A Mixed Bag

My head has been a little bit all over the shop lately (I say lately, more like for months and months) but at the moment it’s compounded by pure tiredness. I’ve simply been trying to cram too much in and something had to give somewhere!

This weekend I went to see a wonderful blogger buddy and we had some fun times, but on Sunday I reckon everything just caught up with me and I had to go home early. By the time I got back my lips had turned blue (slightly worrying), my hands had turned purple (also not great) and even though I’d been in a car so warm that my iPhone came up with a temperature warning message and wouldn’t work again until it cooled down, I just couldn’t get warm.

Sleep fixed me though, and after sleeping the whole afternoon and all through the night I just about managed to put my weekly sleep average up to seven hours. Some people can get by on less sleep, and for weeks I myself have been getting by on 6, but that clearly isn’t sustainable for me and I need to make sure I get more down time.

Anyway, it’s not all doom and gloom! On Saturday, because the weather was awful, my friend eagerly agreed to see Avengers: Infinity War for the second time. Well, his second time and my first. I really feel like Marvel have found that sweet balance now between action, comedy and story and I loved every minute of it. It’s just pure joy to watch!

After that I had my first ever meal from Las Iguanas since I don’t have one near where I live and I only even learned of its existence fairly recently.

I had hearts of palm to start, which I thought I’d never had before. But it was only a couple of weeks ago when I was out with my trainer and I had something from his plate that we couldn’t identify. Now I’m pretty sure that’s what we were eating. It was nice, but I probably wouldn’t bother having them again.

The Brazilian curry however (moqueca de palmitos) was flipping amazing and I could eat it all day long. They had a fair few vegan options too, or veggie options that can be made vegan on request. I’d highly recommend it as a very tasty and vegan-friendly place to visit.

In the evening we were eating out again. I bloody love trying new places, and it turns out the restaurant we were visiting, Fusca, is the first fully vegan restaurant I’ve been to. I’ve been to a few places in London but since they are takeaway restaurants as far as I’m concerned they don’t count.

I really enjoyed the whole atmosphere of the place and I cannot even describe how nice it is to be able to order a glass of wine without having to do extensive research first to find out whether it’s vegan or not!

The food was tasty, but perhaps a teeny bit overpriced considering that the portions were quite small. That’s probably a good thing though, it means I didn’t feel guilty for getting dessert. Which was DELICIOUS by the way!

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The day after getting home the weather was awful but really I still needed to make up for overindulging at the weekend so I did an hour on my exercise bike. It still astounds me that I can even do that – I remember struggling to complete ten minutes when I first got it. The remainder of the day was spent fairly restfully, but I still didn’t manage to get a decent sleep. Which I put down to a lack of proper training.

Yesterday I went out training on my own and oh my, what a start to the month! The weather was absolutely perfect for running. It was sunny but not too warm, there was a fresh breeze and along most of my route it was dappled shade. It was so gorgeous, and the vibrant colours everywhere made my heart happy.

I didn’t break any records this time around. Well, I can’t smash a record every single time I go out now, can I? But I did feel absolutely fantastic and loved every minute of it. Today the weather is back to being awful so I’m using the time to catch up on some rest, do boring household chores and do some meal prep for the rest of the week. Exciting stuff!

Then I’m training for the next three days in a row which should help regulate me sleep and help me to get better quality sleep, then I have a relaxed Sunday with my lovely siblings planned.

Life is tiring, but good!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Friendship

April is turning out to be all about friends. After being sociable with the work people, today I’ve visited one of my oldest and bestest friends who moved away from Essex to the lovely city of Canterbury. Luckily for me it’s only an hours drive away, and an easy drive at that. Really I should visit more often, but life gets in the way and we always leave it too long. But when we do meet up, we make the most of it!

I went for my run first thing this morning and I timed it just right. I got to the park just after the gates were opened and there were already a fair few cars there, but by the time I left the car park was RAMMED and there was someone waiting to take my space.

My run was nowhere near as hard as I thought it would be. I felt like I wasn’t doing very well, and I nearly gave up after 2.7 miles. In this park I normally do 3.5, so I had a stern word with myself and carried on.

It turns out I broke a new record and have shaved a significant amount of seconds off of my personal best!

I’m so close to being in the 11 second bracket that I can taste it.

