Starting Out

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This is a bit of a long one, so I recommend grabbing a cuppa first!

My Slimming World consultant has been asking me a lot lately – what advice would you give to someone just starting out on their weight loss journey? Whenever I’m posed with such a question my mind instantly goes completely blank. The same goes for if I’m asked something like ‘how is life different now?’

It’s not that I don’t have an answer, it’s just that my own answer to those questions is made up of a thousand tiny little answers that I’ve come up with over the course of a lifetime. No wonder I can’t give a decent response on the spot! So I decided to write a post to see if I can come up with something helpful. And perhaps something that I can refer back to when the question inevitably comes up in the future.

First of all a little disclaimer – these are just things that have worked for me. It might not be the right way for others, and that’s absolutely fine. Try things out and see what works for you.

Which brings me nicely to my first bit of advice.

1. Trial and error

I’ve been in my current job for 10 years this month, and I’ve been trying to lose weight that whole time. One of my major issues was getting in from work at 6am and being starving. In the beginning I’d be so hungry after my shift that I’d stop off at the 24hr Asda at the end of the road and buy the biggest pizza they sold. And I’d eat the whole lot for breakfast. That only stopped when they went back to normal trading hours (and I found plenty of other food to replace it with).

The pattern of going over the top after work only stopped when I started actively seeking a solution, and it took a good year before I came up with something that worked. I had to work out when is best to eat dinner, what to eat, how much to eat, when to eat my work lunch and what to have when I come in.

For me what works is an enormous Slimming World dinner as late as possible before my shift starts at 10pm, which will see me through to my lunch break at 4am. Then I have a substantial lunch (normally pasta and low-Syn vegan meatballs with passata, packed out with fresh tomatoes and roasted veg) which ensures I’m not famished when the shift finishes shortly after. Often I don’t even need anything when I get in and go straight to sleep, but if I do need something I have my healthy extras (wheat biscuits and chocolate oat milk, yum!)

So my advice is to keep trying different things until you find the thing that works. Try big meals and little meals, healthy snacks, eating at different times… and listen to your body. If it’s hungry you should feed it, just work out when you really are hungry and work around that. If I need two lunches in any given day, then I have two lunches! As long as you follow the plan, you’ll lose weight.

2. Be REALLY kind to yourself 

No one can thrive when they’re being spoken down to all of the time, and that counts for our internal voices too. I’ve been there and I get it – you think you look like crap, you tell yourself you’re disgusting, greedy, lazy and a whole load of other awful LIES.

Being genuinely kind to yourself takes a lot of practice, and even then I’ll admit I’m not perfect. I have days where I look at myself and despair, but it’s usually not long before I’m back thinking rationally.

We are conditioned to think that only slim bodies have worth (just look at the mainstream media, at the images we are bombarded with every. single. day.) But honestly it’s just… bullsh*t (‘scuse my language). Most of the people we see are Photoshopped to high heaven – even models don’t look like like models in real life.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t lose weight. If you want to, then go for it. Quite possibly you’ll have more energy, a longer life, have less aches and pains and a whole host of other benefits. But while you’re doing that, know that fat bodies are beautiful. Flawed bodies are beautiful. Thin bodies are beautiful. And all of them have the right to exist because it’s your body and you can do WHATEVER THE HELL YOU LIKE WITH IT. It’s really hard, but I’d recommend embracing your body every step of the way. I go to group and I look around me and see so many beautiful people, in all shapes and sizes, and when I think of how different people are when they start to lose weight I’m not thinking about how their tummies have shrunk or if their butts are smaller.

More often than not the real big changes are in confidence, how people carry themselves, how big their smiles are. But you don’t actually have to lose weight to do those things.

I’d recommend following real people on social media. There’s a huge Body Positivity movement going on and it’s awesome. If what we see is saturated with bodies only a tiny percentage of us are even physically capable of having, then change what you see. It could change your life.

As far as weight loss goes, you might find (as I have) that how you actually look is a secondary benefit of losing weight. And when you discover the other benefits, it’s a HUGE motivator to carry on.

3. Take the focus away from food

This was a real turning point for me. I’m not talking about distracting yourself if you feel hungry, I’m talking about finding things you love that aren’t eating.

