Icy Adventures

Part of my recovery from (ew, I have to say it again) love addiction, involves not using anything to numb the pain and discomfort I’m feeling. No alcohol. No drugs. No distracting relationships, and – the author is very clear on this point – no using food to the same end. Easy for her to say!

This is similar to my decision to stop my course of anti-depressants. Since I’m in a place where I can cope without them, I decided that I needed to let myself feel the things I was avoiding. I can’t address my problems if I don’t know what they are. Although I’ve been an emotional eater for as long as I’ve had emotions, for some reason I didn’t consider until I read the words on the page how much my eating habits should absolutely be categorised alongside those other more insidious things. I’ve been doing ok with that so far, with only one rogue sandwich that wasn’t entirely on plan. Even that wasn’t because I was miserable as such, just annoyed that the scales haven’t been budging. More on that in a bit…

This week I started my ‘inner child’ work. I’m still very new to this side of things so don’t really know how to adequately explain the concept of the inner child, but this first stage involves me writing out every significant event in my life to date – good things, bad things, turning points etc.

I got to age ten and I was done, I needed a break. My time of the month is on its way which in itself brings sadness and a massive dip in energy, so I decided to wait until those feelings abate before I continue. This is self-care, y’all!

Weirdly, the only two events I’ve come up with so far that weren’t negative were the birth of my brother and sister. Weird because I honestly can’t remember feeling worried that they’d replace me as number one child, and weird because once they learned to walk we did not get along. It got even worse when they started talking. Ugh!

The idea of the exercise is to look for patterns and identify what triggers a tantrum in your inner child despite you now being a bona fide grown up.

Already it’s not hard for me to work out. Abandonment, abandonment, abandonment. When someone in my life nowadays disappears, my inner child is scared out of her wits. All she can think is they’re not coming back. They’re never coming back. This always happens. People always leave me.

After growing up with a father who would go out drinking ‘for a couple of hours’ in the afternoon, and next thing you know you’re pacing the living room at 3am with your mum, wondering if it’s time to start ringing around the local hospitals, you would think I’d be more discerning with my own partners. Nope, my relationship past is littered with no-shows and disappearing acts.

Past Hayley has let her inner child take over, and I’ve ended up throwing mobile phones up the wall on more than one occasion, crying, pleading, just quietly being frantic with worry so as not to cause a fuss but being totally unable to function till he shows. Definitely more quietly worrying in recent times – there’s no point telling someone how much their disappearing upsets me only for them to promise they won’t do in future, then… just keep on doing it.

Future Hayley might well end up in this situation again, but future Hayley will be whole and healed. She’ll go about her business when he doesn’t show, because her life is full of things she loves to do. She knows that his behaviour is nothing to do with her not being ‘good enough’. She already knows her worth. When he does surface, she’ll decide that this kind of behaviour is not what she wants from a partner, and she’ll move on, making space for someone more deserving.

Whilst going over all this I cried several times, occasionally over things I thought I’d forgotten about. That’s good, that’s progress. Then I felt crappy for a while, now I feel a bit better. That’s how it works I suppose. I’m pleased I’ve made a start, because I approached this exercise with the enthusiasm of someone who’s about to have their teeth drilled into with no anaesthetic. I’m guessing the teeth drilling would be worse. Marginally.

A chap at work mentioned that I looked serene and asked if it was because I had a new man in my life. I was surprised on two counts – one, because no man I’ve ever been interested in has been the type to bring the slightest bit of serenity, and two, because I have so much inner turmoil right now. I guess my poker face must be improving.

I’ve decided to schedule two afternoons a week for ‘thinking time’, like I’d be possibly be doing if I were seeing an actual therapist. That way (I hope) it won’t overwhelm me.

I’m trying not to panic about weighing in, which is happening later on. This week I’ve been doing a low-carb version of Slimming World known as SP, where you eat lots of protein and lots of low energy-density foods. People in group who have done it have had fantastic losses, but I’ve been absolutely smashing it and yet the scales have refused to budge.

I put off weighing myself till Thursday, then I couldn’t help myself any longer. I was tired and hungry, I was sure I was going to see a great loss, and I wanted to get a buzz from seeing that it was working. Except… one pound ON. I’ve been so good, that shouldn’t be physically possible! So I cracked and ate a sandwich, immediately regretting it.

Saturday and Sunday, I ditched SP before any more sandwich incidents could occur, but to be honest I’m quite proud of myself for stopping at that one sandwich. That’s pretty impressive for me.

I really do have a distinct feeling of not having done ‘enough’ this week. I’ve been too tired to walk every day, but the two trips I did take around the park yielded good fungal results.

Yesterday morning was spent having the best time with my brother. I suggested we check out a country park that’s new to us, but by the time I finished work I was regretting having suggested it. This is normal for me – I get too tired and tell myself ‘next Sunday I’ll just sleep all day!’ Then I go out, have fun, and decide it was worth it after all.

In fact yesterday was the most pure, unadulterated fun I’ve had in ages.

