An Incontinence of Yellowlegs

After getting a healthy dose of inspiration from my favourite blogger, this week I have decided to do 20,000 steps per day. This is only feasible because I’m not at work, and it’s good I’m actually sticking to it because it may negate a fraction of the extra calories I’ve consumed. But I’ll get back to that later.

Monday I got up bright and early and took a stroll into town via the nearest (normally a bit dodgy) park. As all of the schools are now on holiday there were more people about and I felt a little bit safer, so that was nice. I saw not one but two grey herons, but they flew off before I got a chance to photograph them.

I did a couple of laps of the lake, apologised to the geese for not feeding them, then hit the shops. I decided to explore the places in town where I don’t normally go, and I discovered that we have two St Luke’s Hospice charity shops. One is tiny and absolutely crammed to the brim with stuff, and the other is huge with not much in it. I think someone’s missing a trick there! I nearly bought a doll’s house for a fiver until I realised that I am a grown up and also that I’d have to carry it around with me.

I went in all the other charity shops and nothing really grabbed me but I did discover that the best items appear to be donated to the British Heart Foundation. There was a lovely dress in there that would have fit me, but it was too nice and I wouldn’t have had any occasion to wear it. I’ll be keeping my beady eye on that shop though.

I didn’t leave town empty handed – I found that there is a fruit and veg stall – and the man sold me okra (the supermarkets never have any) and four delicious nectarines (which are fast becoming my favourite fruit). I also bought two tops from H&M, which is a massive deal for me because I’ve never been able to fit in anything from H&M! Their sizes are infamously all over the shop, but I’m pleased with that all the same!

On the way home I stopped to drink my traditional cold brew, the geese had the last of my bag of porridge oats, and I took a couple of  snaps to show just how many geese there actually are. These photos were taken seconds apart – it’s not the same geese in both shots, there really are that many geese.

Yesterday was not so exciting. I walked to the hospital for my blood test appointment, and I’m glad I went to the doctors now because something is definitely not right. My food cravings have come back with a vengeance and I’m ashamed to say I have given into them. It seems to me there’s more to it than a lack of willpower. I feel… kind of empty. Even with my family I feel like I’m going through the motions, saying the right things, smiling when it’s appropriate, but I’m not feeling much at all deep down. If it were up to me I’d like to be completely alone and in complete silence. When I wake up in the morning, even after a decent sleep, I’m tired again after an hour. So yeah, something’s up, I’m sure it’s psychological, and I’m frightened. Because this isn’t me. I have down days like everyone else but the bit where I come out of the other side doesn’t seem to be happening, and I don’t really know what to do. I should have sought advice yesterday, but my thoughts only really came together today. Even then they’re not very coherent! I don’t know… I think that I need to keep plodding on then one day out of the blue I’ll wake up feeling awesome again! It’s just keeping those damn cravings at bay in the meantime that is the hardest part.

My plans for today were to get up early and go to Aldi and Farmfoods because they get absurdly busy and there’s no way I’m setting foot in either of them after 9am. But after 8 hours sleep I was still tired so I went back to bed for another two. After me and Pea had breakfasted together instead of doing some boring old shopping I walked to the nature reserve, getting 18,000 steps while I was at it.

As I arrived I saw a group of swifts, so I sat down on a bench to find out what the collective noun for them is. Then I got a little sidetracked, because the whole deal of collective nouns for birds is insane! Some species have several, and some have a different noun depending on what they are doing. If geese are on land they’re a gaggle, in flight they are a skein, and flying in a ‘v’ they are a chevron of geese. If a ducks are on land they are a safe of ducks, on water a paddling or a raft, when diving they are a dopping, or when in flight they are a plump! How could anyone possibly remember all that? My favourite has to be the title of this post though – an incontinence of yellowlegs. Who even thinks these up I ask you? I nearly forgot about the swifts again. Their collective noun is a box, a drift, a screaming frenzy (???) or a swoop. I think I prefer swoop personally.

Apart from swifts and crows there wasn’t much bird life about, but I need see two randy horses, an inquisitive pig, and plenty of mushrooms. I have a guide to British Mushrooms & Toadstools, and so far I don’t think I’ve been able to successfully identify a single species.

