world alight, but here they are all the same!

Nothing went exactly as was planned this week, but lessons have been learned and I’m feeling positive about the week ahead. I haven’t forgotten those Long Tall Sally jeans, and I’ll be fitting in them before I know it. Tomorrow the scales are going to show a simply ENORMOUS gain, and the week after that most, if not all of it, will be ancient history.

Thank you for reading,

Hayley x

I GOT THIS

Oh June, I am SO ready for you. I just checked my most recent food diary, which I started on 11th April. Since then I’ve managed to keep off 1.5 lbs. Which is cool. Better than gaining it, right? But I can do better. I WILL do better. If you read my last post you can see that I wasn’t too sure about my short-term plans. WELL NOT ANY MORE!

I do struggle with the summer months, because I love the warm weather and sunshine. A lot of people find it harder to slim in the winter what with all the warming comfort food, but for me summer is more of a challenge – it immediately brings to mind ice cream and barbecues. Both fit in perfectly with Slimming World if you want them to, but I’ve been finding it really hard to maintain control. We had a barbecue a week or two ago and I had plenty of syn free stuff that I genuinely enjoy, but instead I ended up eating two packs of halloumi! I had corn-on-the-cobs in the fridge, which are one of my favourite barbecue foods of all time AND they are syn free. Yet I didn’t have any!

Until last year I really struggled with going to the cinema or even watching TV and films at home, because I seemed completely incapable of watching anything without having a snack to hand. But I managed to completely and utterly break that habit without really giving it too much thought. Now if I go to the cinema I take a healthy snack like fruit or an individual pack of popcorn, but 9 times out of 10 it stays in my bag, completely forgotten about.

If I can do that, I can make summer about syn-free iced Americanos and walks in the park. I’m already halfway there, I just need practice. If only it was summer all the time!

Until yesterday I’d been off work for two weeks, partly because of a strike and partly because I had holiday booked (hence the trip to Snowdon), and I only managed to stay on plan for the first few days. Whilst walking to the picket line instead of having my usual iced Americano I had a large, full fat, iced caramel latté. I didn’t even enjoy it that much, but I still got the same again on the way home. On the plus side I walked there and back, which was just lovely! I didn’t have any sun cream on and I got completely burnt to a crisp, but we won’t talk about that…

It got worse from then on, but the day after I got back from holiday I was food optimising 100% and managed to prevent one of my epic gains. This week I ‘only’ put on 4.5 lbs, and I’m absurdly happy with that. My goal for June is to be 100% on plan for the whole month, and to have a loss every single week. I am taking into account that our bodies don’t always play ball so if I have an unexpected gain or maintain that could be attributed to hormones, water retention, exercise etc then I’m not going to count that as a fail. As long as I stick to the plan I’ll get what I’m owed.

In typical fashion a few hours before work last night I started to feel a bit unwell, nothing I can really put a finger on as such, just generally not quite right. Then I noticed I have a hurty lump on the side of my neck which according to Mr Google is probably a swollen lymph node and my body is most likely fighting off an infection. Of course, me being me, I’m going to do nothing and see if it goes away on its own, even though it is pretty painful. According to the internets that’s pretty normal though. We’ll see how it goes!

Little Pea the parrotlet added to my worries by acting strangely just as I had to leave for work. She was flapping about in her cage when she’s usually fast asleep, and I was so worried about her I popped home during my lunchbreak at 2:30am to check she was OK! She was fine, I think she just likes to keep me on my toes. Silly bird. She had two whole weeks to mess with me, but no, she waits until I’m lacing up my work shoes…

As for today it’s been a good ‘un.

I had a nice little delivery of an enamel pin to mark my Snowdon trip. It’s from Auntie Mims’ Etsy shop, and isn’t it cute?

After obtaining a lime this morning (Tesco sent me a lemon by accident. I’m not sure how you can confuse the two personally but there you go) I made three salsas. The recipes are here, and also make sure you check out the rest of the blog because it’s marvellous. I’m going to eat some of them tomorrow because I needed time for the flavours to develop, but I did have a little taste and I’m very impressed so far.

How beautifully summery do they look? I would go into detail about what they are but you can find that out by following the link. As it is I am running desperately late and shouldn’t even be writing this blog. Shut up Hayley!

Thank you for reading, but now I really must be off.

Bye for now!

Not a Minute Wasted

Blimey I am tired. But it’s the satisfied kind of tired you get from being outdoors and actually doing stuff. Loads of fun stuff!

