On Schedule

The other day I was looking back on my losses and gains throughout the year so far. It suddenly occurred to me that I hadn’t lost weight more than two weeks in a row since November last year, which is also the last time I got an award with Slimming World.

Before weigh in I was thinking how crappy it would be if, because of things totally out of my control (ie the inner workings of my body), that I failed to break that trend this week. I wasn’t exactly feeling negative about it though, I was just preparing myself for that particular outcome and making decisions about what I’d do next.

I had it firmly in my mind that if that was the case I’d just carry on doing exactly what I have been doing and wait to get the loss I was owed. If I don’t have a plan in place I might be tempted to go off the rails which is the very worst thing you can do in such situations.

But, and this will come as a surprise to absolutely no-one, I needn’t have worried. I tell myself about ten times a week to trust in the plan, but come weigh day there are always the same doubts.

I lost 2.5 lbs, and got my flipping 7.5 stone award! I got my 7 stone award on the 28th of November last year, so this one has been a bloody long time coming. I could beat myself up for taking ten months to get it, but actually I’d say this is the one I’m most proud of. This is certainly the one that I tried the hardest for, when there are so many, many times when it would have been easier to give up.

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Can you even imagine how glad I am that I didn’t? Where would I be now? Nowhere good, that’s for sure.

And do you see that shiny, sparkly little number there? Yep, most surprisingly I also got Slimmer of the Month! I’m absolutely buzzing right now.

So that means I’m still on schedule to hit target by the end of the year, something that I’m keeping in the forefront of my mind. I’m actually ahead of schedule, but still aiming for a 2lb loss every week. For every week I do better, like this one, then I see it as a bonus and that I’m giving myself even more time to get to where I want to be if things slow down.

Even though I’m feeling positive and VERY excited, I’ll be honest – there’s a certain amount of fear that’s going with it, something I didn’t think I’d be feeling at this stage.

I’m really scared that it won’t be enough, which is silly because I already know it won’t be enough. What I mean is that losing the last stone is not going to magically make all of my problems disappear. I know I still have to work on accepting the imperfections in my body (of which there are many) and learning to do that could take a whole lifetime really.

What do they say? Feel the fear and do it anyway. Because there’s no alternative really. At least if I’m a healthy weight then I’m giving myself a body that’s capable of fighting for all the other stuff rather than slowly killing it with sugar.

I do still think I may have to adjust my target weight at a later date, but for now 12 stone 10 pounds is where I want to be. I won’t know for sure how I’ll feel till I get there, but this is the weight I’ve had in mind for literally decades so it’ll be mind blowing when I get there. I have no idea how I’ll react!

Once there I’ll spend a little time maintaining and getting used to my new weight before I decide what to do next. Either way it’s always good to have a plan, even if I don’t always stick to it.

Yesterday I took some photos I was really happy with. My friend bought me a bunch of flowers to say thank you for getting his prescription, but he also accidentally broke the heads off of a load of them. Of course I didn’t mind, there were plenty left in tact and I decided that the others were begging to be photographed. So I took them out into the garden for a little shoot.

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When someone buys me flowers I always take photos anyway, because then they will last forever, but I’m especially happy with these.

The light was briefly rather beautiful yesterday, then it turned damn cold. So it was lovely to wake up this morning to a message from my union rep asking if I want to trial some new thermals. HELL YES I DO! Every year that goes along I can stand the cold less and less, so who even knows how I’m going to cope this year. Hopefully these new thermals are something special, then maybe I’ll wear them at home, too!

Soon I’m walking into town and I’m on a mission to visit every charity shop there. Which is probably for the best because most every other kind of shop has shut down anyway. Hopefully I can find a nice bargain, and get my exercise done in the process.

So I’d best get cracking!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Doing Too Much?

I’ve had a really good week, where I’ve tried to cram in as much as possible. But by the time Saturday night came around it occurred to me that I may be pushing myself too hard.

I suppose the way I’ve felt over the last week can only be described as driven. And I’m just so excited about everything right now, about the possibilities for the future rather than not being able to see past the next day.

On Saturday I got up after only a couple of hours sleep in order to be an awesome friend. One of my bestest chums was working overtime and had no possibility to pick up his prescription before he ran out so I offered to get it for him. So pick it up I did, then I posted it through his letter box.

This friend happens to live right near my favourite park, so I took my brother with me and we went for a wander. A two hour wander actually. Week three of my Gold Body Magic is now complete!

The weather was boring, all grey clouds and flat and ‘orrible. But that’s why I like photography, because even if on the surface everything looks rubbish, if you look closer you can always find something beautiful. Ok, you can’t beat beautiful golden light, but there’s still good stuff to be found.

And even more good stuff.

My brother opened a few of these little things up and it seems that an earwig lives inside every single one. That a lot of earwigs.

Later on we came across a herd of cows I’d tried to approach before but they were way too nervous. But I had little bro with me, and he has a curious affinity with cows. They weren’t interested in him (one gave him a sniff and went back to munching on its grass) but they didn’t run away either, as they did with me.

I zoomed in on one cow when I got home and had to laugh. Even though she’s just chewing the cud she looked super grumpy!