We got to the park a couple of hours before the visitor centre opens, and there were only a couple of dog walkers about. It was freezing, literally. There was a blanket of ice over everything but the sun was out and everything was mightily pretty.

There were loads of puddles that were frozen over, and I think we stepped in every single one. Any toddlers arriving later on would no doubt be disappointed, but that’s not my problem. They should have got their parents up earlier, right?

Just look how thick the ice was!

Stomping over icy, crunchy grass and stepping in creaky, glassy ice puddles are two of the most satisfying things in the whole world. Fact.

I also did something scary, something I haven’t done in years. Have you been down a slide as an adult? Looking from the top it seemed so steep. Surely I’d go flying off the end and possibly really hurt myself? My brother decided to film it, because if I did hurt myself, filming it would of course be even more hilarious. Thanks bro.

Ok, perhaps I wasn’t in danger after all! Injury averted, a walk through the more wooded parts got me a few more lovely shots.

As we headed back towards the visitor centre, we realised our early start paid off because it was packed. But we absolutely had to go in to get deer food. The park has fallow deer that live there all year round and they are cuuuuuuute!

Back to reality though, and the weigh in results are in. I’m in shock, because I was so sure I’d messed it all up. In fact, I lost 3lbs!

This week I’m really not going to weigh myself at home, honestly. It’s more trouble than it’s worth.

With that I must sign off as group is about to begin. Have a fab week everyone!

Hayley x

Addictions

Now that I have significantly less troubles on my plate, I’ve found that some brain fog has dissipated and I can think clearly again. Since I currently have the mental capacity to do so, I’ve started reading Women Who Love Too Much by Robin Norwood.

It took me a long time to discover this book. Every relationship I’ve had so far has found me getting myself in worse and worse situations, so much so that with the last one (not counting Gentleman Friend, he was just a slight regression) I thought another one like that might very well be the end of me. I knew something had to change, but didn’t know what. I had no explanation as to why I got involved in the first place (knowing full well he wasn’t right for me), why my feelings were so intense, why I found it so hard to walk away… I felt lost and hopeless, doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over.

I eventually found my way to this book via several Instagram accounts and a Facebook support group for women like me, but I had it on my Kindle for a long time before I found the courage to start reading it.

Basically, and it’s absolutely mortifying for me to admit this, I am addicted to what I have (up to this point) perceived as love. It’s even more cringy that when I think of that, I think of that godawful Robert Palmer song too. Aren’t things embarrassing enough already?

Thus far, I’ve been attracted to men who I think need me. If they need me, then it won’t matter if I’m essentially unlovable. I’ve made myself so useful, that they won’t want to leave me. It never occurred to me in any of my relationships whether they were actually worth it or not. Some of them, I’ve realised afterwards, I never even particularly liked. Yet the feelings were so all-consuming at the time, I felt compelled to act the way I did. I don’t think it would be exaggerating to call it obsession.

It’s so exhausting, trying to keep him happy all the time and feeling absolutely, 100% responsible if he isn’t, that it starts to take a physical toll on the body. You know how I’ve been struggling with my energy levels for so long? Totally normal. I spent over a year just giving and giving but riding off the adrenaline of conflict and uncertainty. When that was gone, well, I was spent.

The book says that people of my background often have an underlying depression (yep) but when we are so full of adrenaline it’s physically impossible to be depressed. Bad news is, this is of course unsustainable and you’re left with a deeper depression that the one you started with (yep).

Such women may unconsciously seek the powerful stimulation of a difficult and dramatic relationship in order to stir their glands to release adrenaline-an exercise similar to whipping a tired, over-worked horse in order to get a few more miles out of the poor, exhausted beast. This is why, when the strong stimulant of involvement in an unhealthy relationship is removed, either because the relationship ends or because the man begins to recover from his problems and relate to her in a healthier way, a woman of this type will usually sink into depression.

Robin Norwood

Damn. I did wonder why, after the initial relief of ending things for good, I felt so awful all the time.

Then there’s the emptiness that you feel. I’m still struggling with how to just sit and be me and I still feel pretty much detached from everything and everyone. One woman described how she felt after the relationship ended: ‘At first I was so empty I felt like the wind was blowing through me’. I really felt that. I spent so much time and energy pouring everything I had into another person, I didn’t know what to do when he was gone. It felt like I was gone.

Of course there are many more facets to why I am the way I am that need to be examined and dealt with, but already this book has been so helpful that I found I had to get a physical copy so that I can more easily highlight and bookmark the bits that are helping me the most.

As for how to actually heal, well I’m just starting on those chapters, but it’s going to be intense. Simple, but definitely not easy. With Gentleman Friend, I’m pretty sure he was just a very unhealthy distraction, because even with what I’ve learned so far I can’t go back to how I was. Now I know better, I have the responsibility to be and do better. I definitely found myself trying to recreate those ‘highs’ I’d known from before, but thankfully it never got that far.

Okay, enough of the deep stuff. I’ll only be doing that in small, manageable chunks. It takes it out of me I tell you!

