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

Monday and More

I’m one of those weirdos who really likes Mondays. Mondays are the second day of my weekend, and since I don’t go back into work until the Tuesday night, I save my pre-work dread for Tuesday afternoon. That means I can enjoy my whole Monday.

I did consider doing nothing at all Monday and having a complete rest day, but I discovered Sunday that I’m really not good at that. I tried to lay with my legs out in the sun for a bit, because to be honest they’re a bit of a hazard. I can’t have them out at all on the street, because if the sun reflects off of them they could blind any passing drivers.

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Instead I spent a little while editing photos from the walk I’d done previously, at my very favourite park in Hadleigh.

I’m just not meant to sit still anymore I think, so much so that I find it really difficult to sit down and watch an entire film. Unless it really grabs me, I rarely make it to the end these days. I don’t think that’s a bad thing!

In between walking and dinner I also had a little gin and slimline tonic from a nearby pub that I never knew existed – Barge Gladys. Yes, it actually is on a barge! Apparently it’s been there for 41 years (how have I never heard of it before?), is right near a handy train station and is of course on the coast so there are plenty of walking to/from opportunities. I’m thinking more of a nice place to have a diet coke or water in future though, I’m really not fancying alcohol much at the moment. Just that one drink went right to my head!

So on Monday instead of trying and failing to veg out, I went for a walk in the park. In 30 degree heat… Thankfully I slapped on the factor 50 before I left the house and am pleased to report I did not burn to a crisp.

I had a really good time by myself at the park, except I wasn’t actually by myself, truth be told. There are always plenty of feathered friends about. When I got to the lake where the majority of the geese hang out, I saw that most of them (apart from four or five milling around the shore) were in the water.

But when they saw me, the whole flock got out of the water and headed straight for me. At this point there was no sign of me having any food for them (although of course I did, it was safely tucked away in my bag) so I wonder if they remember that I’ve fed them lots of other times before? There were other people there and they didn’t get the same welcome as me!

Look how close they were, and still they hadn’t seen the food.

It’s clear that these guys love me!

Then yesterday things took a little nosedive. I was going to weigh in Monday night at my new group, but something came up and I couldn’t make it. So I planned to go Tuesday morning instead.

But then I couldn’t sleep, and subsequently didn’t wake up in time. That also meant I didn’t wake up in time for my planned run, and by the time I got myself moving it was too hot. Then my day ended up being taken up by other stressful things anyway. The upshot of it was that I was tired, hungry, stressed, dreading work, and I ate my feelings. Thankfully it was only one day and I’m right back on it now, and since the temperature is much more reasonable after a little storm last night, I’m definitely running later. As for weighing in, my home scales say I’ve maintained, which I’m happy with.

For the last week or so work has been a bit of a nightmare from which I cannot wake, and I’ve been getting through it by keeping my head down and working hard. But last night there was a planned system shutdown for the first five hours of the shift and I knew I’d just have to mill around. The thought of that was simply unbearable, and that’s what threw me. It’s just excuses though. I could have got through it and stayed on plan, I just chose not to. I took the easy option (or at least the one that was easier in the short term).

As it happens, the shutdown didn’t happen but something went wrong and there wasn’t much to do anyway, so I was allowed to go home. When I go to work tonight I can stick to the original plan and just crack on with my job. So it’s not great, but I can cope with it.

And I will NOT use food to help me get through it.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Yes I Can

I was going to post about my day last night, but in the end I decided to wait until it was officially over and that I had in fact done what I set out to do.

Yesterday I met up with my sister and we went into the swelteringly hot city of London to sample some vegan treats. I’ve written about similar things on here so many times before, about how I’m going to stay on plan right up until the last minute, and get back on plan when I get home, but normally I start to slip a couple of days beforehand.

Before I know it, by the time the actual event I’ve been so eagerly anticipating comes around, I feel like a total failure and it ruins the whole day.

Not this time though! Work stress may have had something to do with it, but I managed to stay perfectly on plan, even when it came to my breakfast.

If I did it this time, I can do it any time.

I did nearly 20k steps during the day, and covered nearly 10 miles, which may go some way to negating the off-plan things I ate. It’s better than doing nothing, that much is true.

I’ve been meaning to go to the Hackney Downs Vegan Market for over a year now, so it was about time I actually went and did it. And by some happy coincidence (the vendors change regularly) a stall selling epic hotdogs was there (Pig Out), whose wares I’ve also been wanting to sample for many months.

The only question was, which one to have?

