Doctor’s Orders

Last night wasn’t the best in terms of my anxiety levels. I had an unpleasant fluttering in my chest throughout my shift and generally felt quite panicky, even though I’d had a nice evening. An old friend called me for a very long chat and, as usual, saying things out loud made me think ‘what the hell have I been doing these last six months? I know what I need to do, and I can do it.’ But then literally an hour later, the incessant (and very loud) negative thoughts had returned and everything felt terrible again.

I think that’s why I need help – I know that logically everything is going to be fine, but my brain keeps trying to convince me the world is ending.

The doctor has given me some anti-depressants and I’ll see him again in a month.

As it happens it’s the same doctor I saw about my knee, and after an already very thorough talk about my situation I didn’t think we’d be discussing it. In fact it’s been quite painful still but I thought that I NEEDED to run, for the sake of my mental health, so I had decided to just run on it anyway.

But this very good doctor asked me how it was, and I thought it would be silly to lie. He said that I must stop running on it until it is fully healed, so running is totally off the menu for the foreseeable future. And I know he’s right.

I could sit here and sob into my cup of coffee, but I’m not going to.

What I am going to do is trust in the Slimming World plan. The last time I lost this amount of weight, in 2012, I did virtually no exercise and still had good losses. It is entirely possible to be a successful slimmer without the ‘Body Magic’.

Even when I’m bang on plan I spend a lot of time feeling guilty over portion sizes and, lately, even having my full allowance of Syns. This isn’t healthy and it has to stop.

The Slimming World plan works, so I need to just crack on and follow it without worrying about all that crap. It just makes me want to eat more! If I find I’m not losing weight for no apparent reason, then I’ll start thinking about portion sizes or whatever. But until then, I just want to enjoy my food without worrying.

I will still keep up with walking (gently) but I need to be concerning myself with other healthy habits too, and getting enough sleep is a very high priority right now. I simply won’t have time to make up for the lack of proper training with increased walking, and I cannot start beating myself about that. I must be kind to me!

I’ve been thinking about it a lot this afternoon, and I think I’ll completely rest my knee and restart running when I hit my target of 12 stone 10 pounds, which is 1 stone 11 pounds away. That sounds kinda reasonable, and gives me extra motivation to get to target.

It’s hard to find them sometimes, but there are always positives. Now when I’m out walking I’ll have more time for taking photos at least, whereas when I was running I wouldn’t stop because once you’re in that zone you really don’t want to get out of it.

I did run yesterday, although I had to stop near the end because of my knee, and only got two pictures.

I do wonder why that poor horse has to wear a mask…

Anyway, you can certainly expect to see greater visual representation of my days in future.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Budget

I’ve written about trying to be more careful with money several times since starting this blog, but somehow I never seemed to do anything about it. In fact being sensible financially ended up right at the bottom of my list of priorities and it’s now caught up with me. I’m in just a little bit of a pickle, so trying to be careful has turned into ‘really Hayley, you MUST be careful now or we’re screwed‘.

Thankfully I checked my accounts and my outgoings kinda just in time. I’m currently £30 into my planned overdraft, I have £87 left to pay out for the month, and £36 in cash to spend on food. Oh and 10 days until payday.

Because I have some catching up to do and a few expensive things to pay out for, things are going to be tight until about November, and then it’s Christmas. It’s going to have to be a frugal one this year!

I only just got around to trying ‘The Chunk‘ which is a vegan meat replacement from Oumph! I’d already tried the kebab pieces and the pulled ‘pork’ which are both delicious, but they have syns so I thought I’d try the plain pieces, which are syn free.

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I wish I hadn’t put if off for so long because even without seasoning ‘The Chunk’ is really tasty. After I’d tried it on its own I added garlic and paprika and it was delicious. The only problem is, although totally worth it, the Oumph! products are quite expensive and I can’t afford to get any more for the time being.

Ho hum, it’s my own fault entirely.

Thankfully some of the best things in life are completely free, so I took advantage of a very rainy Thursday and went out for a run. It’s probably an unpopular opinion, but running in the rain is FANTASTIC! At least if it’s still quite warm, as it was then.

There’s something really peaceful about it all, especially as I had the park almost exclusively to myself. I only saw one little family with their brollies and wellies walking in the opposite direction, right at the beginning.

