Hello There!

Yesterday was a false start. I drew the line, but somehow it got smudged and I ended up eating more bread-based products. On the one hand I’m proud of myself, because I didn’t have my main trigger food (ice cream) which would have been a lot worse. On the other hand part of me is asking ‘why bread?’ because I know it bloats me out so my gain this evening will be that much worse.

I’ve just got to take it on the chin though.

What I did do today was redraw that line, and this time I used permanent marker. I went on to my group’s secret Facebook page and told everyone what had happened and that I’d see them in group tonight to face my gain. Accountability is hugely important.

Fast-forward past a huge pile of laundry (which is still drying now) and a long, drawn out trip with my mother for her hospital appointment, and we get to weigh in. Which was actually the only positive thing about today, despite me gaining 3.5 lbs.

I didn’t gain as much as I thought I would so that’s good, plus there were others in the same boat as me. I think we all left feeling better than when we walked in.

Either way group was a really good laugh and I’m so glad I went, despite all of my instincts being to avoid group like the plague. Sometimes our instincts are lying little gits who should be ignored at all costs.

I have pledged to lose 4lbs this week and I will do everything in my power to achieve that. I feel like today has been stolen from me and I haven’t been able to get back on form as I’d hoped, but I have stayed on plan and tomorrow will be better.

In all of the ‘excitement’ of the last few days I did forget about one achievement – #onplanoctober. I did, by some miracle, manage to spend the entire month absolutely, 100% on plan.

Ok, so a repeat of that for November is now impossible, and I have plans for the 30th, but every other day will be on plan for sure. I may be five days late but…

My plan for this month was to hit target, but after a long chat with a friend on Saturday and lots of contemplation on Sunday, I’ve decided to lower my target.

I don’t even know what I want it to be, I just know that I want to lose more and I’m selling myself short if I don’t really go for it now. Why not aim for the flipping stars?

I’ve decided to just keep losing until my body tells me enough is enough. When the losses start to slow, or stop, that should be the right place.

In the meantime my November weight loss goal is to get to my original target of 12.10, and it’s my new Christmas wish to still be that weight or less once Christmas is over.

I think that’s quite reasonable.

The plan for tonight though is to get some (on plan) grub and get an early night. Tomorrow, I want to hit the ground running.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Feelin’ Slinky

Years ago, back at my old Tuesday Slimming World group, I was voted our group’s Miss Slinky. At the time I was doing well with my weight loss, but I felt anything but slinky! It’s one of the stranger Slimming World awards I think, but at least when my lovely group nominated me this time around I was at thankfully feeling a lot better about myself.

In fact I’ve spent a lot of time over the last couple of weeks becoming familiar with my body again, because after pretty much maintaining for six months, the recent changes have been pretty drastic. When I first started it took about three stone before I even noticed any physical changes, but as I get closer to target I’m finding that half a stone can make a huge difference.

It seems like every day I’m finding a new part of my skeleton that I never knew existed!

Yesterday was such a busy day. I did my laundry, I took my mum to an appointment that took a lot longer than it should have, then when I got home I headed straight back out again to go veggie shopping in Lidl’s. I bought all the veg I’d need for my meal prep (and then some) that I would start as soon as I got back.

I then spent roughly three hours in the kitchen. The fruits of my labour were three soups for the freezer (syn free), four work lunches (half a syn in each) and four dinners (max two syns in each). Since I’m out Friday I don’t have to prepare any more food until Saturday lunch time. I like that a lot!

There are other benefits to this batch cooking malarkey. I don’t have anything in the fridge that needs to be used up so I have completely eliminated the prospect of any food waste. The only fresh thing I have is a bag of apples for snacking and I’m sure to use those up.

I also wildly overestimated how much veg I’d need so next week I’ll be spending even less money on food.

After meal prep I got on the exercise bike and I felt really in the zone so I smashed my workout, then I went to visit my dad before walking around the corner to my Slimming World group.

By this point I was feeling very sleepy, and since it was lovely and warm in group by the time Image Therapy started I was feeling a tad spaced out (but totally content!) I remembered to pick up my Gold Body Magic award, so I have a nice new shiny sticker and certificate, and I lost a marvellous 2 lbs! 3 to go till target!

