Crisis

On Wednesday I went for a lovely walk straight from work, at 6 in the morning. My idea was to do my exercise before it got too hot, and I must say as ideas go It was one of my better ones. It was 22 degrees when I finished work and by the time I’d finished my walk I was melting.

The light at that time of the morning was beautiful – all hazy, golden and lovely. I added a bit of contrast to these photos but that’s all, it really was that pretty.

My knee has been playing up again, so after this walk I decided to rest up for a few days. This coincided with that insanely hot Thursday, so as far as having to take a break goes I couldn’t have timed it better.

On Thursday just breathing made me sweat, and since I couldn’t get to sleep if my life depended on it, I decided to use my time productively. One thing I want to work on for the rest of the year is cracking on with my ‘to read’ pile and reducing the clutter said pile contributes to. In that respect I failed miserably.

I decided to start with an easy read, something I could get through in a single afternoon. It came in the form of Things are what you make of them: life advice for creatives by Adam Kurtz.

I bought it after seeing a few snippets on Instagram that were really helpful, but this was in June 2018 and I hadn’t picked it up once since it was delivered. Apart from to move it from one untidy spot to the next over the course of a year that is.

Mental barrier number one: am I really creative enough to be called ‘a creative?’ Well Hayley, it’s not like anyone is checking. You didn’t have to present your Hobbycraft loyalty card as evidence before making the purchase. And what exactly are you doing right now? That’s right. Blogging. Is it not a creative process? And please tell me, when was the last time you went out and didn’t end up on your hands an knees trying to get the best angle for a photo? Some time in 2015 perhaps? That’s right. So just shut up and read the damn book.

What became immediately apparent is that I’m never giving away this book because it’s just too damn useful. It’s not groundbreaking advice -it doesn’t tell you how to live your life, but it got me thinking about the right things and gave me a whole bunch of timely reminders.

This is quite handy, as I appear to be in the midst of a mid-life/existential crisis and could use a bit of direction.

The problem is, I don’t know who I am any more. Going back to who I was isn’t an option either, because I’ve changed too much. She doesn’t exist. I don’t really know what I want or what makes me happy any more – I need to figure it out from scratch. Trying to do that has left my head swimming. I can’t seem to pin down a single thought or make a concrete decision.

What’s more, I no longer trust my own instincts. For a long time now I’ve had the wrong motivations but haven’t been able to figure that out until after I’ve made a terrible mistake. Attempting to question whether I’m doing the right things now have basically paralysed me into inaction. Doing nothing is also not an option, because I’m not happy and want to change things. So how do I know if I’m going to change them for better or for worse? Well I don’t. Does anyone, ever? I don’t know… Asking people for advice is good, and I have people in my life who will give me tough love and honest answers, but I can’t rely on them to make every decision for me. If only it were that simple.

So I’m trying to break it down.

Let’s start with the biggie, but the one most likely to have a simple answer:

Do I still want to lose weight?

Well yes of course! And also, no, I really don’t! Ah, so not so simple after all. The problem is, all of a sudden I am so totally and utterly sick to death of thinking about my weight and what I’m eating. To lose a large amount of weight I think that (for me at least) it was necessary to give it all of my focus to keep that momentum going. But it’s been a long old time since I started – 3 years ago in the next couple of days, in fact – and I’ve had enough.

I believe there will be a time in my life when I am able to intuitively eat well without thinking much about it. In a way I’m already there, because I know the theory well enough, but there’s something in me that goes utterly bonkers as soon as I consider not sticking to a rigid plan. I tell myself I’m ‘just going to eat sensibly’, and before I know it I’ve eaten two tubs of Ben & Jerry’s in one day. It’s been literally years since my eating was this bad.

There are three options I’ve been considering, and the last week or so my brain has been switching from one option to the next over and over, round and round in circles till I’m ready to tear my hair out in frustration.

I could stay the weight I am, call target and work on maintaining. I’ve been interested in the Body Positivity movement for some time now, and whilst my attitude towards other peoples bodies has changed dramatically, for the better, my attitude towards my own has been a lot tougher. So maybe I’m not ready for this after all, as much as I want to be.

Next up, I could go slow. Maybe add an additional Healthy Extra to my daily plan with perhaps a few extra Syns weekly. Still lose weight, but something in the region of half a pound a week. Don’t get too obsessed over things, just let it happen over time. As soon as I consider this rather sensible compromise, I panic. Because it’s in the realms of the unknown, and it’s scary.

Or… just stick to effing plan and lose what, this time 3 years ago, would have seemed an utterly insignificant 1 stone 9 pounds. Just stop whining, get to target and stop feeling bad that it’s taken you this long when it should have been in the bag months, if not years ago.

My consultant asked me last night, ‘on a scale of one to ten, how important is getting to target to you?’ I paused to think about it and answered, ‘an eleven’. So really that tells me I should take the third plan of action, however I am feeling very much like a rebellious teenager and my inner thoughts are saying ‘NO! I DON’T WANNA!