This week has seen things just getting better and better. I’ve managed to go out on a few walks, and although I’d planned to do more than actually got done, I also managed to sleep when I needed to instead of trying to pour from an empty cup. I got an average of 9 hours a day, which is unheard of, whilst also having plenty of Pea time, time for journaling, and making sure I stayed on plan with food.

I also found even more cool stuff at the park.

We’re now entering the quiet time of work – February and March are typically the months where we have the least amount to do, and as such we’ve been offered the opportunity to book unpaid leave.

Make no mistake, I really cannot afford to do this, but I’ve decided to make my wellbeing a top priority. I have a week off at the beginning of February, and a week off at the end of March. Apart from doing a few odd things I’ve been meaning to get around to, I’m going to go on some fabulous walks, do plenty of work on myself and generally take time to look after myself properly. Because to be quite honest, I really need this. I see it as the perfect opportunity to completely recharge before I get on with evolving into the next version of myself. The one that doesn’t get into bad relationships!

Today was weigh day, but before I went I made the time to make myself an espresso using some very thoughtful Christmas presents from my brother. Ironically, I’ve been too tired to use them until now.

I was given roasted coffee beans, a hand bean-grinder and a stovetop espresso maker, along with a cute-as-hell double-walled glass to drink it from. It was smooth as hell, but also nearly blew my head off! In a good way.

There are certainly quicker and easier ways to make coffee at home, but I really enjoyed the process of the grinding and smelling the intense aroma of the beans. It was quite relaxing… until I drank all the caffeine and got the jitters!

This week I really wasn’t sure whether I’d lose any weight come weigh-in time. Not because I haven’t been on plan (I’ve been a veritable angel) but because my home scales just weren’t budging. I know, I know, I shouldn’t weigh at home! In my defence I did manage to prevent myself from self-sabotaging, and as a result I got a 2lb loss and Slimmer of the Week, again! This time I did share it with four other very deserving people-it’s nice that so many of us got a piece of the action.

I’m trying not to think too far ahead, but it cannot escape my notice that I still have 8 lbs to lose before I’m lower than my start weight, and that I cannot wait for. In the meantime all I can do is keep plodding on.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Busy

Weirdly, the first work week of January was quite busy, with no opportunity for going home early. This is good, because it means I won’t lose money. The first sniff of an early finish and I’m outta there.

Although outwardly I thought I seemed quite calm, what with waiting for mum’s hospital results and the added stress of man trouble, apparently I wasn’t fooling anyone.

At work, my friend J was a huge support, but we spent way too much time talking. So this week (I’m back in tonight) I’m going to have to crack on. Even when I’m being ‘lazy’, I’m normally more than capable of hitting my targets, however if you have a good work ethic and put in that extra bit of effort, at the times when you aren’t feeling so great you’re more likely to be given a bit of a reprieve. Give and take and all that.

At home, I mostly just hid, but I think I’ve finally snapped out of my hibernation phase. For the first time in months, I’ve been able to get up during the day and do stuff. Thinking about the past and trying to heal those wounds is really, really tough. Exhausting, actually, and since I’ve still got a long way to go I’m likely to have many more periods where it gets worse, then better, then much worse, then great, then average, then worse… you get the idea. It must be done though, because I think this is the culmination of 37 years of stuffing everything I didn’t know how to deal with deep down inside me, and it simply refuses to be contained for one second longer.

People have come to the rescue though. Although I was busy with chores on Sunday, when my friend M offered to meet for coffee in the evening I nearly bit his hand off at the chance of a distraction. I didn’t finish the things I needed to do, but never mind, it’ll wait.

It’s impossible to stay any kind of unhappy or stressed when you’re chauffeured to Costa in an ex Royal Mail van painted (badly) to look like the van from the A-Team.

You’d think that having coffee in the afternoon might have hindered my sleep, but I was that tired it really didn’t make a difference. I’m glad I managed to sleep, because I wanted Sunday over and done with quickly before I had the chance to freak out too much over my mum’s hospital results on Monday morning.

When I woke up Monday morning, really not wanting anything else to deal with, I found that Gentleman Friend had messaged me at 3:30am. The reason for his silence was that he needed ‘me time’. He said he was sorry, and that he knew it was selfish, and asked what I was up to.

I waited till I’d calmed down a bit to reply. You see, everyone, and I mean everyone is absolutely entitled to time alone or to have space whenever they want or need it. Therefore I made it totally clear that needing that isn’t selfish at all. But for the love of god is it too much to ask for that to be communicated rather than just being ignored for 8 days? I didn’t say it quite like that, but that was the gist of it.

I mean, if you really do want time alone then surely you don’t go out of your way to invite someone out then just not bother to follow through without a single word?

So, I said thanks for getting back to me, wished him well, deleted all of his pictures and messages, and carried on with my life.

Done.

Back to the hospital results then. I haven’t gone into details, because I didn’t want to think about it too much, but before Christmas the reason my mum was in hospital was to have a tumour removed. Yesterday’s appointment was to find out what it was and what happens next.

I’ll be forever grateful that my brother came along with us, and that the doctor was running very late, because it took me 50 minutes of driving round and round the multi-storey before I found a parking space. I believe the barriers were broken and saying there were spaces when there weren’t, because I was not the only one doing circuits of the car park.

