What’s the Point?

I’ve been back on plan for a few days and the combination of being in control and having nutritious food, plus increased exercise, has seen my mood lift quite a bit.

I did have some doubts though that reared their ugly heads whenever I thought about the near future. I have three days before Christmas Eve where I’ll be going off plan. For two of those days it will be only be one meal, and for two of them I should be smashing my step and calorie goals.

But part of me couldn’t help thinking – what’s the point in being on plan now if I’m just going to mess it up again?

Of course there is a point anyway, because it will be the difference between massive gains and feeling awful or feeling in control despite not making exactly the progress I would like.

What made me feel much better though was counting the days between now and Christmas Eve, and including today there are 34 days where there is no reason I shouldn’t be perfectly on plan. 34 on plan days vs 3 off plan ones? Why on earth shouldn’t I make progress? It’s a no brainier. How can I not lose weight overall?

So I feel a lot better now, about everything, despite having lost the ability to sleep, which happens to me every so often. Of course I have been getting some sleep, but I just can’t seem to stay asleep. Is it Christmas excitement? Probably. I’m going to start my wrapping this weekend, plus I need to decorate the plain hessian Christmas stockings I bought. We have an electric fireplace now so the stockings will look lovely hanging there Christmas morning.

Today I had a delivery and it was supposed to be four mugs, but when I saw the ENORMOUS box I figured something had gone wrong. I opened it and it was full to the brim of random pound shop goods, so I got on the phone to let the company know I’d received someone else’s order.

I was on the phone for what seemed like an age, when eventually the lady said unfortunately we can’t collect it… I held my breath while she finished, ready to explain how heavy the box is and there’s no way I’m a) lugging it to the post office and b) paying to send it back to them when she said I can either keep it or dispose of it. Well Christmas has come early for Hayley!

The lady assured me as soon as the figure out whose order it is (there was no delivery note) they’ll resend their order, so I picked out all of the bits I wanted which included Christmas socks, yay! Then I sorted out bits that my mum and brother can use. The rest of the random items will go to the charity shop.

It was exciting going through the mystery box, me and my mum thoroughly enjoyed that.

When my order eventually did come I’d been sent the wrong mugs, but they are still Christmas mugs so I won’t be making a fuss. Especially since I got some useful bits and bobs (the stuff in the picture is the bits I didn’t find quite as useful) for free. I did email them to let them know though, so hopefully people in future are more likely to get what they wanted.

So it’s been a good few days really. If I can stay awake I’m confident that things will only get better!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

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Stop Effing Around!

Everything is a mess. I can feel myself torn in about ten different directions and it is driving me crazy. I need to get my thoughts together and commit! I want to do some crafts, but I feel I should be doing some sort of physical activity. Or I want to read but I should be cleaning. I want my 7 st award but I also want to eat cake. I want everything to be clean and tidy so I feel better but I also want to play with Pea. Rather than tackling these things one by one I’ve ended up doing not much of value at all.

Things are getting to me at the moment, and just when I think I’ve got on top of it again I go and mess it all up. But that stops NOW.

I’ve been having niggling worries about money recently. It’s not that I don’t have access to any, it’s that I’ve been using my credit cards more and more on total frivolities. A few years back I was in a serious amount of debt, and an inheritance I got from my dear nanny Barbara, probably the only member of the family I ever really loved (and also had a ton of stuff in common with) cleared it all off. I swore I’d never get back in that situation again. It’s kind of true, because I’m nowhere near the stage where I can’t afford the repayments and have debt collectors chasing me, but I still feel like I’m letting her down.

So today I faced up to how much I owe, increased the amount of my current loan (thus saving a lot on interest,too) and paid off all of my credit and store cards. I cut up the physical cards, removed them from Apple Pay and PayPal, and as soon as the balances are showing as zero online then I’ll phone up to cancel them completely.

I was hoping I’d be able to pay the loan off within a year, but unfortunately it’ll be more like two. The term of the loan is 34 months, but I can pay off more without any penalties so when I can I certainly will. So that’s one thing that under control.

My diet is suffering again, or should I say still, but I am managing to keep any massive gains at bay. I have at least two occasions coming up where I’ll be off plan, and as ever my ambition is to stay on plan 100% in between these times. I damn well WILL learn how to do it!

Because I’ve had another stupid gain this week I’m skipping group again. Partly because I’m too emotionally exhausted to face it, and also because I want to get this blog done (it really helps get my thoughts in order) get all my work stuff prepared and do as much tidying and sorting as I can before my shift starts. Why do I always find my motivation just before I go back to work?

Speaking of work I did actually go there last night, on my night off if you can believe it. I got there at 12:30 am to meet my friend in the car park and we actually did it. Yes, we went to the gym!

I had my first ever go on a treadmill, and it was surprisingly scary. If I glanced to the right to speak to my friend then I started to lose my balance and drift to the left. Seriously, I’m a danger to myself. But eventually I plucked up the courage to do a proper run and boy was it hard. But I also felt pretty awesome for giving it a go. I couldn’t keep it up for long, but I got my heart pumping that’s for sure, and I kept it going on the cross trainer, exercise bike and rowing machine.

Then I did some weights and found that I can bench press 10kg. Which is virtually nothing! But it’s a starting point. I also did some exercises for my shoulders but found I much prefer using kettlebells for that sort of thing. It’s much more fun.