On Monday I went shopping with my sister as planned, and it was good. My sister is 28 and I am 34, yet Monday was the first time ever that we have been clothes shopping together. She’s such a tiny thing so for one we couldn’t have shopped in many of the same places before, and for another I never really felt we had the same kind of interests relating to clothes and makeup or whatever. But we do now!

First stop was Starbucks as the shops weren’t open when we got there. We went to Westfield in Stratford, London, and I was really surprised that nothing opens until 10am there. Very strange. Anyway a flat white has been on my list of things to try for absolutely ages, and this was finally the day! I checked the Slimming World app before ordering and it’s 6 syns, but then I remembered some people use their A choices and deduct the syns from their fancy coffees. Well I added sweetener so the only syn-able item in my drink was milk. An A choice of whole milk is 6 syns, so that was absolutely perfect! A (technically) syn free fancy Starbucks? Don’t mind if I do. It was very nice – strong enough to blow your head off but smooth enough not to!

Then we headed to John Lewis where I discovered Studio 8 and, at least for now, I have found a brand that I love. I can’t afford to buy anything they sell mind, but that’s a minor technicality. All I need is a fancy occasion to use as an excuse and I’m heading straight back.

This was the one. It fit so perfectly, I can’t even describe how comfortable I felt. It was like it was made for me, but unfortunately the price tag wasn’t. At £140 I sadly had to put it back. Quick, someone invite me to a wedding and it’ll be mine! We tried some bits on in a few other shops and I’m so close to being a size 18 I can taste it. I could get all of the 18’s I tried on, even the fitted styles with zips, but I’m just not quite there yet. I’m patient though, I can wait. Eventually I bought a £13 dress from Primark that is perfect for summer evenings as it’s black but has some fancy details on it, plus it has a really relaxed fit and is very complimentary to my apple shape.

After shopping we headed back to Starbucks but this time I kept it syn free with an iced Americano. We had lunch while we were out and I stayed angelic with a Spudulike. I considered having cheese too but unless I could weigh it I just wasn’t going to risk it. It was actually really tasty so I’m glad I didn’t take the chance.

Time flies when you’re having fun so before I knew it I was on the train home, with 15,000 steps under my belt and a walk from the station the other end waiting for me.

Then on Tuesday I was out and about again, this time checking out the bluebells to see if the light was better this time. It was a bit better, but the bluebells are just really ropy so they didn’t photograph all that well. I’m actually pretty chuffed with myself that I managed to use my photography skillz (note the Z, that means extra skilled I believe) to get a few passable shots.

We found white ones too. What are they? White bluebells? Whitebells? Who can say? After traipsing around the woods for a couple of hours all I wanted to do was lay down, but nope, group was calling! It was taster night so I got my Quorn mini kievs in the oven (half a syn each) got the twigs out of my hair and generally tried to make myself presentable.

The results were pleasing enough – I lost 2.5 lbs which is a thoroughly decent loss, I was just mildly peeved that I still have half a pound of gain to get rid of. On the other hand, I’m trying not to focus on the numbers. I’ve been on plan, I’m staying on plan. If I stick to it, the numbers will take care of themselves. Most importantly I didn’t weigh at home, and I felt so much better for it. I’ll be doing the same again this week in fact, and the week after, and the week after, and blah, blah, blah!

Today was my fourth exercise-filled day on the trot as we had a sibling day out at the White Cliffs of Dover. When we got there we had a brief spell of sunshine before it clouded over and became bloody cold, but it was loads of fun and I got a few nice shots before the light became horribly flat and dull. That wasn’t such a bad thing though, sometimes it’s nice to put the camera away and just enjoy the view. Plus we took all of the most difficult-looking paths so I needed my hands free as there was some clambering at times!

Sadly it’s back to normality tomorrow, but I’m so glad I’ve managed to completely fill my long weekend. I feel like not a minute has been misspent, and I haven’t felt like that for a long, long time. There’s still more time to be used today as I’m going to attempt to stay awake until at least 1am to try and ease myself back into a night-working pattern, but considering it’s not even 7pm and I’m ready to drop we’ll see how that goes!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Positivitea

I’ve got to admit, I’m finding it really hard to get my head back in the game. I thought I’d do a bit of reflecting about how March went for me, but that may not have been the best idea. Out of 31 days I spent 27 of those on plan and I managed to lose about 12 lbs. The four I spent off plan undid every last ounce of that hard work and I’m ending the month at exactly the same weight I was at the beginning of it. Normally for me, it really is ‘quick on, quick off’ but this week my fat is being extra stubborn. Which I shouldn’t know because I shouldn’t be weighing myself daily BUT I AM. Oh dear me!