When I met up with my mum and brother, we didn’t have to wait much longer before she was called. Here’s the good bit – the tumour she had removed was cancerous, but they got it all, it hadn’t reached the muscle of the organ (the bladder) and it’s the least aggressive type of cancer there is. She doesn’t need any further treatment, just regular check ups. In the event it does return, there’s a whole load of various treatments available. The doctor said if he had to have cancer, then he’d choose this kind.

Obviously it’s still terrifying, but as these things go we really couldn’t have hoped for better. I didn’t realise exactly how stressed we’d all been until we got home and started to process that she’s ok. To be honest, I could have laid down there and then and slept for about 20 hours, but there were more things to be done!

Since the day after Boxing Day, I have been super good. I have been out on many walks, and taken many lovely photographs.

Last Saturday, I took my old Russian Helios Lens out with me on my walk and got some gorgeous shots. What’s more, the sun very kindly made an appearance.

The last one is my favourite. I never usually do anything abstract, but I think it’s lovely.

The question is, did all of this hard work pay off when I weighed in Monday evening? The answer is… YES! I lost 3lbs, which I think is great considering I managed to pull back a huge gain and get away with a maintain when I officially weighed in on the last day of the year.

AND I got this, which was most unexpected!

After group, I went for a coffee with my friend Tom, in a McDonald’s of all places. We met at 7pm, when most coffee shops shut, so we didn’t have a huge amount of options. It was surprisingly nice though, and can someone tell me how long table service has been a thing?

Because I’d love another good result on the scales next week, I’m keeping the hard work going. It’s so strange (but GREAT) to want to get out of bed again. I hope I can keep this going for a good long while.

Today I did a six mile walk, and I took my camera with me again. For my own purposes, I’m choosing one shot a day to add to a ‘Walks of 2020 album’ that I can look back on at the end of the year. If some shots are samey or not that interesting, it doesn’t really matter as long as they capture something about that particular walk.

I wasn’t expecting to get anything interesting since I went to the same park on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, but I still managed to find new things.

Pretty awesome.

Well then, I’d best get a nice, healthy dinner on the go before work. I cannot tell you all how good it feels to be writing whilst feeling something like my old self.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Theft

Recovery isn’t always linear, I’m beginning to find. I read that at some point this year, and it helps me to remember it. After having a terrible experience, I’m getting better at recognising when things aren’t right with a potential romantic interest. Better, but far from perfect.

So, despite numerous red flags, I kept going with my most recent gentleman friend. I didn’t have any particular hopes for us before Christmas Eve, but when he ended up coming home with me I felt that something had changed, that there was something more. I’m not talking about the physical side of things, by the way, and I’m absolutely sure he felt it too.

Even speaking to him Boxing Day, things felt different. And then… nothing. I finally plucked up the courage to call yesterday morning, which is something I wouldn’t do with anyone else, but since this person is always losing/breaking phones, it’s more than possible he just wasn’t getting my messages.

Then when I called, he sounded genuinely pleased to hear from me. I suggested meeting up at some vague point before New Year’s Eve, but then he invited me out that very night. He said he’d message me to confirm the details, but… nothing. I’ve heard nothing since.

It may seem like a minor thing, but it isn’t the first time it’s happened. If I stuck around, I’m sure it wouldn’t be the last. What I want from a relationship (amongst other things) is stability and consistency, and he can’t offer either of these, for whatever reason.

Whether he can’t or he won’t, it’s all the same. It’ll just be even more painful to carry on down this road. Therefore that’s it, I really am done with this one, and I’m glad I’m drawing a line and not carrying this situation into next year. I had a little cry last night, remembered to give myself a pat on the back for only letting this go on for a couple of weeks instead of over a year like the last one, and got myself out for weigh in this morning.

Thankfully, I’ve somehow managed to stay the same since my last weigh in, though I can’t actually remember when that was. Yay for Christmas miracles!

After getting weighed, I then went out leafleting for my consultant. I went yesterday too, figuring that it would be good in several different ways. I get to do some exercise, I help my friend promote her business, and it boosts my commitment to my Slimming World group.

Both times we went out were eventful. In case you don’t know, when posting leaflets it’s a good idea to take a wooden spoon with you, to help you poke the leaflet through the letterbox.

For me, mainly this helps stop your hands from getting sore, because some letterboxes really are more hazardous than you might expect, but it’s also in case your fingers get bitten by a dog.

I didn’t think this would ever really happen, but then the very first time I posted a leaflet through a door yesterday, a humongous-sounding beast grabbed the leaflet and the spoon right out of my hand. I tried to hold on, but it was too damn strong!

Feeling utterly bemused, I rang the doorbell to ask for the spoon back, but no one was home. Some very confused dog owner is probably even now wondering why someone posted a wooden spoon to them. I for one am just glad it’s not my fingers they found on their doormat.

Then today we split into two groups and I went off with a lovely lady with blue hair. In the first street, she had a fall and couldn’t carry on. Although she wouldn’t admit it to begin with and I did have to practically force her to go home rather than trying to continue. Hopefully nothing is broken!