In 2012 I lost 7 stone, but I put it all back on again because even after I’d lost it I was still miserable. Looking back I think it’s because food was the only thing in my life that I truly enjoyed. I was seeing someone at the time and not happy at all. I was bored with sitting in front of the TV every weekend, so much so that my only consolation was a tub of Ben & Jerry’s. I never really did anything for myself, and thinking back I have no idea how I used to fill my days. I didn’t do anything.

So my advice here is to find the things you love more than food. For me they are my parrot, walking, exploring new places, photography and spending meaningful time with family and friends. Luckily for me these pursuits all go hand-in-hand.

I do still enjoy things like reading and films, but I used to find it really hard to sit down and read without a glass of wine in hand, or to watch a film without popcorn. But you can train yourself to enjoy relaxing without mindlessly consuming a thousand calories in one sitting as I was doing. Now I just get fully immersed in a film, and if it’s not grabbing my attention enough that I’m bored and want to eat, then I turn if off and do something else. Life’s too short to watch bad films, and much too short to waste it on ice cream.

4. Ask for help, and give it freely

Really that should be the other way round, because I found that when I started trying to help and encourage people, it was much easier to accept help in return. I’m shy and a bit of an introvert, so this is something that was (is) hard for me so I started small.

I started online. If you think someone is doing well then definitely, definitely tell them, as it could make their day. You can change a bad day into a good day for someone. And you never know what friendships will bloom from that. I get so much support and encouragement from people I’ve never even met (at least not yet, in some cases!) and I know that help is only a message away.

Don’t be afraid to ask for it. Ok, some people will inevitably not be quite up to the task. Perhaps they aren’t the friend you thought they were, or maybe they just have something else going on in their own lives that needs their full attention. But there’s always someone out there who cares. Need a bit of extra support? Then hit me up. Seriously, pop a comment in at the end of the post and I’m all ears. In fact, once I’m done here I’ll see if I can add a contact page to the blog. My inbox is always open.

As far as ‘real life’ goes, I found that after doing these things being encouraging to people face-to-face became much easier too, although I fear I’m still terribly awkward when I talk to people! But trying to lift people up (as best as I can) is more important than worrying about transitory awkwardness.

It’s not always easy to know what to say to people, but I’ve found that a simple ‘what can I do to help you?’ or ‘I’m here if you need me’ is often enough in those cases.

5. Keep going to group, and do what you can

Even, no, especially when you’re struggling. When I lost weight before as soon as I hit a stumbling block I stopped going to group. After all what’s the point in still going if you aren’t even losing weight? What’s the point of going if you’re gaining weight.

I’ll tell you now – there is every point in going. When I went back to group in October 2016, tail between my legs and almost every pound of my 7 stone loss regained, I noticed a little group of ladies who had been attending the same group even before I originally started going in 2012.

They didn’t have anything like as much as I had to lose, even at their start points, yet they still weren’t at target after all this time. Did I think any less of them for that? Did I think they had failed in some way?

Nope. I was envious. Insanely jealous.

They had done exactly the right thing. They might not have been making as much progress as they’d like. They all have active social lives so I’m guessing a lot of the delay was due to having a fantastic time with friends, but they still kept going and chipping away, half a pound at a time if necessary. When there were gains they were taken on the chin. When there was an off plan day, there were another six of being on plan. They didn’t talk down to themselves or beat themselves up over it.

I’ve tried to emulate that attitude and it has worked. In the not-so-distant past an off plan day for me would always turn into an off plan week (or two) and it was not unusual to see me gain half a stone in a week.

My weight has yo-yo’d dramatically in the past, but somehow during my most recent period of real struggling (which was between November last year up until the end of August) I managed to more or less maintain my weight for the first time in my life. And it was all down to sticking with the plan every moment I felt I was able to, and not letting a bad weekend spiral into a bad week. Sometimes I had to take one meal at a time, but it meant that when I found my current group after being an online member for a while, I’d only gained 2 pounds rather than, well, everything I’d previously lost.

6. Don’t take things at face value

This is something I’ve been thinking about after starting my new group, because the people there haven’t seen me at my biggest. On the face of things it’s easy to look at me and think ‘blimey, she’s lost over 7 stone in a fairly short space of time, why can’t I do that?’ I’ve had those thoughts, I still do have those thoughts. It’s natural I suppose. But then you have to dig a little deeper.

