Murphizzle Poppizzle Foshizzle

Do you remember I was planning to dress up as Mary Poppins for charity? That event came around quicker than I thought it would – mainly because I thought Good Friday was next Friday. That means I booked the wrong week off work so when it was time to get my Mary on I had work the night before and I was knackered. Thankfully I managed to get home a couple of hours early so I wasn’t as knackered as I could have been, but it still wasn’t ideal.

Continuing the theme of being completely unprepared I didn’t think to ask how long it would be going on for, I just assumed it couldn’t be toooooo long. Surely?

There was another thing I failed to consider. I am 6 feet tall, and children are teeny, so I did lots of crouching down for photos. This wasn’t too bad for the first hour or so, but after FIVE HOURS I must admit it was beginning to take its toll on my knees.

Finally after over 1000 kids had met Ms Poppins I was able to escape the woods and head home sharpish to try to get just a little bit of sleep before going back to work again. It was an exhausting day, and when I woke up again in the evening I realised that it wasn’t my knees I should have worried about – my thighs were absolutely killing me and to be honest they aren’t much better now. Imagine doing squats for five hours! On the plus side my thighs should be like steel from this point onwards.

The exhaustion was worth it though, for several reasons. I was still feeling quite low but it was good to know I can slap a smile on my face and just get on with things, as uncomfortable as it was to begin with.

It was also waaaaaay out of my comfort zone. I haven’t interacted with kids much in my adult life so I don’t really know how to deal with them, but I did just fine. The same for having the attention on me – I found that I was able to cope with it quite well.

On the day over £6000 was raised for the local school, but apart from that what I enjoyed the most was being physically able to do it. When I was heavier I couldn’t have crouched down all those times, I couldn’t have made it to my spot in the woods (wearing hells no less), I couldn’t have been on my feet for that long and I couldn’t have fit in the biggest Mary Poppins costume available to buy.

I also had some lovely compliments saying that I was a very pretty Mary Poppins and one person who said I was like Mary Poppins but slimmer. That was rather unexpected! I have a friend who is a rapper in his spare time who years ago nicknamed me ‘Murphizzle’ (my surname is Murphy) which has now been extended to Murphizzle Poppizzle. I must admit I rather like it.

Saturday I was out again even though I haven’t been getting nearly enough sleep. I’ve definitely been overdoing it this week, but since I’m now off work for two GLORIOUS weeks I thought I could afford to be a bit silly.

So instead of catching up on some shuteye I went with my friend (who knows a thing or two about cars) and my sister to see about her buying her first set of wheels. We found something suitable for her, and while she was was sorting out her insurance I got my friend to take a picture of me because I love my stripy top so much.

Summery or what? I saw it in a shop for £20 which I thought was a bit pricey, but I couldn’t find anything even vaguely comparable anywhere else so I had a ‘screw it’ moment. Which worked out perfectly because I got it in the Easter sale for a lower price. Sweet!

Saturday night I got out of work early again so I got a good sleep before going out leafleting once more with my friend (and now esteemed colleague) Amanda. I was annoyed that I didn’t think to bring bunny ears, but don’t think for one second I’ll ever be making that mistake again.

Now I’m just chilling in the garden with little Pea, contemplating the things I have to get done and the fun stuff I have planned over the next fortnight. I also have to think about how these things fit in with Slimming World.

First of all, I have to get weigh in tomorrow out of the way. I didn’t think I was going to be able to make it but my schedule has been freed up so I will indeed be attending. To be honest I’ve been only been on plan for about half of this week, but I’m likely to get a gain much bigger than I deserve. This is because as soon as the sun came out I puffed up like a damn balloon. I shan’t be avoiding weigh in for that reason though, I will just take it on the chin.

I’m out for a meal in a vegan restaurant Thursday evening at another place I’ve wanted to try for at least a year, then it’s drinkies on Friday with a good friend. In general the eating out and drinking lifestyle is not one I’d like to make a habit of, so once these two weeks are over I’m definitely going back to concentrating on healthier pursuits.

I’m allowing myself this for now though because I want to make time for certain friends before I knuckle down and really try to make a success of my Slimming World group. I want to give it all of my focus.

Of course I still have Swingamajig on the horizon, but once that’s over I’m definitely back to ‘walking for fun’ rather than ‘drinking in the pub for fun’. I only really enjoy these things if they’re sporadic in any case, so I certainly won’t feel like I’m missing out.

In the meantime it’s ‘on plan when I can’, which I’ve been much better at over the last week. Mainly because I’m feeling a lot happier I think – that sure makes it easier. I also want to catch up on things around the house that have been neglected, and make sure I’m properly organised and ready to go once my Slimming World training starts.

