The First

Yesterday was fantastic, and just what I needed to give me the motivation for yet another fresh start. I wasn’t on plan, but I just had the nicest and most relaxing day I’ve had in a long, long time.

I started off the day by getting creative. One of my bestest friends announced on Saturday that he’d proposed to his girlfriend (a truly lovely lady) and that she’d said YES. So I experimented with my watercolours and knocked them up a nice engagement card.

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I am so happy with how it turned out. I did a little five minute sketch of my sister’s bird, Petrie, being a borb (a round bird) and made a cover for a journal I’m working on. I’m trying not to be too precious about anything and just do it purely for enjoyment. It worked – I was having a great time.

In the evening Steve and I went to the cinema together for the first time ever, to see Stan & Ollie, and it was one of those rare occasions where I’ve seen a film and not had a single criticism. To top it all off, when I got home I had an early night and slept for a magnificent eleven-and-a-half hours. I needed that so badly.

I’ve decided that the last two weeks don’t count and that today (the 14th) is my official start of the year. So happy new year to me!

In the spirit of openness I will tell you that over the last two weeks (I last weighed in New Year’s Eve) I have gained 5 lbs. It’s half as bad as I thought it would be actually.

What came before doesn’t matter though, what matters is what I do now.

This morning training officially restarted with a run, and again it went better than I expected. The first two miles were a similar pace to what I was doing before my knee went wrong which was a nice surprise, and I only had to stop because my upper thighs were protesting. I probably could have pushed myself harder but I wanted to avoid an injury on my very first run of the year.

The next two miles were very slow indeed, but only because I had company.

A Labrador joined me on my walk, and whereas usually an owner turns up eventually this one was apparently owner-less. I waited around for a bit and soon saw a lady with three dogs who was not the owner. She was very snippy with me for not having ‘my dog’ on a lead, because she couldn’t control her largest dog which was, ahem, not on a lead. I didn’t press the issue though and took my new friend back in the direction he came from.

I kept him with me for a while but all of sudden he just bolted and there was nothing I could do to hold on to him. I don’t think he’s fully grown yet but wow, he was strong! It turns out with his super-duper dog hearing he heard something I didn’t – his owner calling him.

I soon learned that he’s a rescue dog named Barney, whose favourite pastime is running away when his owner’s children leave the garden gate open. He was so friendly, but his owner told me he will make a run for it at every opportunity. I wished them both good luck and continued my walk, making the most of the slower pace by taking a few snaps and getting proof that there was a tiny bit of blue sky, even if it didn’t last.

This evening I had group with my lovely Slimming World buddies. Me being me I totally forgot that January is a busy time in group so it was a nice surprise to see so many people there. I left with a 12-week journal in hand and tons of motivation for the week ahead.

I’m ending this weekend feeling like I’m finally getting somewhere. It’s going to be a good week people, I can feel it.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

First of Many

This weekend has been a busy one. The day before New Year’s Eve, despite me being so good in the days leading up to that point, Steve and I decided to go out for a meal. He fancied Chinese, which didn’t really appeal to me, so we compromised on Thai. We tried a place round the corner that neither of us had been to before, and it was quite a while before either of us realised it was actually a Malaysian restaurant. It is called The Malaya, so the clues were there, but in my defence I didn’t look at the name before we went in. All I knew was that the food smells coming from the building were intoxicating!

We hit gold though. We stumbled across a really lovely place with nice decor, super friendly staff, and an amazing menu. Steve wasn’t sure what to order so the waiter brought out two samples of curry sauces for him to try first. How nice is that? There were several vegan options for starters and mains, and I ended up ordering from the set menu so my two courses were just £14.90.

I had roti canai and satay tofu, and both were absolute heaven. Every mouthful was utterly delicious. I’ll DEFINITELY be going back, that’s for sure.

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So New Year’s Eve arrived and I was up nice and early to get weighed. I had a sneak peek earlier in the week and the scales showed me going from 13st 6lbs to just nudging back into the 12’s, but the night before had left its mark. I’d also had a couple of glasses of wine and some sweet treats later on in the evening.