It hasn’t really taken two years for me to get to this point. In reality it’s taken decades of learning about myself, of falling down and picking myself up time and time again. So don’t feel bad if you feel you’re not making progress as quickly as someone else is, you will get there in your own sweet time.

This is my weight graph from September 2015 to now, and as you can see it’s been anything but plain sailing.

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The important thing is to focus on an overall downwards trend, and not worry about how long it will take. It will feel impossible, until all of a sudden it isn’t and target is within reaching distance. If it’s anything like my experience, it’ll sneak up on you when you least expect it!

7. Think about what scares you, and face that fear

This is something that came up in group last night, and something I’ve given a lot of thought to. Whenever I’d just had a weight loss award, I would tend to self-sabotage, and it takes a lot of introspection to find out why you’re doing it.

At first I thought my own theories were nonsense, but as I get to know myself better I realise they aren’t. The truth is, getting what you want, what you’ve fought for so hard for, for so many years, is actually quite scary.

My number one fear is what I’ll be left with when I’m done, particularly loose skin. I think it’s something we all worry about, and I know for sure that I’ve failed at weight loss attempts in the past due to negative ‘what’s the point I’ll still look crap’ thoughts sneaking in.

Going back to body positivity, those thoughts should be ignored for that reason alone, though there are others. Your body is a miraculous thing that made space for you when you were bigger. It might have been under a lot of pressure (I have had knee problems myself) but it still kept you going, and those things sometimes leave their mark. That’s OK!

I worry that people wouldn’t be attracted to me because of my body, and yeah in some cases that’s true. It’s true if even if you have a ‘perfect’ body. Not everyone is going to find us attractive! It’s easier to say this than actually believe it (it’s a tough one for me) but if someone likes you for you but can’t accept your body, then they are NOT THE ONE.

It’s a concept I’ve struggled with recently – I met someone I really clicked with, but I knew my body was not for him. It took me a long time to accept that, and it really affected my confidence (it was even a factor in stalling my weight loss) because you just can’t help it when you have intense feelings for someone.

I even started considering a tummy tuck, an idea I’d dismissed some time ago, because deep down I just wanted him to like me. But if you have to cut bits off of yourself for someone to like you, again, they are NOT THE ONE.

The other thing I’m frightened of is getting to target and it never being enough. I’m scared of what I’ll replace the buzz of getting a good loss with once I’m not losing any more. It’s a huge part of my identity right now, what happens when I’m ready to stop losing for the first time in my whole life?

The truth is I’ll be stumbling around in the dark for a while, but it has to be done anyway. When I do think about how life has changed for me (that’ll be covered in another post as soon as I can find the words) it’s even scarier to imagine going back to how I was before.

Well, I suppose I’d say those are my top tips so I’ll leave it there for now. In any case I hope it has been useful, and it’s definitely been helpful for me to get these thoughts that have been swimming around my head into some sort of order.

If you made it this far, thanks so much for sticking with it!

Hayley x

Doing Too Much?

I’ve had a really good week, where I’ve tried to cram in as much as possible. But by the time Saturday night came around it occurred to me that I may be pushing myself too hard.

I suppose the way I’ve felt over the last week can only be described as driven. And I’m just so excited about everything right now, about the possibilities for the future rather than not being able to see past the next day.

On Saturday I got up after only a couple of hours sleep in order to be an awesome friend. One of my bestest chums was working overtime and had no possibility to pick up his prescription before he ran out so I offered to get it for him. So pick it up I did, then I posted it through his letter box.

This friend happens to live right near my favourite park, so I took my brother with me and we went for a wander. A two hour wander actually. Week three of my Gold Body Magic is now complete!

The weather was boring, all grey clouds and flat and ‘orrible. But that’s why I like photography, because even if on the surface everything looks rubbish, if you look closer you can always find something beautiful. Ok, you can’t beat beautiful golden light, but there’s still good stuff to be found.

And even more good stuff.

My brother opened a few of these little things up and it seems that an earwig lives inside every single one. That a lot of earwigs.

Later on we came across a herd of cows I’d tried to approach before but they were way too nervous. But I had little bro with me, and he has a curious affinity with cows. They weren’t interested in him (one gave him a sniff and went back to munching on its grass) but they didn’t run away either, as they did with me.

I zoomed in on one cow when I got home and had to laugh. Even though she’s just chewing the cud she looked super grumpy!