Since coming home I’ve been planning how I’m going to smash my weight loss goals, which is now absolutely essential since I have broken my very favourite item of clothing.

This is an unmitigated disaster. I have other cold-weather items but nothing compares to these babies, and my tummy has gone and burst through the zip! They are £90 to buy new, so although a lovely work friend has donated her pair to me, I’ll be getting these ones repaired at some point.

I also can’t risk wearing the new pair yet, in case I break those too. So yeah, I’m getting serious about this now.

I’m using Slimming World’s own 12 week journal to keep me on track, using my favourite ever picture of me as inspiration. That photo was also taken on the day I last felt genuinely OK.

It was taken in May, at the Swingamajig festival. I felt so good – slim, confident, excited about the future… I just felt like myself. Then everything came crashing down.

I already have tickets for Swingamajig 2020, which takes place on the 8th of May. By then I aim to be back on that good place or, scratch that, even better. For the first time in a long time I really believe that will happen.

I’m just going to take it one day at a time, and congratulate myself for every day that I stay on plan. If I don’t achieve anything else, at the end of the day I can say to myself ‘I did a positive thing, just for me, and I’m proud of myself for doing it’. If nothing else, at least I’ll have that.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Loose Hips and High Arches

From time to time, weighing myself at home isn’t such a bad thing. For most of last week my home scales were showing a 4-5 pound loss, which is awesome! I say most of the week… I mean every day except weigh day, when of course my weight suddenly shot up again. This is the curse of my gosh darn xx chromosomes, so there’s not much that can be done about that.

What’s more, weigh day was also Christmas shopping day so I ventured a few miles out to a town that actually has a high street with shops that are still open. This particular town also has a Wagamama, so I brought a friend along to share lunch with me.

I had my usual kare baruso ramen (14 syns) which is still perfectly on plan but is nonetheless quite a hefty dish. It was also very salty, so after eating a huge bowl of delicious broth, crispy fried tofu, tasty veggies and big fat udon noodles, I was thirsty as hell. When I got home I downed about four pints of water then had a quick nap before group.

I knew that what I’d consumed would affect the scales, but I also knew that it would be temporary. It had no bearing on the actual amount of fat I’d lost over the previous seven days, therefore I wasn’t going to miss out on a nice lunch just to keep the numbers on the scales lower.

Despite all of my heavy foods and drinks, I still managed to lose a pound, so as long as I stick with it I should be destined for an extra good loss come next Monday.

Except… it’s the vegan Christmas meal on Sunday!

As such I’m being extra good for the rest of the week and for once in my life I’m absolutely positive I’m going to stay on plan before and after that meal. Normally it’s a case of ‘I’m really going to try, honest!’ But this is different. I’m doing this.

I nearly messed up Tuesday morning because after a weekend of lots of doing and not much sleeping, I almost reached for many slices of white bread. Instead I had Quorn vegan ham, Ryvita and tomatoes. I win!

Also, my home scales are now showing a midweek 6 pound loss so I’d say it’s fairly likely I’ll still lose next week.

Yesterday I had my physio appointment for my knee, which coincided with the pain in my knee lessening significantly. I felt like a fraud and nearly cancelled my appointment, but it’s a good job I didn’t because it seems there is quite a lot wrong with me!

First of all, the lady asked me to lay down on my back and straighten my legs, getting my knees as flat to the bed as I could. My knees basically bend back the wrong way, so I got them completely flat. The lady was quite surprised – I had no idea that they aren’t supposed to do that!

It turns out I have hyper mobility, meaning that the ligaments in my lower body are waaaaaaay too loose and my knee caps are free to move around much more than they should. Which is why they crunch and click so much. Because of the ligament problem, from childhood I’ve subconsciously learned to lock my knees when I stand for stability rather than engaging the muscles, especially in my right leg, meaning that the muscles are way too weak. Especially in the hip area. So I have some exercises to do to strengthen these muscles which will in turn keep my knee caps where they should be.

In addition to that the physio said she’d never seen arches as high as mine, which cause me to put too much pressure on my toes when I walk. Coupled with my loose hip, it also causes my right knee to turn in when I walk causing more pain.

This is good though, because all of this can be managed with the right exercises. I did ask if I would be able to run, but I was advised to learn how to walk properly first. Fair point I suppose!

Finally, although as I mentioned in my last post it’s a little too early for Christmas things for me, Christmas just will not be contained. There are Christmas songs on the radio at work, and you know what they say – if you can’t beat them, join them!

Most of the presents are wrapped, the tree is up and I’m in love with my decorations. How many people can say they have a bunch of Free Foods on their tree?

I think you’ll agree that the rainbow tree is frikking awesome. And if you don’t? Well, you are just plain wrong!

I only have to wait till Sunday though, then I’m going full on, completely unapologetically, 100% Christmassy. I don’t even care that I’ve woken up feeling rather pants with an icky bug. I’ll just wrap up warm for work and break out the cold and flu tablets till it’s gone. After all…

🎶 It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! 🎶

Hayley x

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

At Least One Step

I often flick through my previous posts to see what was going on when we last spoke, sometimes to see what I planned to do but didn’t. The broken promises just keep on coming. This weekend was no exception – it was going to be my sorting out weekend, but that didn’t happen. Not even close!

