Coffee with Tom

As the last day of my weekend draws to a close I’m reflecting how I didn’t really have high hopes for this one. I was pretty stressed out and not really feeling like I had much to look forward to – it was mostly stuff that needed to be done, but all stuff I didn’t want to do. If it weren’t for the fact I’m so tired all the time, I probably would have preferred to be at work.

During the week I was majorly cheesed off with myself for not sticking to plan like I initially thought I would, and panicking that I’d never in fact be able to lose weight ever again. Which is slightly dramatic, but hey, welcome to my world.

It seems I didn’t really give myself enough credit though. Ok, I only had one single full day on plan, but considering I dragged myself back to group last week even though I was dreading it, and that I wasn’t exactly feeling ready to jump back on the wagon, in hindsight I count every meal I did manage to have on plan as a massive win. I credit those wins with me bagging a miraculous half a pound loss this week. I’m genuinely over the moon that I managed to go back to group with a loss at all, because it was the last thing I expected to happen!

I’m starting off this week with some fresh perspective, mostly thanks to my friend Tom. He’s a work friend, and one of those I clicked with right from the beginning. Thing is, there’s often a tipping point with work friends, where you’re not really sure if you’re ever going to socialise outside of the work setting. It’s that point where a colleague will or won’t turn into a proper, lifelong friend.

Tom is really good at picking up on people’s moods, and he knew I wasn’t feeling so great, so he dropped me a text to ask how I was. I almost replied that everything was fine. But all I could think to write was ‘poo’. I didn’t have the energy to explain further than that. He asked if I wanted to talk about it, and really I did, but I’m not overly keen on phone conversations so I suggested having a coffee. Then I instantly regretted it, because what if he felt like he had to accept, because he felt bad? I quickly sent another message giving him an out, but he wasn’t having any of it. He wanted to meet for coffee, but it’s really hard for me not to feel immense guilt when asking for or accepting help. It’s dumb, because I know so many lovely people. Sigh.

Talking things through helped a huge amount, and I even came up with a plan to get my energy back. I thought it was all to do with depression, and perhaps at first it was, but I have some other things to try.

Tom suggested that maybe the food I’m eating when I get in from work is why I have no get-up-and-go. Nowadays I feel sluggish at best when my alarm goes off, but more often than not it feels like pure exhaustion. He asked what I eat after work. I thought back to the previous day…

Six mince pies‘.

Ah.

Some days it might be ice cream, some days a few sandwiches, at other times maybe a pizza and ice cream. It stands to reason that if I crash out after doing a night shift, just after eating a shedload of sugar with virtually no nutritional value, I’ll wake up feeling like crap. We are what we eat after all.

Tom said he’s been having a lot of success with oats, and since it’s now flipping freezing at work I’ve decided to have porridge with almond milk when I get in. Along with defrosted fruit and some savvy syns used on nuts, raisins and other healthy bits. It’ll warm me from the inside, comfort me, fill me up, give me slow release energy to hopefully have me feeling better when I wake up, and also be totally on plan.

It’s all part of a cycle. With a proper breakfast I should sleep better. If I sleep better I can wake up energised and I can go for a walk. The walk will boost my mood. The better my mood, the more I want to eat nutritious meals. And so the cycle continues. I just need to take that first step and stick with it till the wagon is nicely rolling along again.

This newfound optimism has come at an opportune time, because although my cold weather stuff for work (namely the salopettes) do kind of fit, they aren’t exactly comfortable. A few more pounds on and they will officially be cutting me in half, and I can’t exactly breathe properly whilst sitting down in them as it is.

If everything goes to plan this week I should have a nice big loss, and they could even be feeling more comfy by the end of the month. I hope so anyway.

After I was sufficiently caffeinated and properly unloaded of some worries I walked home via a church at the top of a big hill, getting my heart rate up and taking some outdoorsy pictures for the first time in a while. It is getting damn cold out there, so I’m especially grateful I found a new waterproof teal coat for my winter excursions. I have that coat, waterproof (yet breathable) overtrousers and waterproof boots, so there’s no excuse for not getting out during this cold and soggy season.