HOWEVER…

I’m working extra hard to look at the positives, which began with a bit of retail therapy. I reward myself with a little enamel pin for every half stone I lose, but a couple of days ago I decided to break tradition and bought myself a ‘positivitea’ pin, just as a little treat for myself. It’s a reminder to find the best in every situation and that we don’t just need a pat on the back when the scales go down, we deserve it for so much more than that.

I was super bored at work last night as I was stuck in a quiet area all by myself with nobody to talk to, so I let my mind go for a little wander. I started to remember this time last year, when if I got too hot I’d keep wearing my fleece because it was an extra ‘security blanket’ to hide under. Last night though I took it off without even thinking about it, and it was hours later before I realised the significance of that. I also remember the last time I ordered work uniform. It was a while ago, and I ordered stuff I knew would be too small as I was ashamed to order in a bigger size. We got new order forms this week though, and I’m so looking forward to replacing the clothes that now drown me. I cannot describe the feeling of handing over the form to my manager and not caring if he looked at my waist size. I’m bloody proud!

This morning I did a little top-up shop in Asda because last night I had sauteéd kale and it was seriously delicious. I now have a giant bag of the stuff which should keep me going for, um, two days maybe? The first couple of days being back on plan was really difficult but I’ve fallen in love with healthy food again now, which makes it a helluva lot easier.

Speaking of food I think it’s time to go and get some!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

 

Fresh Inspiration

First of all a shoutout must go to Gempiccaddilly for putting me on to a new (and marvellous) source of inspiration. I’ve watched a couple of YouTuber’s talk about various things in the past and always found it quite cringey, but when Gempiccaddilly mentioned one particular vlogger in this post I decided to give it another go.

Oh. My. Gosh. This lady – Von Choc – is brilliant. She’s just wonderful to watch, and within two days of watching some of her videos she’s already helped me so much. Remember the Super Slimmers ‘documentary’ on Channel 4? She made a video about her thoughts on that and wow, there was such a lightbulb moment. She just has this way of putting things in perspective, which is so important for us slimmers I think. It’s easy to be a bit blinkered and not be able to see the bigger picture.

The first video I watched was nearly 30 minutes long, and to be honest I really didn’t think I’d sit it out. But now I’ve started I can’t stop and I’m currently watching all of her videos from the beginning, which she has very helpfully compiled into a chronological playlist here.

This video, titled Can Slimming World Be Better, had me saying ‘yes, exactly!’ out loud to my computer. Just to be clear – like me, this lady loves the Slimming World plan, but there are things that could be improved (Syns Online search function, I’m looking at you) and her idea, along with other vloggers, is that if we start the conversation about it as members, then maybe we can implement change.

Since I’m a vegetarian I’ve been watching the Porky Lights saga unfold from a distance, but Von Choc makes some really interesting points about the whole thing in a video dedicated to ‘SausageGate’. There are a few facts that you won’t get from your Slimming World consultant, in fact I haven’t heard a thing since Slimming World’s initial statement advising people to use 4.5 syns per sausage, so I’d recommend giving it a watch. I’ve managed to convince a fellow member not to feed the 18-pack she’d just bought to her dog, which cannot be a bad thing.

Ok, I think I’m done gushing for now!

Do you ever go through a phase of a month or so where you don’t feel any different, then all of a sudden you just do? Lately I’ve looked in the mirror and just seen my old self looking back at me, but yesterday I felt really slim for some reason. I tried on my old motorbike trousers a little while ago (I don’t remember when) and I could just about get them over my legs. As for being able to do them up well it wasn’t even close! So I decided to get them out of storage and they only bloody well fit now! I can do them up AND breathe at the same time. Which is handy. Unfortunately I can’t sit down in them yet, but that’s not hugely important. At some point the plan is that I’ll go out with my brother on his bike as he’s never had anyone ride pillion with him before. When he passed his test his instructor told him that when he does it for the first time to take someone who has experience being a passenger on a bike, and I think I’m the only person he knows with that qualification. The problem is that at the moment our combined weight is too much for the bike to handle! I haven’t been able to do those trousers up since 2014 though, so I’m still feeling pretty good about it.

The day before yesterday I started doing more structured exercise again and got my kettlebells out for the first time in weeks. At the time it didn’t hurt, but now it really, really, does. So I’ve been walking a little bit like I’ve made a mess in my undergarments, but as soon as the soreness has died down I’ll do it again. I also have a pilates video recommended by my sister to try out. I really want my Gold Body Magic Award, which is eight weeks of 30 minutes exercise a day including two sessions of strength training. I do 30 minutes walking every day at least (which is where I actually take time out to walk around rather than include any incidental walking as I go about my day) and if I keep up the exercise videos too then that award will be mine! I’m not very good at remembering to do my kettlebells so I’m hoping the incentive of a new shiny sticker will keep it fresh in my mind.