After our group chat we voted for our Miss Slinky and Mr Sleek. There was only one Mr Sleek nominee present in group, so he won by default, but I would have voted for him anyway. He’s a smashing guy who is always helpful in group and always has a cheesy joke to tell, plus since I’ve been going he’s been roughly at target. If he’s been out of target range he’s just worked through it till he’s back where he wants to be, plus he loves walking. A man after my own heart, and an inspiration too.

Then the lovely people voted me as their Miss Slinky which gave me all of the warm fuzzy feelings inside. This is my weight loss graph for 2018 so far, and I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the graph has taken a nice downward trend since I started coming (and staying) to that group.

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Once home I had just enough time to scoff my dinner, pin my new certificates onto the wall of inspiration before going out again.

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My current favourite part of my wall is my October calendar, where I’ve been crossing off every day I’ve spent on plan. And I’m nearly there!

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So I headed in to work on my day off to say farewell to my manager and hand over the cash that everyone had so generously parted with. It’s certainly the end of an era – this lady has helped me so much since I’ve known her and I’ve made a friend for life, so I’m very happy to see her go on to better things.

Once home do you think I could sleep? Nah! As is usual lately I was too excited after group, but I did have a nice lay in before I start another busy week. There’s lots of hard work to be done to make sure I don’t mess up over the weekend, because I would so love to have a loss next Monday. I’ll do all I can to make sure that happens, but if luck isn’t on my side then I have no doubt that I’ll sort it out the week after!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Wishing

It took me a while but I realised last week’s taster session at group had nothing to do with my consultant leaving. Although I’ve been anticipating it for the last few weeks, the other event at group kind of eclipsed the fact that we were given our Slimming World Christmas Wishes.

Last year we were given a bauble, and my wish then was to get into the 13 stone bracket. As it happens I didn’t even get close, and it took me till just last month before I finally made it. Better late than never though.

This year we have a snowflake. The idea is that you put it on your tree as a reminder to stay on track over the Christmas period. Since our tree is obviously not up yet (I’m not quite that Christmas mad) I have hung mine from the light fitting so it bonks me on the head every time I cross the room.

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I felt really guilty about group last night. My friend asked me to visit so I agreed to pop over after weighing in, but I completely forgot it was my new consultant’s first night. I really wish I had stayed to offer my support, but I went on the Facebook group to assure her I’d definitely be staying next week.

As for weigh in, I lost a very respectable 1.5 pounds meaning I have just 5 lbs left to go before I hit target. I do have a meal out a week on Friday, and I’ve already chosen what I’m having – vegetable tagine with herb couscous. I’m guessing there will be a lot of oil in there but it’s certainly the best of the bunch out of all the options. If I do drink I’ll just have a few gins and slimline tonics, so I’m hoping I still get away with a loss the following week.

This week I have everything crossed that I lose another 1.5 pounds or more, because it will mean I’ll be in the 12 stone bracket for the first time since April 2004! My exercise has suffered today because even though I’ve been on the go all day I haven’t filled my green ring on my Apple watch. Same for yesterday, too. I am letting myself off, just on this occasion, because I am so busy and so tired. Once we hit November I’m going for a perfect month though so no excuses.

Thinking of other things that could delay me getting to target, I have also agreed to go to Winter Wonderland in London with a work friend some time after payday at the end of November. I’m hoping to be at target by then, but if I’m not the fact remains there are 8 weigh ins left, 2 days of not being entirely on plan, and 5 pounds to be rid of. That is entirely within the realms of possibility.

Yesterday I spent the whole day with my sister and it was brilliant. We started off the day with an enormous coffee and a tour of the charity shops near her house. Disgracefully, she had never set foot in one until now! I was on the lookout for a hat, and I found one that suited me in the first shop. It was brand new though, and a bit pricey, so I decided to give it a miss.

In the next shop though, I found my hat! I put it on and straight away my sister said ‘YES! That is the one!’ One minute and £6 later, I was walking out of the shop wearing my new purchase.

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After our charity shop crawl we headed to the park for a nice long walk. There were so many swans! We found a little group of our own but there were easily twice as many again congregating around a toddler who had FOOD!