Do you know what though? I just gotta. Well, kinda. My summer plan is something between options two and three, because I have fun times planned with the siblings -things I want to let my hair down for, plus a wedding to go to. The wedding isn’t too much of a problem, because as official photographer I’ll be snapping away all day and night, apart from the sit-down meal. So it’s not going to be the major blow-out such an event would have been once upon a time. If I drink, the not-so-happy couple may well get 500 out-of-focus shots with my finger in each one, which would not go down too well.

So, back to the book I read. It has fab advice for creatives, but a lot of it is also helpful for life in general.

Am I mentally ready to move forward? Maybe not just yet, but I’m working on it.

I’ve been thinking about what I want to do with my life, and one thing always pops back to the surface without fail. I want to start my own business doing creative things. As I’ve found recently, something like that is just too overwhelming for me, so I’ve decided to break it down into steps.

First of all I considered what my motivations are. For me, it’s that I like making stuff, but I struggle to make stuff unless I have a purpose. Also, if I keep making things then what the hell am I going to do with them? Especially as I’m desperately trying to declutter. My answer then, is to sell the things.

In the meantime, I want to get better at the things. At school I absolutely loved filling in sketch book after sketch book, so phase one is to just practice and have fun, learn and enjoy. I’m not thinking past that point until I’m ready.

I’m also going to decorate and have a properly complete room for the first time in my life. It’s only recently, after getting my POANG chair in fact, that I realised how much my environment affects my mood and productivity. Once I had a place I was comfortable to hang out (and oh boy is it comfortable!) I was so much more content to sit and doodle. With Pea on my shoulder of course.

In order to fund the first part of my renovations I’ve decided not to take any unpaid early finishes from work until the next pay cut-off point, which is the 10th of August. Last week I did a full week for the first time in months, and weirdly it just occurred to me that I found it easier than usual. I didn’t even have a single energy drink last week.

Huh. I suppose it ain’t all doom and gloom after all!

As usual I feel better after untangling my thoughts in a blog post. I left this post to simmer during the day while I went out for shopping and lunch with my sister. We started at IKEA where I got some REALLY cool stuff for my room (more on that in the future, this post is getting LONG) and ended up in Wagamama for lunch where I tried the ‘vegan egg’.

The dish is 10.5 syns and it was nice, but I couldn’t help looking over longingly at my sister’s bowl of ramen. However I am glad I tried it, because I’ve been meaning to since it came out and I would have always wondered…

After a nap I can tell you that I’m ready to crack on with Slimming World now. If a shopping trip tells me anything it’s how important it is to me to reach my target. I saw so many nice things that I’d feel so much more comfortable in with another stone or so off, so that’s what I’m going to do. Get to flipping target and wear the nice clothes!

Thanks for reading this excessively long post,

Hayley x

Responsibility

What with one thing or another, when my week off work came around I felt that it was desperately needed. What I forgot, since I was wrapped up in all kinds of different thoughts, is that I don’t do well with that much time to myself.

I’m not going to be hard on myself, because I got more done than I usually do and that’s an achievement. A massive room sort, lovely time hanging out with Pea, seeing friends, quality sibling time, walking loads, binge-watching Stranger Things, taking time to read… but I always feel sad by the end of the week and wish I hadn’t booked so much time off in one go. Long weekends are the best breaks for me, I just need to remember that.

Although I do have a whole week booked off in September there’s not really much I can do about that. In the first half of the week I’m camping with my brother, and in the second half I’m photographing my friend’s wedding. I’m starting to get a little nervous about that, but they’re the good kind of nerves. It’s something I’ve never done before but for once in my life I’m not actually doubting my abilities. Well that’s a weird feeling!

Since I’ll be so fully occupied I doubt I’ll have time to feel sad.

As far as eating goes, I have been eating all the things, but miraculously I have still hovered within a few pounds of the 14 stone mark. My body seems to be really happy at that weight, and I can easily maintain it whilst having a really unhealthy diet. I could call target right now and ‘live my best life’. Is that what I want though? Is my definition of my best life one where I settled for less than I wanted? Do I want to keep up with what could easily escalate into an uncontrollable binge/purge cycle? Maybe once, but not now.

I’ve been so unsure of myself lately. I’ve been stuck in a rut, especially as far as Slimming World goes, and I’ve felt boredom settling in. I spoke to my sister yesterday about perhaps stopping my membership for a few weeks, then I thought it through on my own. Then I got another opinion from a trusted friend, and eventually figured out what it is I actually want and need.

I need a fresh start, that’s for sure, and I’d absolutely love to have my old consultant Amanda helping me get to target. Now I’m just a plain ole member again I’m free to switch to her group if I wish, but I feel bad about leaving my existing group.