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I decided on ‘The American’, because the truffle oil sounded super fancy. And oh boy it was lovely! The hotdogs were so authentic-tasting, yet knowing there aren’t any questionable parts in there and that a cute piggy didn’t have to die to make it had me questioning why I ever ate the non-vegan kind.

I also had a tiramisu, because it used to be one of my favourite pre-vegan desserts. The cream tasted more like marshmallow, but it wasn’t a bad thing because it still worked. But it’s testament to how good Dope Soft Serve ice cream is because ‘The Pornstar’ was incredible in comparison, and the tiramisu was good enough to begin with. One of the tastiest vegan things I’ve eaten so far. I chose it because it sounded the most refreshing – raspberry, passionfruit and chopped nuts. Delish!

Once I got home I managed to stay on plan. I had an uneaten work lunch in the fridge (comprising only of Free and Speed foods) but since I was still hungry after I had some soya beans which never fail to fill me up.

I did it! I did EXACTLY what I set out to do!

I now have the whole of Sunday and most of Monday to try to ensure I still (hopefully) get some sort of loss. What with managing to get out for a couple of runs and how spectacularly on it I’ve been this week, I’m fairly hopeful.

Next Sunday me and the little sis are having a picnic in the park, which is way more adaptable to Slimming World! That means I can stay 100% on plan and enjoy family time.

Speaking of which, I was enjoying how me and my sister are looking more like sisters than we ever have before!

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When we were kids I could have quite happily wrung her neck. Yet here were are, the bestest of friends. It’s funny how things turn out.

Later on today I’m going for a walk in the park, because it’s just too hot to run, and before weigh in tomorrow I’ll definitely be doing some form of exercise. I’m thinking maybe a short run first thing, then I walk into town later on. We’ll see.

Either way, despite the prospect of not losing any weight this week, I’m looking forward to going to group and actually staying this time.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

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

Found

One particularly perceptive reader has already cottoned on to something, namely that I have FOUND MY MOJO! I don’t know where it went, but that doesn’t matter now. The important thing is that it’s back.

This is despite the fact that the heat has finally got to me. It was so stuffy at work last night, by the end of it I was completely done in. I doubt anyone was particularly productive come to think of it.

Because I was so tired I got a lift home, so in no time at all I was out in the garden, eating my breakfast on a wet garden chair that had been rained on. The air hadn’t cleared one tiny bit (just think hot sauna rather than just hot) but it was still pleasant sitting there with a soggy bottom.

Before I dragged my damp, sleepy arse to bed there was just enough time to appreciate how lovely the light was this morning – all pinks and oranges. And what was that in the sky? Surely not actual clouds!

I woke up to get Pea her breakfast at 10am, then resigned myself to the fact there was no way I’d get back to sleep. Then the next thing I know it’s 2:30 pm! I was so happy with that. 6 hours sleep almost in one go, on a work day! Brilliant!

I checked my phone and saw a missed call from my friend, so I called straight back only to find out that my car was ready to be collected. There was a long pause… ‘but I thought it was being done tomorrow?’ Nope, I got it totally wrong. So that was a very welcome surprise. I also love how he stealthily came into my house, found my car keys and took my car away without me knowing!

Despite the fact I now I have my car back as soon as I got home I left the it on the drive and walked to Lidl for what is quite possibly the fourth veg top-up of the week so far, and a much needed step top-up what with being lazy and not walking home from work.

But the most excellent news? I’m going to try for a run on Sunday! I’m actually excited!

It’s been another brilliant day for food, but lunch was a particular highlight. I had Ugo pumpkin and sage raviolini, which is vegan, gluten free, yummy and cooks in 1, yes ONE, minute.

Annoyingly on the app it’s listed as 1.5 syns per 100g cooked, which is really irritating, but since I’m being 100% on plan I did weigh it after cooking. It was 320g, so by my calculations that 4.8 syns. May as well round up to five then.

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I got mine from Sainsbury’s but I do believe Waitrose also sell it.

Over the last couple of days I’ve been getting quite reflective about how different my life is now to how it was just a couple of years ago.

As you can tell, if you’ve been reading for a while, I’ve been through a bit of a rough patch and have found it hard to cope, but when a similar thing happened in 2016 I was a complete and utter mess. I’d regained seven stone that I’d lost with Slimming World and split up with my boyfriend of five years. I just couldn’t keep it together at work and was crying every time someone showed me the tiniest inkling of kindness, and I was totally lost.

When I was with my boyfriend we didn’t really do much. A typical weekend was pizza, ice cream and a film. We very rarely did anything fun even though I loved to go out visiting places. I think we went to a couple of zoos in the time we were together, and the cinema a few times. I started to get into photography but didn’t have any real drive to learn.