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By the time we got home I crawled straight into bed, but I didn’t sleep very well. As soon as I get disturbed, to wake up for a tinkle for instance, I’ve been finding it really hard to get back to sleep again because I just want to carry on with my day.

This is great in one way, but I need to make sure I don’t burn myself out or I’ll be right back where I started before I know it.

As such when I got into work and found we were seriously overmanned, I jumped at the chance of an impromptu night off. To be honest since I’m out of annual leave I had to take it unpaid, which isn’t exactly sensible given my current financial situation, but this will now come out of my pay at the end of October. So I have plenty of time to adjust my outgoings accordingly. That’s how I’m convincing myself it’s OK anyway!

I actually ended up having a fantastic weekend, doing some walking and hanging out with friends. I really enjoyed a rainy wander through the glen Sunday morning.

Since I’m feeling in a cooking mood lately, yesterday when I got back I made dinner and dessert. I want to cook for people but don’t really want to eat it, so after dinner I made a decadent apple crumble. It went down so well that one friend kept eating it till he felt sick. I’ll take that as a win.

As for me I’ve been avoiding sweet stuff entirely, apart from unsweetened soya yoghurt with fruit and wheat biscuits for breakfast. Because anything like chocolate or ice cream will set off my sweet tooth. With Slimming World (if you aren’t familiar with the plan) nothing is off limits. If you want to eat a chocolate bar every single day and still lose weight, you can totally do that (though it might not be the healthiest way to go!) But when it comes to the sweet stuff I always crave more and more once I get going, and since I’m really enjoying my food lately I’m going to carry on with cutting these things out entirely. It seems to be working well for me anyway, as I haven’t felt deprived at all.

On Thursday I have another friend coming over for tea but I’m planning on making him something healthy. He’s been working so hard and such long hours, he hasn’t had time to feed himself properly and I want to get some goodness into him.

Other than that I want to make sure I get a good balance for the week ahead with plenty of sleep as well as exercise and creativity, because I need food for the soul, too.

Tonight is weigh in and I’m not sure how it’s going to go, because my hormones have gone a little up the wall and I’m feeling huge. But then I felt like that last week and it all turned out OK anyway. Time will tell!

I’ll update tomorrow with how it went.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Drenched!

I’ve bitten the bullet and made a doctors appointment. I hate going but I really should get a professional opinion about my knee, which is feeling better still but isn’t right. Or even pain free for that matter. I walked today as I said I would, but although it was lovely it added half an hour onto my time for that route. It’s no problem when I’m off work, like today, but otherwise it would just eat up too much of my day. So I must run! I MISS running!

Having said that, it was waaaaay too hot to actually run today. I started at 10:30am and was melting within minutes. I don’t know what the temperature was but the sun was already beating down and being reflected back up from the sand/gravel track. It’s not so much of a problem for me these days, but there was a time when that kind of environment would have floored me. Today it was mostly me trying to be sensible that prevented me from attempting a run regardless.

I remember going to festivals with my friends and although I loved the music I would often only wear jeans and cover up with long-sleeved tops. I don’t think anyone knew how much of a struggle, how utterly exhausting it was. There’s also a lot of walking involved when you’re making your way between stages, and my thighs would rub until they were literally bleeding. I’m glad that kind of thing is firmly in my past, so the only things I have to think about now when it’s hot are ‘do I have enough water’, ‘do I have enough sunscreen on’ and ‘have I remembered my sunglasses’.

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As it happens today I remembered all of those things.

Everything was so gorgeous today, just saturated with colour. It was nice on the eyes but by the time I got back to the car I was drenched!

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Obviously it was well worth it though. So that’s 1 Body Magic session out of a total of 5 planned for this week. I really hope there’s good new at my doctor’s appointment, which is on Saturday morning. No matter what the verdict though I know I’ll keep active one way or another, because now I’ve started I know I can’t stop. There are plenty of options out there.

As mentioned in my last post, I gave it some thought and I’ve decided I’m REALLY going to try to only weigh myself after Lady Time. If I can do it, then imagine the excitement as I step on the scales to get the verdict of a whole month’s worth of being on plan. I just have to stick to it.

I had a really bad sleep last night (my brain wouldn’t turn off) and I think I have just enough time to nap before my friend comes over this afternoon to do some bits to my car. So I’ll be off now.