I may not have had high hopes for this weeked, but it looks like it turned out just fine after all.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

A Wet Start

Oh look, it’s November! October was a really hard month for me, but it all turned out ok. I’m alive, I’m breathing, I’m ready to try again continue. Life goes on, things get better, and progress isn’t linear.

I opened a can of worms, which was totally necessary. I’ve been unpacking a load of crap from my past which has made me (amongst a plethora another emotions), angry, sad… and hopeful. There are things I didn’t want to look at ever again, things I didn’t know to look for in the first place, things I thought were gone, but all of these buried things have a way of showing up in our lives without us even realising. Until I acknowledge them and deal with them, I can’t have a full life.

Last week I did wonder if it would have been better not to have opened the can and stay quietly yet comfortably miserable for the rest of my life, but in recent times it’s been anything but comfortable. The only way is forwards.

On a very soggy walk this morning, I had an epiphany regarding my first proper relationship in 2005. When I was a kid my dad would often go out, get drunk and not come home when he said he would. I’m not talking a little bit late, I’m talking more like a day late. Kids pick up on things, and I saw how it left my mum bereft.

Fast forward back to 2005, and the logical part of me knows that all men aren’t like that. Then the guy I was seeing at the time, quite reasonably, couldn’t make the last train home after hanging out with work friends in London and had to stay over. He let me know so I didn’t worry, but I felt abandoned. It was so, so painful. My head knew that his behaviour was reasonable and ordinary, but my body was reliving everything from when I was a kid, making me feel scared, anxious… bereft.

I’ve been reading about how the body remembers what the mind forgets, which I couldn’t really understand at first. Then when I thought back to that example, I totally got it.

What’s more, while I’m waiting for a professional to talk over these things with, I’ve found a Facebook group run by one of my favourite Instagram accounts, Loving Me After We. When you join you are provided with prompts and guidance to start the work of healing. I see this as a very good starting point. I’ll do that and see how I go.

If it gets too much, I’ll remember that this work is difficult, and cut myself some damn slack.

So, this morning, straight after work, I went for a walk in my up-until-today favourite park. I realised that I don’t actually like the park as much as I thought I did – it is good for working out because it’s very hilly, but the park round the corner from me (the one with all the mushrooms) is actually much nicer.

I’ve been avoiding this particular park because I didn’t want to bump into a particular person I know, but I decided to stop not doing things for that reason. It was only when I got there I noticed it didn’t hold the same appeal that it used to.

This is good, because I faced that particular fear so I can stop wishing I could go there. Now I just don’t want to go there!

Having said that, it was still a nice walk. It drizzled the whole time but it was still warm enough and so refreshing after spending a night in a dusty warehouse. I took a couple of photos, but not too many because I didn’t want to destroy my camera, and well, it was mostly just grey anyway.

Anyway, the important thing is that I got out. My new plan is to be out walking Monday to a Friday, then spend time on the more arty things I like on Saturdays and Sundays. I’m going to try hard to get back into a healthy routine.

November goals right there!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Rule Breaker

I’ve been breaking my own rules lately. Some of it has been not-so-good (this is it, I’m REALLY going to stick to plan this time. Yeah right!) and some of it slightly better.

I love getting second-hand bargains, but I always drew the line at shoes because it’s a bit icky. Then I started trying to save money, and I decided to reconsider my used shoe stance.

I joined a vegan Facebook buy and sell group, with the intention of selling some vegan shoes, but instead I ended up buying some. A pair of rather battered purple vegan Dr Marten’s caught my eye – and they were in my size! I’m an 8 so this doesn’t happen often, but since I didn’t really need them I held off and held off.

Until I couldn’t any longer.

I got in contact, paid the seller, then waited a few weeks for them to be posted to me. I paid £35 for a pair of boots that would have been almost £150 when new, but I thought I had been done over if I’m honest! The seller told me she was poorly but no attempt was made to drop me a quick message to keep me updated. £35 is still much more money than I wanted to lose.

Eventually they turned up, and while the seller had been honest about marks and scuffs, no mention was made of the dodgy zip on one of the boots. I found this quite dishonest, and while they mercifully smelled of nothing worse than incense, there were crisps inside them. I’d say Pringles if I had to guess.