I’ve posted a few things about training on social media that my friend has seen, but he thought I was just doing lots of walking. When I told him I’d actually been doing bona fide jogging and sprinting he was really impressed. He even told me out of all the people he knows I’d be in the bottom five of anyone he’d expect to ever go running. I took that as it was intended (as a compliment) because it’s so far removed from the Hayley he first met ten years ago it’s unbelievable. And I was so unhappy back then, this is just more evidence of how much things have changed for me.

After a quick cup of coffee we headed into town to get some grub. We went to the Lady Luck Bar which is just incredible for vegan options. As soon as I saw the menu I knew what I had to have – the Rick and Morty baguette!

It was amazing – the best thing I have eaten in a long, long time. The chilli mayo was divine and the crispy fried pickle Ricks are a work of pure genius. That Szechuan sauce? Delish!

I followed it up with a vegan honeycomb sundae which has even won an award it’s that good.

Unlike when I’ve been eating ‘naughty’ food at home this week, I don’t feel as bloated and awful after this meal so I’m hoping it doesn’t affect my training tomorrow.

I was really disappointed with myself the last time I went out with my trainer, and I don’t want a repeat of that.

After our meal me, my friend and his lovely girlfriend went on a nice long walk where they indulged me while I searched for things to photograph. I didn’t spend too long trying to get decent shots, because it’s too antisocial and I get kinda caught up in it, so I just took some quick snaps without overthinking it. I’m still happy though, it’s a good visual representation of our day!

It was also the first day this year I’ve been able to comfortably walk around with no coat or jumper. More of that please!

I have to wait until the end of the month until my next meet up with a very special friend, but it’ll be worth the wait. It’s going to be awesome.

In the meantime I need to get myself right back on track, and of course I will because I always do. That’s the key – never give up!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Pushing Through

This week I have been exceptionally tired. It’s entirely hormonal – even with a decent sleep I’ve been feeling totally drained,  but that doesn’t happen often because there’s the added bonus that when I’m hormonal I also sleep less. So yeah… I’m not feeling in peak condition!

I took this photo before doing my makeup a couple of days ago.

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Forget bags under the eyes, I’ve got suitcases! Thankfully the act of putting on makeup fools me into thinking that I am actually alive.

After that photo was taken I did a busy shift at work, had five hours sleep, then got up for my third training session of the week. My trainer pushed me even harder than on Wednesday, and I pushed myself even harder still. On the biggest hill he was telling me to just make it to the post (half way up) but even though my muscles were screaming I kept going till the very top. I was slow, but I did it.

Being hormonal does make everything tougher. Apart from causing havoc with the scales, I can look at myself one day and see something I quite like, then the very next day I can look again and see something completely different. I have no doubt that in a couple of days I’ll start feeling slim again but right now I feel tired, frumpy and hungry.

But what I will do is push on through all of that, because I want to achieve my goals more than I want to curl up with a hot water bottle and hide from the world.

Training for today has been rescheduled for Monday because of yet more snow. It seems incredible that yesterday I was running in 14 degree heat, sweating buckets and more closely resembling a tomato than a human! Just look at the difference in the sky in less than 24 hours…

Come what may, tomorrow I’m going to dress up warm then take a gentle-yet-no-doubt-bracing walk into town. The reason for this is because I need to pick up some exercise clothing more suitable for warmer weather – as soon as the sun comes out I currently melt as soon as I start running. Shopping for summer clothes in the snow, yes, that sounds about right…

Since it’s a right miserable day I’ve just had an epic lunch of Slimming World-style chips, Linda McCartney sausages and Orgran Vegan Easy Egg made up to be like scrambled eggs. It’s my first time trying it and I’ve got to say it’s AMAZING. Next time though I’ll only make up half the recommended amount and try leaving out the oil. I’ve definitely overeaten this lunchtime!

Still, I’m now going to treat myself to another few hours in bed before I have to get ready for the last shift of the week.

Bring on the weekend!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Scary Things

Yesterday my friend phoned me to tell me that we wouldn’t be alone for training today – his son has been off work and is going a bit stir crazy so he’d be joining us. I said no, repeatedly, but it fell on deaf ears. I’ve said it before but my friend is not someone you can say no to!

After no small amount of emotional blackmail I eventually agreed to come, but I had a bad sleep because of it. I’m not good with meeting new people as I find it really stressful. There are other factors that made me worry even more though – I think it’s quite an important thing to meet a good friend’s son at the best of times, but when you factor in the ‘extra’ feelings I have towards my friend it becomes even more so.