Y’know what? I’m sick to death of feeling bad. I can be miserable and guilty where I am, or I can change things and be happy in the long term. I have to remind myself – I’M NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR EVERYONE ELSE. I feel the most ridiculous amount of responsibility, so much more than anyone would probably guess. There’s someone at work with a poorly family member. I don’t even know him that well at all but when talking to him about it I felt guilty that I didn’t know how to make him feel better. That’s just… stoopid! Most of the time just being a friendly ear is enough.

I was reading this post from Elsie from A Beautiful Mess about how she changed her life, and although she wasn’t giving advice, simply sharing her experience, I was inspired to do something similar.

I had a pretty notebook with no particular function, so rather than let it sit there gathering dust I’ve used it to list a whole bunch of stuff I want to change, do and work on. There’s no time limit, though in general I’m thinking along the lines of the remainder of the year, and my plan is to just flip through it and decide which thing to do next.

Some will take longer than others as I’ll need money (such as re-carpeting most of the house) but others are simpler, like making a doctor’s appointment I’ve been putting off or not ripping pages out of my sketch book if something isn’t ‘good enough’. I think it’ll be a fun, useful and eye-opening project.

So, a plan of action. I’m back at work tonight which always makes eating healthy easier too, so back on plan it is. It’s soooooo hot this week, I’m going on my walks straight from work so I don’t get burnt to a crisp, and I’ll go to my group next week and explain to them I’ll be moving on after that. Simple, right?

Now I’m hanging out in the garden until it’s time for my pre-work nap.

Bye for now!

Hayley x

Rivalry

I don’t normally check the weather before I go out walking, but something made me have a look before bed yesterday. In the morning thunder storms were forecast, and since I was going walking in the woods I figured it would be best to wait till the afternoon. I really don’t fancy getting hit by a bolt of lightening.

Before I left the house, just before midday, I double checked. The forecast was cloud then sunshine. Perfect!

In a bid to attempt to free the legs, I got myself some cargo shorts. I wish I’d done this sooner – they are so comfy and airy!

What I might do though, is invest in some of the quick-drying variety, because as I arrived at the nature reserve the heavens opened. The other day I got rained on plenty, but this was something else entirely. It was like someone had poured a bucket of water over my head, and I could barely see in front of me. Then the thunder and lightening started, but since I was well in amongst the trees by then there wasn’t really much I could do but carry on.

I was soaked through to my under crackers.

There’s a bit of friendly rivalry going on between me and a friend, to see who covers the highest average daily distance over the month. With this in mind I walked to the nature reserve rather than driving then walking, did my old 5k running route, then crossed the road to another part of the reserve to go to the visitors centre.

There I bought 2kg of wild bird seed, as you do, because I figure it’s nicer for the profits to go to the Essex Wildlife Trust than some big corporation. They do some damn good work y’know. Plus it’s more exercise lugging the extra weight home.

Since my friend is tracking in kilometres I decided to do the same to make it easier, and I covered almost 20 of them today. Not bad.

As the sun came out to play I was almost completely dry in a very short space of time, apart from my bottom which stayed soggy all the way home.

Can we just take a moment to appreciate how ridiculous I must have looked taking that photo?

From there on in I was able to appreciate the reserve more, so of course I went and got myself licked by a cow. As you do.

Everything was all so nice and fresh after the rain. So good for the soul.

And it also won’t be long till there are plenty of blackberries to forage. I’ve been making a mental note of all the best spots to go back to.

So yesterday I went to the cinema for the first time in months, with a zombie-nut friend to see The Dead don’t Die. I don’t have much to say other than please don’t bother seeing thus awful film! I feel it is my duty to warn you. I kind of see what they were trying to do – they were trying to make a commentary on the materialism of modern society, which could have been interesting but OH MY CRAP IT WAS JUST SO BORING TO WATCH. Go ahead, be arty, have meaning, but Jesus make it watchable yeah? Just a thought. It was so bad, four people couldn’t even make it to the end and walked out!

I’m going to a boot sale tomorrow with the same friend, which will hopefully be a more successful venture. Plus it’s massive so I’ll get more kilometres in. I can’t go wrong.

I’m up early for that, so it’d best get to bed.

Until next time!

Hayley x

The Beacon is Smaller

It took me a while to get around to this post, mainly because holiday mode morphed into EXTREME holiday mode, mixed with some EXTREME instances of attempting to eat my feelings.

That wasn’t my intention. I was going to face my gain (5.5lbs on. Damn) then get on with things. I would be in for another gain on Monday, but I can’t make group because my sister is visiting and I don’t want to have to rush off. It’s been too long since we had a proper catch up.

Tuesday I went with my brother to his fishing lake, which reinforced what I already knew – that fishing would never be for me even if I did think it would be a good idea to put a hook through something’s face, which I don’t. His biggest catch was a bream, which was absolutely smothered in horrifying goo. That’s normal apparently.

This was my view for the day. I was content to mainly sit and contemplate how I was going to tell my friend I no longer wanted him in my life (something I wanted to think carefully about as I don’t do well with confrontation) and attempt to get some colour on my milk bottle legs. Despite rotating regularly, the sun decided to give me two thin strips of sunburn on the front of my legs and nothing anywhere else. Strange.