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We then had lunch back at my sisters where I dined with a gold knife and fork sitting at her expensive table (she’s super fancy) before doing something creative.

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The creative thing in question was calligraphy. My sister did a workshop last year and fell in love with it, so shortly after I got myself the basic equipment and gave it a go. We both love it, but as with everything else I let it fall by the wayside while I concentrated on other things.

When I picked up my new pen, that my sister got me for my birthday, I was incredibly rusty but by the end of our little session my hand was getting steadier. We had the radio on and were sporadically chatting, but it’s a nice thing to do because you can’t rush it and it takes a surprising amount of concentration. There’s not really room for thinking about other things. I really must do it more regularly.

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After calligraphy time my sister let her boyfriend’s parrot, Kiwi, out to stretch her wings. When I first met Kiwi she was fine with me, but every time after that she has either tried to bite me or has been successful in biting me.

I’ve made the effort to see her more often and going by body language, I’ve been getting the impression that she’s been warming to me. So yesterday was the test.

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THANKFULLY it seems that, at the very least, there is a truce. Phew. My sister tells me that Kiwi has never been this friendly and well behaved in front of anyone other than her and her boyfriend before, so we have definitely made progress. No blood offering was necessary this time!

I haven’t had time for any crafts today because I’ve been batch cooking, doing a mountain of washing, cleaning and tidying. But that does mean everything should be in enough order by tomorrow for me to do something creative in the afternoons.

That’s the idea anyway!

Until next time,

Hayley x

Awards & Results

I had intended to get up early on Monday morning and be on a train by 6am, but do you think I could wake myself up? Course not. Taking into consideration the epic walk I had planned, I thought it best to snooze for another hour. It was probably wise.

By 8:30 I was at the train station, in a massive queue for the ticket office. Of course all of the machines were out of order, which is just great for a monday morning. I got my tickets at 8:35, the exact time my train was due to leave. However my train was exactly 1 minute late, and I got on the platform just as it was arriving. Woo!

I got off at Benfleet station, which is just around the corner from my favourite park, and is actually two parks – The Benfleet Downs and Hadleigh Park. As I started trudging along my planned route I decided that I wasn’t going to stop too much to take pictures and things, mostly because leaving late meant that time was now against me. I’ve walked this part of the route what feels like a thousand times now, but there is always something that catches my eye and I have to stop for. Last time it was a caterpillar, this time it was some teasels with a lovely pinky/orange background.

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The autumn leaves and a very small amount of editing make the day look a lot nicer than it was. In actual fact there was an oppressive iron grey sky for the entire day, but I’m sure not complaining. There was no rain like there was supposed to be, just a really fine mist that kept me cool while I was walking and made my fringe go curly.

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So where does one walk to on such a day? The beach of course! My route took me through the two parks and right down to the coast. After a few hours of walking I was thoroughly enjoying the views and just having a good old think to myself, but there was nothing very photogenic until I got to Southend-on-Sea.

There didn’t seem to be much open that would sell a coffee, but when I came across a really nice looking place advertising that it was family run, I decided to give it a go. The gentleman who served me was so sweet, even suggesting that I have my drink in a mug instead so I can stay and sit in the very nice covered outside seating area, but I didn’t have much time to spare so I declined. I was already thinking about how lovely it would be to leave a good review and shop independent (which usually it is of course) but unfortunately the coffee was absolutely vile and I had to throw it away. You can’t win ’em all! The man still left me with a smile on my face so that’s nice.

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A quick shot of the water fountains, which kids and dogs LOVE to play in during summer (who can blame them) and I headed for the beach.

Walking along the beach seems to be a great butt (perhaps I should say glutes) workout, because that’s the only part of me that is still aching a little today. I’ll keep that in mind for future outdoor pursuits.

I always love looking at the shells and struggle not to take more home with me every time. Oyster shells are so beautiful, I just love the blues and purples. As far as bird life goes you are always guaranteed to see oyster catchers, so I’m assuming they are responsible for all the empty shells!

As I got away from Southend and headed into the less touristy areas I took the opportunity to use the camera remote on my watch again. It’s not the composition I was after, but I didn’t want to stop for long so I just went with the first one. I am enjoying how either the boat looks small or I look like a giant!