There was more to this post, but WordPress kindly deleted it somehow so goodness knows what I wrote. I don’t think I could have had a huge amount left to say, apart from the fact that I hopefully have a friend visiting later and I’m out visiting my sister tomorrow (as well as somehow getting my steps in too). The gist of it was that I will just keep on swimming. I’ll get there in the end!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

PS – Oh, there was something important! And I wrote a huge paragraph about it. The fungus that looks like something that’s burnt? Well I’d just love to know what that is but so far my book and the internet has failed me. At first I wasn’t even sure it was a fungus, but as I looked closer I could see it had pores and was definitely a living thing. Curiosity got the better of me and I carefully used a twig to have a peek underneath. The smell of rotten fish was almost overpowering, it was all gooey, there were maggots in there, and something bright, bright yellow. It was really weird! Hopefully one day I’ll come across something and figure out what it is. Until then… it’s a mystery…

Not Quite Forgotten

Today the universe conspired to dig out a little memory that had been buried beneath 20 or so years of accumulated rubbish. It may never have resurfaced if it wasn't for today's meaningless chain of events. My brother asked me to drive him to the tip, or whatever fancy name they give it these days, to dispose of some oil. And whilst it's normally quiet there, the good weather must have fried everyone's brains and there was an enormous queue to get in. As we were stuck stationary for a good 15 minutes my eyes started to wander and I spotted an animal sanctuary that I didn't know was there. Or did I? Suddenly it all came back. When I was little my nan adopted a horse for me, and we used to go and visit him together. I can't for the life of me remember what his name was, but I remember he was black with a white stripe down his face (like a Shire horse, but there's no way he actually was one, he was no way big enough) and I used to get newsletters come through the post telling me how he was getting on.

Once my brother's motorbike oil was safely disposed of we parked up at Wat Tyler Country Park (another blast from the past, I used to go there on trips when I was in infant school) and walked a couple of minutes back down the road to the sanctuary.

It was £2 each to get in, which all goes towards taking care of the animals, so we were happy to pay it. The animals all seemed well looked after, and there was one ecstatic looking little girl grooming one of the horses, which you can buy as an experience gift for someone. I may have to do that myself one day!
If you look closely I'm actually in the last shot. Here it is zoomed in a little:There were also other farmyard animals to see, and one of the goats treated us to a view of him cleverly scratching his butt…
When we got out of the sanctuary all of the traffic had miraculously disappeared, so if we had gone any other time of the day I may never have rediscovered the sanctuary. It scares me to think of what else I've forgotten over the years, but it's also comforting to think that it may not be gone forever.

Although we didn't have a chance to explore as much as we would like we still had a stroll around the park, and took a ride on the miniature railway. It was really fun, but we may have just been getting high from the diesel fumes.

Since being home I've finished four loads of washing which is not very exciting, but it's a job I always leave till I'm down to my last pair of under-crackers so it's not like I could put it off any longer.

And then I made the most AMAZING dinner. When I was still at school I was a huge Manic Street Preachers fan, and I always remember the lead singer, James Dean Bradfield, (I was besotted with him) talking in an interview about his mum putting Marmite on roast potatoes. I always meant to try it, but I didn't get around to it until today (about 15 years after I ceased to be a fan of their music) But better late than never, eh? They were absolutely delicious, especially as I added some rosemary that I foraged from the county park. His mum sadly passed away some years ago, but I like the fact that her life sent out little ripples that are still influencing complete strangers all these years later.

Anyway!

I've been craving mushrooms lately, so I ate two whole packs of the most delicious chestnut mushrooms from Lidl, just cooked simply in Fry Light with an absolutely obscene amount of garlic. Let's just say vampires aren't going to be a problem for the foreseeable future… It was the tastiest meal I've had in ages.
Now I'm feeling wonderfully content it's off to bed for me. All being well I shall be living like a normal awake-in-the-day-sleeping-at-night person for the next few weeks, the prospect of which makes me very, very, happy!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Cooking

It’s been absolutely ages since I went out of my way to create something from scratch. Although I’ve been meaning to do it for a while, yesterday I actually made something from the packet of black turtle beans that I bought several months ago.

I’ve been seeing recipes for black bean burgers online for a while and they all look delicious, but they either contain synful binding agents or synful breadcrumbs, so I decided to create my own recipe and see how they hold up.

I cooked the beans in boiling water for an hour and ten minutes (they didn’t need soaking), prepared some quinoa, then I added sweetcorn, red onion, smoked paprika, garlic, chilli flakes and a generous splash of Henderson’s Relish. I decided to do away with any binding agent at all, even though I have egg replacer in the cupboard, just to see what would happen.

I mixed it all together and shaped them, and they were looking pretty good at this point, then I popped them into the fridge until it was time for dinner. They stayed in there for about an hour and a half in total.

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When it came to cooking them I fried them in a little fry light, and when turning them over they stayed together quite well but I could tell I’d have problems later.