I did 3.7 miles, at what is a good pace for me, without stopping. My knee was a bit stiff the day after, but I think as long as I don’t run on consecutive days then I can keep going.

It. Felt. So. Good!

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Not my best photographic work, but an accurate representation of my afternoon!

Yesterday I didn’t do much, because after a couple of weeks of not sleeping all that much I’ve been allowing myself extra time in bed. I did however still get out for a walk before I went back to bed before my shift, and took some nice flower pictures up at the church. I’m not religious, but I do like going up there and the church gardener definitely takes pride in their work. Plus it’s right at the top of a very big hill, and hills are bloody good exercise.

I have work tonight so I’ll have another little walk soon to top up my steps then have a nap, and think about what I’m going to do with my weekend. I know that Monday evening I’m going out for dinner at Harvester for my dad’s birthday, and I know that I can stay on plan, too. Unlimited salad it is, and do you know what? I may even have a jacket potato. I know how to live!

I hope you lot out there are having a lovely weekend, and don’t have to work tonight.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Fight or Flight

I’ve always been prone to fairly regular bouts of mild depression, ever since I was a teenager, and now I’m in my mid-thirties I’m getting pretty good at dealing with the bad patches when they come along. At the very least I’ve managed to stop using them as an excuse to gain huge amounts of weight.

On the other hand I’ve never really suffered from anxiety, until now. I’ve had anxious times when I’ve been in bad situations, and this is similar. I’m not feeling like this for no reason, it’s a product of my environment and I haven’t been dealing with it very well. In fact it’s been two weeks of hell.

I really feel for the people who have what I would call a proper medical condition and feel like this all the time for no reason whatsoever.

As for me I’m confident things will be back to normal now that I’ve had some resolutions to the things that have been bothering me. For the last six months I’ve been treading water, trying to fit everything in that I want to do, but now I should have more free time and more of a balance in life. That’s the plan anyway!

In the meantime I was explaining to a colleague what it’s like to feel seriously anxious. So back in the olden days when we were hunter-gatherers if we saw something scary, like a lion who wants to eat us, then we got a nice big shot of adrenaline to help us out of the situation. It would make us more alert, get the heart pumping, and give us that extra bit of juice to either leg it or take that lion on.

But now, simply sitting doing nothing and having a scary thought will give me that same reaction. Which really isn’t helpful! Sitting still but (seemingly randomly) having my heart pumping out of my chest and struggling to get my breath is not fun, and that’s not taking into account that horrible shaky feeling you get when the adrenaline subsides. Unfortunately evolution is quite a way from catching up with modern life.

I haven’t really thought much about Slimming World over the last fortnight, mainly because I’ve felt so uptight I’ve only managed small portions of highly palatable food. Anything else I just couldn’t stomach, and since I wasn’t sleeping well either was just doing what I needed to do to get through.

I’m feeling more relaxed today though, now that things are falling into place. After a sneaky night off work and a very deep and dreamless sleep, I’m ready to sort my eating out again, before too much damage is done.

I had planned to get right back on it on Monday, but by that point I was feeling so anxious that I was wondering how I could spend another second in my own head. That was when a friend came to the rescue and took me out to dinner. Luckily it also had the effect of taking me out of myself for a while, and I was able to just sit back and turn my brain off for a short period.

We went to Wagamama’s, and it’s the first time I’ve been there since I became vegan. Luckily, they introduced a vegan katsu dish (the Vegatsu) a while back and I’ve been desperate to try it ever since.

The food didn’t disappoint, although I do think they need to get on and introduce more vegan options!

To accompany my meal I had jasmine tea, which always goes well with this kind of food and makes me feel super cultured.

As for my friend, I’m so proud of him. When we first met I cooked him a chilli, and asked how it compared to others he’d had. He confessed that he’d never eaten a chilli before, and hadn’t tried anything else that ‘exotic’. It was always meat and two veg in his house!

He was very suspicious of his ramen bowl at first, but he was soon a convert. He’s definitely becoming more adventurous!