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11 miles and four hours after setting off (NOT including the train journey), I arrived at my destination – Shoeburyness. So I turned around and started walking back in the other direction.

This next part of the journey was completely uneventful. When I got to Leigh-on-Sea train station I checked my watch and Fitbit. I was wearing both because I am totally smitten with my Apple watch, but also wanted to go out on a bang with Fitbit. Had I beaten my previous record of 35.5k steps?

You bet!

I was currently on 45k, so despite being quite weary by this point and wanting to cheat and jump on the train at Leigh, instead I decided to continue. Google told me that it was another 1 hour 45 minutes of walking back to Benfleet. I had time, I could do it.

So on I trudged.

I took a different route back through the park and to the station, which was extremely fortuitous because it was cow and mushroom heaven! This was the boost I needed to get me through the rest of the journey.

When I got in, more than 8 hours and 22 miles after leaving, I reflected on how mental the journey had been. Not because of anything that had happened, but because I’d been on my feet for that amount of time (with a few stops for food and drink but not for any length of time) and for that distance without coming home a complete wreck. My feet were a little achy (as well as the bum cheeks) but other than that I was still good to go.

My fitness and stamina has improved so much this year, I can hardly believe it. I checked my email and I had three letting me know that I’d earned new Fitbit badges for 40k, 45k and 50k steps in a single day. That was the main purpose of my walk so I got exactly what I wanted before I abandoned Fitbit forever!

After getting in you’d think I’d be spent, right? Nah! I had to get ready to go to group and get weighed in! It was a taster night so I prepared some food. I couldn’t decide what to take out of the available options in my freezer, so I cooked up all three. I took Tesco sweet potato falafels (half a syn each), Sainsbury’s veggie meatballs (half a syn for 5) and Tesco meat free nuggets (1 syn each).

I had no idea what the taster was in aid of, because I hadn’t heard anyone on my vegan Facebook groups talking about it as I would have expected. It soon became clear though.

It turns out my consultant, who has been the one constant in my Slimming World journey since 2012, is leaving our group! It’s terribly sad, but I’m not completely despairing because there are some positives.

She isn’t leaving Slimming World, so I can still get weighed in at her Tuesday group from time to time. The only reason I haven’t popped in to say hello to the group members I know there already is that I don’t want to weigh in at a different day or time until I’m at target!

Also, I have a really good feeling about the new lady, Amanda. She’s very friendly and upbeat, I found it easy to talk to her from the off, and she was wearing sparkly shoes. I’m sold.

My consultant pointed out that it’s the members that make the group, not the consultant, but I don’t think that’s true. I’ve found that it’s a lot of different factors that make my group the best. It’s the day, the time, the WONDERFUL people, a good consultant, that all come together in exactly the right combination. I think Amanda will be a perfect fit for this group so I’m not at all worried. I think we still have our winning formula.

So how did I do? I must admit to having a sneak peek before I went on my walk. The reasoning behind this is that if the walk caused a drastic gain, then I would know what was going on and wouldn’t feel bad. Or, if on the flipside I had a massive loss then I wouldn’t get too cocky.

What actually happened was that Slimming World’s scales corresponded with my own pre-walk weigh in and I lost a magnificent four flipping pounds! 

Do you know what that means? I GOT MY 8 STONE AWARD!!!

I got a HUGE round of applause that made me feel really emotional. God knows what kind of a state I’ll be in when I’m at target.

I left group feeling like Christmas had come early – tired and flushed but also happy and excited. It was a really fab day.

This morning I weighed myself again just to check it wasn’t a complete fluke (and it wasn’t) so that’s it for sneak peeks this week.

6.5 pounds to go!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Rituals

I’ve developed a certain set of rituals that I now perform every Monday before weighing in, and now that they have been established it’s almost inconceivable to think of changing them.

Every week I eat exactly the same food- wheat biscuits and plant milk for breakfast followed by a punnet of mushrooms and smoked tofu for lunch. I wear the same clothes each week, even down to a specific pair of knickers and a specific pair of socks. I also try to do the same level of activity but this is a bit hit and miss.

This way, I figure, my weigh in result each week will be as accurate as possible. However there is a problem.

