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

Short Arms

After Sunday’s run I’ve been feeling really good – it’s given me the energy boost that I’ve sorely needed over the last couple of weeks. I haven’t had any problems with my knee at all, so I’m going to try to do another run on Friday. Since I have so much to do, my recovery has come at the exact right time. It means I can get the same benefits from 30 minutes of running that it takes an hour-and-a-half to achieve by walking alone.

That’s not to say I won’t keep up with the walking though, because apart from the fact that I really enjoy it, I still can’t bring myself to drive into town even when I am short on time.

I had to go into town anyway to return some things, but after my Tuesday shift at work I knew that wasn’t the only reason I’d be going.

First of all I bumped into a day manager who I used to work with on nights. I’ve known him for years and years, and I was greeted with a ‘bloody hell Hayley, you’re wasting away!’ I never quite know how to take those comments, because it’s not exactly a compliment as such, but since it’s ambiguous I can choose how to take it.

‘THANK YOU!’ I replied, and (after prompting) I revealed my current loss. I was then treated to a great big hug, a well done, and a kiss on the cheek.

Secondly I did something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time. I approached a good work friend of mine who is also slim, image conscious, and prone to the more ‘Photo-shopped-looking’ kind of lady. I asked if he could please tell me when he thinks I’m skinny, because I trust his opinion, and also trust him to be honest whilst still considering my feelings. The reason I asked is that I still genuinely have no idea what I really look like.

I was looking at some old pictures the other day and although I was unhappy with my appearance (understatement of the year perhaps?) I didn’t see how bad it really was. Stumbling across old pictures was nothing short of truly shocking, but also raised the question – even now, am I still in denial?

However without missing a beat he replied ‘now!’ Bless him! I was wearing a baggy top though so in the new year (after making some more progress, hopefully) he’s going to tell me what he thinks. It’ll be interesting to get a reasonably impartial viewpoint since my own is so utterly skewed.

How I appear is one thing, but what size I am is now undeniable. After all that I knew a trying-on session was needed, so I spent Wednesday afternoon visiting every single shop in the town centre that sells women’s clothing.

One of the highlights was going into River Island. The last time I looked in there, even their newly-released plus-size range didn’t come close to fitting me. Just to get an idea of how I’m doing, I picked up a few of the snuggest-fitting items I could try.

These are ‘bodycon’ dresses, which I’ve always wanted to wear because they are always plentiful, come in a huge variety and are generally cheap. But they don’t leave a huge amount to the imagination so after I’d lost about 6 stone and still wouldn’t dream of wearing one, I started to believe that it would just never happen.

Looking at the pictures from yesterday though… I’m starting to believe. I’m not that far off (I think) so a few more pounds and a good pair of control panties and the bodycon world will be my oyster!

On top of that I realised it was the first time I’d ever set foot in the River Island changing rooms.

In Debenhams I tried on a jumpsuit for the first time ever, but apart from the fact it was miles too short and in the most clingy, unflattering fabric, I still think they might not be for me. I’m not ruling it out though. Who the hell even knows what the future will bring?

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I tried on a fancy purple velvet dress, just for fun, but there was a definite curtain vibe going on. Does mother know you weareth her drapes?

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I had fun trying stuff on, but I didn’t end up buying anything. Then I decided I wanted a fancy coat that I can wear over one of my nice dresses. Hmm, sounds simple doesn’t it? On the plus side I had a huge non-scale victory. Every single size 16 I tried on was absolutely massive on me. Win!

On the flip side, when you go down to a size 14 it seems that manufacturers assume people who are a size 14 all have very short arms. I swear to you, I tried on a coat in every single shop, and it was the same everywhere.

So yay for size 14, boo for short arms. When I went in Peacocks and an assistant asked me if I needed help, I actually asked if they had any coats for a woman who has the arms of an orangutan. He laughed, but wasn’t able to help.

Later on I spoke to my sister and she reminded me of the tall range from ASOS, so today I had a nice delivery of two size 14 coats I found in the sale with 50% off. They were long enough in the sleeves, but miles too big. I was getting a bit of an ‘old lady’ feeling off of them too.

Sigh.

For now, I’m giving up. I only have one night out where I’m wearing a dress but I should only need to go from the car to a nice warm pub, so I’ll just make do with what I have for now.

It’s a pain in the bum, but still pretty awesome when it comes down to it!

I’ve still been super busy, but I’ve been doing great with staying on plan during these times. Last night I didn’t have a dinner prepared and didn’t have much indoors, so I roasted some veg, stuck a rice pouch in the microwave, poured over some Slimming World jalfrezi sauce from Iceland and served with the only thing I had in the freezer – Linda McCartney veggies sausages.

A sausage curry you ask? Yes, it’s weird, but it worked! Who knew?

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I’ve been doing a terrible job of posting my meals on our group’s Slimming World Facebook page because of a lack of spare time, so I don’t think I’ll be winning that five pounds. Even so, the most important thing is that I’ve been eating a lot of Speed food.

Hopefully it gives me a good loss come Monday, because I’ve been really good and haven’t weighed myself at all. As such I have no clue how I’m doing this week and weigh in will be a complete surprise. Right now I feel OK, but I know the nerves will start kicking in come Sunday night.

I just have to be strong.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Ditching the Scales

Now I’ve at least kinda done what I set out to do this year, namely getting below 12 stone 10 lbs, I can mentally relax a little bit. I don’t mean I’m going to be relaxed with food – as far as Slimming World goes, apart from the odd meal or night out, this is just how I eat now.

Do you know what? I love it. I literally make ‘om nom nom’ noises when I’m eating sometimes, and more often than not it’s because I got a particularly tasty morsel of roasted aubergine. There’s no need to go off plan when I’m enjoying my food that much.

So what I mean by relaxing is that I’m not going to be so worried about what the scales say. I was being bossy the other day and telling my mum I’m taking the scales away because she weighs herself too much and it’s disheartening, all the time weighing myself obsessively.

If the result on the scales are having absolutely no bearing on what I’m eating or how much I exercise, then why am I bothering to weigh myself?

Until now it was because if I got an undeserved gain and only found out about it when I got to group, I didn’t want to get upset in front of everyone.

Now I’m so at home with my group getting upset would not be an issue at all, but also now that I view every loss from this point on as a fantastic bonus, if the odd gain or maintain gets thrown into the mix it’s no longer the big deal it once was.

Henceforth, strictly no sneak peeks for me. Simply because I don’t need to.

I am still worried that my huge loss this week was a fluke, and maybe I will have a small gain next Monday. Maybe I won’t. Either way, it’s no big deal. As long as I stick to plan, it’ll all come out in the wash.

Yesterday I took the first step towards making my blog more public. I wrote a big long post about my weight loss so far and made it a permanent page. You can get to it via the menu or read it here (link).

I let my mum and my sister read it (hi mum!) and will share it with my group later.

There’s nothing else to report because I still haven’t been doing much, so I’ll leave it as a short one today.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x