We stayed for an hour and a half, and when we were finished I looked such a state. Much worse than my friend! But then I did push myself harder and didn’t spend any time texting people or watching YouTube. The youth of today…

Although it was virtually guaranteed we’d be the only ones there, and it’s a far cry from being a ‘proper’ gym, I feel like a little bit of the fear of exercising in public has gone out of me. I also realised that I need to get back to exercising regularly at home, because I forgot how much I enjoy it (and what an incredible mood-lifter exercise can be).

Although my mind feels so cluttered at the moment, I really have an absolute ton of stuff to look forward to in the next few weeks so life ain’t really that bad at all. There is much to be thankful for. Plus me and my brother have started planning our annual holiday, which we will have at the end of May. That way the weather will be getting nicer but it will be quieter as we’ll miss the school holidays.

All we know at the moment is that we (well, I) want to go to Skipton because there is a pub there that does delicious looking vegan food, plus there’s a castle with woods to explore, and my brother’s request is that we venture into Scotland. So it looks like we’ll be doing a little tour of the north, which is just wonderful. It really sucks to be a Southerner, although I think I’m supposed to feel some sort of rivalry with the Northerners. I’m probably letting the side down, because if I could I’d move north in a heartbeat. For one the south is just so damn boringly flat!

Right, I’m off to get coffee before I start on my chores. If that doesn’t fire me up then nothing will!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Easy Like Sunday Morning

In the last week I’ve been increasingly hard on myself, even though I’ve been trying not to. The second I take my eye off of the ball I’m straight back doing it again. I stayed on plan for 6 out of 7 days last week, but I spent most of that feeling dreadfully guilty about eating Slimming World food! I was genuinely hungry, so I ate more, but I couldn’t help feeling terrible about that one extra potato or using all of my syns.

This is most unlike me. Normally as long as it’s on plan I don’t think too much about stuff like that, although I have been trying to be conscious of when I’m actually full up and listening to my body’s signals. That part has been going really well, but when I got the munchies I started feeling bad. That culminated in me having a slip Monday night, and that crept into Tuesday morning. Weigh day of all days!

Because I skipped weigh in last week one of my typical epic gains wasn’t officially recorded. So if I had gone last week, this week I’d be showing a loss. But since I didn’t I’m showing a gain of 1.5 lbs this week, making it 2 lbs on over the last three weeks. At first I only focused on the negatives, but then a friend reminded me of my gain and that in fact I’ve lost weight this week. So what I thought was a terrible fail is actually a win! Also 2 lbs in three weeks is nothing! Not for me anyway.

I battled the whole day with whether to go (and stay) to group or not, and eventually I decided to just get out there and do it. At the very least it would add 5,000 steps to an otherwise very lazy day! I’m glad I did in the end, because when it came to my turn to speak I just told them the truth – that I seem to have lost all motivation and I just can’t be bothered. I even confessed that I wasn’t even sure I’d be having an on-plan meal or not when I got home. I was still undecided.

The group members were lovely and confirmed what others have told me – that I’m being way too hard on myself. On my walk home, which is only about 20 minutes, I mulled things over in my mind. Despite all of my slips over the last few weeks I still only need 3 lbs off to get my 7 stone award.

What with getting all excited about size 14’s, then being disappointed that a pair of jeans with ABSOLUTELY NO GIVE IN THEM (some ladies in group last night pointed that out and I realised it is indeed true, no wonder they’re so far off fitting…) my goals all of sudden went from seeming within arms reaching to feeling like they’re a million miles away.

There’s also the fact that I’ve been invited out for a few things that involve food, and I’ve realised that I really want to do them. Just lately I’ve been either saying no to these things or sticking to plan when I’m out while everyone else is eating the nice things. Sometimes, well most of the time, I’m totally OK with this, but just lately I’ve been feeling a bit left out.

I’m not saying I’ll do this all the time, but for this season I’ve decided to go easy on myself and relax a little bit. When I say relax I don’t mean I’m going to stuff my face with everything I see, I mean that in the near future me and my sister will meet up for a Costa coffee and I will have one of their vegan mince pies. And possibly a black forest soya latté, we’ll see how I feel.

And I invited myself out with my dad for dinner (you can’t rely on him to make plans) and we will go to Zizzi’s because they have a ton of vegan options and it all looks delicious. Also he’s a cheapskate and he can use his Tesco Clubcard vouchers to pay for it, although that’s besides the point! The key thing is that I need to stay on plan for the rest of the time. I really want to learn how to do that.

There are a few other things I want to do, or at least I don’t want to go out thinking that I absolutely MUSTN’T do them.

I’m keeping a small goal in mind – and that’s to lose the 3 lbs to get my 7 stone award by the 19th of December. I think that will keep me on track 99% of the time, and because I’m not feeling deprived I’m hoping I won’t be setting myself up for massive binges. For the next few weeks I’m looking to just tip the balance a little and have small but consistent losses, and ditch the I MUST HAVE EVERYTHING NOW mentality that I’ve recently acquired.

I’ve been quiet on the blog because it took a helluva lot of thought and the weighing up of pro’s and con’s to develop this strategy. Now let’s see if it works!

When I got home from group I did have an on plan meal, and I have a nice Food Optimising-friendly shop coming from Tesco later on. As much as I feel a lot better about things I don’t trust myself in the Christmas aisle! I’m also doing a more physical job tonight that I volunteered for. It’s not my turn, but when I do this job I burn more calories plus it has the added benefit of the manager not having to force someone to go who really doesn’t want to. I told myself a year ago that I’d volunteer much more often, but it’s only recently I’ve felt comfortable doing this job. Until now I felt too self-conscious because of my size and would avoid it if at all possible, even though I believe the system for sending people to other departments is grossly unfair. So now I can do the right thing for others and burn more calories doing it. It’s a win-win!