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By the time we got home I crawled straight into bed, but I didn’t sleep very well. As soon as I get disturbed, to wake up for a tinkle for instance, I’ve been finding it really hard to get back to sleep again because I just want to carry on with my day.

This is great in one way, but I need to make sure I don’t burn myself out or I’ll be right back where I started before I know it.

As such when I got into work and found we were seriously overmanned, I jumped at the chance of an impromptu night off. To be honest since I’m out of annual leave I had to take it unpaid, which isn’t exactly sensible given my current financial situation, but this will now come out of my pay at the end of October. So I have plenty of time to adjust my outgoings accordingly. That’s how I’m convincing myself it’s OK anyway!

I actually ended up having a fantastic weekend, doing some walking and hanging out with friends. I really enjoyed a rainy wander through the glen Sunday morning.

Since I’m feeling in a cooking mood lately, yesterday when I got back I made dinner and dessert. I want to cook for people but don’t really want to eat it, so after dinner I made a decadent apple crumble. It went down so well that one friend kept eating it till he felt sick. I’ll take that as a win.

As for me I’ve been avoiding sweet stuff entirely, apart from unsweetened soya yoghurt with fruit and wheat biscuits for breakfast. Because anything like chocolate or ice cream will set off my sweet tooth. With Slimming World (if you aren’t familiar with the plan) nothing is off limits. If you want to eat a chocolate bar every single day and still lose weight, you can totally do that (though it might not be the healthiest way to go!) But when it comes to the sweet stuff I always crave more and more once I get going, and since I’m really enjoying my food lately I’m going to carry on with cutting these things out entirely. It seems to be working well for me anyway, as I haven’t felt deprived at all.

On Thursday I have another friend coming over for tea but I’m planning on making him something healthy. He’s been working so hard and such long hours, he hasn’t had time to feed himself properly and I want to get some goodness into him.

Other than that I want to make sure I get a good balance for the week ahead with plenty of sleep as well as exercise and creativity, because I need food for the soul, too.

Tonight is weigh in and I’m not sure how it’s going to go, because my hormones have gone a little up the wall and I’m feeling huge. But then I felt like that last week and it all turned out OK anyway. Time will tell!

I’ll update tomorrow with how it went.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

In Search of ‘Cheese’

I told a lie. I told a big, huge, whopping mountain of a lie. I said I wouldn’t mention Christmas again (yet) but I’ve started to get excited and, y’know, since all my self control is currently being channelled into getting to target something had to give somewhere.

In the family group chat it was decided that this year’s budget will be £10 per person. I think last year it was £20, but I went a bit overboard with special gifts and spent way more than I was supposed to.

This year I’m going to stick to the rules, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be effort involved. I’ve already bought five (very nice) presents and only spent £3.77 in total so I’m off to a great start, but I’m also going to be making some gifts too. And in order to do that I need to start on my projects right away.

I intend to do this every year, but this year I really will because I’m actually feeling the creativity. I mentioned this to a friend who asked me to draw him a picture, so I did. Or rather, I painted it. It’s so hard because I’m never entirely happy with the finished article – all I can see is everything that’s wrong with it – but I need to just carry on anyway. I can’t get better if I don’t practice.

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Considering it’s generally months and months between me picking up a paintbrush I suppose I am happy with it really, just not ‘showing anyone else’ happy. But I’ll still give it to my friend, because it’s time to get out of my comfort zone once and for all. And to practice some consistency!

Yesterday morning I went on a little mission straight from work. The first stop was the big Tesco which is right out of my way, but it’s hard for me to get Oumph vegan products anywhere else. I do love my burgers and sausages, but I could feel that I needed something a little different. I wanted to change things up a little bit before I decide I’m bored and fall off of the wagon.

The kebab spiced pieces are one of my all time favourite things and they really did the job.

I also picked up Tesco’s own unsweetened soya yoghurt (newly Free on Slimming World) and discovered that I really like it. I was expecting it to taste like soya milk, which I can’t stand, but nope I found it really tasty. It has a nice yoghurty twang which I suppose comes from the bacterial cultures in it.

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Next stop was Sainsbury’s to try to find the Daiya cheddar-style cheese which now counts as a Healthy Extra. The only problem is, by now I was feeling pretty tired after my night shift. So by the time I got into Sainsbury’s I wasn’t quite with it and spent far too long fruitlessly looking for Koko cheese. Which Sainsbury’s do not even stock.

Thankfully though I stumbled across the Daiya products and thought I may as well have a look, before it slowly dawned on me that I was supposed to be looking for them anyway.

I was in for a shock though – a 200g block is £4.50! I bought it anyway, because I came all that way on a mission and I damn well wasn’t leaving without it.

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I decided to just sprinkle it on my dinner (chips, roasted veg, kebab pieces, YUM) and first impressions as I was grating it were good. The other brands I’ve tried are all rock hard but this was soft and grated really well. It melted well too.

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A little (40g) went a long way, plus although it smelled a little weird it had a really good taste. After being horrified at the price and vowing never to buy it again, to be honest I probably will. But only once a month I reckon.

Daiya have been around in the US for a while and have only just started selling in the UK, so I hope that once they’re more established and more supermarkets stock them, the price will come down considerably.