Mmm, naps…

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Train in Rain

It has been chucking it down since I woke up this morning. I had an atrocious sleep (about three hours) and knew I wasn’t getting off again any time soon so I got up to let Pea out while I had my pre-workout coffee. She has been so affectionate lately, but she soon deserted me for her window perch so she could watch the rain for a while.

My trainer couldn’t come out to play today so I headed out to my usual haunt when I’m training alone, except I’m getting bored with my four laps around the green so I thought I’d venture further into the woods.

I am a little concerned over how isolated I am when I do this so I think I’ll invest in some self-defence lessons, just to be extra careful.

I’ll give the local dog walkers credit where it is due, as even though the view from my car window when I arrived at the nature reserve looked like this, there were still loads of people about, at least on the easy access path.

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As I got further in though it was just lil ol’ me for the best part. I only saw one other jogger until I was nearly back at the car.

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Today I wasn’t just exploring a new route – because I knew there would be less people around I decided to try out running without wearing leggings under my joggers. I’ve spoken before about ‘the dreaded applause’ (that noise where your loose skin is flapping about and it sounds like someone’s clapping) and I decided to see if I still get it when I run.

Sadly, I do, so the first mile was mostly just walking until I got away from the dog walkers. Even when I was totally alone the sound was so cringy, I’m definitely not going to be able to wear just joggers any time soon. What I do hope is that my body shape improves enough with my continued fitness/weight loss regime that I’ll at least be able to wear running leggings on their own without looking totally ridiculous.

That’s one goal, but another one I’ve added to my list seems so out there at the moment. My trainer said at some point he wants to get me to do an eight minute mile. Previously I would have scoffed at that, but if anyone can help me achieve it then it’s him. The good thing is he’ll be getting me to work towards it without me even realising, but for the time being I’m just thinking about getting into the 11 minute bracket.

Today’s times were pretty atrocious because of the aforementioned reason, plus I had to stop and look at the map on my phone a few times and backtrack when I’d gone completely the wrong way.

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Plus I had to stop for selfies (gotta indulge when there’s no one else about!) and to take a shot of some slippery ‘shrooms.

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I say my times were atrocious, but a couple of months ago that would have been inconceivable to me. Yet I managed it today without exerting myself too much. I took it rather gently because I’m training tomorrow and I wanted to save myself. I’m going to really go for it!

I’ve just had a post-workout snack of kale and soya beans (sounds boring but it’s one of my absolute faves) wolfed down my A&B choices as dessert (porridge and almond milk) and had a steamy hot shower. Which can only mean one thing – it’s now time for a well-deserved sleep.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

No Excuses

There’s something I’ve been meaning to mention for a few days, but I keep getting sidetracked. Last week some time I had an email from WordPress saying I could have 30% off a premium account subscription, so I bit off the metaphorical hand. The main draw for me is a proper domain name, followed closely by being ad-free. So now my website is simply wordsbyhayley.com, which feels proper. Plus I can now add videos and gifs I’ve made myself, rather than having to put everything through YouTube first, which is just that much neater. I’m easily pleased.

Unfortunately I have been very short on funds this month, and as is usual with me, if one area of my life is going well (specifically diet and exercise) then something else is falling by the wayside. I have spent much more money than I’ve actually earned, so I’ve put myself quite a bit back as far as my ‘living within my means’ and ‘reducing debt’ resolutions go. I could have done without buying a WordPress subscription, but there you go. What’s done is done.

What’s also done is me buying a load of exercise clothing, make-up, crystal wine glasses, a new travel mug, a new dress for the work’s night out and bits for the car. Plus other stuff I’ve probably forgotten about.

Yes. I’ve been very, very naughty.

I don’t actually regret any of these purchases as such though. I did need a new travel mug because even though my current one is supposed to fit a tall/medium/regular whatever from Starbucks or Costa, it doesn’t, and some always gets thrown away. My new ‘mug’ is huge and should easily fit a grande and just about by a smidgen perhaps a venti. According the interwebs anyway.

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It’s also spill-proof and speaks words of wisdom to me. All you need IS in fact coffee.

The other most important thing is this rather lary excuse-remover which comes in the form of a waterproof running jacket.

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It should keep me dry and perfectly visible on these grey and rainy days. I (very briskly) walked into town and back today so I reckon I’ll have a rest day tomorrow and train on Thursday, come what may.