On Monday I walked into town and I couldn’t have picked a better day for it. I left quite early, and what with it being the beginning of the week the park I walk through was virtually empty. Although it was cold the sun was out and everything was so still and peaceful – it took me a while before I realised it was the absence of the geese that made it so quiet. I assumed they had migrated for the winter, but then I looked it up and found out that Canada geese don’t actually migrate. I consulted my brother, who cycles through the park every day, and was informed that sometimes they just bugger off to a different park and they’ll be back soon enough.

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I went into CEX (a wonderful shop which is also in keeping with my new-found ethical shopping strategies) and picked up a little something for my mum. She was saying that she fancied watching the original Jurassic Park but couldn’t find it to watch on Netflix or Amazon, so I found her a blu-ray copy for £3 which we all enjoyed watching that night.

I also got a Christmas present for my friend who wants to watch Breaking Bad but is suspicious of Netflix. I found him a box set for £18, then spent an incredibly guilty time at the checkout while a very nervous young man had to find all of the three million or so separate discs, check they were all there and then put them all in the right place. Poor guy! I remembered what my favourite blogger here said about leaving people happier then when you found them, even if it’s a stranger waiting to cross the road or someone serving you in a shop. So I spent the time having a little chat and making sure he knew that I was in no rush. And that the time it was taking was totally my fault for choosing such an awkward box set! Another guy at the checkout reliably informed us both that the Spooks box set is by far the worst one, so that made us both feel a little better.

All in all it was a nice shopping trip, but my bank balance is better at losing weight than I am and it lost many, many pounds. That’s it for Christmas shopping until next payday then! Thankfully I’m nearly done, so I can concentrate on stocking fillers and cute decorations as and when I see them now. That’s my favourite part, it’s the thoughtful little gifts I like getting the best.

So there we have it. Things aren’t all that bad and the plan is in place to make it better for next week. Let’s have a good one!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Rescue

One of my pledges this week was to move more, and that I have done. At work Wednesday night I was put on a job that I really dislike doing, because it’s soul-destroyingly boring. Luckily for me (though not so lucky for the people it happened to) the area I was working in is upstairs so we have to take pallets up in the lift, but they’re always breaking down and in the last couple of weeks people have spent hours trapped inside. So now we aren’t allowed to go up in the lifts, and another person downstairs sends them up to us all night.

The lucky part, besides not having to spend hours trapped in a confined space, is that there wasn’t a huge amount to do. I had to keep flitting between different jobs which meant going up and down the stairs. All six flights of them! On an ordinary work day I do about 6,000 steps, but that night I did 19,000. Plus I did extra steps at home and ended on 24,400. THAT’S more like it! I also burned over 4,000 calories, and it’s only the third time (since losing weight, anyway) that I’ve managed that since climbing Snowdon in May.

At the beginning of the week it was looking to be the most dreadful one ever in terms of steps done and calories burned, but I’ve completely turned it around and now I’m ahead of the minimum targets I set myself. Way ahead in fact!

Last night I was put on a reasonably active job again, so I’m wondering if I won’t be quite so lucky tonight and I’ll end up sitting on my behind all night. If I do I’ll just have to make up for it when I get home, because I’m absolutely determined that this week will be excellent. 

The best thing about work last night was that at around 5am I found a ladybird on a pallet that was 11.5 meters up in the air. At first I thought he was dead, because he didn’t move when I picked him up, but I decided to put him on my truck anyway. Once I started driving around he perked right up, so I kept an eye on him until home time then stowed him away in my bag. I called him Fernando, and my colleagues now think I’m completely and utterly insane.

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He stayed with me all the way home, and only made his escape into our jungle of a front garden when I opened the car door.

Goodbye Fernando, may you live a long and happy life! Hopefully you didn’t get eaten by the great tits I saw out there this morning…

Well that’s it from me, because nothing much else has been going on and I could probably do with nap (there’s rarely a moment where I’m not thinking about napping).

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Induction

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First of all I had to start with that little link 👆 because that’s how I ‘claim’ my blog in Bloglovin’. I’ve started reading a few blogs whose authors annoyingly don’t use WordPress or don’t have email subscribe buttons, so I was looking for somewhere to keep up-to-date with all of my blog reading but in one place. It seems I’ve found it.

Anyway, back to normal services. Today I feel much, much better. Yesterday was a big ole struggle to just keep going, and I did skip group after all. The thing that swayed it was the fact that it was a taster session, and I couldn’t quite take the additional social anxiety of having to make extra conversation rather than relying on the structure of IMAGE therapy.

When I came downstairs with the intention of starting on dinner though, the pumpkins I bought were accusatorily staring at me. They were judging me because I hadn’t carved them yet.

It was the very last thing I felt like doing, but I had to anyway because I’d feel even worse if I ended up throwing them away. That wouldn’t do at all.

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I just carved a simple design into my pumpkin, and he came out looking pretty miserable. It wasn’t intentional, I promise. My brother’s also reflected his own mood – evil and happy about it!

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I really like his double-decker pumpkin idea, he’s quite creative when he puts his mind to it.

Normally we are pretty boring when it comes to Halloween, but this year we put our pumpkins outside to let the local kids know that we had sweet treats.

