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

Christmas Past

This post is being very stubborn. It just doesn’t seem to want to be written, but I’m forcing it out onto the page. I need to draw a line under this Christmas business before I can move on to healthier, more positive things, and the best way for me to do that is to write about it. No matter how much the words don’t want to come. I think I more than proved my point in my last entry, because I now feel a lot better after purging that from my system.

So, Christmas 2019 then. Honestly? I’m glad it’s over. The whole of December has been a month of backtracking, broken promises (to myself) and failures, and although I did have fun on occasion I struggled to find the tiniest jot of Christmas spirit. This used to be the norm with me, but over the last few years I found myself being able to enjoy the season again. When I think back on it, this coincided largely with me being in control of my diet and actually managing to lose some damn weight!

If there’s anything I haven’t been lately, it’s in control.

I went out Christmas Eve with a group of work friends, a night out I’d been looking forward to for ages. But because of how I feel about my size, these kind of events are again tainted for me. I’d hoped I’d left those kinds of feelings in the past where they belong, but my four stone (YES, FOUR!!!) weight gain since November 2018 refuses to be ignored. I wanted to feel on top of the world, but instead I felt uncomfortable and self-conscious.

I bought a shiny dress specially for the occasion, knowing that I’d be way overdressed compared to my friends. I nearly swapped it out for an oversized black jumper at the last minute, but then I ran out of time so I had to just go with it. I met with my gentleman friend at his house as he lives round the corner from me (don’t ask. I said I was backtracking didn’t I?!) and walking to his in this dress at 11am got me some stares I tell you.

I was definitely the best-dressed on the council estate that morning! After a while I did start to feel more comfortable in my outfit, but I couldn’t help thinking back to how I looked last Christmas. It was my slimmest Christmas ever in fact.

Size 22 vs size 14. Sigh.

I wish I could have worn the Mrs Claus outfit on the night out instead, but it’ll be remaining in the loft till next year.

Because I was feeling sorry for myself, I ended up eating like a pig right up until the night out which meant I was bigger and more bloated than I would have been if I just hadn’t thought about it. It’s so typical of me, I do wonder if I’ll ever stop sabotaging myself in that way.

Christmas Eve ended up being rather special, but I struggled big time with Christmas Day. I’m still suffering massively with tiredness (I woke up at 2am Christmas Eve morning and couldn’t get back to sleep, and Christmas Eve night wasn’t much better) so I felt that because I couldn’t be the happy, energetic person I wanted to be, that I ruined it for everyone else. It was still a nice day though, and someone who definitely wasn’t complaining was Newton, who got a massive pile of presents all to himself.

He was so well behaved, and so tolerant of us dressing him up. He really couldn’t give a damn, probably because he had a massive pile of wrapping paper to destroy. He loves paper, so his first Christmas was a massive success. Such a spoilt doggo.

Christmas night I’d planned a surprise Christmas disco for everyone. I bought a little LED disco light which was actually awesome and a fantastic bargain, we had glow sticks, and I bought some wigs so we could dress up and take some photo booth-style photos. It was fun but we were all so pooped by this stage, it wasn’t quite the event I had envisioned. 

It still made for some interesting photos so I shouldn’t complain.

The idea for Boxing Day was to get right back on plan and change my gosh darn life, and it nearly worked dammit. I slipped at lunch time, but since then I’ve been perfect. Ok, it’s only been one day, but it’s something right?

I had a record-breakingly bad sleep yesterday (a mere three hours, not nearly enough to get through a night shift on) but I did spend a lot of time journaling in preparation for getting everything back on track again. 2018 was a hard year for me, really damn hard, so I was confident at the beginning of the year that 2019 was going to be better. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a whole lot worse. The thing is, I had to let things get worse and make some difficult choices before I even had a shot at them getting better, so now that’s done I know that I can make 2020 the year where things come back together again. Not only that, but they’ll be better than they were to begin with.

What I need to keep in mind though is that there’s every possibility 2020 will throw just as much crap at me, if not more, but the one single, solitary, thing I can change is how I react to the challenges that will no doubt come my way.