This summer I’ve been brave and started baring my arms, and I want to do the same in the leg department at some point. However before I’m comfortable enough to do that I would like them to be slightly less pale. I’ll keep trying!

It was such a gorgeous day. The lake was teeming with butterflies, dragonflies, damselflies and we were sat right opposite a little family of moorhens with two adorable little babies. Sadly I couldn’t get a good picture of those, but a damselfly did land right on me which was handy.

Later on, I did manage to speak to my friend and now that chapter of my life can be closed. I went for option B in the end – I explained why I had to do what I had to do, as hard as that was. Wednesday I had a cathartic day of sorting through pretty much everything I own, deciding what to throw, what to give away and what to sell at a boot sale.

It helped me sort through some feelings too, but to be honest I still feel awful about the whole situation. This person has caused a lot of pain in my life, and whenever I’ve taken gradual steps to protect myself in the recent past, it’s taken a while for me to adjust to the new state of affairs. This time I have to do the same thing, but I take comfort in the fact that this is the last time I ever have to do that. Then it’s over, finally. Only healthy friendships from here on in!

A walk with my little brother yesterday also helped. We started at Ivinghoe Beacon, which we first visited in April 2016. This was a few months before I started my current membership with Slimming World, and the first time I really started trying to get out into the world.

This is the beacon, and it seemed like such a huge undertaking for us at the time. We were so unfit, it really was a feat getting to the top. We went back again in April 2017 as part of preparing ourselves for climbing Snowdon, but even then it was still quite difficult.

Yesterday, it felt as if the beacon had shrunk. It was an absolute doddle! As much as I’ve struggled with my diet for over a year, at least I can say my fitness hasn’t suffered.

After scaling the beacon in no time at all, we then went on a 15 mile walk along The Ridgeway, which is a National Trust trail that starts at the beacon in Leighton Buzzard and ends 87 miles away in Wiltshire. People have been walking The Ridgeway for 5000 years, so although it’s pretty cool to walk the route and imagine what kind of people had been there before us (kings, knights, bandits, wenches, vikings…) the novelty of that wore off pretty quickly.

Although I’m ordinarily happy to keep walking until I drop, it was all a bit samey and we quickly became bored of traipsing through forest that all looked exactly like the last stretch we walked through. At least we know now though – The Ridgeway isn’t quite our bag and rather than try the next stretch of the trail it’s probably better if we look for something new for next time.

One thing that is pretty awesome is that we didn’t even sit down until we were about 8 miles in, and the only reason we stopped in the first place was so my brother could get the stones out of his boots. After that we didn’t stop again until the end of our 15 mile route. Even then we didn’t need to stop, it was just that we had arrived at a convenient place. That’s pretty impressive in my book.

Something that’s apparent is that we don’t have much luck with this part of the world – every time we’ve been here the weather has been awful and we got rained on, a lot. Although having said that it was quite refreshing!

Plus I did see a slug eating a mushroom, some cool fungus, and I had a fight with a tree. Now I have a lumpy head. The tree won.

On today’s agenda is making plans for staying on plan over the coming weeks and months, eating well, then this evening I’m off to the cinema for a nice, mindless zombie movie.

Perfect.

Hayley x

Holiday Mode: Engaged!

Yesterday I made a couple of mistakes. First of all, I agreed to do something I didn’t really want to do. I’m aware I’m being annoyingly cryptic, but I’m trying to find the sweet spot between telling you what’s been going on and airing my dirty laundry in public.

Sometimes the relationships we have with people (I’m primarily talking about friendships here) naturally run their course and you just end up drifting away from each other. Sometimes a person is toxic and although the friendship clearly isn’t a good one, it takes some sort of action to get things to their inevitable conclusion.

In my life I have one person who really isn’t good for me in any way, and although I’ve been seeing less and less of said person, for my own peace of mind I know it categorically has to be zero contact from now on. My options are a) block and ignore, or b) face up to it and explain to the person, then block. I feel like the bad guy in both of these scenarios.

After sticking to my guns and staying on plan whilst eating out at Wagamama Sunday afternoon (om nom nom, kare baruso ramen, 14 syns) when I got home I went for option c) eat a load of crap to bury my feelings. Ugh, so dumb. I wasn’t even hungry. I have a nice relaxing day planned tomorrow, so I shall choose which option (a or b, no more c!) to take then actually follow through with it.

In the meantime I’m not exactly looking forward to weigh in because not only did yesterday happen, I’ve also puffed up like a balloon again. I have sausage fingers! So it’s gonna be a gain, however it’s not so bad. I already have my next plan of action. Screw SP, I’m going back to my happy, carb-filled life. Rather than boost my weight loss, SP just gives me a tummy ache, so there’s no point in trying to do a whole week of it. I also know without a doubt that yesterday evening’s slip up is definitely confined to yesterday, and won’t be creeping into this lovely, fresh new week. Onwards and upwards, and no letting a bad few hours turn into a bad month.