Thankfully I managed to salvage the zip for now by bending the teeth back into shape, and they’re really comfortable and I do love them. Having said that I think I’ve had a lucky escape. I’ll definitely go through eBay from now on where at least there’s more buyer protection.

I have two events I plan to wear these to next year – Swingamajig and Shambala festival, the latter of which I bought tickets for today and I’m super excited! They’ll definitely be perfect festival boots, because I’ve never been able to find a pair of wellies yet that didn’t make my big toes go numb.

Yesterday I got out for another mushroom walk, this time through the other half of the nature reserve (two different areas are separated by a road) where I took another 400 pictures. I edited a lot less of them however because many were very similar to the shots taken Monday. Yesterday’s highlights were definitely the puff balls, which are always fun!

I probably should have been a bit more careful because of the spores but, y’know, it’s too cool!

As you may be able to tell from my tone, I’m a feeling a lot better today. I’ve eaten some rubbish, which I’m not exactly happy about, but I’m feeling more positive and just doing what I can.

I’m hopefully going out to socialise with a friend next Friday, though that’s always touch and go because he’s not the most reliable of going out buddies – he’s very prone to cancelling. If he doesn’t cancel (I hope he doesn’t, we’ve been meaning to go out since his birthday in August) then I’m not going to let the way I currently feel about my body stop me from having fun.

Perhaps I won’t have lost weight the following Monday, but I still haven’t given up on the idea of being able to enjoy the odd night out, not freak out about it before or after, and get back on plan straight away the next day. That’s probably my number one diet goal right now and I refuse to give up on it because I know it’s attainable!

Right, I’m signing off now. I’ll see you next month!

Hayley x

Too Much Whelm

I’m overwhelmed. My brain is currently a swarm of angry bees. When I think about moving forward and making progress with my goals, it goes something like this: Ok, so I need to get this weight off. Which means I need to be PERFECT every day without a single slip-up. I need to be out walking, no running, and preferably doing kettlebell workouts too, and I need to keep on top of the washing, and no early finishes from work, and spend more time with Pea, and Newton, and mum, brother, sister, friends, have a better social life, draw more, make more, be more creative, blog more and if we don’t do all of that we’ve failed and what’s the point in even trying it’ll all go wrong you’ll fail you’ll give up like you always do useless, useless, useless…

Yeah, that.

So instead of being sensible, doing what I can and inching towards the person I want to be, it all gets too much and I shut down. I just want to be in bed all of the time and not move or think.

What I’m doing right now is not in line with the person I was/want to be, and I don’t know how to get that back. I have a couple of weeks where I feel back on top of things, then I do too much and end up right back where I started. I’m not sure what the answer is right now. I wish I could just not think for a moment, but ridiculous overthinker that I am, I’ve been having trouble with that.

I’m going to try meditating. I wanted to find a class, but I can’t find one that I can get to/doesn’t clash with other commitments, so I’m going to start off with an app that was recommended to me by a friend and go from there. In the back of my head I’m thinking ‘SO POINTLESS! You’ll stick with it for a week then give up!’ which may be true, but I’ve gotta try, right? Maybe if I can quiet my brain and live more in the moment, it’ll really help.

Ok, so I just went and tried that app and it was actually really good! I’ve set a reminder to do it every day and see how I go, but I certainly feel less overwhelmed right now. Huh, who knew?

So, I skipped weigh in yesterday because I couldn’t face being in a room of people, but I did weigh in at home. Since I last went to group I put on 13.5 pounds. Yep, nearly a stone. On the plus side, I think about half of that weight was dough in various forms (pizza, bread, donut etc) as today I weigh 7 pounds less. I still weigh more than when I rejoined Slimming World but still, it’s better than it was yesterday!

Although I haven’t been feeling great, I did manage to do some things this weekend. I watched Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind with my brother (a 1984 Studio Ghibli film) which was excellent, then I went to see the new Zombieland with a friend. It was nicely entertaining, and the first time I’ve been to the cinema with this particular friend in ages where we didn’t end up seeing something we both despised. Next Sunday I’m seeing Joker with my brother, on the IMAX screen which should be pretty awesome.