My walk to town was actually lovely. It was chucking it down on the way there, but I always enjoy the sound of the rain on my brolly. Until it broke that is, but by that time it was the kind of rain that’s more like a mist which just covers everything in dew drops. My brolly was ancient anyway, it had a good run!

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Of course I stopped to take a couple of (rather disappointing) pictures, so I waited till the return journey to turn on MapMyRun and get an updated idea of what my brisk walking pace is like. The first time I checked was in May 2017, and the best I did then was 18:30. The last time I checked my average mile time was on the 26th of February and it was 16:59. Today it was 15:21 which is quite an excellent, considering I wasn’t actually trying. My heart rate was elevated, and I was definitely breathing harder than usual, but I could have easily held a normal conversation the whole time. Yay for improvements!

It’s time for dinner so I’d best sign off for now.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

No Fluke

Incredibly, the scales are still showing me to be in the 13’s. It’s not a fluke! I’m now going to stop weighing myself over the next few days since I’ve established that the scales haven’t malfunctioned.

Everything has been a bit of mad rush since yesterday, and I really should be getting dinner sorted but I chose to sit down and write with a cup of coffee first.

Yesterday evening my friend dropped over my new (to me) car. It was dark when he turned up so I didn’t get a chance to look at it properly, but oh my word I am chuffed to bits.

After driving a massive 3l 5 Series BMW for the last two years, I simply cannot look at my new car without bursting out laughing. It’s simply ridiculous!

When I parked up at work and got out it looked positively comical sitting there in my usual spot. I could easily fit another one in the space.

After work this morning I was able to get a picture.

This afternoon I had to go out and in the proper daylight I could see just how filthy it is. It was my friend’s friend’s dad’s and it’s been sitting on a driveway for a long old time, just gathering dust.

There are plenty of perks though. Both my tax and insurance payments have literally halved, and I should be getting more than 14 MPG from now on!

This weekend I should be able to give it a good clean as I have a surprise long weekend. Work announced last night that there’s no Saturday shift while they do a huge stock take. Get in! This week is turning out to be a corker.

To top it all off my brother told me that he’s getting the shocks on his motorbike sorted after payday which means it’ll be able to take our combined weight. Then we can go on a road trip.

I went out with my brother and my ex, me riding pillion on my ex’s bike, for a brief period in 2014. It was the first time I’d ever been on a bike, and it was absolutely thrilling, but there was a downside.

I got the biggest size in trousers and jacket for women that I could (a size 22) and it fit like a second skin. It’s supposed to be snug, so that if you come off your gear stays on and keeps you alive, but sitting on the back of a bike with my knees somewhere around my ears meant that I couldn’t really breathe properly. Kinda problematic.

This also coincided with me gaining huge amounts of weight again, so it wasn’t long before I was struggling to get them on at all. When the bikes were put away for winter, I had to put the trousers on with the zip open (they have a kind of flap) and still I could barely get them on. I told myself I’d be back in them by the summer, but it never happened and I haven’t been on a bike since.

Today I got my gear out of storage and had a little try-on.

Wow.

I am over the flipping moon! Everything is too big, to the point where if I end up going out regularly with my brother then I will need new gear and I will need it soon. As it is all of the Velcro straps are pulled in as tight as they go and it’s still too roomy. I’ll have to wear thick layers underneath in order to stay safe.

Buying new gear means hundreds of pounds being spent, but maybe I can sell what I have to raise funds.

Right now I don’t care, I feel too good! I can take the trousers off without even undoing them, and the flap that was like a second skin? Take a look…

I’m so happy I could cry. In fact I just might.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Black Hole

After 83 weeks of weighing in on a Tuesday I’ve decided to switch things up a bit. In the last few weeks Sunday (the first night of my weekend) has become something of a black hole and I need to do something to address that. Yesterday I just ate and ate and as such this morning’s weigh in shows another 1.5 lb gain. That’s 3 lbs in two weeks and it’s in the wrong direction, plus I might not have metabolised all of that junk and have some still to gain!

I’m hoping the idea of weighing the next morning will keep me on track next weekend. It’s worth a try anyway.