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It was a gorgeous evening, and I even had another result – we passed The Whisky Shop so I decided to pop in to get a miniature for my brother. While I was there I found the perfect birthday present for him. It’s not his birthday till next month, but I nabbed it while I was there. I had no idea what I was going to get him, now I don’t have to worry. Until next year…

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Yesterday I went out for a little run, but it was mostly walking as I still need to build back up to a full run. It was lovely to blow the cobwebs away though. I’m going to go for another run on Thursday, assuming my ankle is OK. I twisted it yesterday as an interesting bug landed on my wrist and I stopped looking where I was going. That’ll teach me! (She says. It probably won’t to be honest…)

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My current running strategy is to do about 5k, three times a week, at a pace which is purely enjoyable. I don’t really care about any other factors such as speed or intensity, I just want to have fun whilst getting my exercise. I’ve lost sight of that recently.

Although there is a little something inside of me that wants to do a 10k some time soon, but I’m trying not to think that far ahead. I just want to have fun and see where that gets me.

I will sign off now as my sister is on her way over for a coffee and a natter.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Back Where I Belong

It’s the 1st of August, a fresh new month, and I’m feeling damn good. Finally I’m back in my favourite spot. The number one spot that is, on the Fitbit leaderboard.

I’m also back in the +100k for my steps over the last seven days (actually since I took that screen shot yesterday it’s closer to 120k), which got me thinking.

It’s two years to the day that I rejoined Slimming World and simultaneously started taking my fitness seriously.

I began with a 10k per day step goal, and I found it really difficult to reach. I’d often find myself pacing the living room trying to make my total, because going outside and really giving it some was inconceivable to me at the time.

I also found that I was highly sceptical of other people’s step totals. I had a few people I’d added as friends via Instagram who were smashing it, and I honestly thought they must be cheating somehow.

Yet here I am achieving, fairly easily, something I thought impossible. All you have to do is start, be consistent, and before you know it it’s second nature.

Of course on an anniversary like this I’ve been getting reflective anyway. The temperature is on the rise again so I went for a shady run today – 1.5 miles, without stopping, almost completely pain free!

I felt absolutely fantastic at the end – boy did I miss those running endorphins.

Yet it’s not so long ago, at a family party, that I simply crouched down and couldn’t get back up. It took two of my burly male cousins to hoist me back up again.

I have a kind of life now that I never even imagined. I mean, I didn’t even dream of it because it wasn’t on the radar at all.

Sometimes I’d worry that I’d give myself a terrible disease from the lifestyle I was living, but in a split second the next thought was ‘ah well, at least it’d be over soon’.

This time two years ago I was recovering from a food hangover and the ordinary kind. We’d had our annual family BBQ and as usual I’d totally overdone it. I bought so much food, and since I knew I wanted to do something about my weight (again) starting from the next day, I saw it as my mission to eat the whole lot.

I was fit to burst, probably literally. I’m talking dangerously full up, and that’s not even including the alcohol.

That smile? Not even close to being a real one.

I weighed myself on the day of the BBQ and was horrified at what I saw.

Yet something obviously clicked, because although I came close (I didn’t knuckle down properly until October) I never saw that number on the scales again. And I never will (unless someone gets on there with me!)

When I think back to those times I rarely think about how I look, probably because I’ve adjusted quite well to my mental image of myself. I’m so grateful for that, because in the past I’ve still looked in the mirror and seen 21+ stone Hayley looking back at me and I tell you – that messes with your head.

What I think about now is how different I feel. Back then I felt like my body was something alien to me, and I would have given anything to have all of the bits that ‘weren’t me’ taken away. Now I’m not exactly happy with my body, but I’m coming to accept it for what it is.

It might not look perfect, but it keeps me going whereas before I had no energy. I used to drink two 500ml energy drinks a night just to get through my shift.

These days I only have tea on my lunch break, mainly just because I’m thirsty, and I don’t have coffee because I don’t want to have trouble sleeping in the morning.

My resting heart rate has gone down from 77 beats per minute to 49. I’m sure most of us have seen the meme before pointing out that we only have a finite number of heartbeats in our lifetime, so it’s best not to exercise and use them all up quickly. But if you do live a healthy lifestyle, then for the other 23 or so hours of the day you aren’t working out, you’re still saving those precious heart beats!

So I went to work that night feeling fabulous. I have a little pre-work ritual where I put my Airpods in whilst doing my hair and makeup and drinking a strong coffee, because it prepares me for the work night ahead. I suppose it’s getting my game face on.

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It’s a pretty crap blurry picture, but who cares? It’s the difference between this one and the BBQ picture that matters.

That particular night I was feeling particularly slim and in control, and I thought nothing could bring me down.