I’ve got to say, the immediate future is looking very bright indeed.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Choosing

I’ve been feeling real bad lately. Real, real low. When you’re feeling like that the last thing you probably want to do is put on your happy face and go to a job interview – one where it’s essential that you are warm and positive and enthusiastic.

It’s hard. In fact it’s exhausting, but in some cases it’s also really, really worthwhile. You see, I’ve been playing the long game.

I know from experience that my low patch was only going to be temporary, and that if I didn’t take the bull by the horns and throw everything I had at my interview then I’d deeply regret it. So rather than curl up into a ball I put on my brave face and went out there and did it.

I have only ever had one proper interview. Seriously, ever. It was in the early 2000’s and I had absolutely no idea how to prepare for it. What’s more I was going for a job I didn’t really want, as I have done with every single job I’ve done so far. My criteria is ‘can I actually do it?’ With the only other factor being ‘how miserable will it make me?’

As such my interview was a complete and utter disaster, with the low point being, in my nervous state, me forgetting to let go of the interviewers hand during a handshake and him having to pry himself out of my grasp. Mortifying.

Weirdly, I didn’t get the position, and it put me off going to another one until this very week.

Coming back to the present, my interview yesterday was for something that I badly want. I’ve been thinking about it on and off for years, because the idea of it has always grabbed me but I didn’t have the confidence to actually do it.

In 2012-ish I went to find out more about it, and the very thought made my palms sweat with anxiety. So I put it to the back of my mind for the time being.

Then more recently the idea presented itself again, but this time I started fantasising about how brilliant it could be and what I personally could bring to it. I’ve never felt like that about anything. I realised that not only can I do it, I can actually be really good at it AND make a difference. At 36 I’ve finally found a thing I want to do! What’s more, the stars seemed to have aligned and everything fell in to place. I was in exactly the right position to to be able to do it.

Then the blues hit. I thought to myself – if I get this job, then I need to be able to do it and do it well no matter how I’m feeling, because people are going to be looking to me for advice. I strongly believe that sometimes you have to listen to your instincts and if they are telling you that you’re doing too much and it isn’t the right time, perhaps you should heed the warning lest you completely burn out.

At other times though, it’s worth pushing through because the end result is worth it. It’s a tough one to judge, but in this case I got it right.

I woke up this morning feeling like the dark cloud had lifted from above my head and everything seemed more-or-less back to normal.

Relief!

I was told I’d possibly find out about the job by the end of the week, all being well, yet as I got on with the chores that I’d been neglecting in favour of other more enjoyable things, the phone rang.

It was the lady who did conducted my interview.

Since it’s only Wednesday I thought she must need some more information from me. I didn’t expect for one second she was phoning to tell me that I got the job.

So, my good readers, it is with great excitement that I can announce to you…

I’M GOING TO BE A SLIMMING WORLD CONSULTANT!

The best bit though is that I’m going to be taking over the group I currently go to. We’ve had various temporary consultants since before Christmas, trying their best to keep us going till someone was recruited to run it permanently. Who knew that person was going to be me?

I’m not the only one who has found the uncertainty tough, so I’m chuffed to bits that I’ll be able help the people who have been keeping me going to the last few months. That’s why it was especially important to me to do this now.

Although I’ve been struggling like mad, I have no doubt at all that I’m going to get to target with Slimming World. When I rejoined in August 2016 I made the decision there and then – this is going to be for life. I may flirt with unhealthy eating from time-to-time (especially lately) but Slimming World is going to be in my future for years and years to come, so it seemed fitting to cement that idea by making it my career, too.

Ha, career. A word I never thought I’d have the vaguest interest in. Yet here we are!

Yesterday I had no trouble at all getting back on plan after a day of eating some naughties. The sole reason is that although I was still feeling bad, I got back in control. When I ate some vegan treats with my sister during a visit to London, it was because I chose to, not because I was trying to self-medicate with food. It made alllll the difference.

This time I actually enjoyed my food sensibly rather than eating till I felt sick, and thought about whether or not I really wanted it before eating it.

I had a doughnut the size of my head from Doughnut Time, but it wasn’t just on a whim. I’ve been wanting to try this thing since it came into existence. It was worth the wait.

This photo was taken in Covent Garden, London. A trip to London always makes my contemplate how far I’ve come because it’s not a city that’s friendly to fat people.

Apart from to eat, drink or pose, we didn’t sit down the whole day. When I was a teenager I went to London a lot with a couple of slim and fit friends. We did a lot of walking, which always left me feeling sore and exhausted. It was an ordeal, but I put up with it because we were usually there to see bands. Music was EVERYTHING to me back then.