When my brother was little the urchins in our street were just awful and we had to sit with the lights off, but this new generation are pretty awesome! They were all so nice, without exception, and it was a pleasure handing over the goodies. They all made a fab effort with their costumes too but even then they were polite enough to compliment me on my little witch’s hat. Bless them!

By the time we’d finished our carving I was pleased I’d forced myself to do it. It was a little accomplishment that made me feel a lot better.

Then I knocked up a quick dinner of chilli-non-carne that was filled with Speed foods (mostly a ridiculous amount of peppers and tomatoes) and came with plenty of beans. It also made a lunch for work, and a very generous lunch for today that I’ve just polished off. I had it with 4 syns of pretend vegan cheese, too.

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I’ve been on plan for a day-and-a-half now, and I can feel the motivation coming back. Once I see the scales shift (my home weigh-in showed an 8lb gain) then I’m sure I’ll be right as rain again.

Being back at work last night wasn’t too bad, although I was very sleepy. The best (and worst) bit was seeing that the on-site gym is now finished and they are taking names for inductions. I’m absolutely terrified at the prospect, but I put my name down regardless. I really want to build up some strength, especially in my arms, and I think the use of some proper gym equipment is the best way to achieve that. Plus it’s FREE and I can go after work whenever I want. I’d be stupid not to.

Still, exercising in front of other people, people who I know… I’m trying not to think about it too much. I’ll do the induction then think about what comes after that when I absolutely have to!

Things are definitely looking up then, and I’m still absolutely determined to get into the 13 stones by the 19th of December. I have 7 weigh-ins and about 11 pounds to go. I can still do it! The next time I feel my control slipping though, I need to remember that I’ve made achieving this goal a little tighter than it would have been and I just can’t afford to mess around any more. Watch this space!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Abandoned

Not much has gone to plan this week, with the exception of decorating the living room. The end result turned out to be less dreadful than I’d expected, even if the actual doing it was hell. I despise decorating!

I managed to stay on plan for two days this week, with the remainder of the days seeing some of the most out of control eating I’ve done in months and months. I completely abandoned all of my goals and did A LOT of burying my head in the sand. I’ve still been doing it today.

I don’t know whether I’m going to weigh in tomorrow. I know I should, because it will help to draw the line, but I know group won’t help in itself because it’s a taster session. I really try to like these events but I just don’t, and no amount of me trying to convince myself otherwise seems to help. So if I really can’t face the scales then I simply won’t. I’ve got to do what I think is best.

Every time I think I’ve cracked this slimming business, that seems to be when things take a massive nosedive. Maybe I let myself get too relaxed? Maybe it’s the opposite and I’ve been too strict which caused me to want to eat all of the things? Maybe it’s that I’ve had some really non-eventful star weeks lately and it’s all been saved up for this one and it’s why I feel so awful?

It’s one of these occasions where I just can’t reason it out at all, which doesn’t help. If I can’t figure out what the problem is it makes it that much harder to fix.

I have to sort this out though, otherwise before I know it I’ll be back in the 15 stone bracket and it’s the 13 stones I’m aiming for dammit!

On Saturday I was supposed to go and see some Fireworks but I just wanted to stay in bed. So that’s what I did. Sunday I still wanted to stay in bed, but me and my brother had plans to visit a castle (which was also his birthday present to me) so I couldn’t really sit and mope any longer. It was nice to get out and I did enjoy myself, but at the same time I found it really draining.

Today Pea went for her annual check up at the vets which was a complete and utter waste of time. The usual avian vet wasn’t there which is a shame as he’s so good. He knows how to hold her properly, never lets her fly off, and always gives her a thorough examination. Today though the lady let her escape (only into the examination room but still, that’s always problematic with Pea) and we had to chase her with towels to get her back. It was so stressful for Pea, the next time I’ll have to make sure we’re seeing the specialist vet. Although I thought we were this time, we waited weeks for an appointment for when he was back from holiday! The lady trimmed the toenails on Pea’s left foot, after saying they didn’t really need doing, and didn’t manage to trim the one that could have done with being a teeny bit shorter. To be fair Pea just wasn’t giving up that foot for love nor millet!

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Another thing that didn’t go to plan was the delivery of some vintage Levi 501’s in a size 14 that I treated myself to. The size 14 is the largest waist size I can get whilst also getting the right leg length, and they are so far off fitting me it’s untrue. I have a lot of tummy to get rid of before those babies are going on. I suppose it hit home how much further I have to go, just when I thought I was getting close. I will not give up though. These jeans are now my target jeans, and the second I can do them up comfortably, that’s when I stop. I think I was lulled into a false sense of security by looser-fitting size 14 items of clothing, but I still need to remember I’ve never been able to get into any kind of 14 until now, loose-fitting or not. It’s still excellent progress! Writing it down though I now realise how much I let that little knock of confidence affect me. Interesting…

This week hasn’t been a complete write-off though. The positives are that I watched the new series of Stranger Things in one day, which was pure, unadulterated pleasure, and last night I read an entire book – La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman. If you’ve read the His Dark Materials trilogy then you just have to read this book, because it’s the first book of a prequel trilogy that revisits Lyra’s Oxford. If you haven’t read the original trilogy then what are you waiting for? It’s the best thing ever!

