Going for it!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I held my breath and stepped on the scales…

3lbs off! 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

170918_2946170918_2945170918_2944170918_2947

Just… gorgeous.

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

170918_2950

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

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Bad Decisions

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

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

807f9272-aad7-48c7-b750-594505ef6bae

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IMG_3484

That’s more like it!

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

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

One day at a time, Hayley!

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

IMG_3482

IMG_3483

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Back to Seven

Note to Self: When December comes around, remember that it took you until the end of February to get rid of your Christmas gain. Remember how long it took you to truly get back into the swing of things, and ask yourself if all of those mince pies are really worth it. Hint: They’re not.

I originally got my seven stone award at the end of November, and a couple of days later was when I snapped and spent most of December bingeing on sweet Christmas treats. My mood and self-esteem really suffered, although I tried to pretend at the time that I was OK with it. I was trying to convince myself more than anyone else.

This week I lost 3 lbs, and I’m so happy with that because it did not come easily. I’m so proud that instead of using my trainer’s illness as an excuse to be lazy that I faced my fears and went out alone. I’m proud that despite wanting badly to binge, twice, I managed to keep my cravings in check.

All of that hard work means I can now say I have my seven stone award back, with a total loss of 7 st 1 lb. We’re into (relatively) new territory now, as I haven’t been this weight since 2004.

This week training has been put back yet another day, but after yesterday’s walk I’m not too worried. Where I’m off work on a Monday I find it really hard to hit my calorie burn goal but yesterday I smashed it. I’ll do some home exercise before work today and if training goes back another day then I’ll go out on my own tomorrow. Already it feels wrong if I haven’t been running for a while.

This week has the potential to go wrong, but I sure as hell won’t let it. In January me and my sister pencilled in a date for a food trip to London where we can eat loads of vegan goodies (which happens to be this Sunday), but after our run the other day we both agreed that it wasn’t really conducive to achieving our goals.

We are still going out for a meal, at Mildred’s, but I’ve already checked out the menu and have chosen what I’m having. I’m going to have the ‘Soul Bowl’ which includes so many healthy foods!

How full of goodness does that sound? And where I’m not exactly following Slimming World anymore I can eat the avocado, cashew cheese and seeds without worrying too much.

The important thing for me right now is having three sensible meals a day, and having one meal with more healthy fats than I’m used to is not going to do much, if any, damage.

Rather than go on a food tour of the rest of the city, I suggested that we do something more wholesome and revisit St James’s Park. The wildlife there is so tame it can hardly be called wildlife at all – the last time we went I fed a great tit from my hand, had a squirrel run up my leg and ended up covered in beautiful pigeons!

But there’s more to it than that. The last time we went was in April 2016 and I was pushing 20 stone, so it’ll be fun to go back over five stone lighter. I was also only just getting into photography, so I’m looking forward to getting better pictures, too.

These seem ok, but the top one is not as sharp as I’d like and both are heavily cropped. There’s a lot of room for improvement there, especially now I know what I’m doing.

It’ll be extra exercise, too, because I’ll be taking my heaviest camera and lenses. I’ll probably be lugging an additional stone about, but I’m no stranger to carrying extra weight so it shouldn’t be a problem.

As I’ve changed my daily step goal to 15k, I’d best get moving now because these steps aren’t going to do themselves.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

7 Days

I lost a pound this week, and I’m happy with that. I’ve had good days and bad, on plan days and off plan days, so to not get a crazy gain is a relief.

Last night I had a couple of glasses of red wine as I found a stray bottle left over from Christmas, and that was a welcome treat. I’m now entirely sure that I have nothing but healthy food in the house.

This week I’m going to have a perfect week – a whole seven days of being on plan.

I’m also going to keep trying with not weighing every day, as there have been definite improvements. I think I had two sneak peeks over the course of last week, which is normally less than I do in one day. My new fitness friend has also written my current weight along with his own on his calendar so we can keep track of our progress, so I may try to only weigh when he asks me for an update. That’ll be hard though, so we’ll have to wait and see if I can actually manage it.

Yesterday whilst using my new 10kg kettlebells I felt a crunch in my shoulder and it’s a bit painful today, so I’m going to focus on cardio this week because I don’t want to really hurt myself. And I’m out running tomorrow anyway so that has worked out nicely.

This evening has been busy- I went to my sister’s to pick up her birds so I can look after them while she’s in Amsterdam for Valentine’s Day (and beyond) and I’ve still got to go to work yet. Hopefully I won’t be bitten too much!

Pea is currently wondering what the hell is going on when usually she is fast asleep at this time of night, so fingers crossed they all settle down soon! These crazy peeps eh?