Thankfully, I’m unrecognisable from that person now.

What’s more I can sit down on a seat in a ridiculously cramped tube train without touching the people either side of me. I can trot up and down broken escalators, and I can go into almost any high street shop and find something to fit me on the rails.

We went into Zara, somewhere I’ve never shopped before. Their sizes range from S to XXL, so when I saw something I liked I automatically picked up the XXL, whilst hoping against hope that it won’t be too small.

Turns out when shopping at Zara I’m an M. A flipping MEDIUM people!

I’ve also wanted something from Oliver Bonas for an age. I picked up a dress in a 16. I’m a 14-16, but since I’ve put on a few pounds lately I went for the larger size. It drowned me!

I’m now the proud owner of a size 14 gingham dress that I have no doubt I will wear the HELL out of over the summer.

I knew things would turn around. I’m so glad I grit my teeth and saw it through.

The icing on the cake? Despite the fact I normally have light meals on weigh day, I just about made it to weigh in on time Monday evening with a tummy full of vegan goodies and came in with a loss of half a pound!

I’ve never been happier to lose such a teeny amount.

Things are on the up!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Far From Perfect

I have a rather large confession to make. Over the last couple of months I (consciously) slipped off of the V-wagon. That is to say, I made the decision to go back to being vegetarian for a while. Well, the original plan was to have a few veggie meals when out and about with Steve if no other options were available and eat as much vegan food as I could in the meantime.

Because I’ve been feeling so down I haven’t had the mental capacity to care much about much at all to be honest. Nothing seemed to matter any more. So I’ve been eating cheesy pizza and ice cream like it’s going out of fashion, with no thought to how it affects the animals or my own health. Deep down though I haven’t been happy with myself for backtracking. In actual fact I’ve felt rather ashamed.

I didn’t say anything about it publicly through a genuine fear of backlash from a minority of the vegan community, but now I’m ready to jump back on the wagon I feel like I should get it out in the open, come what may.

I’m reluctant to call myself vegan from now on, because there’s one thing I haven’t been able to give up – photo printing.

I’m an all-or-nothing kinda gal, so for me knowingly doing something that involves animal products means that I couldn’t and shouldn’t call myself a vegan. However, I am going back to eating like one. The same goes for cleaning materials, cosmetics etc. I’m happy to say that all of that has remained vegan for me.

No more cheese from now on! Anything else aside, boy that stuff is addictive. Seriously! Completely going without was working much, much better for me. Plus now I can start to get my life back in line with my values. Perhaps I’ll sleep better with a clearer conscience too.

I think it’s important for me to be open about this particular struggle, because maybe there’s someone else doing something similar who isn’t sure where to go from here. I ate vegan for an entire year before I slipped, so that’s better than doing nothing at all, right? Plus I intend to be doing it many years from now on (well, forever if I can!)

Another thing I’ve been giving a lot of thought to is my target weight. Originally it was 12 stone 10 pounds, which I smashed in November. I felt the best I’ve ever felt in my entire life when I got there, but I felt compelled to go lower. Now I’m 1 stone 4 pounds away from that weight, and I’ve decided that to go any lower than that just isn’t right for me.

Looking over some fairly recent photos, I can’t say that I’m unhappy with them at all!

Everyone I’ve voiced my thoughts to has unanimously agreed that I looked great at that point and wondered why on earth I wanted to lose more.

This was me in November:

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That’ll do thanks.

As soon as I talked about it I felt much, much better. I know deep down that it’s the right thing for me and me alone. In this case my opinion is the only one that actually matters.

Also, I know I can do it. Because I already did!

I’m tentatively feeling rather excited at the prospect of officially becoming a target member of Slimming World, but since I know how much my moods have been up and down lately I’m trying not to get ahead of myself.

Just gotta keep going, and try to get those numbers going down instead of up for a while.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Time to Lose

So, after my grand plan of learning how to do things in moderation, have I made a good start? Have I heck. This week I’ve felt especially low, and eating well started to go down the toilet from Thursday afternoon. I’m really quite cross with myself (understatement of the year!)

Thursday should have been perfect. My friend put his car in for its MOT so I kept him company while he was waiting for a call back from the garage. I dragged him along for a walk at Langdon Hills, and although it was still much too cold for my liking, it was a beautiful day.

Comparisons have been made between that second picture and one you may remember from Windows XP. I’m pretty sure the Windows picture earned the photographer an obscene amount of money, so I’m now patiently waiting for several thousand pounds to hit my back account.