Within the first two hours of my shift that changed, and although I can’t talk about it, and it doesn’t directly affect me, my anxiety went through THE ROOF. When I got home I could only manage a couple of hours sleep because I so uptight, and my mind started racing. How can I make myself feel better? Because I can’t stand feeling like this.

Food? No. I’ve been in control, I don’t want it. Plus I feel sick anyway. Alcohol? Don’t be silly Hayley it’s ten in the morning, and even if it wasn’t? No.

So I decided to channel all of that nervous energy into a run. I did 3 miles this time, and my knee was getting sore by the end so I walked the last little bit.

 

One thing I did learn is that if you don’t prepare yourself properly for a run then it’s so much harder. I went out at 9:30am and hadn’t eaten since early evening the previous day, so what with not sleeping properly either, it was a slog. But it did make me feel a bit better, so that the feelings inside me were manageable.

I managed to stay on plan the whole day, even though I didn’t really eat enough. And I didn’t photograph anything either – I was running on essential services only.

Today though, after a much less stressful night at work, I’m feeling mostly ok. But especially proud of myself for not going off the rails, because I’m doing so well!

I had a sneak peek on the scales and I’m back to the weight I was when I first started getting into running. I even saw that elusive 13 stone bracket again.

However over the weekend I’ll make sure I don’t have any more sneak peeks. If I see a good loss, I’ll think I have space to eat more food. If I see a gain I’ll be disheartened. So no looking until official weigh in Monday evening!

I have a busy weekend planned, but rest assured there will be regular updates. I MUST keep this good thing going.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Good Vibes

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

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

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

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

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

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

But what did the scales say?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Well that’s all of my news for now!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Practically Perfect

It’s Saturday evening and I’m sitting at my desk to start this blog post, drinking my third cup of coffee since getting up at 7pm and listening to little Pea make sounds of contentment from her favourite perch. I have to get in the shower for work very soon, but life is good.

Today has been wonderfully refreshing. I had arranged to meet up with an ex-colleague for a coffee and a catch-up but to be honest, our schedules are so out of whack I expected he’d have to cancel. Part of me was making plans for what to do if that happened. Or plan I should say. It was simply – GET MORE SLEEP.

But, pleasingly, we were both actually free at the same time and it went ahead. As I popped my sunglasses on and headed out the door just before midday, I didn’t care that I’d had less than three hours sleep, because the wind was in my hair, the sun was on my face, and I could get some mileage in without being a sweaty mess at the end of it.

After I’d drunk about a pint of coffee and we’d run out of gossip, I walked back home via the church on the hill. It was even windier up there and just the right temperature. Oh, and bloody beautiful.

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Very tired, but most content! Despite all that coffee I was still rather sleepy and after eating some delicious grub I got back to sleep with no issues at all.

It has taken me a little while to come to terms with something, specifically the fact that when I eat my tummy is visibly larger. Up until now I’d glance at myself in the mirror and panic, assuming I’d somehow put on half a stone since the morning. But now rational Hayley can appreciate how several cups of coffee, a large meal designed to see me through till my work lunch at 4am, plus several pints of water is going to have an effect on my appearance (albeit temporarily). I always used to think that slim people were being dramatic when they put on elasticated trousers for a big meal, but now I know it’s a real thing.

In actual fact it’s a great non-scale victory – I’m slim enough to be able to see my food baby!

It’s now Sunday night and I am exhausted! I’ve only had two hours sleep after my night shift, and that in itself was a hard one. We were short-staffed so with a lack of anyone to talk to, I did extra work instead to make the time go. I put in the best performance in a long, long time.

My run today was mostly downgraded to a fast walk. But when I did try the tiniest bit of running my knee felt fine. I’m going out tomorrow afternoon to have another go and to do a little bit more, because I think it’s best to take it easy and build up to a full run.

It felt good to be out there doing it again though!

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So it’s weigh day tomorrow and I’m extremely apprehensive, because all of the odds are stacked against me.

Today is the first day of star week (BOOOOO!), because I’m weighing in at a different group I haven’t had a full week between weigh-ins anyway, I’ll be eating before I go, and I may still get a catch-up gain from last week.

Because of this I wanted to be prepared for bad news, so I had a little sneak peek and my fears are confirmed – at least according to my scales I have a 2lb gain.