So yes, it’s now holiday time! I’m not going away anywhere, but I am really going to enjoy this week. Last night I kicked things off by starting series three of Stranger Things. I intended to watch just one episode then go to sleep, however one episode escalated into the whole series. I liked the second series, but it didn’t blow me away, however the latest offering was right back to original form. Totally loved it. As such I ended up going to sleep at 3am. Oops!

Today I’d planned to do some sorting in my room, but instead I slept in very late and ran out of time. But hey, that’s what holidays are for right?

Now I have to get ready to go to group and find out what the damage is. I’ll update you tomorrow, hopefully from banks of a rather lovely lake.

Until then!

Hayley x

Bloat

I feel fat today. Except I don’t, not really. My sister pointed out to me a while ago (after reading about it on the internets) that fat isn’t an emotion. Once you realise that, you allow yourself to think about what’s really going on and then you can deal with it. Lightbulb moment.

Physically, I’m bloated. I currently have trapped wind and hiccups, and my tummy is noticeably bigger than it was yesterday. This doesn’t stop me looking in the mirror and automatically thinking ‘oh god I’ve failed!’ even though I’ve been absolutely spot on with my diet for the last 19 days. Not that I’m counting…

In fact I was going to blog yesterday about how slim I’m feeling and how it only took 18 days of eating healthily for things to start to turn around. The fat feeling isn’t real.

I’m also into week three of no at-home weighing, and the only reason I’ve resisted this week is that I’m scared they won’t show a loss. If they haven’t budged much for a second week (or at all) then it’s going to hit me hard. I’m trying to tow the line between staying positive and not getting my hopes up too much. That’s a difficult balance to get right!

Mentally I’m worried. Worried that it’s not working for me right now, worried I’m not making progress, worried my (considerable) efforts are for nothing.

This is all really silly though, because I KNOW it works. I know it works for me. I lost 5.5lbs the week before last, and it’s unlikely my biology has changed that much in the last fortnight that I’m no longer capable of losing weight. Very unlikely. Now it’s written down I realise how utterly ridiculous my own brain is. Get a grip brain.

So, now I’ve established that, actually, everything is fine, I can crack on. It’s out of character for me, but next week I may well do some proper food planning. Usually I’m a total carboholic, and not eating copious amounts of potatoes would leave me grumpy, ravenous and from time to time give me a banging headache. Recently though, where I’ve been trying to increase my Speed food intake, the carbs have naturally dwindled. As it’s happened gradually I haven’t had any adverse effects.

This week has been SP-ish (SP is a part of the Slimming World plan designed to speed up your weight loss, focusing on especially low energy-density and high-protein foods) so next week I may well try a whole week of full on SP. Since it’s supposed to give me an extra decent loss, if it doesn’t work I intend to bury my face in a giant plate of delicious wedges!

This is an example of one of my SP-ish meals. Loads of veg with Aldi sweet potato burgers, which are THE BOMB.

I’ve also been on some excellent walks over the last few days. The first one was to town, where I got some fantastic bargains. I don’t think I’ve ever even been in a Laura Ashley before, but I spotted some nice things in the window alongside a sign for up to 60% off. That’s my kinda sign.

I bought two lovely dresses to wear straight away, and then I did something I haven’t done for a long time – I bought two dresses to slim into… in a size TWELVE no less. I tried on a very warm, wintery dress which I suspect I’ll virtually live in when the weather turns again, but the 14 was on the verge of being too big already. Come November I’m going to be wearing that dress.

When my sister visits next I’ll get her to take some pictures (it’s already decided that I’ll give her a little fashion show to show off my purchases).

The other walks were in my favourite park, and I’m really enjoying being truly functional when it comes to my appearance. I may well get a funky hair cut in the winter, but I’ll see how I feel closer to the time. For now I’ve been pinning my hair back and going make-up free most of the time, so I’m ready to leave the house and get walking in record time. Plus the less make up I wear the more my skin condition improves.

I even have a tanned face for the first time in my life!

It’s a far cry from this time three years ago.

After reading the latest Slimming World magazine I’ve been inspired to update my motivation wall, and I’m awarding myself new weight loss certificates as I re-earn them. That’s the perks of almost being a consultant I suppose.

The pegs represent half a pound each, and there are 32 of them. When they have all been moved to the bottom string, I’LL BE AT TARGET!

Next week will be completely full of good things. I only have tonight’s shift then I’m off work till a week on Tuesday. Most importantly though, it’s going to be full to the brim of positive, healthy pursuits.

Bring it on.

Hayley x

Right Buttock

In my last post I described myself as clumsy. I’d like to add ‘accident-prone’ to that as well, because clumsy just isn’t adequate.

I’ve been away this weekend, but before I went I hurt my fingers by accidentally punching a cupboard. I reached to get something out of it, missed, and somehow punched it instead. That’s just me.