So, after a healthy and hilly stroll, what did I do? I went out for lunch. At a pizza restaurant. Did I search out a tomato-based pasta dish with salad? Nope. I had a three-course meal including sugary drink and I didn’t even enjoy it that much.

Things went downhill from there, though I did still get out of the house, this time with my little brother. Now we’re members of the Essex Wildlife Trust I’m on a mission to visit all of the sites in Essex, so we started at Fingringhoe Wick.

I didn’t have any expectations as to what it would be like or do any research, but it turned out to be lovely. It’s a bird-orientated place with loads of hides and loads of wildlife. We didn’t see anything out of the ordinary, but we did see a cormorant eating fish which was really cool. It disappeared under the water for ages it a time and came back successful about five times as we watched.

We also made friends with a pheasant, who we have named Bertram.

It was a really rubbish day in terms of weather, and the light was flat (bad for photography) so I was happy looking for the little details.

Another trick is to look for things that suit black & white.

That evening though, once I was home, I felt more out of control with my eating than ever. I honestly haven’t made myself feel that ill in years.

Yesterday I didn’t eat much, but for everything I didn’t eat I made up with several gin & tonics. Perhaps I’m understating things. I mean a lot of gin and tonics.

In this instance I have no regrets (not even the fact that I’ve been in bed all day nursing an awful hangover) because I had a lovely time. I bought me and Steve tickets to see ABC months and months ago and it finally came around.

They were accompanied by an orchestra who played an instrumental medley of their most famous hits. It was spine-tingly awesome. The band then played in two halves – the first half didn’t grab us so we went out to find more gin (strangely the venue closes the bar when the band is on, never seen that before) and we came back just in time for the second half. Then the band played their most famous album, The Lexicon of Love, in its entirety. It was seated but we got up and had a dance and I had just the most fabulous time.

I weighed in this evening, and was actually quite surprised that I only put on 2.5lbs. Now I really do have to make some changes to my current lifestyle, especially because I have something really exciting happening next week.

Next Tuesday I’m going for an interview for something really cool, and this is a massive deal. Traditionally I’ve been terrified of interviews and it’s probably definitely the main reason my career never progressed.

So me going for an interview now is especially great because it means for one I feel confident enough to actually do it, and two the thing I’m interviewing for is important enough to me for me to risk failure and rejection. No small deal at all.

This week I’m aiming for a decent loss (I’ve pledged five pounds in group) because I’d love to be feeling properly back in control for the first time in months when I have my interview. From then on I want to start making proper progress again. I’m not happy right now, and I know that making progress will undoubtedly bring me happiness.

I just have to stop stalling and get the hell on with it.

Hayley x

All the Effs

This week I did something frivolous – I got my poor, shattered, Apple Watch screen repaired. Believe me, I do not have the money to do it, but if I want to eat for the rest of the month then I HAVE to start going through my ‘to sell’ pile that’s gathering dust in my room. Especially as I intend to get a 12-week countdown from Slimming World on Monday.

It’s something I’ve been putting off because fun stuff has been taking priority, and I’m not relishing the thought of dealing with it because, well, it’s boooooring. The fact that I could really do with the money though should make sure I actually get it done, with the added incentive of freeing up some much needed space. If I can raise enough cash to get some decorating done too, then all the better.

Getting my watch in order was especially important to me for two reasons. For one, it came from my good friend Dave (read his blog here) who used it as a tool to help him get fit. Hmm, that’s not a good enough description. He used it as a tool to turn his entire life around. While I’m filling my rings it’s impossible not to think of the incredible feats my watch has recorded, and who wouldn’t be motivated by that? When I say incredible, I mean incredible.

Since he started wearing an Apple Watch in September 2015, he has walked over 8549 miles. 

As I write this I thought I’d check my Fitbit stats. Coincidentally I too started tracking in September 2015 and have since walked over 6942 miles. I’m actually rather chuffed and surprised at how large a number that is, however it’s still quite a way off of Dave’s running total. With the work he puts in daily I don’t think I’ll be catching up any time soon!

Secondly, despite having so many dreams and schemes in other areas of my life, I’ve decided to spend February focusing more on the fitness side of things. It’s a really tough balancing act, finding time to do everything I want to, so my approach at the moment is to choose what my priority is and give myself permission to go and do it.

I have become a little bit obsessed with journaling (OK a lot obsessed, whatever) but it’s really helping me because I don’t feel bad about putting things off so to speak. I have a page dedicated to stuff I want to achieve in the first quarter of the year, so I have a clear idea of what I’m dropping this month and what’s getting picked back up in the next.