But I really won’t let it get to me, because another thing I’ve found in addition to my mojo, is patience. When I first started losing weight because I had such a long way to go I was fully prepared to be in it for the long haul.

Just lately I’ve wanted everything to happen yesterday, and the result is that I’ve found myself frustrated and downhearted when I really shouldn’t be.

So what if I do have a gain? So what if I maintain? Am I going to stick to plan anyway? I sure am. It’s a numbers game really. If I stay the course, there’s a fairly good chance I could still get a good result. Let’s say… there’s an 80% chance I could still have a loss. And if I say to hell with it and comfort eat? That pretty decent 80% drops right down to ZERO.

I’ll take my chances thanks.

The only thing I might do in the coming week is give SP a real proper go because I’ve never tried it before. I do see on various vegan forums a lot of people asking what others eat on SP days, so I’ll try it myself and perhaps I’ll be able to offer advice to my fellow vegan slimmers in the future.

It’ll be interesting to see if it actually helps, or if I end up too hungry and have to go back to a normal Extra Easy day. We will see!

Either way I’ll let you know how weigh in goes tomorrow.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Trust

I’ve become a little bit obsessed with times and figures. I love using MapMyRun and seeing the breakdown of how long it took me to do each mile, but it’s easy to get disheartened if I pay too much attention to them in the short-term.

I’ve made myself a little spreadsheet where I have all of the times broken down from different routes that I do with accompanying graphs. Because who doesn’t love a good graph? There’s not enough data to make them interesting enough for me to share yet, but I’m looking forward to doing that one day in the future.

When it comes to timing yourself though, there are just too many varying factors. Even more so if you’re training outdoors. There’s the weather, your mood, how much sleep you’ve had, what you’ve eaten, what you’re wearing… so looking at one run then the next and feeling disappointed that it took me two seconds longer is not very productive! It’s all about overall trends.

Yesterday, my trainer took me to a park he hasn’t trained at for about four years but it used to be one of his favourites. We ran around the perimeter which is about three miles (when he lived in that area he used to run around it four times in a row) and he expected me to be able to run about the first mile without stopping. It’s a lot different to our usual place – the hills aren’t as intense but instead there are long slopes that you have to pace yourself on. When we were a third of the way around the perimeter he asked if I needed to stop. It took me a few breaths before I could blurt out a strangled ‘NO!’

It was so muddy, we had to keep leaping over huge puddles and picking our way through brambles just to make sure we kept the momentum going and didn’t stop. And that’s all absolutely fantastic for strengthening the core muscles but it was also very tiring.

Even so I made it the whole way around without stopping! I felt fantastic afterwards – I had the biggest hit of endorphins I’ve had so far I think.

Here’s a picture of me afterwards. It’s not a great one, but in the body positive book I’ve been reading the author mentions that you don’t have to look like a model in pictures. They aren’t taken because you’re on a photo shoot, it’s a snapshot of a memory and it’s enough that you are present no matter what you look like.

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It’s a bit blurry, it was a grey and horrible day, and I do not look comfortable even though I was trying to. But still, this is a record of the day I ran the furthest yet, and the first day I felt confident enough to wear leggings on a run.

I’m so glad I did because I was much more comfortable. I would also like to point out that my hair was not messed up by the run, my trainer thought it looked too neat and very kindly messed it up for me. Bless him.

I have been feeling a little bit frustrated with my apparent lack of progress after the last week or so, but after this I feel right back in the zone again. I just have to trust that even though an app on my phone might not immediately show it, progress is always being made.

After training we went for a meal at the pub around the corner where I had a tasty, albeit expensive (nearly £14 for a bowl of veggies and some balsamic vinegar) vegan lunch that was also full of goodness, washed down with a not-so-healthy diet coke.

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I’ve got to admit that I spent the rest of the afternoon/evening grazing on not unhealthy foods as such, but foods that are not really Slimming World friendly. If I wasn’t on track again today, I reckon I’d be in for a gain but I’m trying not to stress about going off plan and focusing more on whether I’m actually hungry now and what I actually want to eat.

I’ve just eaten my porridge and oat milk, which I wasn’t going to eat yet because it wasn’t ‘time’. But I listened to what my body was telling me and realised that I was in fact experiencing genuine hunger. So I ate!

After I’ve finished my current book I’m definitely going to read more about intuitive eating and try to put it into practice.