I’m not going to let anything beat me, and when I come to write my 2020 Christmas post, neither of us will recognise that tired, bloated woman in the photo above.

But for now, let the work begin!

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

That Time in 2014…

What. Am. I. Doing? I feel like my sense of self has broken into a thousand tiny pieces, and every time I start gluing them back together they just fall apart again. I keep looking for external solutions. Maybe if I just had some stronger glue, for instance. I think the truth is though, these pieces aren’t ever going back together.

Time to rebuild from scratch.

First up? My weight. How about I put everything to one side for now and concentrate on something I can actually do something about. This will be my foundation on which to build more things.

In one way I’m trying to forget about what came before. My past achievements are irrelevant to me now if I can’t stay one day on plan. On the other hand, I need to learn from past mistakes. Yes, I am a walking contradiction.

In 2014, I got down to 14.5 stone and I did not stay there for long. Once I started putting on weight, then came the self denial. So, so many occasions of ‘just one last takeaway. Tomorrow I’ll get back on it’. This is my main problem right now. I keep lying to myself that this will be the last time. I need to make it true.

In 2014 I kept saying to myself – as long as I don’t go over 15 stone, I’ll be ok. 15 became 16, 16 became 17, 17 became 18.

This is me in August 2014, on holiday in Bath. I had to go emergency shopping in Sainsbury’s because I burst out of my size 20 clothing on that trip and didn’t have anything to wear. I was 18 stone-something.

This is me in September 2015, at 19 stone-something. As long as I don’t go into the 20 stone bracket, it’ll be ok. Right?

Christmas 2015, and I’m back in the 20’s. I’ll be over 21 stone by the new year.

So you see, this is how it goes. I’ve been saying to myself – just don’t get into the 16’s! Yet this morning I hadn’t just dipped a toe into that bracket, the scales were reading an undeniable 16 stone 6 pounds.

S#!t.

It’s weird seeing those three smiles, because I wasn’t happy in any of them. Just increasingly desperate. I don’t want to repeat this history. I can’t, I just can’t do that again.

No matter how I’m feeling right now, which to be honest is quite dreadful, I need to get it together because getting bigger has and will make everything incrementally worse. No doubt about it.

I’ve come across people talking online about fat phobia recently, and although I’d like not to be fat phobic (and the same goes for the rest of humanity), truth is, I am. And what’s more it seems like a rational response. Being fat is hard. People treat you differently. Clothes aren’t made for us. Chairs aren’t made for us. Planes, cars, hospital beds, forklift trucks. People shout at us in the street. Make jokes about us. Yes, I’m scared of being fat, of being fatter. Downright terrified.

I must apologise for how bleak this post is coming across, but that’s what’s in my brain, and it has to come out. Often, my brain is not a nice place to be.

I think I just needed to recognise that this can be my rock bottom. I don’t need to let things get any worse before I can truly say ‘enough is enough’. It’s time to act now.

I’ve been putting off going back to group, because the lady who does the weigh ins is going to look at my result and be confused, thinking that something is wrong with the scales. They are going to say at least one stone on. They say ‘no judgement’ at Slimming World groups, which is true, but she’s not going to be able to control that initial look on her face. It’s not her fault, but it still makes me feel like crap.

What’s the alternative though? I could waste a lot of money (I’m a paid member up until about March) and start over somewhere else, or I could face this moment of discomfort in exchange for preventing the rest of my life being in continuous discomfort. Seems like the more sensible option.

If I didn’t have faith somewhere deep down that I can do this, that I can face reality and turn it around, then I wouldn’t be writing this now. So perhaps things aren’t quite as bleak as they seem.

I’ve got good friends, I have family who love me, and I have a Newton to snuggle.

It’ll all be ok.

I’m in work tonight then I have three days off, and I’ll use that time to get the ball rolling again and make a plan. I do love a good plan.

I have a sibling Christmas dinner booked on the 1st of December at an amazing vegan restaurant and already I’m worrying about it due to my ‘all or nothing’ mindset. All I have to do is stay on plan before and after, so why am I worrying about that already? Why can’t I just enjoy a nice meal out without freaking out about it? Stay tuned for how I figure this one out, because I swear one day I will!