One thing that’s clear is that I do not cope well with time off work, and I had 6 days in a row to contend with on this occasion. In December I have nine days off in a row as I’m looking after my sister’s birds. I only need three of the days, but where I work in order to book holiday in advance you have to book the whole week. I’ll have to keep myself busy over this period, but only doing fun stuff. Because the decorating proved that busy or not, if I’m not enjoying it then it’s no good. As for the actual bird-sitting, that will keep me on my toes without a doubt. All of my energy will be spent trying to keep my face in one piece. Last time I was bitten on the cheeks, earlobes, nostrils and fingers, all for the crime of not actually being my sister. They are waaaaaay too attached to her!

See, Petrie looks cute but that’s what she’ll do to you. They are too clever for their own good – they know the exact places that will hurt the most to bite, such as the very outside of your nostril. That’s how I got a bleeding finger – I was trying to get her off my nose – and of course she got that sensitive bit of skin right on the edge of my nail. I still love her though.

The plan of attack for the week ahead is as follows:

  • Move more. My calorie burn for the last week was the lowest it’s ever been. I need to get off my butt!
  • Stop the negative thoughts. I’ve gone from looking in the mirror and saying ‘good progress, Hayley’ to despising myself overnight. That’s gotta stop RIGHT NOW.
  • Write everything down. This was suggested by a friend so I’ll start off doing it for a week and see how I go. I used to write down everything but lately it’s just been Healthy Extras and Syns (or nothing at all) so seeing all the Free and Speed food written down too might help to spur me on. I’ll try to get as much variety as possible.
  • Drink lots of water. I normally drink loads of water because I genuinely like it, but for some weird reason I’ve hardly had any fluids lately. Maybe because I’m always so cold. So I need to turn that around this week, too.

So that’s the plan. There’s nothing groundbreaking there, but if I can do those things then there’s no reason why the coming week won’t be the complete opposite of the one just gone. I just need to believe that I can do it, which is weird considering I’ve done it over and over again for more than a year now.  I told you to STOP you damn negative thoughts!

I can do it. I WILL do it.

That’s enough of that now. The next post is going to be me telling you what a great day I had!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

A Weird Feeling

I don’t know what is up with me lately but I feel weird. All panicky and anxious.

I only have tonight in work then I’m off for the rest of the week. I have a lot of things I need to get done, the most important being taking my mum to get steroid injections for her carpal tunnel syndrome (plus subsequently waiting on her and keeping her supplied with cups of tea) then decorating the living room. The living room is a pain because Pea can’t be in the house (the paint fumes could literally kill her) so I have to get it all done in one day while she’s at my sister’s. And because I have to work the night before my mum’s appointment I’m going to be knackered, and I’m tired anyway, and I don’t want to do any of it and instead just hide under my duvet.

Blah, blah, blah, moan, moan, moan.

I can’t change the situation, I just have to get on and do it. But why I can’t get that straight in my mind and just soldier on I don’t know. That’s what I normally do – once I know the outcome is inevitable I normally feel better about it. I suppose we all need to have a tantrum every now and then.

Yesterday I managed to find another charity shop bargain, and all of this is stemming from the fact that I can just about squeeze into a size 14, which seems to be the most available size in charity shops and elsewhere. It has opened up a whole new world of frugal clothes shopping. I picked up a lovely dress for just £3! I tried it on and it looks perfect from the front, the only issue is at the back where a roll of back fat looks just a little odd. But it won’t be long before I’m fitting into it properly that’s for sure! It’s more of a summer dress, but I saw a lady I follow on Instagram wearing rollneck tops underneath summer dresses and thought why the hell didn’t I think of that? It’s a great idea!

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After I took to my mum to the podiatrist and found my charity shop bargain I went to visit a friend I haven’t seen in over a year for his birthday. I went early and spent an hour or so chatting to his girlfriend who is a lovely lady, before I completely surprised him as he came home from work. He’s an emotional guy at the best of times so I wasn’t surprised at all to see him well up. It was just lovely!

His girlfriend wasn’t feeling well so she got an early night while we headed over the road to a hotel restaurant that he was raving about.

Unfortunately as soon as we sat down I could see it would be an issue for me. Not one of the three vegetarian options were labelled as such, which wasn’t a good sign, so I asked the waitress if there was anything that could be made vegan. She didn’t know but bought me out the allergen list, that companies have to have by law. As I scanned through almost everything had eggs or dairy in it, until my heart leaped at the sight of ‘wheat, gluten’. Ooh, what’s this then? Oh. Chicken nuggets. Then again… Oh. Red wine. Finally – garlic bread! A lot of supermarket garlic bread is vegan because they use oil and not butter, and this must have been the same!

Nope.

The waitress came back (after taking my order of garlic bread and chips) to inform me that the allergen sheet is wrong and the garlic bread does in fact have butter. Furthermore it’s from a packet so the ‘chef’ can’t make it with oil for me.

Chips it is then!

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I wasn’t sure about the portions so I ordered three, but they were massive so I didn’t eat all of them. I sure as hell felt sick by the time I got home, probably because I’m not used to such an oily carb overload.

I’ll be honest – earlier in the day I was feeling sorry for myself and had peanut butter on toast plus way too many custard donuts from the Co-op. Screw it, I’ll be totally honest. I ate 9 donuts in total. So I’m expecting a gain believe it or not!

I am so excited about getting into a 14 (I’m sure that’s been coming across in my posts!) that I just cannot let this continue. If hunger isn’t the problem, food isn’t the answer.

Being off work is always a danger, but it’s weigh in later on and the line has been drawn. I am pledging to have a week 100% on plan, then once that’s under my belt things should be easier.

Plus I’ll feel better when all the bits and bobs have been done this week and I can concentrate on things I want to do, not things I have to do.