Yesterday I woke up feeling like complete poop. I couldn’t get to sleep till 5am and when my alarm went off to get up to feed Pea, I wasn’t feeling very happy about being awake. Since I was up, I just grabbed what I needed and got out of the house. Although I’m not a huge fan of cold weather, the fact that it’s cold enough to wear a hat so I don’t need to do my hair, is very helpful indeed. If I need to spend too much time getting ready, it’s just too much effort to go out.

My plan today is to prep some clothes into piles so when I get up tomorrow, everything is laid out and I can get out for a walk quickly before I change my mind.

Yesterday I was out for over two hours, because I saw more mushrooms and fungi than I’ve ever seen in my life. The woods were absolutely smothered in them. I took over 400 pictures, but these are my favourites:

I also found one of the teeniest mushrooms ever. I forgot about it until just now as when I was editing my photos it was so small I never even noticed which shot it was in.

Crazy tiny! Much too small for my camera to even focus on! It’s at this point I regret selling my macro lens, until I remember how heavy it was and how I really wouldn’t have wanted to lug it around the woods…

Aaaaanyway, I’m feeling kind of better now. Hopefully I can keep my s**t together and stop going backwards every time I start getting somewhere! Here’s hoping.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley X

Indoorsy

This time last year I was spending a lot of time outdoors. I had ‘enough’ energy to be getting with and I was going for long walks nearly every day and loving it. What with one thing or another, despite photographic evidence apparently to the contrary, I’ve hardly been out at all. At least not compared to how often I used to be.

It’s better if I’ve got someone with me, because I’ve been feeling anxious – as I’m not happy with my appearance right now I’ve been putting off going for walks alone. I’ve been intending to walk to town every day for the last two weeks (something I used to do at least once a week, whether I needed to shop or not) but every day I found an excuse not to go.

Today I didn’t run out of excuses (I’ve still got plenty of those) but the desire to find cute slippers simply became too strong. Well, whatever works eh? The desire to change my current state of affairs was probably the main reason, but cute stuff always helps!

I was in town for ages before I found these. Cute slippers are thin on the ground this year for some reason. I almost went for giraffe ones, but I figured Newton would probably think they were a toy so I decided against them.

It was so refreshing to get out, especially as there was a really light rain that felt bloody lovely on my face. It wasn’t that cold, but cool enough that I could wear a hat and save time not having to style my hair before leaving the house.

Speaking of cold, the cold weather clothing has arrived at work and was dished out to us last night. Everything I’ve ordered is uncomfortably tight so I know I won’t be wearing it just yet, and I have no idea if I’ll still manage to get last year’s salopettes on. I’m retrieving them from my locker tonight for a test run. I think this is scary enough to get me back on plan, because if they don’t fit I need to shrink back into them and do it quick, because life at work without them is painfully cold.

I think I’m going to be ok, because comfort eating just isn’t working for me any more. I simply don’t get the same sort of high from a binge as I used to, so what’s the point? This is a very good thing, but I need to get back into my walking as a way to calm myself because it’s no good if I don’t have an alternative. After I realised the food wasn’t helping over the weekend, I was mainly driven to eat more rubbish because I didn’t have the mental energy to prepare any food. It really sucks when you feel that crappy, and I usually have stuff in the freezer for such occasions, but I’m currently low on supplies. I must get organised again. I also realised that I don’t really like drinking alcohol any more. If I have any more than one glass with a meal, I feel awful afterwards. Again, it ain’t worth it.

So it isn’t all bad! Work hasn’t been a nice place to be just lately, but over the last week I’ve reconnected with someone I hadn’t spoken with for over a year (01/08/18 was the last time to be precise) and it’s actually been lovely. I can’t go into details of course, but it was all connected to my last relationship. Although I didn’t set out to hurt anyone, I made some really poor judgement calls and this colleague got caught in the crossfire. It’s been really awesome catching up with him and repairing something I thought was broken forever. Yay for good things!