On the long, long drive up to visit my friend my accident-proneness thankfully didn’t extend to the car, because I had quite enough trouble to be getting on with thank you very much. I haven’t had much luck with the M25 lately – last time I did a long journey I got stuck for hours as both sides of the motorway were closed while an injured child was helicoptered out and the police investigated.

This time an hour was added to my journey to avoid multiple crashes on the M25, and although in general I’m happy enough as long as traffic is moving, my new route sent me around the outskirts of London, which is nightmarish. Sirens everywhere, people cutting each other up left, right and centre, shouting, horns blaring, a set of traffic lights every five minutes… not fun.

Eventually I made it onto the M1 where a lorry had broken down in the middle lane of three particularly narrow lanes, in the middle of a huge stretch of roadworks, and was causing absolute havoc. Add another half-an-hour to my journey. Yay!

As these things go it wasn’t too stressful, because there was no particular time I had to be at my friends and for once in my life I wasn’t too desperate to pee. I arrived with dry underwear and plenty of time for us to do something fun.

The fun thing came in the form of disc golf, which is like golf but played with frisbees which you have to get into a metal basket. Golf is something I’ve never been the slightest bit interested in, so I wasn’t expecting to like disc golf either, but it was actually awesome!

The park it was in is absolutely beautiful, and I was doing loads of exercise without even realising it. It was also a gorgeous evening, so even a few mishaps couldn’t bring me down. In fact they added to the experience.

Before I went away I shared my location with my mother via an app on our phones, because I usually forget to tell her I’ve arrived safely or give any information as to what I’m actually up to. Shortly into the course I get a text from her:

‘It’s saying you’re in the river Avon. You’re not in the river Avon are you?’

Or something along those lines. My reply?

‘Well… I’m not in the Avon now.’

The thing about frisbees is, it’s really hard to get them to go where you want them to go. I’m also not very good at throwing things (weak arms) so one of my discs was almost guaranteed to go in the river. It didn’t go too far in, so I was getting that baby out!

It is nothing short of a miracle that I didn’t fall in.

Later on I lost a disc in a huge patch of nettles, and although I had to admit defeat, that didn’t stop me from trying.

I got stung. A lot.

There was plenty of laughing and plenty of swearing as I tried, and failed, to beat the nettles down with a stick whilst getting stung around the ankles. All good fun. Then later on, as it started to get dusky and the grass started to collect dew drops, I slipped whilst walking down a hill.

I always, ALWAYS land on my right buttock, and it ALWAYS hurts like hell. Once a boyfriend of mine picked me up. I was feeling pretty good because I’d lost quite a bit of weight at Slimming World at the time (the time I stopped going and ended up putting it all back on) but then he dropped me and, you guessed it. I landed on the right butt cheek. The annoying thing though is that it never bruises, so although it hurts for days afterwards I never have anything to show for it. Life is sometimes so unfair!

For the next day we had planned an epic canal walk, but sections of it were closed off for repair so we gave that a miss (for now, anyway) and just ended up doing a local route before heading back home to chill out while the rain eased off. My friend is just getting into walking and isn’t quite at the ‘all weathers no matter what’ stage.

Later on we just chose ‘a nice bridge’ as a place to aim for and ended up here.

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It’s not my usual way of doing things, but we did end up doing more than 20 miles over the course of the weekend, so I can’t really complain. As for me, I prefer to drive somewhere especially nice then explore from there rather than having to do a long trek through town first.

Sunday morning we went to a boot sale, which I was quietly optimistic about because people from that area seem to give away/sell much nicer stuff than I am used to at home. I have been on the lookout for a cheap Ikea POÄNG chair since I first sat in one over a year ago, at another friend’s house. He lives in the same area, and got his chair super cheap. The friend I was visiting also got his POÄNG chair locally and it was also super cheap. Surely it was my turn?

The boot sale turned out to be really small, but… there was someone selling one! They’re about £60 to buy new, but this one was going for £15. When I asked how much it was going for the seller informed me that a lady had just enquired about it and gone off to get her husband to carry it. However, since no cash had yet changed hands he was happy to give it to me. I felt a bit bad but, y’know, I’ve been waiting for sooooooo long and I wanted it sooooooo badly. So eff it. I now have my comfy chair! Plus I saved that poor chap from having to lug it around, because it really is heavy.

Now I’m back home again and feeling rather pleased with myself. My friend is getting healthy but he is still in the phase where he doesn’t want to give up the ‘nice’ things. Therefore he’s been trying to convince me (and himself) that we deserve the nice things, because we walked far.

My mindset is currently a million miles away from his, so I was able to say no over and over, to the suggestions of pizza, rhubarb crumble, chocolate, and (a favourite of mine) Wagamama. I could have fit a huge bowl of ramen (14 syns for my favourite one) into my day, however he had convinced me to go to a cafe for breakfast and I’d already used my syns for the day on wholemeal bread as the best option available to me was beans on toast.