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By the time I got them onto the plate they were falling apart, and as soon as I stuck a fork in them they just crumbled. If I was eating them in a burger bun I think they would have been absolutely fine, but just having them on the plate they definitely need something to hold them together. I’m still on the search for something syn free, so next time I might add sweet potato mash and see if that helps at all. I’ll keep trying though, because I only used a third of the pack of beans and that made 12 burgers, so I popped the rest into the freezer to have another time. The whole pack of beans was only £1.10, so it’s definitely a cheap dinner to have in my repertoire (if I can perfect the recipe that is!)

With some extra beans I had left over I also made some black bean and lime dip which was based on this recipe here, but I left out the olive oil to keep it free. I ate that today with a whole cucumber and it was lovely.

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The experimenting with new recipes has been fun, and I definitely want to do it more!

This week I only have two more nights left at work, and due to industrial action it’s quite possible that I’ll be off for the next three weeks. I have to be really careful during this period, as the last time I wasn’t at work I put on 11 lbs. I simply cannot view this as a food holiday.

As such I’m going to be going to bed early, getting up early and getting my butt out walking every single day, no matter what the weather. On Tuesday I’m walking to the hospital for my blood test, then Wednesday I’ll go to the local park (despite someone getting stabbed there the other day) and on Thursday I’m going to walk to a nearby high street. Because the area I live in is not so nice, it’s hard to go out walking just to see the sights – there aren’t many sights to be had. So I’m trying to go places where I have a proper destination in mind. Even if (in this case at least) it’s just to visit my nearest Oxfam! I’m also going to try to find the good/interesting in even the crappiest of places.

As if that wasn’t enough I’m also on a mission to save money as I’m absolutely determined not to go into my overdraft this month. Frugality is key! So I’m on the lookout for some excellent bargains. I think I might go to Debenhams and try on expensive dresses too!

I have a few ideas to be getting on with, and perhaps from time to time I’ll drive somewhere further afield. The only constraint I have is not wanting to leave Pea alone for too long, but she’s going to be spending more quality time with me anyway so every now and then won’t hurt.

The last time I was due to be off work I was already starting to feel inexplicably down in the leadup to it, but now although I don’t exactly feel ecstatic I have solid plans and I know I’m going to make the most of it. The fact that the industrial action could be called off at any point is also a huge motivator – I have to make the most of it in case I get sent back to work at short notice.

Speaking of work I suppose I’d better start getting prepared for my penultimate shift. Boo!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

 

Full of Beans

Today I am full of beans! I’m full of actual beans (pulses and legumes, too), coffee beans, and just the general beans of life!

Last night work was… OK. And that’s weird, because normally it just isn’t. The shift started off with us being given little tokens with our names on, to be put into one of two boxes. One for yes and one for no. And the question? Do we want on on-site gym. Of course I’d be voting yes anyway, because it’s a great idea, and in all the time I’ve worked there it’s the most positive and health-conscious suggestion that’s ever been put forward. But did I think I’d actually go to the work gym and exercise in front of my colleagues? Well, no. But I have a most excellent work friend who I think the world of, and we both confessed that we’d be too self-conscious. And that’s what’s great about friends, and being open and honest. Good things can come of it, because as we both feel the same way, we agreed that we would go together.

Then at 34 years old I did my first ever ‘pinky swear’, upon his insistence. When I was a young lass we didn’t have pinky swears (as far as I know) which I think must have come from our American cousins. But my friend is a mere whippersnapper at 23-years-old and has been exposed to much more Americanisms in his youth than I have. It is therefore a done deal, and if the gym does actually get built (I think it will because one of the top managers is really driving it forward) then I will from that point forward be a gym person with my very own gym buddy. I’m kind of excited, and also terrified, because there’s a chap at work who I think is simply a beautiful human being (and I’m not just talking physical attributes here, although he is a very unconventionally attractive person), and if he goes I will be mortified. But I won’t let it stop me, because even if I thought he would be vaguely interested in me I know he isn’t the right chap. Not that I even have to consider that eventuality! I’m actually grateful for that – I just want a simple life.

A couple of hours into my shift my manager sent a message asking for volunteers to go to another department, so I thought what the hell, let’s just do it. When I first started working there I was on said department permanently, and since there is an area with small, light items to be picked that’s where I went. I call it the girls’ area. The men were consigned to the area containing weights and flat pack furniture. But last night I ended up in the man area, which was probably an error on the manager’s part, but I decided to stick with it and see how I did. And it was an absolute breeze! I wouldn’t want to be doing it every day but I had no trouble with the heavy lifting at all! The last time I picked I probably spent about 40% of the shift in that area and then I had to ask to be moved because it was just too much. That was a few months ago, and I’m happy to find that I’m so much fitter and stronger than I was back then.