Either way it’s nice to be able to support a vegan brand and have it fit in easily with the Slimming World plan.

In other news I had a delivery today after forgetting to cancel my Papergang stationery subscription. Is anyone else a total stationery addict? I bet you are. I’m pleased I was forgetful, because this months box was designed by one of my favourite artists (Gemma Correll) and was very apt taking recent events into account.

It’s all about self-care and I love everything in the very generous haul.

So much good stuff! There’s a notebook, a huge poster with a calendar on the back, stickers, a notepad, an A4 poster, a November calendar (one of these comes with every box and I LOVE them) and even a cuppa, although tea with beetroot in it does sound a little rank…

I put a couple of bits up on the motivational area above my desk. Wonderful!

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Now it’s that time of day again and I must get on my (exercise) bike and do some weights. Then hopefully tomorrow I’m out for a nice long walk, even if it rains!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Once Around the Lake

I had to get up early today after only a couple of hours sleep in order to get to my doctor’s appointment. The doctor wanted to see how I was getting on with the antidepressants before giving me any more.

I thought back on how I was feeling just a few short weeks ago, and it honestly feels like a fog has lifted from my brain. My main problem when I was feeling my most anxious was ruminating, which Psychology Today describes as repetitively going over a thought or a problem without completion. These thoughts completely consumed me to the point where I felt I couldn’t take it anymore. And that’s when I went to the doctor’s for help.

I’m not saying medication is right for everyone or will even work for everyone (scientists still aren’t sure exactly how antidepressants even work), but during week three the side-effects subsided and I’m not saying I felt immediately OK, but I did get a sense of clarity back.

I can think clearly again!

One thing I was thinking over and over, is that I was a ‘completely useless piece of sh*t’. They were the exact words in my head. Now I can remember the things I do like about myself, and although I’m not perfect I can see that I’m made up of a mixture of good, bad and everything in between. Just like everyone else. It seems glaringly obvious. It IS glaringly obvious. But when you feel like that you just can’t tell yourself these things and actually believe them.

The doctor has said he’ll keep me on this dose for six months with a view to weaning me off of them at the end of the course. I’m happy with that. What I do want, after a rollercoaster of a year so far, is simply stability. I have my routine back, I’m happy, and I just don’t want anything to change (too much) for a while.

Of course change is essential, we can’t grow without it, but some things I’m happy to keep as they are just until I’m positive I’m back on my feet.

But the future’s looking bright anyway!

I only had one pill left so I put my prescription in straight after getting out of the the doctor’s. It was a 45 minute wait, so even though I was pretty tired I decided to get the day’s exercise done right away and headed for the park.

The park was very quiet – I felt the odd spits of rain so I guess most people didn’t want to risk it. I have recently started hoarding an umbrella in my bag because it’s still too warm (most of the time) for a coat, however it would have been completely useless with these winds we’re having. They aren’t too bad here but if you are badly affected, then please stay safe people.

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Luckily it didn’t chuck it down, not that I would have really minded anyway.

Most of my walking was done getting to and from the park, so once I was there I just did one lap around the lake. But that lap took quite a while, because I was very busy getting tons of Boomerangs of fallen leaves (every time I pressed the shutter button the winds mysteriously dropped) and I look even longer getting distracted by pretty leaves.

A passing lady smiled at me as I was jumping up and down in order to grab a branch that was out of my reach. I never succeeded. Bad times.

I also scoped out a few horse chestnuts because after a friend mentioning conkers on his blog the other day I now really, really want some. I am so easily influenced.

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Damn, They’re not quite ready yet though. I’ll just have to keep checking back.

As it happens in terms of active minutes I’ve already smashed this week’s Gold Body Magic goals (twice over actually), but I still need another two active days in order for it to count. I’m feeling very outdoorsy lately so believe me, that will not be a problem.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Going for it!

Oh my, so it’s all kicking off again in the Slimming World community it seems! Yesterday the news broke that all flavoured yoghurts will now carry a Syn value, and of course, people aren’t happy that the Mullerlights are no longer free.

For me though, vegan agenda aside, I think this is a good thing. Even before I went vegetarian I stopped eating Mullers because basically I thought they were crap. Overpriced, chemically tasting, watery nastiness. But it is really easy to overeat them, and although they’re ‘only’ 99 calories per pot, if you eat six a day (as some people I know have done) then there’s a chance it’ll negatively affect your losses. Slimming World are just trying to protect our losses, and I’m glad they’re on the ball.

It’s an unpopular opinion among the plant-based members out there, but I agree with Slimming World that avocados shouldn’t be free. I would like to see them given a Healthy Extra allowance or maybe even see the Syns reduced, but if they were free… oh boy, I doubt I’d lose a single ounce!

But there is some EXCELLENT news for us vegans. In fact I was the only one in group last night with a massive grin plastered across my face. Canned jackfruit is now FREE. Plain/smoked seitan is now FREE. And… AND…. we even have FREE plain yoghurt we can eat! I’m chuffed to bits, because it’s nice to be able to plonk a dollop of (soya) yoghurt on a curry or something without having to worry, or to make a salad dressing or whatever.