Now what I need to do is learn how to deal with it when people have a problem with me, specifically when I haven’t done anything wrong. You can’t make people see you for who and what you really are, and if someone is determined to see you as a bad person then there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. I’m currently in this situation at work and all I can do is suck it up. Logically, I know that it doesn’t matter what this person thinks of me. Everyone who is important to me or whose opinion I value knows the truth, so why should I care? Why can’t I get the fact out of my head and stop playing things over and over in my mind? No idea, but it’s something I’ll be asking the counsellor about for sure! In the meantime I plan to avoid confrontation, which is not a long-term solution but until I can deal with it I need to protect myself. I just don’t think I can take any more feeling bad right now, I desperately need some peace.

Lately all I feel is sick and anxious, all the time. It’s getting boring now.

One continuous little ray of sunshine is Newton of course, so I’ll leave you with his sweet little face enjoying the one time this week that yellow orb in the sky made an appearance.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

A Dip

I normally get really down when it’s my birthday but weirdly, this year it never happened. Once my birthday was done however I found my mood dropping drastically by the day. It’s probably a coincidence, because I no longer get those ‘oh my god I’m failing at life! I should have a husband, children, my own house and a fulfilling job by now!’ moments. In fact these days I’m positively relieved I don’t have some of those.

I thought perhaps I’d had some kind of breakthrough where I wouldn’t ever feel as bad again as I do right now. Perhaps that was naive of me. Ok, definitely naive of me, because once more I feel more than a little lost and I suppose betrayed by my own body and mind. We weren’t supposed to be doing this any more!

I haven’t helped myself this weekend. I’ve eaten aaaaaaall the pizza in an attempt to numb the pain, and had a couple of bottles of wine, too. Which has definitely just made me feel even worse in the long run, and helped me put back on all the weight I lost over the last couple of weeks. I skipped group this week too, and might do the same next week. It’s the Mr Sleek and Miss Slinky awards (the most cringe-worthy of them all) and I’m really not feeling up to a taster night.

So what I’ve done is add to the bad feelings I already had, which now I’m feeling guilty about. Guilt, guilt and more guilt, about so many things! In a matter of days I’ve gone from feeling pretty much ok and quite positive to completely overwhelmed with everything and like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel.

I’ve hardly touched the art supplies I got for my birthday that I was so excited to get, (more guilt) because I’ve barely had the energy to even sit and watch a movie. Quite frankly, this is all bullshit and I’m sick of this awful cycle.

On the plus side I had a telephone appointment today to find out what help I can get for all of this. I’ve been referred for counselling, with the only downside being I will have to wait somewhere between 6 to 18 weeks for my first appointment. I suppose I’ll just have to keep doing the best I can in the meantime.

I did manage to drag myself out on Sunday even though it was the last thing in the world I wanted to do. Newton has now been fully immunised and is allowed out for walkies, so me and little brother visited the sister so we could all take him to the park.

He was loving it! It took us a while to get there because he wanted to stop and sniff everything, but eventually we got to an open area where he could have a good run. He’s still so tiny but he’s bloody fast!

Later on it turned chilly and he was getting tired so he was carried some of the way home, the lazy little git. Who can resist a face like that though?

I found more mushrooms too. Ok, so admittedly the weekend wasn’t a complete write off.

Tomorrow I’ll get back on plan and get out for a walk, because I know it will help. It’s just the getting up and starting it that’s the problem. All I want to do is sleep. Anyway, that’s enough moaning for one day.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Only Up

Thursday was supposed to be my getting out day. It didn’t work out at all. The reason will not surprise you at all.

I mean seriously, would you have done anything different? I didn’t make it past the living room floor! I did have to make a deal with myself – if Thursday wasn’t to be the day then I absolutely had to go today. No excuses. Of course the weather on Thursday was quite nice, and today was drizzly. That’s ok by me though. The park was virtually empty and everything was nice and clean and shiny. There was a lot of everything to see as it happens.

Mushroom season is in full swing! One thing I’m rather desperate to see is a red toadstool, but that’s going to take some active searching while I’m not focusing on my fitness. That’s probably not going to happen this season, because getting back into my fitness is the most important thing. It felt so good to be out!