It’s getting cold and I need to wear thicker clothes!

I suppose it’s just one more motivator for getting to target as soon as possible – once I’m there I can afford to wear heavier clothes. Until then, I will try not to change anything, with the exception of next Monday.

Since I’ve decided that’s the day I’m going to do my long walk and smash my step record, despite the possibility of it messing up my weigh in I’m being stubborn and sticking to my guns.

My walk is sure to help with a loss, it’s just a question of when it’ll show on the scales. It could throw a temporary spanner into the works in the form of an undeserved gain, but as long as I stick to plan I’ll get what I’m owed.

This week I had my fifth loss in a row, which I’m chuffed with even if I would have liked more than 1 pound off. But a loss is a loss, so I shan’t complain.

Now is a great time to look at non-scale victories, especially as I had a doozy of one yesterday.

Almost a year ago now I bought a pair of vintage Levi 501s in the biggest size they do for my leg length, which is a 34 waist and 34 leg (the equivalent of a UK size 14).

When I tried them on I was really disheartened. I couldn’t even get near to doing them up, and eventually I stuck them in the loft because they were making me feel bad. I couldn’t bear to get rid of them though. These are some pictures I took back in June before I squirrelled them away. I was also wearing control knickers at the time.

Since they have absolutely no give in them whatsoever, I figured I might have to be realistic and abandon the dream of ever fitting into them.

Then I was up in the loft going through some old clothes when I came across them again. I hesitated, because if they still fit like the last time I tried them, I knew it would put me in a terrible mood.

I couldn’t help it though. I had to know!

I can actually do them up. Compared to when I was bursting out of size 24 jeans and still wearing them every day, these are practically comfortable. There’s certainly less muffin top than I used to have on a daily basis, and I can even sit down in them. I reckon by the time I’m at target (10.5 pounds to go) they will fit PERFECTLY! Can you tell I’m excited? Oh I am so excited!

But it doesn’t even end there. On Sunday I went out for a walk with my friend to a lovely little village just around the corner that I never knew was there. You walk along a fairly uninteresting path, up a hill, then BOOM, you get a great view.

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As we stopped to drink in the scenery my friend took a photo of me which, after he forwarded it to me, I realised was just begging to be used in a comparison photo.

Enlight8I still have trouble believing that the woman on the right is me.

Although it was only a short walk (we had to make it to Tesco before closing time as so far that day all I’d eaten was 6 grapes) it’s possible to walk for hours along the… estuary? I don’t know, whatever body of water that is! So that’s one to keep in mind for a future trek.

On the way back I had a Slimming World-related accident. I saw a nice juicy blackberry sitting atop a bush, but it seems that the blackberry bushes have become sentient. To stop Slimming World members stealing its fruits one sneakily grew it’s brambles over a really deep ditch, so when I stepped over to get my blackberry I fell right in.

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My buttocks (where I fell backwards) and my knees (from getting out again) bear similar injuries. And I never got my damn blackberry! I am however still picking thorns out of various body parts.

My plan for this week is to try and get more sleep, give myself time to be more mindful about what I’m eating, to keep up with the exercise, and try not to fall over.

It’s also my birthday this week but I have no plans whatsoever to ‘celebrate’ by being off plan. All I have scheduled so far (apart from my walk) is a boot sale with my friend (more walking, yay!) and coffee with my sister.

Perfect!

Have a fabulous week everyone,

Hayley x

Hello October!

If you were reading my blog last year (can someone please tell me where the time has gone?) then you may vaguely recall my disastrous attempts at #onplanoctober. I had the best intentions at the beginning, but overall I didn’t do very well. This time around I’m going to do it – have every single day on plan throughout the whole month, NO EXCEPTIONS.

Why am I going to succeed this time around I hear you ask? Well the difference is my attitude I think. This year I really want to do it, whereas last year I was using it as a tool to try and force myself to stay on track. It had its uses, as I did do better than if I hadn’t tried at all, but now I have no doubt at all that I’m going to do it.

By the time the month is through I will be lighter than when it started, and I will have my Gold Body Magic award under my belt. I’ve just made a strong start to week 5 (of 8) with a 2 hour walk into town and back, with plenty of plans to do more throughout the week. In fact it’s going to be quite a busy week, but I’ll talk more about upcoming events as they occur.