And then there’s the fact that it took so much guts for me to go running in the first place, and my friend wants me to train with a bloody semi-professional boxer and regular snowboarder? The guy is fit as HELL. Yeah, I’m sure I wouldn’t be self-conscious at all!

As it happens his son is currently in a brace for a broken shoulder so running wasn’t on the cards anyway. I suspect my friend wanted me to run up the hills regardless, but in the end we were all happy to just have a fast walk, then afterwards we went for lunch at Harvester.

I wasn’t as good as I could have been, because they were out of my usual penne arrabiata and there’s only one other vegan option (stuffed peppers) which is more calorific, but it’s not the end of the world.

It was a really lovely morning/afternoon and I’m glad I went. My friend’s son is an absolutely adorable person and I’m glad to have met him despite worrying about it so much. In fact he’s one of the few people I’ve been able to have a proper conversation to about being vegan. My friend brought it up and he was really interested in how easy/hard it is to stick to and what kind of things I can eat. He’s also already eaten at a vegan-friendly vegetarian restaurant I’ve been wanting to visit and said the food is great. It was so nice to not have the usual ‘but bacon!’ conversation!

Now I’m just hanging around with Pea for a bit while I wait for another friend to finish work. He’s going to look at my car because I’m not convinced it’s as close to death’s door as I originally thought. I have an oil leak which has been collecting in a tray below the engine, which has come loose and is hanging down. So I’m wondering if the milky oil is from there and not an indication that my head gasket is knackered. We’ll see what he thinks later on. I still need a new car soon, but hopefully I’ll have a chance to shop around a bit.

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Seriously, don’t mess with us!

It’s now time for a caffeine top-up so I’ll say goodbye.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

On Plan Pizza?

A couple of weeks ago Tesco launched a whole new range of vegan meals. Most of them are right up my street, and lately some of the range has even been added to the Syns database (a miracle in itself, Slimming World are so slow with thing like that). All of them are really reasonable in syns, ranging from about 1.5 syns to 9. That is, all of them with the exception of THE PIZZAS! There are two pizzas available, but the one that caught my eye was the sourdough caponata pizza.

They didn’t have it in the Tesco Extra closest to me (they only had two out of the whole range which is twelve different meals I believe) so this morning I took a trip to the extra Tesco Extra a little bit further away. I’d say they had most of the range there with maybe two or three exceptions, but they had the pizza I’ve been so desperate to try!

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Fortunately/unfortunately, depending on what way you look at it, they also had the BBQ butternut mac, BBQ beans and mash and a naked burrito, all of which are low in syns and have had good feedback. I’m especially excited about the BBQ butternut mac but that has the longest shelf life so I’m eating that on Sunday.

So back to this pizza. Although I could have frozen it, I weighed up my options and decided to eat it for breakfast. As you do.

I diligently recorded it in my food diary, and worked out how many syns I should have for the rest of the week to make up for it. I will try to have slightly less, because I rarely eat the full weekly allowance of 105 and don’t want to test things to the limit after my successful loss this week!

I also checked out my Fitbit stats because I’m having an excellent week. I’ve smashed my step goal every single day, my calorie burn has been higher than usual, and I’ve been doing regular sessions on the exercise bike. In fact I’m going to do one after this blog, and try to make it 5 sessions a week in future. I’ve been watching an episode of Rick and Morty during each session, which is entertaining enough to keep me going for the duration.

The point is, on paper the pizza (which was 652 calories/32.5 syns) shouldn’t even make the slightest bit of difference to my weight loss. I am still panicking a little, because there’s a voice in the back of my mind saying I’ve messed everything up even though I know I haven’t. I have remained completely in control and completely on plan, and being able to handle having a treat that I really want is key to my future success. I’ve tried this before, and nine times out of ten I let it get to me and everything goes wrong.

But I’m determined to change my mindset, because I want yummy vegan food in my future. It makes me happy!

And practice makes perfect.

So how was the pizza I hear you ask? It was delicious, and worth every single syn. It is expensive at £4 per pizza, but I found it as good as restaurant pizzas and would be happy to pay that occasionally in the future. It definitely won’t be a regular purchase!

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Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

The Last Supper

Since I’ve been blogging somewhat sporadically/practicing self-denial/sleeping for England I haven’t been quite as open about my current situation as I normally am. That wasn’t a conscious decision at all – I’ve been hiding from myself rather than anyone else. As August comes to an end and I haven’t achieved much at all of what I set out to do, it’s time for one of those famous fresh starts.