I’ve just checked the app and Alpro, Asda, M&S and Tesco unsweetened plain soya yoghurts are all free now. Wonderful!

Some Syns for the Alpro yoghurts have increased by a small amount, but again I’m not bothered. I’d rather have to use an extra half a Syn than be frustrated that I’m not making as much progress as I should be.

To top it off we even have TWO vegan cheeses we can use as a Healthy Extra now, but I wasn’t able to get either in town yesterday. But on Thursday I’m going out hunting so we’ll see what I can find.

There will be a new book coming out late December reflecting all the changes, and I’m pretty sure current members will get a new one for free. At least that’s what’s happened in the past when I’ve been a member.

You can read all the info in full on the Slimming World website, which I’d recommend because there are other changes I haven’t talked about here.

Anyway, enough of that. Let’s talk about yesterday. I’ve got into a really good routine where I pop in to visit my dad before going to group (he lives just around the corner) then I leave the car at his then walk the rest of the way.

But yesterday I’d just got up to leave when I realised I’d left my book and card at home. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem, but since I joined at another group (and wasn’t sure if my details had been transferred over) I’d probably need my card in order to weigh in.

So I rushed back home, grabbed my book, and rushed back to group. I did make it (with plenty of time to spare actually) which was such a relief because I was very anxious indeed to find out how I’d done. It turns out because it’s the same consultant at both groups I needn’t have worried, so that’s good to know for the future!

I held my breath and stepped on the scales…

3lbs off! 

I now weigh 13st 12.5lbs (mini goal achieved, yay!) and have a mere 1st 2.5lbs to go till I reach my target weight.

Now, I’ve been giving target quite a lot of thought and it occurred to me that it’s now truly within reaching distance. At first I was worried to even think about it, but I’m feeling so confident about Slimming World at the moment that I’ve decided.

I’m going for it. I’m going to try to reach target BEFORE Christmas. 

For me there are 13 weigh-ins lefts before the big day, and if I lose 2lbs a week I will be at target in nine weeks. At the start of the year I was convinced that I would hit target in 2018, but assumed as time went on that I’d blown it. But it IS still possible. There is a chance I’ll fall short, but eff it. I’m going to try anyway.

How amazing would it be? I’m daring to dream, and why the hell shouldn’t I?

Group itself was fab as always, and by the end I was absolutely made up to have got Slimmer of the Week. When you have been at it for as long as I have (I’ve been on this current ‘journey’ for over two years now) you just don’t expect to get it any more.

But get it I did, and it was a very generous haul. Among other things there was a bottle of Fry Light, some delicious looking apricots, a tin of water chestnuts and a bunch of flowers. What a nice thought! I especially thanked the lady who put them in because it was such a lovely idea and really brightened my day.

Earlier on in the day I made a fantastic start to week 3 of my Gold Body Magic Award with a 2.5 hour walk around the park and into town. I was thinking about putting it off till today but I’m so glad I didn’t, because the light was so much nicer yesterday.

Along with other kinds of mojo I’m definitely getting my photography mojo back. My favourite thing from the walk though was a silvery bush where the odd few leaves had gone yellow and green.

One of my favourite things ever is light shining through the leaves, so it was good to be able to combine these two things.

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Just… gorgeous.

In town I didn’t get much except a couple of bottles of Fry Light, and a little retro robot for my brother for 99p, but it was such a lovely day I’m really glad I got out. Of course it goes without saying really, but I did feed the geese as well.

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It’s back to work tonight so my only real plan for today is to get some exercise in and have a nap. Normally I’d feel that this wasn’t ‘enough’ but I had a really active weekend so what the hell!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Earls Colne, and Other Things

Last week was really good. Friday was my brother’s birthday, and although I had work that night I stayed up for the afternoon/evening in order to hang out with the family. And it was great! It’s testament to how much better I’m feeling as hanging out with brother, sister and mother (and all the noise and chaos that brings) was so much fun.

I also had my Body Magic for the day to complete, so I took my hula hoop and kettlebells downstairs and socialised at the same time. When my brother got home from work we had a laugh by comparing what weights we could lift and how many push ups we can do. It wasn’t really competitive – my brother is really tall and naturally strong, I’m tall and fairly weak in comparison, and my sister is a tiny little thing – so we all knew how it was going to go anyway. I still had to laugh at my sister trying to lift a 10kg weight, while everyone laughed at me trying to do one of those push ups where you clap on the up part (and nearly smashing my face into the carpet while I was at it!)

Things are so different to how they used to be. When we were kids my sister would be out with her friends, my brother would be playing Runescape on the PC, and I’d be trying to get him off the PC, because it was my turn dammit! Then my sister would come home and also want the PC, and the place would turn into a war zone.

But the real difference isn’t that we are all such good friends now (although that’s awesome and one of the best things about my whole life) it’s that we are so much more healthy and active. I’m not sure we’d be as close if we didn’t get out and do things together.

Speaking of getting out, the weekend has been very outdoorsy. I went to visit a friend on Saturday on one condition – that we go out for a walk. I had a load of stuff I should have been doing that day, mostly to prepare for my Sunday, and if I was going to put it off it had to be for a good reason. For one thing I wanted more Body Magic, and this particular walk meant I completed week two of my Gold award. Whoop whoop!