We also have to wear a pack around our waists that communicates with the servers and tells us where to go and what to do. For the last 8 years I have felt anxious every time I’m given a pack as I don’t know whether I can get one that will go around me. Some selfish people adjust it to their waists and cut off the excess. But I realised in the last year I haven’t had to do that. I can just pick up any pack and not have the humiliation of having to ask to change it if it doesn’t fit. Because they all do! In the eventuality I get one that doesn’t fit, I know it’s because a super slim person has had it before me, not because there’s anything wrong with me personally. That’s a liberating feeling.

Steps-wise being on a more physical department hasn’t had much of an impact, I’ve maybe done a couple of hundred more, but I think it will definitely have an impact on my calorie burn. I will know for sure after midnight.

When I woke up this afternoon I got out in the garden, with a bath towel over my camera, to take another picture of the giant thistle which is open even more today. I think the relentless rain is doing it the world of good, but I do miss the sunshine already. If the rain actually stops at any point I’ll be out there again taking macro shots of raindrops, but it’s not looking all that likely. I just didn’t have time to get a decent raindrop shot before I became soaked through. There’s always hope though!

Finally I will tell you about yesterday’s dinner and my attempt at a tofu bechamel sauce. It was a DISASTER. It was so bad that (you may want to sit down for this) I couldn’t finish my dinner. The actual main part of the dish though, the ragu with aubergine, fresh on-the-vine-tomatoes, soya mince, onions, and my new love – Henderson’s Relish – was absolutely delicious. Next time I will just syn some vegan cheese substitute to go on top or (and this could well turn out just as disastrous as the tofu) I’m thinking something with blended cauliflower? Hmm, this needs more thought and experimentation…

Until next time, thanks for reading!

Hayley x

Magical Disappearing Weekend

Seriously, where did the weekend go? I blinked and I missed it! And I think that’s one of the reasons I started the day off so grumpily. I weighed in this morning and was disappointed to see that I’ve ‘only’ lost 5lbs of my 11lb gain. Which when I think about it isn’t entirely true. There is a consistent difference between my scales and the Slimming World ones, plus I now weigh at a different time and blah, blah, blah, excuses, excuses, excuses. Fact is, 5lbs is a good loss in anyone’s book, and I’m kidding myself if I think I can keep gaining and losing huge amounts of weight all the time. Get real, Hayley!

So I huffed off to bed, because it’s back to work tonight already. I slept for another hour and a half and boy did I feel better for it. That’s a total of 10.5 wonderful hours of rest, which means that the remainder of the day has been a blur of trying to get everything done that I need to before work, but at least I’m running on all cylinders. And I feel good about my loss now. I only need to lose another 4lbs and I’m back at my lowest weight. That’s nothing. In the big scheme of things it’s the tiniest little blip and certainly no reason for me to be losing my head. All I needed was a small dose of perspective. In any case, I know that this week on plan has meant good things for inside my body, because my Fitbit proves it. Whenever I go off plan my resting heart rate spikes dramatically, and yesterday it finally got back to normal. Which is very good to see!

I’m just back from my doctor’s appointment, with a nice new prescription for the pill which should help stabilise my moods and cravings. He said that the implant would most likely make my symptoms worse, and the injection would most likely make me gain weight. The pill it is then! I’m absolutely terrible at remembering to take pills of any description, but the fact is the more I lose weight the more screwy my monthlies get. So I need to take responsibility for myself and do everything I can to sort it out, because this weight loss attempt is the one. I’ve decided to take my pill when I get Pea her breakfast, as feeding her is literally the only consistent thing I do in my life! And since I’m not using the pill to stop me getting pregnant, it’s not as big a deal if I forget to take it from time to time.

I also have a blood test booked at the local hospital to check my iron levels. I’m giving blood on the 20th so I thought it would be a good idea to get it checked beforehand, so if my iron levels are low I can cancel my blood donation appointment and free up that slot for someone else. You can get blood tests done at my local surgery but that either involves waiting until September for an appointment or going to get a ticket at 8am, coming back at 10:30am when the blood tests actually start, then still having to wait for your turn to be seen.

I thought going to the hospital was a great idea, even though the minimum parking charge is £3. Since I’m not at work the night before and I got my hands on a morning appointment, I can walk there, save petrol, save money and get some good exercise. It’s a win-win situation!

Although I really haven’t done much at all this weekend I did still manage to take a couple of nice shots in the garden. Our honeysuckle finally came out and the light was perfect, my absolute favourite. The sky was grey and stormy but there was a tiny bit of golden-hour sun poking out in the just the right spot. Lovely!

Then this afternoon I noticed that our giant thistle is starting to make an appearance too, so I grabbed my macro lens for a nice close-up. I love all the purples, it reminds me of a marine sea creature.