That’s not to say I didn’t do anything though. On Friday, I was supposed to be meeting a friend for drinks in the pub, but he couldn’t make it. Part of me was relieved. I wasn’t sure exactly what our drinks were all about (was it going to be a date?) and since I’ve been feeling so awful about myself I somewhat freaked out. When it didn’t happen, I thought ‘ok, great, I can stop worrying and get back on plan’.

I had to work Saturday night, then on Sunday my friend rearranged his own working week so he could have Sunday off as well as me and we could go out together. Ok, back on plan Monday then! Or maybe not…

We stayed at the pub until closing time, then ended up back at mine chatting and playing YouTube videos until the small hours. Did he stay over all night? Was it a date? Did anything happen? Sorry, a lady never tells!

I do feel like I’ve received some external validation, which is kind of helpful, and I can believe that someone can find me genuinely attractive at my current size. This is a big deal for me, because the last person I was ‘involved with’ didn’t want to see me naked until I lost more weight (I was 3 stone lighter than I am now when he said that) and got extensive plastic surgery (which didn’t happen by the way, I got out in time!)

That doesn’t do much for a gal’s self esteem.

The other end of the scale has its own problems though, because when someone is nice to you, you can start to rely on others to make you feel ok about yourself. Then there’s always that fear about what happens when the person goes away, for whatever reason.

This is where my current learning about myself comes in. I need to realise I have worth without needing anyone to tell me. Needing to hear it from a significant other leads to nothing but misery. Believe me, I know. We aren’t doing that any more.

Still, it’s a work in progress.

I spent most of the day Monday in bed asleep because I didn’t get much rest the previous night before, and I was feeling somewhat delicate shall we say, but I did manage to drag myself to group to get weighed in.

I didn’t really have much choice to be fair. I had two friends who didn’t know each other separately attending the Slimming World ball last weekend, and when I suggested one go find the other (I sent the estimable Davey, of MOTY 2018 fame, to track down my lovely consultant, Amanda) I wasn’t sure he’d be successful. There were a lot of people there after all. But find her he did, and he had a message to pass on to me:

Message received, loud and clear!

Amanda, being the lovely person that she is, said that I could weigh in first and that she’d do it personally, so I wouldn’t have to worry so much. I still wasn’t feeling wonderful about it though.

Since I haven’t had many weigh ins since I rejoined, and I’m much heavier than when I started, I decided to turn over a new page. Literally.

That’s 14.5 pound ON. Ouch! But there’s always a silver lining. It’s about half a stone less than I thought it would be.

I still haven’t managed a full day on plan since then, but I’m determined to make the next 120 hours count. It’s not too late for me to get a loss, so I’m really going to try. Starting from… NOW!

I have shiny Christmas planner to help me along too!

There’s a space in there for my Christmas wish, which is to get into the 14 stone bracket. It’s a big ask, but it’s possible. I’m gonna go for it, I’m really gonna!

I am feeling marginally better since I got the weigh in part over and done with, now I just need to actually eat some healthy food. How hard can it be, eh?

Hayley x

Patternless Sleep

Oh bloody hell, my sleep is totally broken. I’m doing well in one respect – I’m not generally having caffeine at work, but then for some reason I’m finding it even harder to sleep after my shift. On the first day of my weekend, if I sleep in too long I can’t sleep at night, or (as was the case this Sunday) I physically cannot keep myself awake watching Princess Mononoke at 7pm! It’s ridiculous.

I did have a bad anxiety day on Saturday where I completely overreacted about something and barely slept at all, so I had break my no caffeine rule and had two 500ml energy drinks to get me through my shift.

Despite being awake, I couldn’t concentrate or settle on anything, so I’m a bit behind on all the things I want to do. It was my birthday yesterday, and I got some art supplies I’d asked for (metallic watercolours and black paper, I’m looking at you) and I really wanted to try them out, but I simply ran out of time. Now I’m just way too tired, ‘cept I can’t sleep. Damn it.

This is probably because I’ve been hammering the coffee today, and in actual fact I’m going to knock it on the head completely because it’s not doing me any good, in any respect. Sure, it’ll keep me awake at certain times (usually the wrong times) but it doesn’t help me function any better. If anything it’s mainly become a procrastination aid – I’ll do the thing after just one more cup of coffee, honestly. I’ll just finish off my last jar of caramel popcorn Beanies, which is less than half full, then I’ll go cold turkey and see how that goes.

Because of the sleep problem, I haven’t had time to go running again, but my brother did come on a birthday walk with me. The park I chose I haven’t been to since I was a kid, and I certainly was never allowed to go there alone because it was full of perverts, murderers and drug addicts. Apparently. I chose it because a friend from work told me the rats there are ridiculously bold, and I wanted to see for myself.

He wasn’t lying. Those guys really don’t give a damn.