Signs of autumn are beginning to show everywhere, and I have a very strong impulse to make the most of every single day before everything is grey and barren again. Autumn is one of my favourite times of year, and I don’t want to waste a second.

When I got home I got myself straight to bed for an hour’s sleep, then made sure I got up in time to at least do some prep.

Me and my brother agreed that we were going to do a walk from my ’50 walks in Essex’ book, that I bought months ago and hadn’t looked at since. Weirdly, since I’m useless at planning such things, he left the choice of walk and all the details up to me.

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So I chose a walk, worked out how long it would take us to drive there, how much sleep I’d need in the morning in order to do the drive safely, and told him what time we were leaving. Then (even more importantly) I pre-made my lunch for the next day, because if I don’t have food with me it could mean disaster. That done, I toddled off to work for my final shift of the week.

In the morning we were out of the door by 10:15 am (I almost managed 3 hours sleep) with plenty of coffee in tow. We were headed to Earls Colne to do a 6.5 mile circular walk which would take us through Chalkney Mill.

I had a little moment where I wasn’t sure what to wear – I didn’t think I had anything warm enough to hand (the weather looked a bit grim) but eventually I decided on a t-shirt dress and leggings because I’d no doubt warm up during the walk anyway.

I made the right choice – when we got there the skies turned blue and we were treated to a beautiful day. So beautiful I was starting to worry that I should have bought sun cream with me.

Do you know what my favourite part was though? THE FOOD! First of all we found plenty of blackberries, and since I’d left my lunch in the car to have once we were finished these were most welcome.

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Further along the route we came across an apple tree, but all of the fruits within reaching distance had been started on by birds and bugs. But I had my brother with me, and he’s always up for a challenge. He found us a couple of really tasty looking apples.

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I do like apples, but I’m seriously fussy about them. I’ll NEVER buy them from a supermarket (unless it’s for a pie or crumble) because they are invariably disappointing. The apple I had from the tree though – it was hands down not only the best apple I’ve ever had, but the tastiest fruit I’ve eaten in my whole life hands down. It was utterly delicious!

Later on we came across a friendly little family, whose young son was very interested in what I was doing with my camera. I was photographing fungus at the time (as you do) and I marvelled at the fact the kid has clearly been raised to appreciate the outdoors rather than simply plonked in front of a TV or tablet. Most other kids his age would probably be more familiar with technology than nature.

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I don’t normally know what to say to tiny humans (I find them quite frightening) but it was easy to explain what I was doing and show him the camera screen. Then we got talking to the dad who told us what other kind of fungi we could expect to see around this time of year.

As it happens we didn’t see any stinkhorns (although I’d really like to) but it’s good to know they can be found in that area for when we return at a later date. As I’m sure we will.

In contrast to all the nature, one part of the route also took us directly underneath a pylon. I’m quite happy with that, as I’ve never been so close to a pylon, so I took the opportunity to get an ‘arty’ shot.

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When I got home I had leftover curry that I made the other day which was completely Syn free, packed with Speed foods and even tastier than when I originally made it. Thinking ahead has definitely helped me this week.

As it happens I have group this evening and despite feeling really confident earlier on in the week today I’m feeling a bit bloated so I don’t know how it’s going to go. What I do know, is that I have been completely on plan without a single slip-up for two whole weeks now. And that feels soooooo good.

Another thing I know is that if I don’t get the result I want today, I’m just going to carry on what I’ve been doing. I’m not going to use it as an excuse to have a blow-out.

The only other plan I have for today is to walk into town (Body Magic, yay!) and hunt for Koko vegan cheddar which has been spotted by my fellow vegans in Home Bargains. When I first went vegan there were no cheeses you could have as a Healthy Extra, but this one does count so hopefully I can get my mitts on it.

On that note I’d best get cracking, so I’ll say goodbye for now.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Already?

Guess what popped up on my (dedicated Slimming World, no less) Instagram feed this afternoon?

You’ll never get it, so I’ll tell you.

MINCE PIES. 

This is too early, even for me! I’ve found combining slimming with veganism really hard, not because finding vegan options is a problem, but because there are so many options now.

My trigger foods have always been pizza and ice cream, for as long as I can remember. I thought that not having access to these things would really help my efforts – I can no longer order a 20″ pizza and a tub of Ben & Jerry’s right to my door for £15 after all. But then along comes the release of two (incredible looking) vegan pizzas and a vegan Magnum in the last couple of weeks alone. Oh and Violife have bought out a mozzarella substitute that I like the taste of and melts really well.

That’s now six or so vegan pizzas that are readily available in major supermarkets! And now the vegan mince pies are popping up already. Damn.

Of course I’m not really complaining, it’s fantastic for the vegan movement after all, but it is really hard not to get carried away and try ALL THE NEW THINGS.

I feel a sense of responsibility to try to support businesses making the effort to bring these products to the shelves, but for my own benefit and the benefit of others attempting the same thing, my time (and money) will be better spent showing that it’s totally doable to combine Slimming World with veganism.