Despite that, I still had a 3lb loss which I’m damn well chuffed with! It meant I got back to an 8 stone loss, and next week I hope I’ll be officially back in the 12 stone bracket. Group was also fantastic and I left with positivity practically coming out of my ears.

In the afternoon Steve and I went for a little walk at the place where he started training me to run back in February. It was good to take stock of how, despite us not doing much exercise-wise for the last month or two, we’re still fitter than when we first started. It got me thinking about how nice it’ll be to get cracking again.

In the evening he took me to his old local for a quick, and very pink, G&T, followed by a little walk he’d been promising for the festive period. There’s a lovely little street in the village where people go absolutely mental with the Christmas lights, so that was quite magical.

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From there we showed our faces at his son’s who was having a little get together, and somehow, someone convinced me to do a shot of vodka. I am so easily led. Thankfully I managed to avoid the same fate as that very same chap, who lost a bet and had his hair shaved off… Anyway, despite the vodka shot I didn’t drink too much and managed to avoid a hangover for New Year’s Day.

We left quite early, had a very respectable night watching Madness on TV, and I’ve been totally back on plan since the clock hit midnight.

Despite not having hangovers, we were both pretty pooped the next day. But we still managed to get out for a walk to brush the cobwebs away. First stop was Benfleet where we went to look at a sculpture relating to the vikings. It’s erected in the area where the Battle of Benfleet is believed to have taken place in the year 894 (how bonkers is that?) and that battle was the subject of one episode of the Netflix series The Last Kingdom that we watched just a couple of weeks ago.

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After a walk along the sea wall a little bit down the road, we had lunch then I left so that we could both get an early night. 11 hours sleep later and I’m finally feeling like myself again!

Of course I wouldn’t really be a blogger if I wasn’t reflecting over 2018 and making plans for the year ahead. 2018 was a little bit crazy. I met Steve, ran for the first time ever, ate and drank more than I have in a good few years and still managed to end 2018 two stone lighter than when I started it… I’ve been so busy and tired, therefore I haven’t found the time to really focus like I would normally.

So although I have quite specific and monumental plans for 2019, which I’ll talk about in future posts, the main thing I want to do is slow down. I’m going to have more sleep, eat more healthy food, do more of the things I enjoy that aren’t exercise related (and not feel guilty for taking the time to do them) and try to keep in mind from time-to-time the bigger goals I’m aiming for.

For the first time in my life I’m thinking about a long-term plan, rather than living basically from month-to-month and hoping everything turns out for the best. There are things I want that I never thought I could achieve, but now I know I can.

One thing 2018 taught me is that I’m stronger than I think, and I know that’s true because my friend Dave reliably tells me that it is so. He knows what he’s talking about.

That’s the first post of 2019 down, here’s to many, many more.

Happy New Year!

Hayley x

Facing the Music

Yesterday I didn’t make as much progress with my crafts as I would have liked. In fact my latest project took four times as long to complete than I anticipated so I am currently quite far behind. I finished one thing this afternoon though and on the plus side it turned out insanely better than I thought it would. I think its recipient will be well and truly chuffed.

While I was working I brought Pea with me and she ventured out to explore the living room for the first time ever, then sat on my shoulder and watched what I was doing. That’s a perfect afternoon right there.

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Yesterday’s weigh in wasn’t as disastrous as I thought it would be. After two weeks between weigh-ins, I gained 5.5 lbs, which for me is practically nothing. I honestly thought it would be at least 8.

I hope I can get that all off be next week, but even if I don’t I’m already excited about group next week. It’s our Christmas party and just like with Dress Like an Elf Day, I’m dressing up and I don’t care if no one else does.

Another exciting thing is that we get our new member packs on Christmas Eve, along with all new stickers for our books. When I rejoined although my consultant offered to give me all of them, I only put new stickers on my book. If I’m honest I did regret it afterwards. Now I can cover my whole book with all of my shiny stickers and I can’t wait. I know, I’m easily pleased!

I’m back feeling focused again which is great, and I even tried a new recipe (Slimming World chicken Waldorf salad) for the first time in an age. I just swapped the chicken for Iceland No Chick strips (Free) and Greek yoghurt for Tesco Free From unsweetened soya yoghurt (also Free).