Now I’m off to make a lasagne, and I’m very excited to see how it turns out. The bechamel-esque sauce is made out of tofu, which is syn free and a good source of iron (handy!) I also saw a recipe for a quick and easy ‘cheat’ way of making lasagne where you break up a few sheets and throw it in the pan, so you don’t have to waste all that precious time layering it nicely. The best thing of all is that since going veggie I really missed Worcestershire Sauce, but the wonderful vegans of Facebook put me onto Henderson’s Relish, which is a Yorkshire version that’s been around for donkey’s years, tastes just as good, and is one of those products that just happen to be vegan, completely accidentally.

The name also sounds really rude, but maybe that’s just me. Anyway my spag bol and lasagnes just haven’t been the same without Worcestershire Sauce, so they’ll be featuring regularly in my diet once more.

I’ll let you know whether it was a success or not!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

A bottomless pit

I'm really not expecting a great result for weigh in tomorrow. I was hoping I'd follow the 'quick on, quick off' pattern but this time I just don't think it's going to pan out that way. I suppose that's fair enough. Although in general I despise this saying, it is what it is. What the hell, I'll follow it up with what will be, will be!

I've been on plan for 7 whole days now (go me!) but I'm still not feeling 100% right in myself. I'm definitely visibly bloated, but worst of all, I am experiencing a lot of genuine hunger. And I'm talking a belly-gurgling, no-food-seems-to-touch-the-sides feeling of complete tummy emptiness!

I had a really poor sleep last night, and I woke up at 6am to my tummy rumbling. I tried to get back to sleep but it wasn't happening so I had a Perkier bar (using my B choice) and eventually got back off.

After having breakfast then taking my mum to a morning appointment, I was famished again by the time we got home at 11am. So I had an early lunch of a large jacket potato with a tin of lentil curry, into which I added an entire cauliflower. But I was hungry again five minutes later, so eventually I relented and had an afternoon nap. I can't keep eating if I'm asleep, and tiredness can make us feel hungrier in itself!

Before dinner I made sure I ate an orange before I started cooking, to try to avoid 'my eyes are bigger than my belly' syndrome. Yeah… it didn't work!
On the plate we have half of a roasting butternut squash, two large potatoes, four Linda McCartney sausages (2 syns) and some salad bits. Which is a large meal in itself.

In the bowl, which is a fairly substantially-sized pasta bowl, is my current favourite Slimming World meal. It's a vegan alternative to tuna mayo made out of a tin of chickpeas, spring onions, gherkins, dill, sweetcorn and a tablespoon of Tesco Free From salad cream for 1.5 syns. It's my new go-to work lunch as it's incredibly cheap, healthy and filling.

Finally, I feel full! Well, I also feel faintly nauseous if I'm honest, but at least the craving for cake has gone away.

Although my weekend is fast disappearing and I don't seem to have made much use of it, I'm so tired that words are not coming easily today. I did however feel that I needed to get these thoughts onto the page before I face the scales tomorrow.

It's really encouraging to me that I've managed to listen to my body today. I was hungry, so I ate. I was tired, and I slept. AND I got my 10,000 steps in. Whatever the result tomorrow, it will be OK. I'll get there in the end!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Car Troubles

Cars stress me out. If it was just me I had to worry about then I wouldn’t be overly fussed about not having one – I already walk or take the train whenever it’s possible and/or affordable anyway. And if I want to go exploring somewhere then there’s always the option of hiring one for a few days. But I do need a car for two reasons – so that I have somewhere quiet to eat my lunch at work because the canteen is gross and crowded, and even more importantly so that I can take my mum to her various hospital and doctor’s appointments.

Last week my engine pressure light came on, and it didn’t look good. For minor problems, or when the car is on it’s way out, the light normally flickers on and off intermittently and gradually gets worse over time. I could handle that, because it gives me time to sort out an alternative. But for me it was just BOOM, solid oil pressure light staring me in the face! I didn’t know if my engine was about to seize and die at any given point. But my friend was in the process of selling some variety of Peugeot, and he only wanted £350 for it. Since he owes me £150, and I was going to kind of part-ex my BMW with him, I would only end up having to lay out about £100 for a car to tide me over.

He got the Peugeot MOT’d yesterday and got a puncture repaired, and was going to drop it off for me this morning. But then the battery on it decided to die even though he’d not had any problems previously. Bloody typical! Although it’s simple enough to change the battery it wasn’t clear whether there was an electrical problem causing it to drain, and right now (especially with my recent mood struggles) I’m just desperate for a bit of reliability. My friend is pretty awesome though and had been to have a chat with a BMW specialist before coming to mine. After a little fiddle around under the bonnet we hit the road. According to the BMW man if we drove the distance of the local Tesco and back, if anything was seriously wrong with the engine there would be considerable knocking by the time we got back. And we would know that my poor engine was, and I’m quoting here, screwed. 