For those wondering, you can still eat pizza and ice cream on Slimming World (and sometimes I do) but for me personally I find it best to avoid them all together or I will more often than not lose my head and eat way too much.

As it is those mince pies got me thinking about Christmas already (sorry!) and this year I’m looking for some decent middle ground.

Since I properly started my journey (sorry again, that word!) in 2016 I’ve had two Christmases – the first I stayed mostly on plan, only gained half a pound but felt really deprived. The second I was out of control from the end of November till the beginning of February, put on over a stone and felt really miserable.

This is me in December vs me last month. I don’t think I’m imagining that there’s quite a difference there, but it’s genuinely hard for me to tell what with the angles being different and whatnot. I do remember how the Hayley on the left felt though, and I don’t want a repeat of that.

Thinking back on it, what do I really remember about last Christmas? The actual day was brilliant – the best Christmas I’ve ever had. I remember making the Bosh mushroom wellington which is hands down one of the tastiest things I’ve ever eaten, seeing my family’s faces when they opened the gifts which so much thought had gone into, and playing silly games in the evening.

As far as other food and drink goes, the only ‘must have’ vegan things I remember was the vegan Baileys Almande (quite nice but my tastes have changed a bit, wouldn’t bother with it again) a liqueur from M&S (it was revolting) and trying Besos de Oro which is a vegan-friendly Bailey’s kind of drink (doubly revolting). So if I don’t get all of the must have things this year, it’s no big deal and I won’t even remember what they were by the end of January. Unless they stick out in my mind for being particularly awful.

I also stopped going to group at the end of November, and I tell you now, that is DEFINITELY not going to happen this time around!

My plan of action is to not buy anything at all until about a week before the day, because if it’s in the house I’ll definitely eat it, and only buy enough for one single day of eating and drinking.

If a certain item I want is sold out, so what? Does it really matter? Of course it doesn’t! In the meantime I shall write down my plan of action in my journal, so it’s even more cemented in my mind, then say no more about it at least until December.

I’m glad that’s out of my system (for now) and anyone posting festive pictures on social media is getting temporarily muted!

Anyway! On to more pressing matters. Tomorrow is my brother’s birthday, and luckily I can’t eat the enormous cake my mum has bought for him. Considering she’s a diabetic and my brother is doing fantastically well with his weight loss and fitness efforts, I’m not sure it was exactly wise for her to get a 16-portion cake for the two of them, but what can you do.

I used the opportunity to ask her not to buy me any food items for my birthday (which is next month) to which she responded ‘Ok, but do you want a cake?’ Bless her, she really does mean well, but NOOOOOOOOO I don’t want a cake! While I was at it I messaged my sister to ask her not to get me any food either, and to cancel plans we had for a food-based get together. I still want to do something, but it doesn’t have to revolve around food. So I think I’m covered. I don’t think anyone else would get me anything edible anyhoo.

On Sunday me and my brother are doing some sort of healthy ‘outdoorsy’ thing in order to celebrate, though we haven’t decided exactly what yet. Whatever we choose I’m sure it’ll be fun though. He’s my number one adventure buddy.

I also want to start taking more photos again, which is best done with my brother because he’s so patient with me. Some friends wander off while I’m trying to get a good shot whereas my brother is more than happy to mill around for a bit while I get totally lost in what I’m doing.

He’s such a good brother, and I am so lucky to have him.

The Google Photos app has yet again been reminding me that last year I was taking a lot more photos than I am this year…

This needs to be rectified, and I need to get out and do more interesting things, more often.

Today though, so far, all I’ve managed to do is write this post which has taken hours because I keep procrastinating. I reckon I’m done for now though, so it’s time to get exercising. This Gold Body Magic award won’t earn itself you know!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Bad Decisions

This is the third attempt at writing this blog post. Sometimes they just don’t come easily, and in this case it’s mostly because I haven’t had much at all to write about!

This weekend I have made a couple of bad decisions, which revolve around staying up when I really should have had an early night. Sunday I spent the afternoon with friends and had a lovely walk in the park.

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I was planning to get home early Sunday evening, be in bed by 8pm and get up early the next day to get sh*t done. Instead I let myself be tempted into staying and watching a couple of movies. I didn’t have any dinner with me, as it was Sunday the shops were shut, and I was starving.

So we went to the local Co-op which is mercifully open till 10pm even on Sundays, and I was presented with an array of vegan-friendly goodies. Unfortunately only one item (apart from fruits and veggies) also fit in with Slimming World, so I ended up eating a pack of Linda McCartney vegetarian sausages for dinner. It’s only 3 syns for the pack, and I ended the day on about 7, but let’s just say it’s not the most exciting of dinners!

My friend tried his hardest to convince me to have a pack of Jammy Wheels (Co-ops own Jammy Dodgers) which are vegan and delicious, but I wasn’t budging off plan for ANYTHING.

I am very glad that I didn’t let one bad decision turn into two bad decisions.

Yesterday (much like today actually) I found it really hard to get going, even with a shed load of coffee. I did get all the boring stuff done though (laundry, hoovering, cleaning Pea’s cage, blah blah blah…) and got up in the loft to dig out my thermals for work. The days have been lovely and warm but the nights? Yeah, not so much.