If you’ve made it to the end of this post, thanks for reading. Here’s for nicer posts in the future!

Hayley x

Disappointment & Desperation

Is there anyone on earth as practiced in the art of self-sabotage as I am? I suspect not. After a week of being perfectly on plan AND enjoying it, on Sunday night I found myself alone at my sister’s house.

I had been looking after her parrot, Petrie, but decided to take her home early (instead of Monday morning) so I could have a soak in my sister’s tub.

Four hours and three Lush bath bombs later (they needed to be used and I don’t have regular access to a bath) I was feeling relaxed. But then a thought popped into my head. If I ordered a Papa John’s, no one would know. So I did. Of course I felt shit about it, so my sabotage in the form of overeating carried on until this afternoon.

WHY AM IN DOING THIS?

I’m so disappointed in myself, but it’s worse than that. Im getting really unhappy with my size now and starting to feel more than a hint of desperation. I know Slimming World works, but I’ve lost my faith in it and myself. I just can’t seem to get into it like I used to, and I don’t have any alternative! I don’t know what to do!

Someone please send a kick up the arse. This weekend I’m going up the country a wee bit to visit at least one friend, hopefully two, and I’m hoping this weekend of goodness (and friends who share my goals) will perk me up.

Not that this weekend wasn’t interesting. At my house, when I let Petrie out she headed straight for my glasses and proceeded to attempt to destroy them. When I had the audacity to stop her she bit me on the nose and made me bleed.

She does seem to have something of a fascination with my specs.

When I took her home, I figure she just felt a bit safer in her usual environment. When she started chewing again, I was able to take my glasses off without being attacked.

Well it kind of worked…

She’s such a capricious little bird. One minute I’m trying to message my sister while she’s inserting her head underneath my thumb because she wants attention, the next she’s biting my toes.

This snuggle sesh somehow ended up with a bite to the ear. I don’t get it! I still love her though.

Well then, unfortunately blogging hasn’t helped me getting anything particularly figured out as it sometimes does. I just have to keep trying until my mojo comes back, hopefully for a full seven days in a row.

Here’s hoping.

Hayley x

Love Conkers All

Aha, I’m BACK! Where have I been you might ask?

I don’t rightly know.

In fact I didn’t realise just how far I’d wandered until I returned. I started feeling a bit more like myself last week, but as I said in my last post, part of me was waiting for it all to go wrong again. I certainly wasn’t going to be counting any chickens before they’d hatched, not this time.

But the weird old month of August did its thing – I set some boundaries, I accepted some things that couldn’t be changed, I stopped waiting for apologies and explanations that I knew wouldn’t come, and I started living for myself. It was like my inner self knew that it was safe to come back home.

Now we’re back together again we’re stronger than ever, and we are finally on the same page as far as weight loss goes. I might not be miserable where I am now, but I’m not prepared to settle for simply ‘not being miserable’. I can do be better than that. I can make a really good life for myself. Can and WILL.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still very much conflicted. I so, so want a world without diet culture, because there’s so much wrong with it. Most of us know that the vast majority of people who go down that road end up right back where they started or, worst case scenario, with a serious eating disorder. I know that my relationship with food is not a good one, and I know that as a dieter (especially one who does it in the public domain) I’m part of the problem.

Whenever I post a before and after picture, I’m sending out a subconscious message to everyone who still looks like my ‘before’ picture that they need to change. I’m making an assumption that because my life was horrible at that size, then theirs must be too. I don’t want to make people feel bad. I don’t want the way society views fat people to carry on as it is now.

On the other hand (and this is where I start myself running around in circles) I am SO GOSH DARN DETERMINED to get back to 12 stone 10 pounds and nothing will stop me doing that! I want to fit into my nice clothes that have become too small. I want to continue to take advantage of vastly more clothing options than I used to have. I want to continue to be able to find things that fit in charity shops. I JUST WILL NOT SETTLE FOR ANYTHING LESS.