I am as ever very annoyed with myself, because I’ve had another week of compliment after compliment. I found a very old pair of jeans on top of my wardrobe at the beginning of the week, and although they’re old they’ve never actually been worn. I reckon I bought them in 2013, to slim into, and finally they fit!

The jeans I had been wearing to work are enormous on me now, so it’s been great having everyone tell me how skinny my legs look now they’re not hidden in clown trousers. It’s a good feeling, but if I carry on like this then they’re not going to fit anymore.

Training is scheduled for tomorrow but I’m making a pledge here and now that if my trainer can’t make it then I’m going to go out on my own. I want to do three sessions this week, no matter what.

I wanted to do some kettlebells today but on Friday at work I picked something up awkwardly and hurt my shoulder, so I need to be sensible and not do any weight training until it’s healed. I’m really angry about that – just as I was finishing my rotation on that department as well.

But most of all I need to eat well, because there’s no point in training if I’m just going to undo all of the hard work I’ve done. The two need to go hand in hand.

I’ve also been thinking a lot about health lately. Up until now I haven’t cared much about exactly what is going into my body as long as overall I’m losing weight. So on a bad day I wouldn’t think twice about eating a whole tub of Ben & Jerry’s, as long as I was sure I could make up for it later.

Now I’m starting to consider the effect that this kind of eating will have on my long-term health, especially as I’m fairly convinced I have Binge Eating Disorder. I have most of the symptoms with the exception of secrecy – although I’m tempted to hide what I’ve done and certainly have done in the past, I’m now brutally honest and feel the need to confess what I’ve eaten.

The treatment guidelines for BED are based around self-help anyway (specifically CBT), and I’m already taking steps to figure it out myself (and have in fact been doing that since I started with Slimming World in the first place). I need to keep working on it, as my binges are already less frequent and less intense than they used to be, although there has definitely been an increase in the last few months. It would just be nice to not have them at all. And I’ll also be much less likely to develop diabetes in future.

It feels really scary talking about Binge Eating Disorder publicly, because even though it has finally been recognised as a real thing a lifetime of people just thinking I’m lazy or greedy doesn’t go away overnight. I haven’t even wanted to admit to myself that I might have it. The way I eat definitely goes beyond ‘being a bit naughty’ though. When I say I lose control I don’t mean I temporarily lost my willpower, I mean I genuinely couldn’t stop myself. I’ve eaten some really weird things when I’ve had no unhealthy food in the house – for instance yesterday at 6am I ate a huge bowl of peanut butter mixed with maple syrup because it’s literally all I had. That is not normal.

Maybe I should go to the doctors, but I have a deep distrust of them when it comes to mental health. My experiences so far have not been good. Would it be better to have an official diagnosis though? Would it be better to have proper CBT sessions? I think maybe I should explore every avenue to try to stop this happening, because I don’t want to have it hanging over my head forever, always threatening to sabotage my efforts.

30 minutes later…

Update: Well, I thought to hell with it. What’s the worst that can happen? I got on the phone and booked myself the next available routine doctor’s appointment. Which is on the 3rd of April. Oh well, at least there’s time for me to get my head around it.

Today I made an excellent start to the week. I’ve cleaned, I’ve tidied, I’ve sorted through old clothes and had another purge of the wardrobe… I had a great trying-on session and found I now fit into several dresses I bought in a sale years ago. However I now realise I don’t actually like any of them and have no occasion to wear them anyway! So off to the charity shop they will go.

I’m now topping up my steps but I’ve done a proper workout too. I did a 30 minute programme on the exercise bike but I was enjoying it so much I kept going for another 20 minutes. During the workout I was thinking back to when I first got my bike, sometime last year, and how I struggled to complete 10 minutes. Oh how times have changed!

I started off this post feeling pretty down, but over the course of the day I’ve done several little acts of self care and my mood has completely changed.

I’m feeling very positive about this week, I reckon it’s going to be a good one!

Look after yourselves people.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

A Nothing Day

I’m not of fan of those days where I don’t do anything really positive – those days that just run away from you and it all feels like a bit of a waste.

Today has been one of those days. I really struggled to get to sleep this morning, but when I’d just managed to get into a really deep sleep I was woken up by my mum who had news from the vets. They were closing because of the snow and needed me to come and collect the cat ASAP.

So I jumped out of bed and braved the skating rinks which at other times of year go by the name of roads. It really was treacherous out there, but my 3 litre, automatic, rear-wheel drive car did surprisingly well out there. Thank goodness.