So we got in the car and… the warning light had gone out. On the drive it flickered on and off, so when we parked up at Tesco my friend popped the bonnet and used a bit of trim from the inside of my back door (which is hanging off – who needs to use the back doors anyway?) and had a poke around inside the engine. Literally poking around in there with a bit of walnut trim! And after all that stress and worrying about what I’m going to do, how I’m going to get my mum to where she needs to go without major anxiety on her part and mine, the problem turned out to be… THE WIRE LEADING TO THE SENSOR. It has a little break in it, that is all. This theory is strongly backed by the fact that when we got home my engine was still purring like a kitten. Or a tiger I suppose, given that it’s a monster of a thing.

Of course I’m totally relieved that there’s nothing wrong with my engine but still, what a palava! I know I shouldn’t worry about things that are outside of my control – it’s not as if me worrying changed a damn thing – but gosh it’s easier to say that than to actually do it!

Car troubles aside, I’m feeling a lot better now. My mood has improved 100-fold, and I’m in a position to think about what the heck went wrong over the last couple of weeks. The main problem I have is that I don’t have a problem. If I was really unhappy with my lot in life then I could understand it, but you can’t fix something when it isn’t broken. In the past when I’ve felt down for no apparent reason then food has come to the rescue. I could eat a tub of ice cream or a giant pizza and, at least until I next got on the scales, I’d feel happier. It was a temporary fix and I certainly don’t recommend it because let’s face it, in the long term that kind of strategy would literally have killed me, but what do I do now? What do I use to get me through when there’s nothing in my life I can change to make me feel better, because technically nothing is wrong? I don’t have that answer, all I know is that food doesn’t cut it anymore so hopefully I’ll remember that next time I come off the rails. There’s no point looking for that one meal that’s going to boost my mood, because my body and brain no longer work that way. It’s a HUGE positive, it means that my relationship with food is getting healthier all the time. Perhaps I should try something like CBT? Yes, I should definitely look into that! In addition to a chat with the doctor next week that is…

I did make a pretty difficult decision this week – I decided to transfer my Slimming World membership back to online. This is because I’ve been struggling with staying awake at work, which is quite important, and the only group I kind of like is before my shift on Tuesday evening. The last few months have found me dreading group, and that’s not good. Apart from the fact it no longer fits in well with my routine, there’s also the fact that when I’m tired I find it really hard to deal with lots of layers of noise. If the TV is on in the background, even quietly, then I can’t concentrate on anything someone is saying to me. The same for radios and whatnot. I generally prefer as close to complete silence as is possible! So sitting in group trying to listen to the consultant or a member speak during IMAGE therapy is made impossible by at least five groups of people having their own separate and very loud conversations. It drives me absolutely nuts! The consultant drops hints, saying things like ‘ooh, we’re getting a bit noisy today’ but no one is even listening to her so it just continues. So I’ll be weighing in at home for the next three months (that’s the length of the online subscription I purchased) then I will go back to group once that’s up. By then I will be missing it, hopefully the doctor will have given me some help, and I’ll be handling my moods better. That’s the theory anyway!

As for this week’s weigh in, I put on (in true Hayley fashion) an impressive 11 pounds. It’s not my biggest ever gain, and it’s over two weeks, so I’m feeling OK about it. I know that my body does not react well to salt/fat/sugar and that I bloat like a hot air balloon, and the fact that since I’ve been 100% back on plan I’ve been peeing roughly every 20 minutes also points to some considerable water retention!

The last two days have been filled with such delicious Slimming World food, and as ever I’m left questioning whether the binge was worth it. And as ever, it really wasn’t. Next time someone please remind me how much I love corn-on-the-cob!

Speaking of food, it’s now time to get dinner. I’m making a cheats lentil curry using a tin of (syn free) Heinz Creationz with added okra, onions and tomatoes. Hopefully it’ll turn out as nice as it sounds!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Sea and City

I’ve got to admit – I’m still not 100% back on plan. I’m not even 10% back on plan! But I will be tomorrow. I’m feeling so much better today, so in typical fashion it’s also (almost) time to go back to work. This is my last night off in fact. There’s nothing like the end of a ‘holiday’ coinciding with the 1st of the month to make you feel like it’s time to go and smash those goals. This is the time it’d be reasonable to be cheesed off, but not for me. I never do things conventionally!