I’m aware that I’m a hypocrite, but that’s just something I’ll have to accept about myself for now. That’s probably the least harsh thing I’ve thought about myself in recent times, so there’s progress there at least.

So it’s a new season, a new start, and autumn is coming in strong! I’m off work this week and I’ll be honest, I’m currently sitting in the garden wearing warm socks, a cosy cardigan, with a lovely glass of red wine at my side. The big push to get back to my target weight starts properly next week when I don’t have so much going on. Until then I’m simply refusing to give it too much headspace.

My disentanglement from my last post continues however, because despite what I’ve eaten I’ve still managed to hold on to the enormous value of going for a lovely walk. Typically if I’ve eaten rubbish I default to a ‘what’s the point’ attitude, but there’s always a point.

My most recent walk was intended as an experiment. I devised a new route that I think will take me about 45 minutes, but the last time I did it, it took me about an hour as I kept stopping to take photos.

What I want is a decent, shortish route that I enjoy walking so that I can do it every day and still fit in all of my arty pursuits, which I am loving with an absolute passion right now.

So Saturday morning, straight after work I told myself sternly – ‘no photos, ‘kay? Let’s just get a move on and see how long it takes’. 30 seconds later, however…

Well! I can’t be blamed, can I? It was a beautiful morning and there was so much to see! The route that took me an hour last time took me an hour-and-a-half this time round. Oh well, it’s not like the park is going anywhere.

I did nearly get stuck in a ditch trying to find my way into a field isn’t officially part of the park and that was full of early-morning mist. The sun was hitting it just perfectly, but I couldn’t get the shot. After escaping from the deceptively deep ditch, I took a detour thinking I could get through but I hit a dead end – a little cul-de-sac in the woodland with one special feature. A frikkin horse-chestnut tree!

I don’t find a decent conker in years then I stumble across this untouched treasure trove! Quite simply, I am winning at life.

As I mentioned before, my arty pursuits are becoming so much fun. Trying to make something used to exhaust me, because I always found it hard to push through the ‘ugh this is going to be sh*t’ moments. From what I can tell I think everyone has those. What I’ve found is that things always look a bit pants halfway through, so now I just accept it as part of the process.

Yesterday I spent all day making a really cool present for my brother. I’ll share that in a couple of weeks once his birthday has come and gone.

What I can share now is my journal progress which I’m oh so happy with! This morning I woke up at 3am, unable to get back to sleep, so I painted this whilst watching the new Netflix series of The Dark Crystal.

I absolutely adored those weird 80’s movies, whilst simultaneously being rather terrified of them. In fact David Bowie in Labyrinth used to scare the absolute bejaysus out of me and often I couldn’t watch it without my mum in the room. I kinda miss being that kind of scared of things, it was fun!

A few birdies later and it was time for a check up at the dentist, which is testament to how much better I’m being at taking care of myself. My check up was a year overdue, but thankfully no treatment is needed so after a clean I went on my merry way.

After that I went to visit an old work friend for coffee and a catch up, but I needed some serious nap time when I got home. Which again will leave me awake at stupid hours when I have another early start tomorrow. Ah well, what can you do? I’m taking my brother somewhere fun as a surprise, so more on that after the event.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

A Rock and a Hard Place

For some months I’ve been spending too much time with people who set great store by someone’s physical appearance. I’ve met people who I thought were quite nice only for a Facebook status to pop up saying something like obese people are a waste of space and should euthanised. They are of course now blocked, and although I am totally, passionately opposed to these kinds of views, because of the way I tend to put myself down, hearing/reading such things chipped away at my self-worth alarmingly quickly.

When I removed myself from that environment I found that a lot of my motivation to lose weight lately has been to keep others happy. Or perhaps it’s more a case of subconsciously trying to gain their approval, now I look back on it. When I came back to my senses, I took the brakes off and ate EVERYTHING, and I haven’t stopped since. This alone would be problematic, but since eating rubbish does nothing to help depression, my mood has plummeted. On top of that I’ve slipped back into binge eating behaviours with absolute ease, I feel like a failure, I need to retain some confidence to photograph my friend’s wedding and I’m terrified of letting him down. Every time that particular thought comes to mind I find myself back at the fridge door.