The last time I walked in the park it took me about an hour because I kept stopping to take pictures, but I did the same route today (and clearly took plenty of pictures) and it took about 50 minutes. That’s because whenever I could, I RAN! I only ran on the level or uphill parts, and if my knee started to hurt I stopped, but it was so good! I got all rosy cheeked but the rain cooled me down again nicely. When there are less mushrooms to see I hope to get the time down to under 40 minutes, purely from a time-saving point of view. The quicker I get my route done, the more time I have left in the day for other things. Like drawing and painting!

I’m now up-to-date with #birdtober again, and I’m especially happy with the wren. It came out exactly as I wanted it to.

I’m enjoying it so much I’m going to paint as many birds as I can once the month is up.

That’s it for my news I think. Thanks for reading!

Hayley x

Not my best start ever

Let’s get right into it. How did I get on at Slimming World? Well, for the first week of my restart it must have been a good one, yes?

Er, no.

4 lbs on this week and I just keep getting bigger and bigger. My current weight is 15st 10.5lbs and I’m really not happy with that. I’m moving further and further away from my goals as the days go by! What the hell is going on?

To be honest I was doing great until Sunday. I’d been 100% on plan and I was feeling pretty good in myself, but not convinced the weight was coming off. So I had a sneak peak on the scales. Ah, 3lbs on? I couldn’t believe it.

So I did what any sensible stoooopid person would do and ordered a takeaway. As such, today’s result was, unexpectedly, a nice big gain. Damn.

Something that is good is that I went to group anyway, even though I strongly considered throwing a sickie. I am glad I didn’t, but still, I’m fairly annoyed in general as you can imagine!

Good lord, I seriously need to get my act together! I try again then. What else can I do? My action plan for this week is to cut back on added salt, hold up on the white pasta, which bloats me, and no home weighing!

In the meantime I’ve had a busy weekend. I spent several hours today editing wedding photos, and they’ve gone down well. Despite spending all of my free time today on it, I’ve only got so far as the wedding morning. I’m hoping to finish up by the end of the week though, but we shall see.

This is one of my faves – the bride getting laced up into her dress. Look how happy she is!

Yesterday I was out walking with my little bro in Kent. First stop was a nature reserve in Wye, which is very small but also very steep.

Millions of years ago all of that was under water. How bonkers is that? We were there maybe an hour, just long enough to walk the nature route and realise how unfit we’ve both become. Time to get back into training I think! I also got some lovely shots.

Up until the wedding I found it very hard to enjoy photography because I was just so worried about letting my friend down, but now it’s over and done with I can relax and just enjoy taking photos again.

Since the walk didn’t take up much time, I had a back-up plan. We headed to Dungeness, also in Kent, because a friend of mine told me there’s an old boat that’s popular in with photographers. He was right, I even recognised it, but I’ve never seen anyone take the same shot as me.

There’s a kite-flying club just down the road, too, which made for some cool shots.

If that was the last summery day of the year (and I suspect it was) I’m glad I had my camera with me!

So I shall just crack on now, because what else can I do? Fitting back into my lovely clothes is so important to me, I really need to make some progress.

So here we go again, let’s hope this week is better than the last one!

Hayley x

I vs It

I’M IN LOVE!

Before you start wondering what the hell I’ve got myself into this time, then fear not. My new love cannot break my heart, because the object of my affection is just that, an object. It is a set of watercolour paints.

I must say Instagram seem to be making rather a success of their targeted ads, because they appear to know exactly what I like. When I saw these watercolours, I followed the company and saved a post in my ‘wish list’ collection. I’d come back to that after pay day.

But once posts from people using the products started filling my newsfeed, I just couldn’t wait. So what’s so special about these paints? The coolest thing, the reason I bought them, is that they are kind of printed in a little cardboard booklet! Talk about portable, they fit so nicely into my pencil case. The colours are also so vibrant and blend so well, and you only need a single brush pen with you to use them. It’s just genius.

But when they came, they turned out to be even more fabulous. Check out these colours! But the descriptions don’t quite fit, right?

Right. These paints clearly come directly from Diagon Alley, because they’re nothing short of magic. And you only need the teeniest bit on your brush for a whole load of colour.