Today is a rest day, which is a concept I’m struggling with. I always feel like I should be doing something but if definitely helps to have proper downtime. It seems counterintuitive, but having a proper rest is absolutely essential. So today apart from washing all of my muddy exercise gear I’m doing nothing at all. Until work later that is, booooo.

In fact I feel a nap coming on (which will surprise absolutely no one!)

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.

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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.

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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!

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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

 

Successes

Yesterday was a great day for my slimming friends. First of all one friend got his well-deserved nineteen-and-a-half stone award, then the girlfriend of one of my bestest and longest-standing friends sent me a picture of her with her consultant proudly holding up her target certificate. How could I fail to be spurred on when this is happening around me? I’ve seen the young people of the internets saying ‘your vibe attracts your tribe’, which is  cheesy as hell, but so true. Since I’ve been losing weight and getting more active I’ve found I have a bunch of things in common with people I wouldn’t have connected with before. And that’s awesome! Whenever someone I know decides they want to be healthier I love that they come and tell me. It makes my heart happy.

Yesterday was another running day, and it wasn’t until I was five minutes from my friend’s house and stuck in weekend traffic that it dawned on me – IT’S A SATURDAY. And you know what that means? It means OTHER PEOPLE IN THE PARK. I can handle a few dog walkers, but I started to freak out at the prospect of loads of people seeing me run. But what was I going to do? Turn around and make an excuse? Maybe Old Hayley would have done but Running Hayley? No way!

Of course I shouldn’t have even worried, because my friend is so good at training me that within 10 seconds of getting to the park I’d forgotten about anything else. I was even doing the press-ups without a second thought as to whether anyone was watching. The only distracting thing was the glorious view.

It was lovely and warm too, although my eyes and nose still streamed from the beginning of my training till the end. That side of things is getting a bit old already but then I’ve always been like that as soon as I step outside in cold weather so I’m not sure what I could do about it. Anyway it’s got to be worth it – who would want to be stuck indoors on a day like that?

Afterwards my friend ordered me to have a couple of rest days, which to be honest I need because my leg has started hurting. Not because of the running, but whenever I’m picking at work I bash into things and later on forget it happened so I’m forever covered in bruises and have no clue how they got there. I must have walked in to something and bashed my thigh at some point, and the running only exacerbated it.

I still gave it my all though, and it’s feeling a lot better today.

I had planned to go into town this morning, but then decided against it because I was just so tired. But then I saw how blue the sky was and that someone on Fitbit was beating me in a challenge, so I changed my mind again. Rest day or no, walking hardly counts these days so I took my usual route through the park.

That view never fails to be beautiful. I noticed today as I was walking that I’ve definitely picked up my pace and my strides are longer. This training malarkey is working wonders!

This afternoon is a bit of a danger zone as I’m sitting down to watch a film with the family, but I’m well prepared and have planned what I’m eating so I don’t start wanting to snack. I’m having dinner right before we start then I’ll have a lovely coffee during. I’ve found something that has been a complete game changer as far as coffee is concerned – vegan coffee creamer. It doesn’t have the catchiest name, I think, but an 8g serving works out at 2 syns and makes the coffee wonderfully creamy. It’s much better than any coffee with milk I ever had. It feels like getting a fancy coffee from a coffee shop and it my favourite thing to have as a treat right now. I got it from veganstore.co.uk.

I’m insanely excited about weighing in on Tuesday, but also a little apprehensive in case of exercise-related gains or maintains. I’ve managed to not weigh myself this week so far (although it was touch and go this morning) so it’s going to be a complete surprise. However it turns out though, I feel so different this week that I know something is happening whether the scales show it or not.

Now my tummy has just started rumbling at the thought of dinner so I’d best actually start cooking it.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

All Sparkles

When I first said I was going to go running with my friend, to be honest it was one of those vague ‘yeah I’ll definitely do that at some point’ kind of commitments. The idea of it in theory was exciting, but when I imagined what the actual execution would probably be like, I became terrified. It took me right back to my school days, and I felt like I had a tummy full of squirming things.

I figured it’d be the week after next before I would have a chance to actually go, so I did my usual ‘don’t-think-about-it-at-all-costs-until-absolutely-necessary’ thing.