In fact in about a month or so I reckon I’ll be digging out my work salopettes, but I’m hoping I can lose a bit more weight before then.

Last year was the first year I was able to fit into them – before then I’d end each winter shift on the verge of hypothermia. I’m not even exaggerating – it would take me hours and hours to warm up. I’d go to sleep straight away because I was so tired, but be woken up an hour later by my body being absolutely wracked with shivers despite having the heating on, extra blankets and two hot water bottles. I’d touch my thighs and they’d still be ice cold to the touch. It was no laughing matter.

Yet last year I had one of my biggest non-scale victories to date when I could not only fit into the salopettes, but also not feel that everyone was looking at me and sniggering behind my back.

This is me when I first got them last November, and I already know that they fit me better already despite only being a few pounds lighter now than I am in the pictures. Because of the exercise I’ve been doing my body shape has changed quite significantly and I’ve lost a good few inches from the waist and tummy area.

I want to make as much progress between now and… whenever it’s so cold that I have to wear them, so that they feel really different when I wear them next. Then next year I can get another pair (we get a free pair every two years) because the only thing better than one pair of the coziest salopettes you can possibly imagine is having two pairs!

Speaking of making progress, last night was weigh in and for the first time in ages I was really looking forward to stepping on the scales. I didn’t feel like I’d managed to lose much, but I was confident I had at least lost something. Which is a rare feeling these days!

So I was pleasantly shocked to find that I lost 4.5 pounds.

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That’s more like it!

Group was another good one, though I did miss the lady who gave me the high five last week. She’s on holiday in Devon (and determined to stay on plan) so I’m looking forward to finding out how she got on next week.

I now have 1st 5.5lbs to go till I reach my target, and it occurred to me yesterday that it’s still within the realms of possibility that I could achieve that this year. I’ll try not to think about that too much though, as I might get disheartened.

One day at a time, Hayley!

I did spend a little bit of time yesterday evening looking at my Fitbit stats and reflecting on how far I’ve come since I started recording everything in September 2015. And as it happens it’s almost exactly a year since I came out of the ‘obese’ BMI category and entered the ‘overweight’ one. As you can see I’ve had some ups and downs (I briefly went back up into obese over Christmas) but I’ve managed to stay ‘only’ overweight for the best part of a whole year.

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My goal for the week ahead is to try my hardest to get into the 13 stone bracket, but I also want to keep a level head and prepare myself for the fact it might take an extra week or two. As long as I keep going, I’ll do it. I’m still bloody excited though!

I went to bed late again last night. Monday’s are always late anyway, because group doesn’t finish till around 9pm, but I also stayed up to watch Deadpool 2 with the family. Yep, another bad decision. I’m so sleepy today! It was good, with some laugh-out-loud moments, but not brilliant.

As such there’s not a huge amount going on today even though there is plenty I could be getting on with.

I’ve just had an Iceland shop delivered, now that there’s enough of a vegan range to warrant getting a whole shop, which has come at just the right time. My local shopping centre is being knocked down and rebuilt, so that it’s had a knock-on effect at the local Lidl’s. They just can’t cope with the extra business, so every time I’ve been there lately it’s been an absolute ordeal. Plus the shelves have been virtually empty anyway.

As I need to save money shopping at the big supermarkets isn’t an option either, so getting the best part of a whole shop from Iceland, for £35 with free delivery, has been a huge help.

Along with these bits I also got a load of fresh stuff, and I’ve sent off photos of the new vegan range to Slimming World so hopefully the bits that aren’t listed will be added to Syns Online soon.

Now I’m off to prep all of my work lunches for the week so I don’t have to worry about that, then I need to get some exercise and sleep in before work. It’s not the most exciting of tasks, but I’m happy that I’m on top of things and looking forward to the week ahead.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Omissions

Unbelievable.

I can’t believe that I completely forgot to tell you how I got on at group on Monday! Results-wise it makes sense, because I gained a pound (boo) but for me that is excellent because I’m usually a big gainer (woo!)

After actually staying at group for two weeks in a row I’m getting to know the people a little bit and they are awesome. A load of us made pledges for big losses this week (I said 5lbs) and the lady next to me even gave me a high-five!

Of course we have no real control over our bodies, and I have no idea if I’ll really lose 5 lbs, all I can do it stick to the plan and hope for the best. But I like aiming high. There’s always the risk of being disappointed if you don’t achieve it, but right now I’m in a good mental place where I know I won’t be too disheartened if I don’t get anywhere near that.

I would also love to get my 7 stone award back. AGAIN (I’m sick of saying that!) so I decided to utilize that little ‘plan of action’ box in the Slimming World book.

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I saw a lady on Instagram yesterday who is a target member with a loss of over 15 stone who writes regularly in hers, so I thought why not give it a try? Every bit of motivation helps.

By the way the lady in question is Debbie Fawcett (debster_sw on IG) and she has done so incredibly well. She also has a YouTube channel (link) if you fancy having a watch. AND she has a thoroughly cute doggo!