I’m enjoying making the most of these blue skies while they last, as there’s a definite nip in the air now.

Although technically it’s now Tuesday, since I haven’t slept yet I’ll let you know how ‘today’s’ weigh in went. I would have been in bed earlier, but I stayed up to watch a film with the family. I still would have had time to update the blog while it was still Monday, but we paused halfway through when my brother noticed a mouse had somehow found its way into the kitchen.

It was soooooo fast, it was impossible to get a good picture. I took some video but this was as good as I could get:

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Please excuse the bare floor – we should be getting a new kitchen next year so there’s no point decorating until then.

Anyway, I got sidetracked! Group was awesome – I lost 2.5 lbs meaning I’m still on track to reach target in 6 weeks or so. Amazing! Group also gave me a lot to think about, but since I’m so tired I’ll have to wait till tomorrow to explore those thoughts further. Hopefully I can pick up on all the threads in my brain.

I really didn’t think I’d lose that much again this week, and I probably didn’t look as chuffed as I should have when my consultant told me I got Slimmer of the Week again.

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I really wasn’t expecting it, and it’s been such a long day I was a little bit dazed to be honest. I only have 11.5 lbs to go before I reach target.

Less than a stone.

I’m reading the words as I write but it doesn’t seem real.

As I’ve just been wracked with yawns I think it’s time for bed and a good sleep to help me process everything.

Until next time,

thanks for reading!

Hayley x

On Schedule

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So I’d best get cracking!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Going for it!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I held my breath and stepped on the scales…

3lbs off! 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Just… gorgeous.

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

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

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Bad Decisions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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That’s more like it!

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

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

One day at a time, Hayley!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

A Wibble

It was weigh in this morning and I put on 1.5 lbs. Despite my recent positivity this (entirely expected) event totally knocked me off track. For a short while, anyway. I hit the bread bin, and I hit it HARD, and now I feel doubly guilty for the initial gain and the subsequent emotional eating.

This will NOT do.

So I did the laundry then had a nap. When I woke up I still felt bad, so I spent half an hour just laying quietly and thinking things through. Until then I hadn’t figured out that it was the gain that made me feel bad. I thought perhaps it was a delayed bad feeling from yesterday, although at the time of eating I definitely wasn’t thinking about why. It was a total knee jerk reaction, without pause for thought, which is unusual for me these days. I think if I’d given myself that pause then the outcome would have been different.

Ho hum, I can’t go back in time! Going forward, I feel better after my little self-therapy session and getting the thoughts out here on the blog is the final step.

I’ve had a healthy dinner, I’m currently writing on my phone whilst pacing around the house to get my step count up before work (it’s quite likely I’m going to walk into something) and I have six whole days in which to turn this completely around.

Depending on hunger levels I’m going to try to reduce my carb intake and up what used to be my Speed Food intake. Speed food is just Slimming World’s own way of describing the less energy-dense fruit and veggies, so I shall henceforth be munching them like there’s no tomorrow. Bring on lots of top up shops in Lidl this week!

I have training on Thursday but in the meantime the cat has the vets and I have to try to find a cheap car as my head gasket is in a bad way. Hopefully I can find a run around to tide me over because I need wheels to get to training and to ferry my mum around to various hospital and doctor’s appointments.

Also, I’ve taken another exciting step even further out of my comfort zone. An ex-colleague saw some of my photos on Facebook and wants to hire me to take some shots of his wife before their wedding vow renewal. At first I said no, and was about to recommend a lady I know, when I thought ‘I can actually do this!’

I AM scared, because it will involve talking to people I don’t know and I’m going to have to my friend’s wife at ease when inside I myself will be the least at ease person there ever was.

But who knows what doors this could open? I was asked to do a wedding once but couldn’t stand the pressure of potentially messing up some of the most important photos of their lives. The very thought still fills me with dread, but I don’t have to start out doing weddings. I can do smaller things and see how I feel.

I’m not sure I’d like a photography business, but it would be lovely to take it further in my spare time. Let’s see what happens!

It’s nearly time for work now, and already I can’t wait for it to be over so I can get back to my own department.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x