It’s safe to say I’m enjoying the creativity of it, but most of all it’s fantastic to be able to write down my plans and not have to think about them for a while, because it stresses me out trying to hold all of my ideas in my head at once. It was just becoming too much.

I’ve also allocated Wednesdays as my ‘chill out day’. I made a little ‘to watch’ list in my journal (stuff that Steve has already watched without me or he’s not interested in) but it occurred to me that I haven’t made time to just sit down and watch something by myself for an entire year.

There hasn’t been much I have wanted to watch to be fair, but even when I have fancied a movie or even sitting down to read a book, I’ve found it really hard to not feel guilty about doing so. No more of that though, life is for enjoying which is exactly what I intend to do.

Today I walked into town in order to get my daily activity (and the warmest thermal socks I could find), and I must say it was a bit, um, nippy out there. I discovered though that a mile of walking is exactly how long it takes me to warm up. Besides, I don’t really mind the cold as long as there’s a bit of sun, and as luck would have it there was a little bit peeking through the clouds.

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Even though it’s freezing, the coming week is going to be all about fun, fitness and Free Food. February in the Slimming World community is also known as Free Food Feb, but there’ll be more about that in my next post. It’s something that’s close to my heart, so I’m very much looking forward to it.

Ok that’s enough of ‘F’ related things now, it’s time for me to get as much caffeine in my system as is humanly possible before I start work.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Buzzing!

Remember I said I was working ten shifts in a row? Well it’s all done now. I expected it to be hell on toast, but as I’ve been getting an adequate amount of sleep, eating well and generally looking after myself, it was a breeze. In fact it was miles easier than doing a 4-day-week not so long ago.

The best part of all though was (is) the four-day weekend which I’m still enjoying now. Friday I hardly sat down and got an absolute ton of stuff done. I did a couple of errands for Steve, I had a massive clear out in the kitchen, I went shopping, I dropped off seven bags of stuff at the charity shop, I did my laundry, I cleaned Pea’s cage and I vacuumed. Then Steve came over and I cooked him dinner. Phew!

On Saturday my little sister came to visit, and I was supposed to drop her off at home. As it happens her boyfriend fell off his bike and needed to go to the hospital, so I drove to hers, picked him up and then dropped them both off at A&E. That’s not exactly the whole story though. He fell off about two minutes from home, did a two hour bike ride, came home, showered, cleaned his bike, then realised that his arm was most probably broken. He’s one of the most educated and intelligent people I know whilst simultaneously being a complete tit. It turns out he broke the radial head in his arm (something to do with the elbow?) so no cycling for him for six weeks. It’s probably for the best.

Between then and the early hours of this morning I barely moved from my desk, but that’s not to say I haven’t been busy.

I have a ‘Project Life’ photo album where I print off and keep all of my favourite shots. I love the layout and it looks great, however it’s very time-consuming. First of all I decide what I want to print, specifically edit them for gloss paper, make sure I have the right number of portrait and landscape shots, then (the really fun part) I have to resize the portrait ones and stitch two together at a time in Photoshop so that they can be printed on 4×6 paper.

Let us not forget that when I collect the prints the little ones have to then be separated, plus I have to be awkward – I don’t like square corners so I then use a corner punch to round them off. No really.

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Since meeting Steve I have taken a lot of photos and had very little spare time, which has resulted in me being a year-and-a-half behind on my editing and printing. It took me hours, but the editing is finally done and some of the prints ordered. I only ordered 36, because that’s how many prepaid print credits I had left. The rest will have to wait until I get my March pay.

Only my best DSLR shots and/or special events make it into the main album, so now I ‘only’ have literally thousands of phone shots to go through. I want them to be even smaller than 2×3 prints (I’ll show you what I’m doing with them at a later date) so that’s going to take even more editing, but I’m getting the hang of it and my workflow is, well, flowing.

I’m going to stay on top of it from now on. Honest.

This morning I was up at 6am to be at a local park for sunrise. My brother asked me if I had a camera he could borrow that would be suitable, but I knew if he just trusted the automatic settings it would be overexposed. The best solution was for me to meet him there (he cycled) so I could take the picture myself.

Unfortunately the light index was rubbish meaning that the photo isn’t very interesting, but it was still sort-of nice to get out in the painfully cold fresh air. I had thermal gloves on and I swear I was on the verge of getting frostbite. It felt like it anyway.

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There just weren’t enough little clouds for it to be a decent shot. Ho hum.

After returning home I loaded the car up for a trip to the local recycling centre, visited the farm shop for a giant Spanish onion, super cheap sprouts, some yummy looking kale and an argument debate at the checkout with a man who said you only see fat people at Slimming World so it can’t possibly work. Then I legged it home just in time for my photography lesson.