I mentioned in group that I need to be more organised and taking the Slimming World meals to my friend’s for dinner yesterday was a winner. The meals have really improved since I last had them, and the addition of a flavoured microwave rice pouch (3 syns for the one I had) made it even nicer.

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The observant among you may also notice there’s a sausage on my plate, which is one of the Sainsbury’s caramelised onion shroomdogs. They’re 3.5 syns each and the most sausagey veggie sausage I’ve ever had.

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They used to be 4 syns and contain egg, but when Sainsbury’s took the egg out to cater for vegans (THANK YOU SAINSBURY’S!) the syn value changed to 3.5. You’re all welcome!

I was also racking my brains about Free/Speed foods to snack on (I’m not a huge fruit eater) and I can’t believe it took me so long to remember… PICKLES! So now I have a cupboard full of gherkins, onions and beetroots.

I’m on schedule for completing week 1/8 of my Gold Body Magic award what with doing half an hour on the exercise bike yesterday, and I’m going to repeat that when I’m done here.

Finally I’m being more active on our group’s own Facebook page, and since no one at my new group (apart from my consultant) knows what I looked like before, I posted a before and after picture. In the picture on the right I’m actually two pounds heavier than I am now. And in the picture on the left I’d already lost over a stone.

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Things may have been tough lately but boy, life was so hard back when that first photo was taken. I’m never, ever going back to that.

There are no excuses – I’m totally fired up, prepared, and excited to have a perfect week. In fact even work has been bearable as each night shift means more calories burned than if I’d been at home, plus it’s another day closer to the weekend, getting back to group, catching up with everyone and seeing how I’ve done.

Bring it on.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

How Long?

Over the last couple of days I’ve started to feel a little better. Calmer at least, and I’ve been sleeping loads. I’m talking ten hours a day, and although I’ve felt seriously guilty for not doing much else, I so needed it.

This morning I woke up feeling alive for the first time in ages.

This time of year is prime photo-taking season, so my Google Photos app has been going a bit mad with ‘remember this day’ notifications where photos from this time last year pop up.

It got me thinking, because I remember each and every time I forced myself to go out walking with my camera because I was feeling down. There’s a lot to be said for getting outdoors, because it did help with my moods, but when I look back on it now I realise that I’ve not been feeling right for over a year now. In fact I wonder just how long this has been going on?

Losing weight really helped, because I was motivated and focused, and the rewards were great. If you start with a lot to lose, as I did, in the beginning things are really exciting. It was a fantastic distraction because I was getting a new weight loss award every couple of weeks, I was getting more energy, compliments about my appearance… Life improved so much in such a short space of time that it was an enormous boost.

I found coping mechanisms when I started feeling down again, and that’s great, but I never really addressed the underlying issues. I don’t even know if there are any underlying issues, perhaps it is purely something chemical going on in my brain. All I know is that since I started perking up again I have been worried that I jumped the gun with the antidepressants, but actually, on second thought, I think it was the right thing to do.

Perhaps this will really get me into a better place where everything isn’t quite so much of an uphill battle. It’s also possible it isn’t just a chemical thing though, so I’m also going to sign up for the NHS’s Therapy For You service, as recommended by my doctor, to see if that can help too. It can’t hurt to try, right?

In the meantime I completely messed up on the diet front yet again, despite feeling quite positive about it at the beginning of the week. I did manage 5 days out of 7 on plan, so that’s something, but I’m not looking forward to weighing in at group this evening.

Uncharacteristically, I’m still going to go. It’ll help me draw that line, and I’m going to try even harder to stay on plan next this week. Also, since I’ve had to stop running I need more structured exercise goals, so I’m going to try for a Body Magic award for the first time in ages.

This time I’m going for Gold, which is 8 weeks of 5 x 30-minute sessions a week. I had a little break from wearing my Fitbit last week, because sleeping so much and not moving enough (and Fitbit confirming that) was stressing me out and making me feel even more guilty. But today I feel ready to jump back on the horse.

So far this blog hasn’t been a very happy read, but there were some highlights last week. Yesterday my friend joined me at the cinema to see The Happytime Murders, and although we were both disappointed with the film, it was still a nice afternoon. As far as the film goes, I wanted to see something silly, puerile and disgusting (which it was, in a couple of places) but it just wasn’t funny or gross enough.

This particular friend has been absolutely brilliant these last couple of weeks, and without his support I think I may have lost the plot entirely. After the film we spent a good couple of hours nattering and catching up, with him making me laugh much more than the film did.

Other than that, I stayed at my sister’s to look after her birds on Thursday and Friday, while she went away for a last minute break before she goes back to school (as a teacher, not a student!) It was hard for me because I found I didn’t do well being away from home, but it also felt good knowing that my sister could have a well-deserved break without worrying about the birdies.

Kiwi was giving all the signs of wanting to attack me so unfortunately she didn’t come out to play, but Petrie was very kind and let me give her neck-scratches. I didn’t get a photo of that because I didn’t have a spare hand at the time, but she did oblige before then…

She is a sweet little thing!

I’ve decided I’m going to blog every day this week, and post everything I eat to Instagram. I AM going to have a whole seven days of being on plan, just like I used to do in the beginning.

NO EXCUSES.

I just hope I don’t bore you all!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x