Work has been a little… tricky this week. Our activity is monitored every second of every shift, so we always have to be doing something, but this is the quietest time of year for the company I work for. So there isn’t actually much to do. It’s been a fine balancing act of doing enough that we hit our rate as a department but also pacing it out so it lasts, and hitting our personal rates as workers, and also not falling asleep due to the sheer boredom of these quiet times. And then there’s the fact that we can go home if we want to, but it’s unpaid. Things are a bit tight for the next couple of months but that temptation is ever present!

So far I’ve been good though and have stayed at work, and I’m staying motivated by thinking about my plans for the weekend. Me and my brother are going back to the woods we visited last week, as we are waiting for the bluebells to come out. According to my mum they’re what I photographed last Sunday, and I don’t want to miss them even though it’s still very early and unlikely they will flower for a good few weeks yet. But I’m not taking chances! For extra exercise and to save using petrol, we are going to walk to the country park. It’s at the top of a very long and very steep hill, which is excellent for exercise and excellent training for our Snowdon trip in May.

I shall update on Sunday when I have more to say other than how boring work was!

Hayley x

 

Feeders

Does anyone know what has happened to the sky this morning? Because I certainly haven’t seen it! It’s taken me a couple of hours to get going today, and I think it’s because all I can see outside is gray, gray and more gray. I reckon the dementors are out in force…

img_2649Last night I went round my dad’s for dinner as planned, and to begin with him and his girlfriend were fairly good about not putting too much temptation in my way. At heart though, they are still the relentless feeders they always were. My brother is quite a fussy eater of late so he requested pizza. I asked for Linda McCartney rosemary and red onion sausages and Actifry chips. What my brother ended up getting was a 20″ pizza, Actifry chips, a salad and an entire garlic baguette. There was easily enough for the four of us in his meal alone! After being asked three times if I was absolutely sure my sausages didn’t need to be covered in oil there was a lengthy debate over which baking tray should be used. Eventually they got the damn things in the oven and I was asked if I wanted beans. So at least they were offering me Free Foods for the time being, but boy it’s hard work with them!

As mentioned in my previous post I’ve been looking forward to trying Actifry chips as everyone I know who has had them raves about them. My honest opinion is don’t even bother! My ordinary oven baked Slimming World chips are far superior and take half the time to cook.

After dinner I was offered cheese and crackers, but it was low fat cheese so that’s OK, right? I had to use all the control I had not to roll my eyes at this. Then I was offered mince pies and cream, at which point I actually shouted ‘for God’s sake will you stop trying to feed me please!’ But in a jokey way, I wasn’t actually mean!

My dad was pretty pleased with himself as he’s lost 9lbs and ‘didn’t drink for four days’ (room for improvement there I think) but I wonder how far his healthy eating will take him as he’s pretty clueless. For instance he explained that he’d got dead sea salt because it’s healthy. And maybe it is, if you WASH WITH IT! But is it going to make you lose weight? That’ll be a no…

The last week was so long and stressful I’m glad it’s over, but I’m filled with dread of what’ll come next. On the plus side I’m going picking for four weeks which means working on another department. I’m glad to be away from my managers for a while and on a department where things are just a lot simpler, and I’ll be a lot more active too. When I was a temp I used to get sent to this department regularly, but as a permanent member of staff I didn’t go so often. The last time I went was in April last year, and over the Christmas period I was dreading the thought of going. This is because you have to wear a pack around your waist that communicates with the servers and tells you where in the warehouse you need to go next. Having to wear it used to make me so uncomfortable and self-conscious but now I’m looking forward to it because I did my measurements last week – since October I have lost over 5 inches from around my waist! I also have tons more energy so being on my feet all night shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Bring it on, I say!

If there are any goings on with upper management, the Union, HR or whatever in the coming week, my plan is to get the details and not think about it until I’m home, feeling calm, and can get my thoughts in order. I don’t want to make any snap decisions or react badly to what they say, as it’ll just make them dig their heels in if I do that. Deciding now how I want to deal with it should help when the time comes. Until then I have one day of my weekend left and group to look forward to tomorrow. I think just maybe I’ve done enough to avoid a gain, but I’ll just have to wait and see! If I do have a gain I’ll be pleased to get it out of the way so I can have a week of being 100%. The not knowing is the worst part, because then you have it hanging over your head the entire week.

I will let you know how I get on!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x