I did feel like I’d wasted my entire week off but when I look back on it, actually I haven’t. As long as we don’t put food into the equation that is.

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were dire. My best day was the Sunday where, because I’d been at work until 6am, I actually had some steps under my belt. 8533 steps to be exact. Monday was 1925, Tuesday was 3722 and Wednesday was 1761. If I get less than 70,000 steps over the week then I feel extremely guilty, and even then I still feel like I could have done better. Well I could have! 70,000 is the absolute bare minimum!

So I needed to turn it around. Thursday I had my walk to, around and from the country park (18236 steps), Friday was a rainy walk up a big hill and back (15731 steps), Saturday was the park (16745 steps) and Sunday, well, that was the icing on the cake.

I didn’t realise how super cheap train fares are on a Sunday, so I paid for me and my brother to get the train to Leigh-on-Sea. From there we walked along the coast, passing through Chalkwell, Westcliff-on-Sea and Southend-on-Sea, finally reaching our destination of Shoeburyness. We were gone for a good few hours, mainly because we kept stopping to look at interesting things. The beaches were absolutely teeming with oysters, both alive and long dead, and I was really hoping to see an oystercatcher (the bird, not a fisherman) but it was not to be.

Crabs are actually my biggest phobia, so the photo credit goes to my little brother for this one. I’m fine with them from above, but when you see the underneath… Well… I just did a genuine shudder. I accidentally threw a crab once (when I was young), in the hands-on rock pool bit you get at Sealife centres. I was fine picking it up, but then I turned it over to look and it was one of those purely primal instincts to get the thing as far away from me as possible. I do hope the little guy was OK though, because it wasn’t his fault! This one is carrying another, smaller crab, and I’m hoping they were having (ahem) ‘sexy time’ rather than partaking in crab cannibalism.

It turned out to be an absolutely glorious morning for a walk, as you can see from the pictures. Passing through Southend is always depressing as it’s such a dump of a town. I had to pop to the loo and there are places for you to put your used needles. That’s the kind of town Southend is. But as soon as you’re five minutes away from there it’s beautiful, with quaint little beach huts to rival Brighton and hardly another soul about. 

By the time we got home I was rather pink, rather tired, and rather pleased to have accumulated 28,901 steps. That meant I was over 80,000 for the week, and that’s not bad considering it got off to such a lazy start.

Today was another very bad eating day, but it’s the last one, I absolutely promise! I went to Canterbury with a friend with the intention of going to a vegan pub where all the food and all the drink is totally vegan. I’ve only been vegan for a few weeks and already I can only imagine the joy of being able to go somewhere and just eat something without having to research it thoroughly beforehand. I checked their Facebook page and the week before last, when they were closed for a private function, they let their customers know. But there was nothing for this week so I thought it must be OK. WRONG! Even though online it said they were open, they were in fact closed.

Thankfully Canterbury just happens to be a lovely little city that caters for all sorts, and because of this situation I found a fantastic little pub that I’ll definitely be visiting again, called The Lady Luck. It’s an awesome place – they have regular live music, and I haven’t seen anything live for an age so I just have to go back and see something. The walls are plastered with album covers and artwork, the staff are lovely, and they are so inclusive. There’s something for everyone, and although when my food came out my heart sank just a little, because it didn’t look all that tasty, it was actually bloody lovely! I had a soya burger with tofu bacon, onions, gherkins, fake cheese and fake garlic mayo. It was so nice! Everything about the place just made my heart sing. The day was certainly not wasted!

I took just a couple of snaps of Canterbury, because we were a bit short on time and because I hate going anywhere without recording a memory of it. They’re not going to set the photography world alight, but here they are all the same!

Nothing went exactly as was planned this week, but lessons have been learned and I’m feeling positive about the week ahead. I haven’t forgotten those Long Tall Sally jeans, and I’ll be fitting in them before I know it. Tomorrow the scales are going to show a simply ENORMOUS gain, and the week after that most, if not all of it, will be ancient history.