News from the vet is that our little one probably has kidney failure, but they still need to rule out an UTI. By the time she goes back next week we also need to get a urine sample. Ever tried to get wee from a cat? It’s an interesting experience!

Our other cat was diagnosed with kidney failure last year and after putting him on a special diet his situation completely turned around and for now he’s leading a normal life. I hope the same turns out to be true in this case.

After that I waited to hear about training, but my friend is still feeling under the weather so what with me being knackered, plus the snow, we’re going to try again tomorrow. Here’s hoping.

I got what sleep I could when I could, but my brain is in complete overdrive. It’s not in a bad way – I feel pretty excited and good about life, but my head has to realise that we NEED some proper down time.

In the meantime Hermes managed to get through the snow to deliver a parcel to me, which is odd because they’re generally flipping useless at the best of times. The delivery was my vegan cream eggs that I preordered back in January and I’ll tell you now – I wanted to eat the whole box. Instead I ate one, donated one to my brother, half to my mum, one goes to my training buddy, and one each to my sister and her boyfriend. That leaves just one more half for me. That way I’ve enjoyed an Easter treat but don’t have the temptation lying around.

So the day hasn’t been a complete write-off, despite the fact that I’m an hour early for work because the council’s LIVE travel updates told me my road was closed and I needed to leave time in case I was forced to walk. But I arrived at work within about 7 minutes (only 3 more than my usual travel time). At least I got the chance to get a blog up though!

There’s also the fact that I’ve been on plan today, have almost reached my step count (waking into work from the car park will get me the last little bit) have burned 3000 calories and there’s still a couple of hours left to make it even more.

If there is training tomorrow then YAY! If not then I’m going to make a snowman!

I’ll keep you posted as to which one it is.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Back to Seven

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Give No Effs

I  got an early from work last night because I was bored, tired, and so, so cold. I’ll have been working at the same place for ten years this October, and I’ve never, ever had a fire drill during the summer. It’s always in the winter. We had one last night, and although I was grateful that it wasn’t snowing this time around, I still didn’t manage to get warm again until I got home.

I’ve got to say I had a thoroughly decent (and warm and toasty) sleep and feel all the better for it, but what about my steps for the day? I normally finish a shift on about 7,500 these days but this morning when I got home I was only on 3,500. Well something had to be done about that, especially as I’ve changed my daily goal from 10,000 to 15,000.

When I got up I pottered around a little bit but I still had loads of time left so I decided to GO OUT RUNNING. ON MY OWN! 

The important thing about running, I have discovered, is to give no f**ks. I went to my local nature reserve and stuck to the paved, circular route because I didn’t think it was a good idea to go traipsing around the woods on my own. The route is 0.7 miles (ish) so I did it three times intermittently running and walking. Then I had a fast walk on the fourth lap but took a detour and stopped to say hello to the pigs. As you do.

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On my way around I kept seeing the same lady going in the opposite direction and she gave me a smile each time. Part of me was wondering if she was laughing at me because even though it was only 2 degrees out I was sweating like mad and more closely resembled a tomato than a human. But it doesn’t matter. She was probably just being friendly, and if I did amuse her then so what? It’s good that I brightened her day.

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I’m so pleased with myself, because although my trainer must of course take some credit for starting me off, it was me who did that. And it’s HUGE. A couple of years ago I wouldn’t have gone out walking on my own, and look at me now!

I’m also pretty chuffed with my lap times. It’s a new record!

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Although I found I pushed myself harder as far as speed goes without my friend there, I did miss the strength training which I wasn’t confident enough to do on my own. And it’s not the same without company. But the fact is I’m going to need to be able to train more than once a week if I’m going to make significant changes, and I’m finding that I’m getting itchy feet if I don’t have plans to go!

Normally after posting the day before about not having a binge I’d now be posting to say that I did in fact blow it after all. But not this time! I’m still on the straight and narrow and LOVING IT.

I also got confirmation last night that I have a few days booked off at the beginning of April so I will be going out disco dancing with the young work men. I really, really want to get a nice outfit and get on that dance floor. I can’t wait! Plus it’s all extra exercise, after all.

There might be a cold snap at the moment but I’m definitely feeling excited for spring and fun times ahead. It can’t come soon enough!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x