Yep, you read that right. Some years ago I made a really excellent decision. I did a foundation diploma in photography for £20 (online) with the Shaw Academy and once I’d finished I found I’d caught the bug. I thought about simply signing up for the advanced course, but instead I bought a package which means I get access to all of their courses for the rest of my life. I think I paid somewhere between £300 and £400, and it was worth every penny just for the two courses I’ve done so far.

Since technology changes so fast and there’s something new in the photography world every other minute, I thought it would be good to be able to revisit the course as and when I please.

When my friend asked me to photograph his wedding I logged in with the intention of redoing the advanced course, just for a refresher, but then I noticed that they do a specific course in wedding photography. BONUS!

My first lesson went brilliantly and I’m positively buzzing with excitement. Until recently I never would have considered it, but I’ve decided to try and do something with my skills, and already I’m seeing benefits from putting out the feelers.

I spoke to a friend yesterday who invited me to an event in Birmingham in May. Just on the off chance (because he knows A LOT of people) I asked if he knows the organisers and if he could find out whether I’d be allowed to take a professional-type camera in just for personal use. I need to practice shooting with a flash in low-light conditions because until now I’ve purely been in love with natural light, plus I need to start building a portfolio. He thinks that wouldn’t be a problem, but even better than that, he can probably get me in for free if I agree that they can use the photos I take.

Experience AND exposure? Erm, YES PLEASE!

In addition to the photography stuff, when I’m done with the wedding course there are a ton of other courses I can take to help with the business-side of things such as promotion and whatnot.

Until now I never thought I had anything to offer in an industry that’s already so competitive, but I think my style is developing and that I have something quite out-of-the-ordinary to offer.

Whatever direction I decide to go in, what I know right now is that I’m EXCITED at the uncertainty of it all for the first time in my life.

ANYTHING could happen!

Speaking of which it’s time for weigh in. Talk amongst yourselves…

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I lost 3 lbs! I had one of those weeks where I felt like I hadn’t lost much, and I was concerned that my change in schedule over the weekend and the fact I’ve barely moved would have an impact but it seems I’m home and dry.

I now weigh 13st 0.5lbs and I’m tantalisingly close to being back into the 12 stone bracket. Not to worry though, I’ll have that next week for sure.

Group overran this evening so I’d best get on with cooking dinner before I start trying to eat my keyboard.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Cold Snap

Yep, the weather has turned in the UK. I used to be hot all year round, but now I have less insulation my default setting is cold. When the sun is shining, like today, I’m perfectly happy with that. Now I’m slimmer I can fit into the cold weather clothing provided by my work, so for the last few shifts, what with a thermal base layer, joggers, a long-sleeved t-shirt, a woolly hat, two pairs of socks, gloves and a fleece snood, I was positively toasty.

The best part though is that I’ve discovered I’m a hat person. When I gain weight my face gets really big and hats just don’t look right. This is the only old photo I can find of me wearing a hat but I’m sure you can, um, kinda get the idea…

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Don’t ask.

This year has definitely been the year of the hat which has saved me SO MUCH TIME. I don’t think I’ve done my hair for work since November, which means an extra 10-20 minutes in bed. Yay!

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This is my favourite hat, because I’m currently obsessed with mustard. I have quite a collection going on now – this is just a small sample. The Christmas hats have of course been packed away until December but if I remember rightly I now have enough to wear a different one every day of the week (and then some).

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While we’re on the subject of cold I decided this year to keep the garden birds fed over the winter, but this is proving to be quite difficult. The sparrows have been going absolutely bananas for the seeds and they have been getting through around two whole feeders’ worth a day. Unfortunately the greedy gits are going to have to wait till payday before I can get any more.

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Even though I haven’t been able to run again I did still increase my Body Magic last week with a walk around my favourite park, among other things. Although it was freezing (literally in places, including the lake) it was beautifully sunny until the very end of the walk.

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Since I haven’t had a weekend (I have a four-day one coming up though, phew), there’s not much to tell you about apart from weigh in yesterday.

I lost 4.5 pounds! 

For a very small moment of time I had the audacity to be disappointed with that, as normally when I’m back on plan after a blowout I can lose more. Then I reminded myself of how big my appetite was during the week and how I managed to eat quite frankly a huge quantity of food and still get that kind of loss. It’s a win.

Thankfully my appetite has now returned to normal, so I could get on with enjoying group and feeling positive. Unfortunately my usual consultant Amanda was poorly (boo) but on the plus side it meant our group was covered by the awesome Ryan (yay!)