I neither know nor care how they do it! They are expensive, but they’ve already been so much fun to use and it’s nigh on impossible to paint a bad picture with them. I’ve used them every single day since I got them.

Check out Viviva Color Sheets if you want to know more.

In between painting, sketching, and stressing about weddings, I’ve been doing a LOT of thinking. I reckon my inner toddler has been showing up in full force, because truth be told, I think I’ve just been rebelling against all things diet.

I didn’t want to eat my veggies. I didn’t want to be healthy. I wanted ice cream for breakfast, and on more than one occasion, I did just that.

It started off with hormones, medication, life-changing decisions… all of that making me reach for unhealthy foods in an effort to comfort myself or try to relieve the intense cravings I was experiencing. But I’ve done the work on this before so it didn’t take much for me to go back and revisit what I learned previously.

My findings come from the book Brain over Binge by Kathryn Hensen, but knowing me I’ve quite possibly got everything arse about tit. If it sounds like something you’d find useful, I’d recommend cutting out the middle woman and just reading the book.

Anyway, the book theorises (I think the brain is too complicated for solid conclusions and in any case, the author isn’t a scientist) that the more primitive part of the brain (It) is just trying to keep us alive in times of food deprivation. If my brain thinks I’m starving, it’s going to send out strong signals for me to find food.

As I lose weight, part of my brain thinks there’s a problem and tries its hardest to protect me. This part of the brain is a bit behind with the times and doesn’t know there’s a 24hr BP garage down the road. I tried to tell it but it just will not listen to reason.

As I start to agree with its compelling arguments to find sugar and fat, I build myself a nice little habit of binge eating, and thus find it incredibly difficult to break out of once I’m feeling better.

The thing is though, it’s the more recently developed part of the brain (I) that is in charge. I can choose to listen to the other part of my brain’s compelling arguments (you had a hard night at work, you deserve to binge. You are worried about the wedding, a binge will make you feel better) and ignore it. The more I do this, the better I become at doing it, and eventually urges to binge subside.

I know it works, I’ve done it before! I just needed to re-read the book to remind myself of all this and get myself back in control. The book talks about ‘intrusive’ thoughts to binge, as if it’s not really coming from me. That’s exactly how it feels.

I don’t want this. I want to be healthy and in control.

I can be, because I am ultimately in charge.

Now I’m back in this good mental space, I felt it was the right time to return to Slimming World. I have put on just under three stone since last November, but weirdly I’m not too worried. I know I’ve got this now.

I’m doing a complete fresh start. My start weight is 15st 6.5lbs, with a target of 13st. There won’t be much to write about in terms of my diet, because I have no doubt I’m going to smash it. There won’t be many struggles to get out onto the page. I will however update you every Monday. Let’s do this!

Since I’m getting back into healthy habits, I started yesterday with a big long walk, in the rain no less. My waterproofs just about still fit me, as long as I don’t attempt to bend over.

It’s a really nice feeling knowing I don’t have anything scary coming up and I can spend my time enjoying art and nature exactly as I see fit.

Today I finally timed the route in the park near me without stopping for photos. I only took one shot, still moving, as I was joined by this wonderful entourage. Sadly I wasn’t allowed to take them home, boooooo.

Well, I’m back at work tonight after a quite wonderful week off, but to be honest it’ll be nice to get back into something of a routine!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Love Conkers All

Aha, I’m BACK! Where have I been you might ask?

I don’t rightly know.

In fact I didn’t realise just how far I’d wandered until I returned. I started feeling a bit more like myself last week, but as I said in my last post, part of me was waiting for it all to go wrong again. I certainly wasn’t going to be counting any chickens before they’d hatched, not this time.

But the weird old month of August did its thing – I set some boundaries, I accepted some things that couldn’t be changed, I stopped waiting for apologies and explanations that I knew wouldn’t come, and I started living for myself. It was like my inner self knew that it was safe to come back home.

Now we’re back together again we’re stronger than ever, and we are finally on the same page as far as weight loss goes. I might not be miserable where I am now, but I’m not prepared to settle for simply ‘not being miserable’. I can do be better than that. I can make a really good life for myself. Can and WILL.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still very much conflicted. I so, so want a world without diet culture, because there’s so much wrong with it. Most of us know that the vast majority of people who go down that road end up right back where they started or, worst case scenario, with a serious eating disorder. I know that my relationship with food is not a good one, and I know that as a dieter (especially one who does it in the public domain) I’m part of the problem.