To keep me on track I’m posting more on Instagram, plus filling in an old-school food diary that my consultant will check for me next Monday just to check no bad habits have crept in without me even realising.

Finally, the main tree is up in the living room and everything is right in the world.

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Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

It Had to Happen

Would someone please press the pause button, just for a minute? Time is whizzing past faster than ever and I can’t keep up.

Last week wasn’t exactly a write-off, but I didn’t do much of note and it has really affected my mood. Probably the one redeeming factor is that yesterday I finally WENT FOR A RUN!

It was brilliant, I have missed it so much. First of all I had to get my running gear out of the loft, only to find that my favourite running leggings (size XL from H&M) are all too big. Four pairs of them!

But when I bought them, I did think ahead and ordered one pair in a large. I tried them on at the time and although I could get them up they were uncomfortably tight. Not now though, they fit perfectly!

I also got a load of other clothes down from the loft while I was at it, which was all stuff that I was convinced I’d be able to use for another summer. Wow, was I selling myself short. It’s all miles too big now, and as I’m skint I’m going to try selling it all. As if this wasn’t enough I went on a charity shop crawl on Saturday and found a lovely long coat, which was also really good quality. It was in a size 16 and it wasn’t just too big, it was ridiculously too big. I found a 14 in another shop which fit perfectly, but I didn’t like it so left it on the rail. It made me feel pretty awesome though.

Anyway, back to the running. Although I felt fab indoors, looking back on a picture taken while I was out makes me think I didn’t look as good as I originally thought I did. Either way I’m still really pleased with my progress so I’m not going to dwell on it.

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I did do a pose in front of the mirror when I got back and initially thought it was cheating, but it still shows progress, because my ‘cheat poses’ have never made me look that slim before!

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Ah, I’m probably just being over-critical.

As for the actual run, now that was progress. Not in terms of speed or distance, but the fact that I have managed to retain so much of my fitness despite not running for months is bloody brilliant.

I had to take it easy because of my knee (so far so good) and I need to build back up to the level I was at, but compared to how I was when I first started… I am unrecognisable from that person now. When I started running back in February, the first thing to give up was my lungs – I’d be so out of breath that I couldn’t carry on. Now it’s my muscles that give up first, and even then only when I’m going up a crazy steep hill.

During the week I did fairly well with not weighing myself, but I wasn’t perfect. This week I’m aiming for no sneak peeks AT ALL. That’s goal number one.

Goal number two is to get as many speeding tickets as possible. Yes, you did read that right, and no, it’s not what you think.

My consultant set us a fabulously fun challenge this week to help with our weight loss. Every time we post a picture of our meals on our group’s Facebook page showing 1/3 visible speed food, we get one of these speeding tickets:

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The person who gets the most tickets wins a fiver to spend in the shop, but to be honest I think it’s such a great idea I’d still be taking part even if there wasn’t a prize at the end.

This week I really will need to be super focused, because I have had (shock, horror) an undeserved gain.

Personally I think it’s my body levelling out again after last week’s surprise 6.5lb loss, but another factor could be yesterday’s run because my leg muscles are really hurting and may be retaining water.

It could be something has slipped into my diet without me realising, so I’ll be keeping a proper food diary this week just in case.

I can’t say for sure what’s caused it, but what I do know is that 6lbs off overall in two weeks is certainly nothing to be complaining about! I’ve only ever had one totally undeserved gain before and it completely derailed me, but I’m in this for life now so it’s about time I learned how to deal with these situations.

All I have to do really is carry on exactly as I have been, and everything will be fine. I do want to get more exercise in this week, but only because it makes me feel good and not because I think it has anything to do with my gain. It’s all about the food people!

I’ve pledged to try for 3lbs off next week, and I’d say I’m in with a good chance.

I also need to get more sleep as for two days last week I had less than four hours, which is less than ideal.

Hopefully this week will be a bit more balanced and I’ll actually have something to write about, so expect more posts than last week.

As ever, thanks for reading,

Hayley x