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If there’s ever any doubt in your mind whether your consultant genuinely cares about your journey, then just look at what Amanda and Ryan (@amanda_sw_leighonsea and @southendslimmer on Instagram) did yesterday. Ryan was in Norwich but as soon as he found out he was needed he made the TWO HOUR journey to Essex, including 45 minutes stuck in traffic, to make sure our group still ran. Amanda, despite feeling really ill and despite the fact she isn’t local to our group, braved rush hour to meet up with the social team (also awesome) to hand over everything needed to make sure group could go ahead.

That’s what I call above and beyond.

Group was an especially inspirational one with people sharing really personal things about how far they’ve come and how differently they feel now. After struggling for the last couple of months having a full seven days on plan and seeing everyone yesterday has made me feel like I can do anything again.

Anything also includes having a decent sleep, so it’s off to bed for me before I begin my 8th shift in a row. On the plus side after tonight, I only have two more to go!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Broken Promises

Let’s get the Slimming World stuff out of the way first. Over Christmas I coped quite well with a big but manageable and guilt-free gain. Since then though, I feel like I haven’t been able to stop eating crap! I don’t even really want it, I’m just munching down sugary, fatty rubbish like there’s no tomorrow.

This weekend is the first weekend in months and months that I’ve had to myself, and rather than doing what I’d promised i.e. slowing down and taking more time for myself, I actually haven’t stopped the whole time except to sleep. Even that has been restless. I’ve just been grabbing whatever to eat partly because I just couldn’t be bothered to prepare anything and partly because I was all too willing to give into my cravings.

So we start again, again, again. Sigh. I’m trying to get enthusiastic about it but I’m struggling a bit at the mo.

I missed group yesterday, which was half expected. I started the weekend by beginning the mammoth task of sorting through basically everything I own and even though it shouldn’t have come as a surprise, it took a lot, lot longer than I thought it would. I had still hoped to make it to weigh in, but I realised weigh in had already started when I was still up to my knees in boxes and who even knows what else.

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I ended yesterday with three sacks of charity shop donations (which as I’m so busy are being picked up by a charity tomorrow) a big pile of stuff to sell, a sack or two of stuff that was no good to anyone, and a nice clean floor that you can actually see. I now have a garden full of a dismantled wardrobe, two dismantled shelving units, a broken cooker and various other bits and bobs. Yeah, there are a few tip runs needed.

Today, even though I have work tonight, I spent the whole day cleaning. I have scrubbed the kitchen walls from top to bottom, cleaned the tops of the cupboards, cleaned the kitchen windows, vacuumed and scrubbed as much carpet as I could before I ran out of cleaner.

I still have an absolute ton of stuff to do around the house, but where I’ve been imagining the end result I subconsciously got it into my head that everything needs to be done yesterday. As such I’ve turned something I was looking forward to doing into something that’s stressing me out, so I need to put my money where my mouth is and CHILL THE HELL OUT AND ACTUALLY START LOOKING LOOKING AFTER MYSELF. I mean it this time.

Tomorrow I’m doing things for me. I’m going to be on plan, I’m going to hula hoop (something I haven’t done for a couple of months now) and do something artistic. No stressing.

Hopefully happy Hayley will be back for the next post!

Thanks for reading x

Start Again Again

I’ve decided that an even fresher of fresh starts is needed, because this week has not exactly gone to plan! It started on Wednesday, with my first shift back at work for the new year. I was curious when my manager asked to speak to me after the brief – normally that happens when you’re in trouble but I couldn’t have done anything wrong already, could I?

I could. I was supposed to be in New Year’s Day, but thankfully my manager knew it was totally out of character and that I wasn’t trying to pull a fast one. In fact it’s screwed me over because I won’t get paid for that shift and one of my newest resolutions is to not take unpaid time off work. Bum.

My most important plan (to sleep more) is also off to a rocky start. Yesterday I had a busy morning, a really restless 4.5 hours sleep, then I went to see Steve for a few hours before work. He said that we could do it another time, but heart over head, I wanted to see him so I went anyway. Before I even left his I was dreaming of getting my shift over and crawling into bed.

I had a revolting yet, um, interesting (and sugar free) parma violet-flavoured energy drink on the way to his, another on the way to work, one during my shift, plus a cup of tea on my lunch break… but when early finishes were offered at 4:45 I couldn’t help myself and I went home.

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It has never been so clear to me that extreme tiredness equals ravenous hunger. I was tummy-rumbling hungry from the moment I woke despite eating loads of on-plan food, so by the time I got home I just snapped and ate some rubbish that will set me back a little bit this week.