Whenever I post a before and after picture, I’m sending out a subconscious message to everyone who still looks like my ‘before’ picture that they need to change. I’m making an assumption that because my life was horrible at that size, then theirs must be too. I don’t want to make people feel bad. I don’t want the way society views fat people to carry on as it is now.

On the other hand (and this is where I start myself running around in circles) I am SO GOSH DARN DETERMINED to get back to 12 stone 10 pounds and nothing will stop me doing that! I want to fit into my nice clothes that have become too small. I want to continue to take advantage of vastly more clothing options than I used to have. I want to continue to be able to find things that fit in charity shops. I JUST WILL NOT SETTLE FOR ANYTHING LESS.

I’m aware that I’m a hypocrite, but that’s just something I’ll have to accept about myself for now. That’s probably the least harsh thing I’ve thought about myself in recent times, so there’s progress there at least.

So it’s a new season, a new start, and autumn is coming in strong! I’m off work this week and I’ll be honest, I’m currently sitting in the garden wearing warm socks, a cosy cardigan, with a lovely glass of red wine at my side. The big push to get back to my target weight starts properly next week when I don’t have so much going on. Until then I’m simply refusing to give it too much headspace.

My disentanglement from my last post continues however, because despite what I’ve eaten I’ve still managed to hold on to the enormous value of going for a lovely walk. Typically if I’ve eaten rubbish I default to a ‘what’s the point’ attitude, but there’s always a point.

My most recent walk was intended as an experiment. I devised a new route that I think will take me about 45 minutes, but the last time I did it, it took me about an hour as I kept stopping to take photos.

What I want is a decent, shortish route that I enjoy walking so that I can do it every day and still fit in all of my arty pursuits, which I am loving with an absolute passion right now.

So Saturday morning, straight after work I told myself sternly – ‘no photos, ‘kay? Let’s just get a move on and see how long it takes’. 30 seconds later, however…

Well! I can’t be blamed, can I? It was a beautiful morning and there was so much to see! The route that took me an hour last time took me an hour-and-a-half this time round. Oh well, it’s not like the park is going anywhere.

I did nearly get stuck in a ditch trying to find my way into a field isn’t officially part of the park and that was full of early-morning mist. The sun was hitting it just perfectly, but I couldn’t get the shot. After escaping from the deceptively deep ditch, I took a detour thinking I could get through but I hit a dead end – a little cul-de-sac in the woodland with one special feature. A frikkin horse-chestnut tree!

I don’t find a decent conker in years then I stumble across this untouched treasure trove! Quite simply, I am winning at life.

As I mentioned before, my arty pursuits are becoming so much fun. Trying to make something used to exhaust me, because I always found it hard to push through the ‘ugh this is going to be sh*t’ moments. From what I can tell I think everyone has those. What I’ve found is that things always look a bit pants halfway through, so now I just accept it as part of the process.

Yesterday I spent all day making a really cool present for my brother. I’ll share that in a couple of weeks once his birthday has come and gone.

What I can share now is my journal progress which I’m oh so happy with! This morning I woke up at 3am, unable to get back to sleep, so I painted this whilst watching the new Netflix series of The Dark Crystal.

I absolutely adored those weird 80’s movies, whilst simultaneously being rather terrified of them. In fact David Bowie in Labyrinth used to scare the absolute bejaysus out of me and often I couldn’t watch it without my mum in the room. I kinda miss being that kind of scared of things, it was fun!

A few birdies later and it was time for a check up at the dentist, which is testament to how much better I’m being at taking care of myself. My check up was a year overdue, but thankfully no treatment is needed so after a clean I went on my merry way.

After that I went to visit an old work friend for coffee and a catch up, but I needed some serious nap time when I got home. Which again will leave me awake at stupid hours when I have another early start tomorrow. Ah well, what can you do? I’m taking my brother somewhere fun as a surprise, so more on that after the event.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x