After that we had a walk around and we found loads of mushrooms, with this one being my shot of the day:

My brother did a bit of research and was going to take one home to eat before he realised the mushroom he had chosen fit the description of at least three different varieties, probably more, and not all of them were edible. Definitely not worth the risk.

He was somewhat put off after reading about a certain fungus that will give you terrible sickness and diarrhoea, after which you will seem to make a full recovery, then you will die. Thanks but no thanks.

Because I slept so badly the night before, and because I got up early to see my sister when she dropped Newton off in the morning, I desperately needed a birthday nap before heading off to Slimming World.

To be honest I was so reluctant to get up when my alarm went off that I really thought about giving group a miss. However I decided against it because as I’ve been doing so well, I didn’t want to do anything that would jeopardise my losses. Hence going to get weighed in on my actual birthday! Group was… embarrassing! They sang happy birthday to me, and I was slightly mortified, but losing 3 pounds AND getting Slimmer of the Week more than made up for it. That’s two whole weeks on plan! If (scratch that, when) this month is up and I’ve been perfectly on plan, it’ll be the best I’ve done this whole year.

Today, apart from making sure I get enough sleep before work, I’m going to catch up on #birdtober and play with my pressies before getting out for exercise Wednesday. Then I will work on building a routine again.

It’s all happening now!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Counter-cursed

The curse of the Sunday night takeaway has been broken! It wasn’t easy, because Sunday night was also family film night. We’re working our way through the Studio Ghibli classics, and Spirited Away night also coincided with mum and brother’s monthly takeaway. I just tried not to think about it too much, and I got through it without too much bother. Even the smell of the pizza dough seemed less intoxicating than usual.

So with this victory in mind how did I get on at group on Monday? Well, I lost a rather wonderful 6.5 pounds! That’s it, that’s exactly what I needed. Now the ball is rolling again I know I can keep going.

My consultant is lovely, but I didn’t enjoy group all that much this week. I think it was a combination of just being really sleepy and wishing I was in bed, combined with the pungent smell of a fish curry. Yuk! We had a curry night in group, and even if I did trust any of the food (I overheard fish curry lady telling someone her dish was vegetarian) I wouldn’t have fancied it anyway. What I am looking forward to is mocktail night which is coming up next month. That could be interesting, especially as I’m off the sauce. No drinkies for me till Christmas Day!

I had planned to do more walking last week but I was so tired that it never came to fruition. I figured if I let myself get too tired, I’m more likely to go off plan, plus it’s good to let yourself have a decent catch up. I must get out this week though because it’s mushroom season and I want to find some good ones.

The trouble is, my sleep pattern is a little bit messed up. It’s mostly because of Newton! When I got in from work this morning, I should have gone straight to sleep. Instead I spent way too long playing with an energetic puppy. Not sensible! I should be sleeping now really, but I just couldn’t get off.

As ever I think it’s just a case if rebalancing again. I’m doing a more physical job at work tonight and I’m determined to get out for a walk tomorrow, so that should help me reset my pattern.

Yesterday a lot of time was taken up at the hair salon. About three hours actually, but it’s always good to catch up with the awesome dude who has been styling my hair on and off for the last seventeen years. Or thereabouts.

In recent times as you know I’ve struggled to locate my mojo, and I haven’t felt much like myself. However as myself has come back stronger than ever I felt it was time that the outside should match the inside.

I thought about getting my haircut once I’d lost a bit more weight. Then I thought… eff that!

This was me yesterday morning:

This was me yesterday afternoon:

Richard has mulleted me many times over the years. It’s something that really shouldn’t work, but I absolutely love it. Just like the mullet, I’m back!

In fact I’d say I’m more ‘me’ than ever right now. After my latest foray into the world of relationships, I really wondered why I allow myself to be treated badly. The usual suspects didn’t ring true – I don’t crave love or relationships (at least I don’t think I do, perhaps I should question that assumption), I’m really happy when I’m on my own, and I never go actively looking for partners. So I figure it’s not a case of just feeling like I’m not complete without a boyfriend.

But when I fall for someone, I ignore all the red flags and will fold myself in half trying to keep the person who is tearing me apart. I have a telephone assessment for counselling coming up later this month, but from what I can the gather the thing I’m mostly likely to be offered is CBT in order to cope with feelings of depression and anxiety in the future.

But I don’t want to cope. I WANT TO HEAL!

I’ve been asking myself if that’s even possible. Do people ‘get better’ or do they just learn to live with it? Is there something wrong with me? Can I be ‘fixed’? If I want more than CBT, what do I even ask for? Is a more in-depth treatment accessible to me? Do I deserve it? Am I depressed ‘enough’?

The answer popped up most unexpectedly, in the most unlikely of places – Instagram! I stumbled across a whole plethora of help and information after reading about dating advice from someone I follow for a completely different reason and it’s been a total game changer.

I thought I was weird, that others don’t have the same problems as me, but when it comes to love it seems I’m pretty much textbook. Everything I read is almost word-for-word my own experience, and what’s more, I’m learning what do to about it! I’ve never felt so sure that I can stop repeating past mistakes and that something/someone really good is out there waiting for me. I could actually share my life with someone in a really fun, healthy and special way, without destroying myself in the process. WHO KNEW?