The rock is me knowing that my self-worth doesn’t stem from my weight or size, so I’ll eat what I want, right? The hard place is knowing that I’m not at a point yet where I can stop following a plan and just be a bit more relaxed – instead I immediately develop a huge problem with disordered eating.

I know, I know deep down that I want to be 12 stone 10 pounds. I want it for me, only for me, and I will stop at nothing to get there. I’ve had so many doubts about this lately, and in the back of my head I’ve been trying to think of a way out other than admitting that the only way I’ll get to where I want to be is by facing up to the mess I’ve made of the last year-and-a-half and starting over.

Well, not entirely over, I’m still 6.5 stone down from when I started, but you know what I mean.

I’m not going to make promises, because I’ve made promises to myself every day this week and I’ve broken every single one. I’m out with my sister tomorrow for vegan eats in the city, and I’m out for a meal Tuesday for my dad’s birthday. Once they are done with all I can do is try my hardest to truly have a fresh start.

Except I also have other events dotted around up until the 10th of September, and I don’t cope well with having things in the pipeline. After then I’m not making any plans unless they involve coffee, walking or art, all of which I can do with my favourite people. I’m going to do this, I know I’ll never be satisfied till I do.

It hasn’t been all bad though. Today I started my Christmas shopping record-breakingly early, although that was not my intention when I left the house this morning.

My brother and I went to seek out antiques, and that’s just what we found, at Battlesbridge Antiques Centre. There are loads of different traders there, but they were all much of a muchness. Antiques dealers are FLIPPING WEIRD. I found them all invariably unwelcoming, there were all kinds of odd smells that cannot be attributed simply to old stuff, and it was mostly junk that was waaaaay overpriced. Most strange of all was that they didn’t seem to want you to buy anything.

I overheard some people discussing whether their business would take off, while standing in the doorway blocking access to potential customers and ignoring people in the vicinity who clearly wanted to come in. We found this a lot, especially in the spaces that were especially cramped. Either the dealers wouldn’t let you in, or we couldn’t find them. It’s like… we would like to give you some money please?

If proof of strangeness is needed, consider this:

Definitely odd. It certainly wasn’t a wasted trip because as I say I managed to stumble across a present that a friend of mine will love, I took my brother to the motorbike museum (he’s a total bike nut) and I found a great place that my nerd friends will love. I shall take them all there one day, though perhaps not at the same time.

Behold, the Nerd Base!

Inside the Thundercats theme song was playing on a loop, there’s a life size model of Deadpool and I found loads of 80’s toys I’d forgotten I even had back in the day. Wicked!

As for buying old stuff I shall stick to the charity shops because to be quite honest I tend to find more interesting things in them than anywhere else. You just have to keep looking. Plus the staff are way nicer (and also actually in the shop).

In between the search for bargains, I really will keep trying to get it together. I’ll never give up!

Hayley x

Highlights

The last few days I’ve been feeling exceptionally hungry and exceptionally large. It’s all in my head though (HORMONES) so I just have to ride it out, although I’m a little worried that the increased portions I’ve been eating will cause a gain, especially as I’ve sat on my bum for most of my long weekend. What else can I do though? I’ll just keep eating the good stuff and it’ll all come out in the wash.

The weekend has been great though. I’ve started a diploma in Photoshop and although it’s going over a lot that I already know at the moment, I have learned a couple of useful things and it’s good to have a refresher.

I’m all up-to-date with my photo printing and everything’s nicely stuck in my album, but most importantly I’m all caught up with sleep before I go back to work tonight. Let’s see how my knee handles that, because it’s still been sore.

Yesterday I had a little reminder pop up from Google photos, which always pleases me. It’s been roughly four years since I first got a DSLR and I started going out with my brother to the local nature reserve. He took some photos of me while we were out, and I’m so glad I didn’t insist he delete them at the time.

I remember that I’d lost weight at this time because I could finally do that coat up again, which was a size 22. As it happens I did put weight back on afterwards and the coat didn’t fit once more, but you know it worked out in the end so it’s all good!