Sorry for the moany post, and thank you if you made it this far!

Hayley x

Shopping Trip

I just had a quick read through my last post to see what was happening the last time we spoke. I ended with ‘I will stick to plan no matter what’ which seems to be the thing I always write just before I go off plan. In my defence I did last a couple of days before it actually happened!

There’s a whole world of difference between this incident and last week’s slip up. Last week I just lost it and couldn’t control myself, whereas this week I made a choice. At the moment I don’t regret it, though that will probably change once I’ve stepped on the scales Tuesday. I just need to remember that it’s not the end of the world!

I think this post is going to be a bit of a long one so why don’t you grab yourself a cuppa before you really get stuck in?

Sometimes on this here blog I mention doing stuff with a friend, and sometimes that friend is actually my ex-boyfriend. I’ve written about it before from time to time, but our relationship was not a good one. There were huge trust issues, because he kept bloody lying to me all the time! This is not an ex-bashing post, because as I have already stated we are still friends, and good ones at that.

The problem is that my ex has an insatiable desire to try and keep everyone happy all of the time, and will tell any number of porky pies to achieve that. And it’s something he either can’t or won’t change.

I myself grew up with a lying toerag of a father and cannot stand being lied to. It is something I cannot and will not compromise on.

So in the end, although there are plenty of other facets to the honesty thing, and there’s a whole book’s-worth of other reasons we didn’t make it in the end, I’d say that’s the main one. I suppose what I’m trying to say is that though I wish things hadn’t gotten to the point where I was so, so unhappy, and although I was so terribly hurt by the whole thing, my ex is not a bad person and he makes a really stonking friend. His intentions have always been good, which is why it took me so long to walk away from something that was so bad for me.

Being friends with your ex is dangerous territory indeed. At the moment my main concern is that our friendship will hurt one of us. For me, I feel that this is the relationship we were meant to have, because I finally feel that we are on an even keel. As a partner, I always wanted things that he couldn’t give, but as friends I think we are both getting back what we give. And that’s a lovely thing. But if he secretly does want more, that’s when it gets tricky, because it wouldn’t be fair of me to keep hanging around if it causes him pain. Problem is it’s unlikely he’d ever tell me, because he’s not one to talk about feelings, so I just need to keep an eye out for potential signs.

The other problem of course would be new partners. I don’t think he’s looking at the mo, but if it does happen for him then I will quietly step aside, because I think it’s a rare case indeed where a new girlfriend is happy for the old one to still be hanging around! I’d like to give him the best chance at happiness, and because he has children with two different women then this potential new partner will have quite enough ex’s to be getting on with already.

So, on to the actual events after that glimpse into my current deep thoughts!

My friend felt bad for not getting me a proper birthday present (you can have money OR kids, but rarely both I’ve heard) so I asked if he’d accompany me on a shopping trip instead, because that would mean more to me anyway. So he agreed, and I’d just like to point out that I’m not a stereotypical woman shopper so it wasn’t an ordeal for him. I rarely browse as such, I kind of scan the wares like Predator and zone in on what I want.

We went to Chelmsford (the birthplace of radio, or so the sign on the way there says) as it has about five times the amount of shops of my local high street. It also has a much better quality of charity shop.

I’ve been browsing charity shops for a while now and was starting to think that I’d never get lucky. I never seem to find anything I’m remotely interested in, except near my sister’s one time where I found a faded old dress… that was over £20.

I think Chelmsford must have a much more generous population, because the goods donated there are of much better quality, and I reckon the larger variety of charity shops there may have driven the prices down a bit. In one I found a lovely dress from Monsoon for £6, which is a brand I love anyway but they are just so expensive. The reason they are expensive is because they’re right up there with some of the most ethical brands (y’know, paying a proper wage for staff and having decent conditions for them and whatnot) so I’d be happy to pay out more in the future, just not now because it’ll be too big before I know it. It was a summer dress too, so I knew I had to leave it on the rack.

In another I found a lovely winter coat, but I’m already sorted for this year so again it had to stay where it was. It was under a tenner though! I wish I’d found it before I got my current coat!

At last I found something I could use though – a Primark dress in exactly my size with some fantastic autumn vibes – for a fiver! Yessssss! It has most of the qualities I look for in a dress and a new quality I’ve just discovered. Flattering arms? Check. Mesh? Check. Flattering tummy-covering? Check. Seriously sweet old lady serving me? Check.

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But it also has a low back which shows off my newly discovered angular shoulder blades, and my slender neck. I have a neck. I’m going to get a tattoo there one day, of Pea, but I’m saving that as a treat for when I reach target.

After our charity shop crawl, well, that’s when things went a little awry. I’d researched vegan-friendly eateries beforehand but had then dismissed the idea because I wanted to stay on plan. Despite having porridge for breakfast which always keeps me fuller for longer, at the very mention of lunch I suggested a place called Acanteen. I can’t get over the name, because it doesn’t flow off the tongue nicely, but that’s a small criticism because OH MY GOD THE FOOD IS LOVELY.

I went for a caulikale pizza, because I haven’t had a pizza in months and months and boy have I been wanting one. And they had the option to replace ordinary cheese with vegan cheese, so I thought why not.

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It was amazing.

The base was thin and crispy in all the right places, and the combination of a gorgeously flavoured tomato sauce, pine nuts and sundried tomatoes, along with kale (which is right up there at the top of the list of my favourite veggies) was delicious. Although not Slimming-World friendly, it would still be a fraction of the syns of one of the 20″ pizzas I used to buy.