Then I found myself single and everything started to change – I started to get to know myself properly for the first time in my life. I found that I like clubbing (but that once a year is enough), that photography wasn’t just a passing interest, I LOVED IT, I found compassion for animals and humans alike, I discovered I prefer being outside, that I like summer over winter, that you can be friends with a parrot, that if you write a blog some people will even read it

So recently when I found myself feeling a little bit lost, it wasn’t really that long until I was able to pick myself up again. All of the time I was still me, despite everything else going on, and knowing that made all the difference.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

App-sessions

You know those people who say they can’t eat when it’s this hot? Well I ain’t one of them! Now I’m back at work I’m reverting to a plan of action that has worked for me in the past – namely, eating four meals a day. And not small ones either, really!

I have a lunch at work, around 4am, and no matter what I have and how much I eat, I always want to eat again when get home just after 6am. I’ve tried going straight to bed, but hunger invariably wakes me up and I end up grabbing whatever’s closest just so that I can get back to sleep.

So as soon as I get in I’ve been having my healthy extras.

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I’m a little bit of obsessed with my new way of recording my food on my Slimming World Instagram account. I love how neat and bright everything looks and I’m really enjoying sharing my photos. I’ve been using A Color Story to brighten them up, then I’ve used A Design Kit, created by the same people (the wonderful ladies behind my favourite lifestyle blog A Beautiful Mess), to add the text.

I had a Sainsbury’s shop delivered yesterday, because I’m finding they’re best for my favourite low-syn meat replacements. Tesco do some tasty things (the Oumph range for instance, I’ll never stop going on about those) but for some reason they don’t deliver any of it. Since my car is still out of action my options are a little bit limited.

Anyway, carrying on with my new-found obsession here are my tasty purchases from yesterday. I have loads more things to share with you, and eventually I’ll make a special page with all of my Slimming World essentials.

The Vivera kebab stuff is especially good, I’d eat it every day if I could afford to!

According to the forecast the weather is supposed to freshen up a little towards the end of the week, which should work out perfectly because as long as I have a car (the park is too far away to walk) I’ve decided I’m going to attempt a run first thing Monday morning. It’ll just be a short one, and I’ll stick to the easy-access track purely because where the ground is so dry it’s made it more uneven and I don’t want to twist anything.

Fingers crossed my knee bears up OK, because I’ve been desperately missing it. Anything else I’ve done just doesn’t quite hit the spot.

Today I’ve just been too hot to do anything other than the laundry, but thankfully I got a lift into work and walked home. So it wasn’t exactly cool, but the cooler at least.

It’s better than doing nowt!

The washing machine has just told me that another load is ready to go on the line, so I’d best be off.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

I’m Back!

I walked back into my old Slimming World group with a spring in my step. I wore my favourite light floral shirt, light makeup (because I genuinely felt it’d be too hot to add much to my face) and I just felt really comfortable in my own skin.

Going back to a Slimming World group, especially one you’ve been frequenting on and off since 2012, is like entering a room full of puppies. Everyone is just really genuinely pleased to see you! Although there is less peeing on the floor…

I paid extra to keep my old progress, and was chuffed to bits to find that I’ve only gained 2 lbs since the last time I was there. I’ll take that and run, thank you very much!

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Another bonus from going back when I did? I got to see a lady I remember from the last time I was there hitting target. How. Bloody. Awesome!

Scarily, there’s not much left of July, and next month I have quite a lot going on. My sister, a teacher, has now broken up for the holiday’s and we’ve agreed to do something every weekend for the whole of August. When I say something, I mean we are going on the hunt for vegan treats.

We want to have a pie from Young Vegans, go to the famous Hackney Downs Vegan Market, visit an all vegan pub called The Blacksmith and Toffeemaker (also dog friendly, I’d love to meet some doggos) and we have another day to fill that hasn’t been finalised yet.

What I could have done was to tell myself that there was no point in joining until September. Because let’s face it, there’s a really strong chance that I won’t lose much weight next month. Perhaps I won’t lose any at all, or have a small gain. But eating a vegan pie or whatever is not the same as going off plan.

If I want to socialise with my sister, and have one decadent meal out a week, then I can do that. The group is there to make sure it really is just one meal, and that I don’t spiral out of control.

If I don’t lose a ton of weight, then so be it. I’m still staying on top of things and enjoying myself guilt-free.

As it happens I do suspect that by taking this tack I will lose some weight, but only time will tell. All I know is that I need the support of my fellow slimmers, and group is one of the best ways to get that.

Anyway, regardless of all that there’s still one weigh day left in July for me to try and get my 7 stone award back. And try I will.