Well, a lot of you knew. You tried to tell me, but I didn’t really understand, or if I did and happened to believe it, it didn’t think it could be true for me. I’m sure I’ll go into this more in future posts where I’ll share really valuable resources (I need to make a list and get all of the information in order) but for now let’s just say my mind is well and truly blown. If you are struggling with absolutely anything in life, although social media obviously isn’t a replacement for actual therapy, you can guarantee there’s an Insta-therapist who can point you in the right direction. In my case it simply helped me learn what to ask for. That’s a pretty good starting point.

In the meantime I’ve added a couple of paintings to my Birdtober collection, but I am now a couple of days behind. I intend to catch up tomorrow though and I’m ridiculously excited about fairy wrens. Watch this space.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

The Beacon is Smaller

It took me a while to get around to this post, mainly because holiday mode morphed into EXTREME holiday mode, mixed with some EXTREME instances of attempting to eat my feelings.

That wasn’t my intention. I was going to face my gain (5.5lbs on. Damn) then get on with things. I would be in for another gain on Monday, but I can’t make group because my sister is visiting and I don’t want to have to rush off. It’s been too long since we had a proper catch up.

Tuesday I went with my brother to his fishing lake, which reinforced what I already knew – that fishing would never be for me even if I did think it would be a good idea to put a hook through something’s face, which I don’t. His biggest catch was a bream, which was absolutely smothered in horrifying goo. That’s normal apparently.

This was my view for the day. I was content to mainly sit and contemplate how I was going to tell my friend I no longer wanted him in my life (something I wanted to think carefully about as I don’t do well with confrontation) and attempt to get some colour on my milk bottle legs. Despite rotating regularly, the sun decided to give me two thin strips of sunburn on the front of my legs and nothing anywhere else. Strange.

This summer I’ve been brave and started baring my arms, and I want to do the same in the leg department at some point. However before I’m comfortable enough to do that I would like them to be slightly less pale. I’ll keep trying!

It was such a gorgeous day. The lake was teeming with butterflies, dragonflies, damselflies and we were sat right opposite a little family of moorhens with two adorable little babies. Sadly I couldn’t get a good picture of those, but a damselfly did land right on me which was handy.

Later on, I did manage to speak to my friend and now that chapter of my life can be closed. I went for option B in the end – I explained why I had to do what I had to do, as hard as that was. Wednesday I had a cathartic day of sorting through pretty much everything I own, deciding what to throw, what to give away and what to sell at a boot sale.

It helped me sort through some feelings too, but to be honest I still feel awful about the whole situation. This person has caused a lot of pain in my life, and whenever I’ve taken gradual steps to protect myself in the recent past, it’s taken a while for me to adjust to the new state of affairs. This time I have to do the same thing, but I take comfort in the fact that this is the last time I ever have to do that. Then it’s over, finally. Only healthy friendships from here on in!

A walk with my little brother yesterday also helped. We started at Ivinghoe Beacon, which we first visited in April 2016. This was a few months before I started my current membership with Slimming World, and the first time I really started trying to get out into the world.

This is the beacon, and it seemed like such a huge undertaking for us at the time. We were so unfit, it really was a feat getting to the top. We went back again in April 2017 as part of preparing ourselves for climbing Snowdon, but even then it was still quite difficult.

Yesterday, it felt as if the beacon had shrunk. It was an absolute doddle! As much as I’ve struggled with my diet for over a year, at least I can say my fitness hasn’t suffered.

After scaling the beacon in no time at all, we then went on a 15 mile walk along The Ridgeway, which is a National Trust trail that starts at the beacon in Leighton Buzzard and ends 87 miles away in Wiltshire. People have been walking The Ridgeway for 5000 years, so although it’s pretty cool to walk the route and imagine what kind of people had been there before us (kings, knights, bandits, wenches, vikings…) the novelty of that wore off pretty quickly.

Although I’m ordinarily happy to keep walking until I drop, it was all a bit samey and we quickly became bored of traipsing through forest that all looked exactly like the last stretch we walked through. At least we know now though – The Ridgeway isn’t quite our bag and rather than try the next stretch of the trail it’s probably better if we look for something new for next time.

One thing that is pretty awesome is that we didn’t even sit down until we were about 8 miles in, and the only reason we stopped in the first place was so my brother could get the stones out of his boots. After that we didn’t stop again until the end of our 15 mile route. Even then we didn’t need to stop, it was just that we had arrived at a convenient place. That’s pretty impressive in my book.

Something that’s apparent is that we don’t have much luck with this part of the world – every time we’ve been here the weather has been awful and we got rained on, a lot. Although having said that it was quite refreshing!

Plus I did see a slug eating a mushroom, some cool fungus, and I had a fight with a tree. Now I have a lumpy head. The tree won.

On today’s agenda is making plans for staying on plan over the coming weeks and months, eating well, then this evening I’m off to the cinema for a nice, mindless zombie movie.

Perfect.

Hayley x