On the return journey various crashes and holdups mercifully only added half-an-hour onto my trip, and I’d already prepared by packing Quorn vegan ham and cherry tomatoes as my car snacks.

I passed about 20 McDonald’s as I drove home, and I must admit it did take a lot to not stop off and order five portions of salty fries. No one would know, after all. But if I want to get to target this year I have to stay strong. So that’s what I did. When I got in I didn’t feel much like cooking, so I just whipped up a plate of Free pretend chicken and, exhausted, got myself to bed. After assembling my chair of course!

Although this weekend has been slightly lacking in the Speed Food department, I have stayed on plan overall and I’m dead chuffed with that.

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This morning I went out for a walk in the park whilst hoping that the fresh air would clear my head and let me remember where my GODDAMN KEYS ARE. Thankfully I have two cars (sounds fancier than it is) and most luckily the car keys don’t live on the same keyring. So I am still able to get out and about.

I only have one key to each car, so I really need to find them. They can’t have gone far, I drove the car home for eff’s sake! I’m really trying not to let it wind me up. That won’t help anything.

Several Hours Later…

The keys have been found! I sometimes put them on the water butt (as you do) whilst I’m carrying heavy things in through the back door. For some reason I decided to check in the clump of weeds wild poppies growing at the base and there they were! What a numpty.

I’m now back from weigh in. I’ve lost half a pound and I’m cheesed off, because it’s not an accurate reflection of my week. I’ve worked so damn hard, but clearly my body doesn’t know that and how I deal with this for the next seven days is pivotal to my success.

Normally I’d be thinking ‘what’s the point, may as well go and eat crap’ but deep down I know that if I just carry on, then it’ll likely show as a nice big loss on the scales next week.

Time to stop repeating past mistakes. I’ll just keep going.

Hayley x

The Knob Fell Off

I’m clumsy. No matter how far away I am from something, you can guarantee I’ll manage to stub my toe on it. Yesterday morning little piggy was the unfortunate victim, and much swearing was done. But there was still walking to be done, so I just got on and did it.

I needed to go to town as I’m in the market for proper walking sandals that will look better than trainers, for when I want to walk far but also want to wear something nice. On Sunday for instance, sandals would have been perfect.

And cooler too, my feet were way too hot. I found some I liked that weren’t made from the skins of dead animals, but they didn’t have them in my size anywhere so I had to order them online from somewhere else and pay £12 extra in the process. Damn. They’ll get a lot of use though so I’ll take it on the chin.

Not content to just walk to town and back, of course I had to go through the park and say hello to the goose army.

By the time I got home my toe was rather painful, and when I took my sock off I soon discovered, also purple. Toes aren’t supposed to be purple.

Being clumsy by nature also means just getting the hell on with things for the most part, so I just carried on regardless and all seems fine today. I give it roughly a day before I do it again.

So, how did I get on at group? To be quite honest apart from everything looking up anyway, I knew that our group was being covered by a very special consultant. I’ll happily admit I wanted to be teacher’s pet, so that was extra motivation for staying on track last week.

This is Ryan, and he’s such an inspirational, motivational person. Most importantly though, he’s an all-round diamond of a chap. I haven’t come across anyone who’s met him and doesn’t think the exact same thing.

It was fab to have him in group for my first weigh in this year where I had no idea what to expect. Oh the excitement!

I lost… 5.5 pounds! I also had a friend of mine join last week who was convinced he wouldn’t get a good result. He lost 7.5 pounds on his first weigh in! Another lady I got talking to when I was out promoting lost 9.5, and it was also her first week. So much awesomeness all round!

There’s a lovely lady in my group who is part of the social team, and I’ve never met a member more supportive than her. She helped me so much when I thought I was going to be a consultant. My uncle also joined our group last night and went on to tell me that I’m distantly related to her. All this time I’ve known her and she turned out to be family. Mental.

Can we have some icing on this cake of a day? Well why not.

For the first time in YONKS I got Slimmer of the Week. I was totally not expecting that. I also got my Platinum Body Magic award which means exercise is now a part of my day-to-day life, forever. I was thinking about when I would qualify for it (the member decides themselves, when they are ready) and I realised how much my fitness meant to me when I genuinely didn’t have time to do as much as I’d like.

Now I have more time I’ve barely sat still and I’ve LOVED it. I have a great active weekend planned too. Can’t. Bloody. Wait.

Today I have been out tackling the garden, which is frustrating because although I worked really hard my Apple Watch didn’t give me enough credit for it. I even got in a bin!

After that I gave my friend a lift to pick up a rather beaten up ex-Royal Mail van, and in return for that he’ll fix my knob, which came off in my hand as I was driving yesterday.

Hopefully once that’s done I’ll be able to damn well actually drive my new car! It’s just so typical of me though. Always something silly going wrong, but now I’m feeling better I was able to just laugh at it. Knobs falling off isn’t the end of the world.