I was supposed to go to work after group, but I managed to get a last minute day off. I was so grateful for this – I’m absolutely knackered. I was very busy today, the day I normally get everything organised for the work week ahead, and nothing got done.

As it’s so warm I wasn’t particularly hungry either, so I didn’t sit down to eat until gone ten. It was lovely sitting outside in the garden with my feast, while the gnats were feasting on me, incidentally. Must be my tasty vegan blood.

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Now it’s time for a relatively early night, because tomorrow I really do have to go to work.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Odd One Out

Yesterday morning me and my brother were out the door at 3am for our bike ride. Weirdly, he left the navigating up to me. Even though the journey to Southend-on-Sea is one I’ve done plenty of times in a car, doing it on a bike whilst avoiding the A-roads, in the dark, is a bit different. So we went the wrong way a couple of times, but we did find a much nicer route than one straight boring road.

We rode through the park where I usually do my training, and that in itself was a bit hairy. Where it’s been so dry the gravel track was extra loose and dusty and I had to be really careful that I didn’t go too fast and find myself unable to stop.

It was just before entering the park that I fell over, too. Ridiculously, I had stopped and was just setting off again when I completely lost my balance. Yep, I fell over from standing. Which is something I’ve done before actually, and I had a scar on my elbow from that for years.

I didn’t hurt myself this time thankfully, and after a little seat adjustment I felt a lot safer.

As we left the park and went on what was more like a farm track, by backside really suffered. The ground had huge cracks in it from the heatwave, and as my brother’s bike is a hybrid which he mostly uses for commuting, the suspension isn’t built for that kind of thing. It was really hard going.

But we made it to our destination eventually, where we saw a fair few people doing the ‘walk of shame’ after coming out of the clubs. There wasn’t much to see so after a quick selfie I suggested we head back. As far my legs go, which are obviously doing the most work, I would have been happy to keep going. But my undercarriage was really suffering by now so we went back via the main road.

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The journey home was half an hour shorter, but for the last hour especially I felt every little bump. If cycling becomes a regular thing for me then I’ll definitely get some padded shorts. And the largest, comfiest saddle in existence.

We were home by 7:30 am after completing 33, yes thirty-three miles, so I had time for a well deserved nap before getting Pea her breakfast.

I even went out for a walk to the shops later on, and it really hit home how that would have been an impossibility not so long ago. It’s only because of my better fitness levels in general that such a bike ride was even something I could consider. Today I expected to ache all over, but my legs are absolutely fine (must be all of the running) and the only thing that hurts apart from the obvious is my shoulders. The only reason they hurt is because of the shock going through them from the handle bars.

Yesterday I had loads of praise from people I know for completing such a feat, then one negative comment really got me down. It’s always the way – that one person can really make or break a mood. But I’ve been thinking a lot about friendship and support networks lately so I dropped a couple of messages to people that I know have my back.

Well my phone was lighting up like a Christmas tree for a good hour with people offering advice, encouragement and generally cheering me on. The majority of people want to see you do well, and those are the ones we need to focus on as hard as that may be.

I’ve had lots of help too from someone I have as a friend on Facebook. I don’t know him all that well, as we only worked together for a fairly brief period and he was on another department anyway, but his words of wisdom have really been made me feel better. This one from yesterday was especially apt:

Don’t forget that if you’re feeling sh*t people care. Reach out, if you get longed off they ain’t your pal, rinse repeat till you find a human.

And he was right. I reached out and people came to my rescue. So I decided to drop him a message to let him know what a difference he has made. If someone moves you, tell them! Let people know they’re appreciated! And don’t let that odd one out (there’s always one) dampen your spirit.

Anyway, today I was supposed to be going back to Slimming World but I can’t make the group I wanted to go to as I need a car for that. So I’m waiting till tomorrow and going back to my original group.

I’m going to be knackered at work afterwards, especially as I have to walk there too, but I don’t especially care. This is too important! It’ll be lovely to see everyone, so what I might do is weigh in at that group periodically. In fact I really like the idea of weighing in at different groups anyway, especially if I’m visiting a Slimming World friend. It’d be fantastic to meet the people helping them get or stay at target!

This plan of action will mean that next week the days between weighing will only be 6 rather than the usual 7, which scares me a bit. But hell, I need to get over all that. It doesn’t matter if the scales don’t reflect my exact losses because I’m in it for the long haul, and I’ll get what I’m owed the next week if I don’t let it get to me and stick to the plan.

In the meantime, it’s coming up to 11am and I haven’t eaten yet. It’s time to get me some brunch!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x