Yesterday I was in London with my brother, sister, and my sister’s boyfriend. The main purpose of our trip was to visit What the Pitta at Boxpark in Shoreditch, and I must admit to there being something of a having-a-blow-out-before-getting-back-on-plan agenda. I’ve never been to Boxpark before and hadn’t Googled it beforehand, so I was surprised to see that it’s a trendy, modern establishment consisting of several small business each operating out of a stacked shipping container. There must be about twenty different shops all crammed into one street corner. It’s awesome!

There are certain foods that I thought would never be recreated now I’m vegan, and doner kebab was right at the top of that list. But I was oh so very wrong, because yesterday I had the best meal I’ve ever had in my entire life ever. I don’t even know what it’s made out of exactly, but What the Pitta’s version of a doner kebab is just heaven on earth. They start of with this enormous yet light and fluffy warm flatbread, which they smear with hummus and then fill to the brim with an absolute mountain of salad (they’re not stingy at all), and whatever the meat substitute actually is, and then drizzle it with some sort of dairy free minty dressing. Oh my goodness it’s so savoury and delicious and approximately the size of a toddler!

Now although the actual doner is no doubt full of goodness, as part of a calorie controlled diet it’s not going to be helping in the slightest. I’d be very surprised if there was less than a thousand calories in that bad boy. Although yesterday I did a very respectable 21,000 steps I still managed to eat my way into a 7.5 lbs gain this week. That’s on top of the 4lbs I gained last week. But I’m still very, very positive. I’ve been searching for some delicious food that’s going to satisfy a craving and that kebab was it. If tomorrow I feel like eating something naughty, I’m going to ask myself if it will even come close, and it won’t, so what will be the point?

Today I’ve been on plan, haven’t had any cravings, and haven’t felt resentful even once. I’m jumping back in with both feet and even though right now I’m back in the 16 stones (16 st 1.5 lbs to be exact) I’m going to be in the 14’s before I know it. I want all of my gains off by the end of the month, which means I need to lose one stone and half a pound. I can do that, it’s actually possible!

After doner kebab naughtiness we all walked to Hackney in the blistering heat, and of course us being us instead of going somewhere, well, Londony, we managed to stumble across a farm right slap bang in the middle of the city. All these people visiting the Natural History Museum and the Portrait Gallery and the Cutty Sark and Trafalgar Square don’t even know what they’re missing, not to mention the fact that Notting Hill Carnival was on! This was actually a godsend because where everyone was off partying in the street the rest of the city was virtually empty so we didn’t have crowds of people to contend with.

This morning I woke up absolutely raring to get going with the healthy eating, and I also fancied something a bit different for breakfast so I had 14 cashew nuts as my Healthy Extra B choice. I wasn’t all that hungry, so soon after I packed my bag and got going on a long walk to a nearby (but not too nearby) high street. When I got there about an hour and half later, I remembered I needed some jars because I want to make my own pickled red cabbage, so I picked some up in the pound shop (not thinking about how much weight they’d add to the several pounds worth of photographic equipment I already had in my bag) picked up some fresh fruit from Waitrose (new season cherries, yum! And my favourite nectarines of course) and thought about heading back. But I remembered that there’s a park nearby so I quickly had a look to see how far it was. Only another half an hours walk! Well, it’d be a shame not to.

This park has a café, lakes, a boathouse, a statue (I couldn’t find it though) a playground, a pavilion (again, couldn’t see it!) but what I didn’t factor in is the school holidays. Tt was absolutely rammed with people! It was nice that there were so many families out and about but I decided not to stay long. I ate some fruit, got a shot of a moorhen and a young coot, then headed back. It’s not a route I’ll take again in a hurry, because most of the travelling is done next to a very long and very busy main road. The noise started to do my head in by the time I was on my way home, and although I’m getting the health benefits of walking I wonder how much of that is negated by all of the traffic fumes I’m breathing in!

I did what I set out to do though, and I’m currently ahead of schedule with another 28,000 steps today. So far.

I’ve just eaten an enormous pile of completely made up red split lentil pasta bolognese, and I’m feeling like everything is right with the world. The only thing that could cause a problem is those inevetable back-on-plan parps. To my family (even though you don’t read my blog) I am so, so sorry!

To everyone else, thank you for reading!

Hayley x