It’ll have to be short and sweet tonight because I really have to start getting ready for work. I just wanted to get this update out there to keep me on track and focused for the rest of the week.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

When Hard Work Pays Off

Last week was a week of much progress. I’ve pushed food and exercise almost to the very top of my priorities (of course Pea will always be number one) and I’ve been reaping the benefits.

I did 5×30 minute sessions on the exercise bike and also used that time to watch an episode of something on Netflix. I haven’t been watching any kind of TV other than when I’m exercising or on my break at work, and I feel better for it.

I’m sure the cardio I’m doing on the bike is really helping my ticker, because I’ve technically achieved one of my goals for this year – my resting heart rate is now back in the 40’s. The reason I say technically is because I want to be sure it’s staying there before I cross it off my list. When my average for the month is in the 40’s, then I’ll count it. Although the work is by no means done at that point – then I have to make sure I keep it there. I’m chuffed though because the last time my heart rate was this low was the 17th of October.

IMG_4167.jpg

Apart from keeping up with the cardio (idea for a new TV series?) I’ve absolutely smashed my step goals and have won all of the Fitbit challenges I’ve been invited to. As a result of all this I’ve been sleeping so much better and I’m starting to feel like my good old self again. My mum even commented that I seem a lot happier, and that she was surprised how much having my teeth out knocked me for six. She’d been quite worried about me in fact. I was a bit worried myself, truth be told.

My weekly stats email from Fitbit is looking pretty damn good:

IMG_4166.jpg

But the BESTEST bit? This week I lost a whopping FIVE POUNDS! It’s such a relief! I knew something good was going on, because around this weight is my own personal little tipping point. When I first started losing weight, at least visually speaking there wasn’t much difference after losing three stone. And it was another three stone after that before I started looking considerably different.

But the difference between 15 stone and 14-and-a-half stone for me is HUGE. This week my knobbly ribs made a comeback, I’ve noticed my waist making a reappearance and my face definitely looks slimmer. I must, must, must remember this the next time I have a passing craving for something. Nothing I can eat is worth going back to the feeling of dejection I get everytime I backtrack into the 15 stones, so I need to prevent it from happening EVER again.

So, plan of action! I’ve got three pounds to go till I get my 7 stone award back, and although it would be lovely to have it next week (and I’ll certainly aim for that) I’m not putting too much pressure on myself and won’t get too disheartened if it doesn’t happen. For next week, as long as I lose I’m happy.

However  I am still going to be keeping up with the cardio (it definitely has a ring to it) because I’m sure it’s a huge factor in making me feel so good right now, so I’ll do another five sessions this week. Or four I should say, because I did one yesterday.

As for the rest of my exercise routine I’ve added a daily plank (I can currently do 40 seconds), I’m in week three of my press-up challenge and I’m definitely getting stronger, and I’m going to add a kettlebell and a curl to my squat challenge because I feel the squats alone are too boring. In the past when I’ve done kettlebell squats I’ve really felt it working.

I’ve also thought of a new challenge to add to this year’s list – I want to beat my record for most steps done in a day. My current record is 36,571 and I probably get a new Fitbit achievement when I get to 40k so it’s doubly exciting. I need to consider where I’m going to do this, because I’d like to make it somewhere fun. I did consider walking to my sister’s and back, which would take about 3.5 hours each way. I reckon I could do it, but it’s mostly one big, huge, noisy main road so I need to think of somewhere nicer. I’ll wait till April when it’s a new holiday year, book a day off and make an occasion of it I reckon.

Right then, I’d best be on my (exercise) bike!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Back on the Right Track

I weighed myself this morning and let out the most enormous sigh of relief – I lost 3.5 lbs! That takes my total loss to 6 st 6 lbs and leaves me with 2 st 2 lbs to go till I reach target. I’m still convinced I wouldn’t have lost much if I hadn’t been so, so good, but who cares? It worked out for the best!

Today there is no time to relax. I’ve just completed my 10k steps for the day, nice and early so anything more is a bonus, and once this blog is finished I’m jumping on the exercise bike for a 30 minute workout. Then tonight I’ll be on my feet for 7.5 hours too, and it all adds up. After my workout and a shower I’ll try my best to get a pre-work nap, otherwise I will struggle big time to get through my shift.

I’ve been doing some calculations and if I stay on track (I intend to) and don’t let anything distract me (as I did in the whole second half of last year) then I can comfortably be at target by the 1st of May. It would be so amazing to be there before my holiday, which is at the end of May. I just have to stay focussed. For now though I will put that goal out of my mind because it’s too far away, and just concentrate on the next seven days.

I’ve reached my first goal of the year – to get back into the 14 stone bracket, and if I lose 2 lb I’ll get my 6-and-a-half stone award back. Fingers crossed.

There really isn’t much else for me to tell you, so I’ll keep it short and sweet for today. I just had to tell you about my results though, didn’t I!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x