I also remember feeling frustrated that my shots didn’t come out as I expected them to. I have learned so much since then that I can hardly believe it.

Here’s a comparison so you can see how times have changed…

The thing that really gets me with the photography is that although I was frustrated, I was still having fun along the way. Although I’ve had ups and downs (many of them) I suppose the same can be said with my weight-loss journey. Ugh, sorry about that word.

When I think back over the last couple of years (I began this particular chapter of my life on the 1st of August 2016) the very last thing that sticks out in my mind is feeling deprived of anything.

My memories now are all highlights – climbing mountains, traipsing around London with my sister without being a tired, blistered wreck afterwards, wearing nice clothes, making SPECTACULAR friends…

While we’re on the subject of friends I wanted to show you something I made for the incredible Dave who has just received his Diamond Member award at Slimming World. That means he’s been within target range for a whole year (read about it here).

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Those words? Absolutely true! I honestly don’t know if I’d have done half as well without having his blog to read, let alone his unending support and encouragement. Diamond geezer for sure.

I’ve been feeling frustrated with myself for my lack of progress lately, but I know when I look back I’ll hardly remember that at all.

I just need to keep going, and keep enjoying myself along the way.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Facing the Music

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Of Course I Can

Little doubts have been creeping in lately, which is probably down to not getting enough rest more than anything else. I have been planning my homemade Christmas presents since September and made a small start on the first one at the time, but as I was making it I started thinking that it would be rubbish and I lost heart.

It took me until yesterday to really get going with it, and once it all started to come together I began to enjoy myself. I finished it yesterday afternoon, and I’m really happy with how it turned out. I now have the motivation to start the next one and finish it by the end of the week, because I’m very much running out of time now.

I can’t share any pictures until after Christmas day, so you’ll just have to wait to see what I’ve been up to.

After yesterday’s post I had a bit of a defeatist attitude. I started to wonder how I’m going to get away without a massive gain over the festive period, and I spent the first few hours of my shift mulling things over in my mind.

A blog post and a good think can work wonders though, and by 1am something clicked. Of course I can still make progress this month! I sat and worked it out – I am away with Steve on the 1st and 2nd of January and food will largely be out of my control, but between now and then it’s possible for me to be completely on plan at least 21 days out of 29.

Furthermore, not all of those off-plan days will be complete write-offs. Often I’ll still be able to make good choices. If I stay away from bread (and believe me I will) then I should manage to avoid a downward spiral.

After my little moment last night I decided to try to avoid feeling bloated on Saturday, mainly because I’m wearing my favourite dress and want to feel comfortable in it. The plan for the next three days is to be perfectly on plan, eat loads of speed food, meal prep, and drink loads of bloody water.

Once I’d decided on my plan of action I went straight to the water fountain to fill up my water bottle, and I haven’t really stopped peeing since. It must be done though – as soon as I touch bread I bloat like crazy and I want to be feeling slinky for the weekend. I’m glad I got my act together before it was too late to do anything.

Now it’s December I have been going all-out with the Christmassy stuff. As promised here are some pictures from family craft day, with the prize for best bauble obviously going to my sister for her ‘rabbit in a jumper’. It’s not fair though, she is an art teacher and she does have a degree in illustration.

Although the main tree isn’t up yet (we don’t need to rush these things) the desk tree is now in its place.

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Pea has been in a bit of a weird mood lately and I was worried that once it was up she wouldn’t want to come out to play. But since it’s been there she’s actually been exceptionally happy. Maybe she likes Christmas as much as I do.

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Unfortunately it seems that no-one else at work is quite on the same page as me as I’m the only one wearing a Christmas hat (so far) and I’ll be interested to see if anyone else is going to partake in ‘dress like an elf day’, which is this Friday. I’m going all out, and I don’t care who joins me. Don’t worry, pictures will follow…

The Friday after is ‘Christmas clothing day’, and the Monday after that is my Slimming World group’s Christmas party. I have an excellent outfit planned for that one. I can’t wait to show you.

So it’s all looking positive again. I damn well got this!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x