I don’t  see it as a disaster, because when I woke up at 10am to feed Pea (feeling a lot more human) I realised that I still had the whole day ahead of me with another 14 hours’ opportunity to be on plan. I have three whole days, plus a few hours, before I get weighed, with loads of potential to make progress. The fact I’m sitting here writing about what happened is progress in itself after all.

Now I’m spending another 15 minutes hanging out with Pea (who is currently shouting at me because she isn’t enjoying the sound of my typing) then it’s back to bed to get as much sleep as possible before I… go to Steve’s before work again. It won’t be like yesterday though, I’ll be going with at least twice as much sleep under my belt, and no evil energy drinks.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

First of Many

This weekend has been a busy one. The day before New Year’s Eve, despite me being so good in the days leading up to that point, Steve and I decided to go out for a meal. He fancied Chinese, which didn’t really appeal to me, so we compromised on Thai. We tried a place round the corner that neither of us had been to before, and it was quite a while before either of us realised it was actually a Malaysian restaurant. It is called The Malaya, so the clues were there, but in my defence I didn’t look at the name before we went in. All I knew was that the food smells coming from the building were intoxicating!

We hit gold though. We stumbled across a really lovely place with nice decor, super friendly staff, and an amazing menu. Steve wasn’t sure what to order so the waiter brought out two samples of curry sauces for him to try first. How nice is that? There were several vegan options for starters and mains, and I ended up ordering from the set menu so my two courses were just £14.90.

I had roti canai and satay tofu, and both were absolute heaven. Every mouthful was utterly delicious. I’ll DEFINITELY be going back, that’s for sure.

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So New Year’s Eve arrived and I was up nice and early to get weighed. I had a sneak peek earlier in the week and the scales showed me going from 13st 6lbs to just nudging back into the 12’s, but the night before had left its mark. I’d also had a couple of glasses of wine and some sweet treats later on in the evening.

Despite that, I still had a 3lb loss which I’m damn well chuffed with! It meant I got back to an 8 stone loss, and next week I hope I’ll be officially back in the 12 stone bracket. Group was also fantastic and I left with positivity practically coming out of my ears.

In the afternoon Steve and I went for a little walk at the place where he started training me to run back in February. It was good to take stock of how, despite us not doing much exercise-wise for the last month or two, we’re still fitter than when we first started. It got me thinking about how nice it’ll be to get cracking again.

In the evening he took me to his old local for a quick, and very pink, G&T, followed by a little walk he’d been promising for the festive period. There’s a lovely little street in the village where people go absolutely mental with the Christmas lights, so that was quite magical.

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From there we showed our faces at his son’s who was having a little get together, and somehow, someone convinced me to do a shot of vodka. I am so easily led. Thankfully I managed to avoid the same fate as that very same chap, who lost a bet and had his hair shaved off… Anyway, despite the vodka shot I didn’t drink too much and managed to avoid a hangover for New Year’s Day.

We left quite early, had a very respectable night watching Madness on TV, and I’ve been totally back on plan since the clock hit midnight.

Despite not having hangovers, we were both pretty pooped the next day. But we still managed to get out for a walk to brush the cobwebs away. First stop was Benfleet where we went to look at a sculpture relating to the vikings. It’s erected in the area where the Battle of Benfleet is believed to have taken place in the year 894 (how bonkers is that?) and that battle was the subject of one episode of the Netflix series The Last Kingdom that we watched just a couple of weeks ago.

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After a walk along the sea wall a little bit down the road, we had lunch then I left so that we could both get an early night. 11 hours sleep later and I’m finally feeling like myself again!

Of course I wouldn’t really be a blogger if I wasn’t reflecting over 2018 and making plans for the year ahead. 2018 was a little bit crazy. I met Steve, ran for the first time ever, ate and drank more than I have in a good few years and still managed to end 2018 two stone lighter than when I started it… I’ve been so busy and tired, therefore I haven’t found the time to really focus like I would normally.

So although I have quite specific and monumental plans for 2019, which I’ll talk about in future posts, the main thing I want to do is slow down. I’m going to have more sleep, eat more healthy food, do more of the things I enjoy that aren’t exercise related (and not feel guilty for taking the time to do them) and try to keep in mind from time-to-time the bigger goals I’m aiming for.

For the first time in my life I’m thinking about a long-term plan, rather than living basically from month-to-month and hoping everything turns out for the best. There are things I want that I never thought I could achieve, but now I know I can.

One thing 2018 taught me is that I’m stronger than I think, and I know that’s true because my friend Dave reliably tells me that it is so. He knows what he’s talking about.

That’s the first post of 2019 down, here’s to many, many more.

Happy New Year!

Hayley x