But I forgot that my friend is one of those people you just don’t say no to, so when he said ‘Friday then?’ I found ‘hell yes!’ escaping my lips before I had a chance to think it through. Which is lucky, because thinking hasn’t done me a whole lot of good thus far.

Friday eventually came around, and when it was almost time to leave I put on my running leggings. Something like this is essential, because it holds everything in and stops The Dreaded Applause. For those who aren’t sure what that is I’ll explain – it’s where bits of you slap against other bits as you exercise and make a clapping sound! I’ve had this all of my life, but as I’ve lost weight it’s become worse.

The leggings looked bloody awful, and I knew I wouldn’t be comfortable enough to run in them. So I wore ordinary leggings with joggers over the top, which thankfully was sufficient. And I didn’t get too hot because it was bloody freezing!

When I’ve previously attempted to run, which was on a treadmill, it was more of a fast stomp. I thought it was just because I was heavy and unfit – it never occured to me that there was something wrong with my technique. Running is running, isn’t it?

Once we’d warmed up with a short walk and reached a flat bit, my friend got me to give it a try. After a short glance at me he said I should try to land on my heels and kind of roll my feet, and lean forwards slightly.

And that was that. I WAS RUNNING! And without me stomping around like a lunatic it felt bloody good! We ran until we were nice and out of breath then slowed it down to a fast walk again, and we repeated that until we reached an area with wooden bars at different heights put there specifically for people wanting to do press-ups without getting their hands muddy.

After I’d done some press-ups, including a REAL, genuine, proper press-up (goal achieved, whoop whoop!) and got my arm muscles all nice and wibbly, we moved on. But my friend had a cunning plan. From this point on there are a few benches dotted around, and whenever you reach a bench you have to do press-ups on it.

My arms were really wibbly by now, and by the last bench I completely lost it and my arms gave way. But it’s progress!

When I got home I synced my Fitbit and waited to see myself smugly jump ahead in all the challenges I was currently in.

Oh but wait.

One lady was still quite a bit ahead of me.

I couldn’t leave it like that now, could I? So I did my usual figure of eight route between the kitchen and living room until I was firmly in the lead, and got myself to bed to get some sleep before work. It was really hard to get off, because I was still absolutely buzzing from the running.

When I got up I found that the other Fitbit challengees (I just invented a word) had rudely been walking while I was asleep and I was no longer in the lead. So whilst making my dinner and preparing for work I carried on walking around the house.

But that STILL wasn’t good enough, so I decided to walk to work, which resulted in my second best day ever for burning calories with a magnificent total of 5,101. The only time I burned more was when I climbed Snowdon!

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I’ve also won the two Workweek Hustle challenges I was a part of, and come first in a challenge to walk the distance of the NYC marathon (26.2 miles).

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Next up is a Weekend Warrior challenge, and I got a nice big head start after walking home from work this morning. When I left it was still dark, which was a bit scary but also pretty cool. I had a nice cup of coffee with me and thoroughly enjoyed looking at the sparkling frost that had covered absolutely everything whilst being completely snug in my cold weather gear. In fact by the time I got home I was sweating, and after removing my chiller jacket noticed that you can wear it in temperatures up to below 50 degrees celsius. No wonder I was so hot!

I am feeling on top of the world. But also rather sleepy… Today I’m having something of a rest day, although I’ll probably still get another 5,000 or so steps in by the end of the day.

Tomorrow I’m out walking with my brother at our local nature reserve, and while we’re there I’m going to scout out a route for when I’m ready to go running on my own. Because I absolutely will! As much as it would be great to go running with my friend every time, he lives a 30 minute drive away and I don’t have the time or money to do that journey 5 times a week. For now we’ll be meeting up just once a week, which is enough to be getting on with. I’m also roping in my brother and sister to come with me at some point, and they seem quite enthusiastic!

Diet-wise I’ve been on plan and have only weighed myself once since my last post. That’s a huge improvement to at least 5 times a day.

In other news the washing machine has packed up, and the earliest an engineer can come is Wednesday. But do you know what? I don’t really care. It will get sorted in the end, I have plenty of clean clothes to tide me over, and I refuse to let anything bother me right now.

Now I’m out and about more and that things will soon start growing again, I need to get on top of my photo printing and adding things to my album. I need to do it before I get more lovely shots and then get really behind, which I think is a worthy pursuit for my rest day.

Until next time, thanks for reading.

Hayley x