Recently I’ve been thinking about being more ethical in my clothing choices, but I was going to put off doing anything about it until I get to target. That way I can buy things that will last years and years because I won’t be growing or shrinking out of them every five minutes.

I came across a very helpful blog called The Sustainable Edit, and one of the most recent posts suggested the brand Fatface. I love Fatface anyway but the last time I went in there I could only just squeeze into a size 16. Plus they are (rightfully) a bit on the pricey side.

After lunch I told myself the biggest lie of all (lying to myself is OK it seems!) and I went in to just have a little look.

Ha!

Five minutes later I came out with a dress and a skirt, both of very high quality, both versatile in their uses, both in a size 14, and both half price or less.

These I can put away for later use, because my ultimate goal is no longer a weight, it’s to be a size 14. The skirt especially can be worn casually or dressed up, so I think this is the first little seed of a capsule wardrobe. I’m stupidly excited about all this!

I didn’t try them on in store, but when I got home I found that although a little tight and not quite the ideal fit, if I wanted I could get away with wearing them now. That little fact pleases me more than I could possibly tell you with my limited vocabulary. Perhaps the words don’t even exist.

When I got home I ate the last of my dairy free Ben & Jerry’s, because it seems if something is unopened I can leave it but once it’s been started on I can’t get it out of my head. That’s something to remember in future. Finally I had a naughty dinner for much the same reason – using up the opened packet of Linda McCartney’s mushroom wellington bites. They’re only 2.5 syns each but it was killing me just eating a couple at a time!

So that’s that. I fell off the wagon but, perhaps because I had such a lovely day, I don’t have the same kind of guilt that I’ve had with other episodes. That also made it a lot easier to get right back on plan after dinner, rather than let it get out of hand.

Today I went pumpkin picking, although it wasn’t pumpkin picking at all. I was disappointed because I didn’t realise all of the pumpkins had already been picked, put in piles, and left on the ground where some of them were rotting. Where’s the fun in that? That’s pumpkin choosing, surely? And why didn’t anyone take away the furry and putrefying ones? I left a very fair review (I thought so, anyway) on their Facebook page stating that (but nicely), because I thought it was a bit misleading, and I was immediately trolled. I don’t have much experience of internet trolls because I’ve never put myself out there as much as I do now, and although I was really angry I thought (specially now I love blogging so much) it’ll be good to learn how to let it go. Some internet people really do go a bit crazy when you disagree with them – she seemed genuinely furious that I didn’t think the pumpkin farm was a nice place. Very strange indeed.

I did get a couple of nice pictures from the nicer piles, though to be honest that’s more to do with my photography skills than the surroundings, which weren’t great.

Still, 15 minutes and £16 after leaving the house I was proud owner of some pumpkins for carving and one spaghetti squash for eating.

Do you want to know the best bit though? It looked like it was going to rain, so I got out my waterproof coat I bought back in May. It was intended for my Snowdon trip, so although it’s been up and down a mountain the weather was so nice I never actually wore it. I thought it couldn’t be that big on me now, so I might as well get a bit of use out of it.

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Or perhaps not. I’m going to keep my eyes peeled for a second-hand one in a 14, because it really is a decent coat. What a great reason to no longer be able to wear it though!

Tomorrow I’m off to visit a friend (not an ex this time!) as I’ve arranged with his partner to surprise him for his birthday. There was a surprise meal for him on Saturday but I couldn’t make it (damn you, work) so I’m making up for it with a visit all of my own. I don’t manage to see the few friends I have (I’m very picky, you know) as much as I’d like, so I’m very much looking forward to it.

And now I’m going to stop writing before this post gets any longer. Thank you for making it this far!

Hayley x

Double Weigh-In

Yesterday I weighed in on my home scales at 10am, as I have done for the last couple of months. I was exceptionally relieved to see that I’d lost a pound. After my birthday naughtiness I was really worried that I hadn’t done enough to pull it back.

Then the postie came, and as I been hoping my voucher to ditch my online membership and rejoin group arrived in time for the Tuesday evening session.

I had have a mountain of chores to get done but I’ve been having a terrible case of ‘can’t be arsed’ so I left it and went back to bed in readiness for the evening.

For group I decided to wear my new size 14 sweater-dress that my mum bought me, and since it’s quite a warm item of clothing I made the decision to leave the house without a coat. Whatever decision I make with regards to outerwear just lately it’s the wrong one and I nearly froze certain feminine parts off. I also probably walked faster than I ever have before in an effort to keep warm, so at least something good came out of it.

Group was the same as it’s ever been. Although I’d already told my consultant that I was coming back I’m not entirely sure she believed me, so it was nice to see the look on her face. I was showered with compliments by the regulars who I remember from before, which makes me happy but also REALLY UNCOMFORTABLE because I still haven’t learned quite how to respond to people being nice. Practice makes perfect though.

Thankfully because it’s not been long since I last attended group I was able to keep all of my weight loss history and all the social team had to do was duplicate my card and give me a new book. When it came to IMAGE therapy I was given my 6.5 stone award and told that I’d lost 11 lbs since the last time I was there. It doesn’t sound like a huge amount, but I’ve noticed more changes in myself with that 11 lbs than I have in the last 3 stone!

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According to the Slimming World scales, which always did weigh a little lighter to my own, this week I’ve lost 2.5 lbs. I know it’s not a true 2.5 lbs, but then when I first started weighing on my own scales I took the hit then and now I’m just getting that pound-and-a-half back, if that makes any sense at all.