Well then, I may as well go off and have another good week!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Perfect Week

I’m currently laying in bed feeling tired, a little crisp (sunburn, didn’t realise how… sunny it was) but most of all content.

For the first time since I’ve had my Apple Watch I’ve had a perfect week – meaning I achieved all of my activity goals every single day. Finally!

What’s more, I’ve had a week of being perfectly on plan for what I believe is only the second time this year. It hasn’t even been that difficult, which is something I struggle to get my head around. Why, oh why does it have to be so damn hard sometimes and plain sailing the rest of the time? Why am I unable to channel whatever it is I’m doing now during those other times? If I had the answer to that I’d be sorted for life.

For the first time in a long time today I went on a little adventure with my siblings. I was looking at Google Maps for potential walks near a friend’s house as I hope to one day badger him into getting a little fitter, when I swiped a little bit too far and ended up in Kent.

Quite accidentally I came across ‘Deer Park’. On further investigation I found out it’s part of a National Trust site called Knole House, so that’s where we ended up going.

The whole place is rather beautiful, but I fancied being outside on such a lovely day so rather than pay full admission I asked if it was ok to just explore the grounds. Their website said the car park gets really full on Sunday’s so we arrived slightly before opening, and as the gatehouse was unattended at the time the lady at the information desk told us we didn’t have to pay a thing. Result!

As soon as we entered the grounds we discovered that the deer are really not difficult to find. Some hang out near the house and are clearly accustomed to scavenging from visitors (even though you are told not to feed them) where as some who seem to live nearer the middle of the park are a lot more skittish.

It was great for all kinds of nature. We saw woodpeckers, squirrels a rabbit and plenty of bugs.

And a huge mushroom. I didn’t pick it though.

When it comes to food these kind of places can be really difficult for me, especially if they’re National Trust. They sell a dark chocolate-covered bar of marzipan which I find really hard to resist, but resist it I did. We bought packed lunches so everything I had was Slimming World-friendly.

After all this hard work if I don’t get a good result on the scales tomorrow I may well throw a hissy fit. This week has also been the first week in maybe a whole year where I haven’t weighed myself at home at all. Not even once. Weigh in will be complete surprise, and I’m already a bit nervous about it.

Not long till I find out though! Here’s to another good week ahead,

Hayley x

Up Again

Ah, sweet relief. I’m finally starting to feel human again! Things aren’t perfect of course (nothing ever is, that’s life) but I feel like doing things again – doing them because I want to, not forcing myself because I know it’ll make me feel better in the long run.

Now the fog has considerably cleared from my brain I’ve had time and headspace for reflection. It started with thinking about what I’ve done so far to tackle my weight and what I’m going to do moving forward. What I’m really going to do, instead of continuing to break my own promises.

I updated my motivational wall and that was quite telling. Although my best loss through Slimming World is 8 stone 10 lbs, my current loss is 7 stone on the nose. Interestingly I got my 7 stone award in 2017, and as far as numbers go I haven’t made much progress since then.

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However, the fact I’ve managed to keep off 7 stone for a year and 8 months has exceeded my wildest expectations.

Someone at work the other night asked my how my diet’s going, and it brought me up short for a moment. Although I talk about being on and off plan, I genuinely don’t feel like I’m on a diet. I use the word diet occasionally as sometimes it’s just easier, but bouts of emotional eating aside, this really is forever. As such the idea of ‘being on a diet’ actually feels quite alien. I like that.

I finally feel like I’m really ready to carry on where I left off when I was steaming along for months on end. They were good times.

I’m so happy I’ve started feeling better just before the end of the month, because I do love a fresh start and a new beginning. It just so happens that we’re also on the cusp of the crossing the half-way mark of 2019, and I feel that I’ve learned enough over the last few days to set me up for a fantastic second half.

This week’s goals are all in hand – despite 31 degree heat I still got out and filled my exercise ring today. I can happily take this heat, because I got what I wanted – a whole load of glorious sunshine! I just walked up to the church on the hill and back, but it was enough to get my heart pumping.

I’ve been eating well, enjoying it, and I have a weekend of good things to look forward to.

One thing I have learned lately is that walking is something that’s absolutely essential to my wellbeing. While I was busy I honestly didn’t have the time or energy to do the amount I wanted, which just compounded how awful I was feeling. I’m damn well delighted to be back outside with Mother Nature. Yesterday I saw THREE RABBITS. Three! Funnily enough they didn’t stay still for a picture so this will have to do.

I also got the tyre done on the new car, had the air conditioning re-gassed… then found out there’s water leaking from somewhere. Last week this would have really peed me off, but this week? Not so much. I’m sure I’ll get it sorted, and I still have my existing car to use for as long as I need to. Ain’t nothing getting me down.

Right, it’s now time for me to go get ready for a measly four hour shift. I’m leaving work early as I have a fun thing planned for tomorrow. More on that later!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x