That means my total loss is 6 stone 13 pounds and I’m only ONE POUND away from my 7 stone award. All being well I should have that in the bag next week. It also means that at 14 stone 5 pounds I’ve smashed my lowest Slimming World weight record and I’m now covering beautiful, fresh ground!

Going back to group was a lovely boost and for a while I felt refocused and positive, but today I’ve had some irritating little doubts swimming around my head. For one thing when I got home this morning my brother was up early eating breakfast and the house was filled with the smell of buttery toast. I haven’t been having cravings lately but seriously, that smell tested me to the limit. I had two Linda McCartney red onion and rosemary sausages in the fridge, which I was saving for tonight’s work lunch, but I ate them there and then to curb the urge to eat toast.

Then I started beating myself up for it, because in my mind I ate them for the wrong reason. I wasn’t genuinely hungry (although my hunger levels have been on the up this week) and I didn’t have any speed food with them.

In the big scheme of things this is nothing, but I felt bad all the same. Then I started telling myself that the result on the scales was just a fluke and that I’m going to balls it all up and everything’s a mess (literally, once I’ve finished this post I really need to get cracking on those chores).

When I woke up after my morning sleep I had a little check on the scales – at the moment they very nearly corroborate with the Slimming World ones so it wasn’t a fluke, and I can breathe a sigh of relief. I need to calm down and trust the plan. I’ve been following it for a year, I’ve nearly lost 7 stone, and I know it damn well works!

It’s mad that after all this time I still have these doubts.

An excellent thing about being back at group this time of year is that I managed to get my hands on one of the sparkly baubles. I saw that some people already had them on Instagram and I didn’t want to miss out.

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As you know I want to be in the 13 stone bracket by the 19th of December, but my plan is now cemented in place on my bauble so that makes it properly official. I have 9 weigh-ins and 5.5 pounds to go, so let’s see if I can smash that goal to pieces and create a little wiggle room for Christmas Day.

I still have plenty of niggling doubts, but I will stick to plan no matter what. Seeing that little number 13 is just way too important to me to mess it all up now.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

London

The last time I visited the city I had quite a nice experience. Notting Hill carnival was on at the time so the rest of London was virtually empty and it was LOVELY. Today however, even though I’ve been looking forward to it for ages, was not so nice. I think it just wasn’t the day trip I’d been expecting.

Now I love my sister to bits, and she’s generally a very thoughtful person. But today, and I’m not sure if it was just me being oversensitive after my blip yesterday, it seemed that her and her boyfriend were on a subconscious mission to eat everything I find the most delicious in life in front of my very eyes. I’m honestly exhausted at the sheer effort of staying on plan all day, even though I’ve been feeling so strong and positive lately.

We walked through Brick Lane first, and after we walked past stall after stall of mouth-wateringly good vegan food, (I HAVE to try the Ethiopian one at some point, the very sight of it made me drool) we went into a retro clothes shop I’ve been wanting to visit for a while. I was really disappointed though. Everything I picked up was a maximum of a size 12, and mostly size 10’s and 8’s. There was not a single thing that I could even try on. So that was deflating, but not entirely unexpected.

Then we went to What the Pitta in Shoreditch while I sat watching everyone around me eating my favourite food in the entire world. It was honestly the last place on earth I wanted to be. Thinking back on it now, I should have gone off for a wander while my sister and her boyfriend were eating, but for some reason it never occurred to me at the time. What a numpty.

We did a lot of walking around and I got my step count over 20,000 for the day for the first time in ages, and my calorie burn for the week is set to be the highest it’s been since the end of August. Considering I’m more than a stone lighter than I was then I’m really pleased with that.

Later on in the day we went to a Whole Foods Market store, the only place at the moment you can get the new vegan Bailey’s. I’m pretty sure it’ll be more widespread by the time Christmas comes around, but since I was in London anyway I got some while the going was good. For some reason they put it behind the cheese counter, which is just great for us vegans, she said sarcastically. I don’t think they thought that one through!

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When I got home I took a fancy picture with my fairy lights. Perhaps I should go into product photography?

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Luckily this really is one of those occasions where I have no desire to drink the Bailey’s. It’s for Christmas only, and things like that are not the same if you’re not sharing them. So there’s no chance of this innocent-looking bottle sabotaging my success.

My sister took a picture of me in my new favourite dress, and again I was a little bit disappointed at how I thought I looked vs. reality. And also that you can’t quite see the corduroy awesomeness of it. But it’s good enough for a picture to add to my progress folder, and that’s the main reason I wanted my photo taken.

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This post does sound really moany, and I assure you I’m not as miserable as I’m coming across. I’m just incredibly worn out, but still fairly pleased with myself. It wasn’t until we were on the tube back to my sister’s when I realised that I’d been on my feet for around 6 hours, with only one sit-down to quickly scoff down my pack lunch. Not a bit of me hurt even once, at least until I got the Bailey’s and the straps of my backpack started digging into my shoulders. That doesn’t really count though!

And then when I got in I downloaded some photos from my camera that I took this morning when the sun was shining on the jungle that is our front garden. The colours out there were truly stunning.

Right now I’m mostly just looking forward to my nice warm bed. I should get off to sleep easily, happy in the knowledge that I spent the entire day perfectly on plan despite the most incredible temptations. If that doesn’t earn me a good night’s kip then I don’t know what will.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x