Thank you for reading,

Hayley x

Fightin’ Talk

I’ve mentioned it before but I’m really bad at living within my means. Just before I hid one of my credit cards (which doesn’t make a huge difference because I can use it via Apple Pay and PayPal) I treated myself to a couple of bits from Long Tall Sally, courtesy of Tesco Bank. I like the Long Tall Sally clothes, for the most part, but even their basics are just so damn expensive. I needed a couple of t-shirts for when I eventually go running with my sister (she’s mega busy trying to get her new house decorated and furnished) as all running gear for women seems to only cater for very short people. Me? I need a top that’s going to cover my tummy or I’m seriously not leaving the house! I managed to get two tops for £25 which isn’t too bad, even though the same sort of thing for a short person is more like £6, but while I was there I also bought a pair of £45 jeans. Oops. They are a pair of slouchy ‘boyfriend’ jeans (I really resent that term!) that are meant to fit well at the waist then be quite slouchy. I got them in a 16, and since I’m a 16-18 on the bottom at the moment, and as I say they are quite fitted, I can get them on but there’s a serious amount of muffin top going on. Plus I can’t breathe. So even though I haven’t quite recovered from my bad mood yet, I do have fresh focus because I really want to get into these 38″-inside-leg jeans! That is not my inside leg (I’m a 34″) but as I mentioned before they’re supposed to be slouchy. But they’ll be holding my tummy in nicely once they fit. I’m convinced they’re going to be a firm favourite so I need to get a grip and lose this damn weight!

I got up early today with the vague intention of ‘getting stuff done’ and on a whim checked the weather forecast. I was just starting my second very large and very strong cup of coffee, but since the weather was only going to be nice for the morning I quickly downed it, made myself look presentable and got my butt out of the house. I’ll admit that although I brushed my teeth and whatnot I didn’t have a shower, which is kinda gross, but in my defence I had one at 5pm yesterday so it’s not toooooooo icky. It does however show my dedication to catching what little sunshine was available!

First stop was the church on the hill, and for the first time ever I actually saw other people there even though it was only 10am. There was one lady who had the same intention as me – taking photos – and a young man who I’m pretty sure had tattooed eyeballs. I’m not judging, I just think it’s an interesting fact. I like it when people are different! I think he was just having a nice stroll, listening to music and enjoying the view.

Next I headed to the local park but there was a problem. After all that coffee I really needed to pee, so I had to venture into town (just a little bit) to use the facilities. The closest was M&S so I did what I needed to do, bought some nectarines and got the hell out of there. Because town on a Saturday doesn’t even bare thinking about.

The park was quite busy but I had the geese all to myself for a while, and I’m telling you there was an absolute army of them. For a split second I wondered whether I should feed them in case they got upset when I ran out of oats, but then I decided it was worth the risk for a good photo op.

There was easily the same amount of geese as you see in the picture here behind me, the other side of me and in the water. It’s clearly been a bumper year for mother and father geeses!

I used my oats to lure the geese away to either side of me so that the ducks could get a look-in. I’m thinking these ones are probably teenagers, but because their mum was with them they were exceptionally well behaved.

Apart from feeding the birds the best thing about the walk was that by 10:30am I’d already burned off the same amount of calories that I’d burned by 6pm yesterday. And I have another nice walk planned for tomorrow, somewhere a little different this time. I’m really annoyed that I didn’t think of it sooner, but what can you do. I’ll update you on that tomorrow.

When I got home I made myself a nice lunch of meat-free chicken-style burgers and some pretty weird sausages (all on plan though) with chips and salad. I’ve been sampling Fry’s Family Foods sausages and burgers and although they are really good value for syns (the sausages and ordinary burgers are 2 for half a syn, the chicken-style ones are 2 syns each) they are an acquired taste. The sausages have a kind of Play Doh texture that takes a bit of getting used to! Eventually I want to move away from these kinds of meat substitutes and cook more wholesome meals from scratch, but one thing at a time eh!

Now I’m going to get on and do all of the boring little jobs that I’ve been meaning to get around to for days…

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

The Wagon

I haven’t just fallen off the wagon this week, the damn thing stopped and reversed over me just to make doubly sure it got me!

It’s coming up to my one year anniversary as a Slimming World member and I’ve struggled this week more than I have in a long time. I say struggled, what I really mean is I practically gave up. I’ve had this week booked off work for months and I couldn’t wait, but when the day actually came my mood changed and it hit me like an absolute ton of bricks. I’m fairly certain it’s hormonal so rather than just try to get through it as best I can I have sought help. The first available doctors appointment I could get was for the 8th of August, by which time I’ll probably be feeling better, but I need to see someone anyway or this is just going to keep happening. I’ve been meaning to try an implant or injection to regulate my hormones for ages, but the annoying thing is it could increase my appetite. But if I still stick to plan it doesn’t matter if I eat more, as long as I’m eating the right stuff. I have to just bite the bullet and give it a try, because right now I’m finding it nigh on impossible to stay in control of my moods/cravings and my sense of perspective (and enthusiasm for just about anything) has up and left me. It took me four days just to get dressed and leave the house, and if it wasn’t for my little Pea then I doubt I would have got out of bed unless it was to get food.

But it’s not all doom and gloom! Although I’m finding it hard to really feel it deep down in my bones I’m sure I’ll be fine. I’ve felt this way before and I can still feel it’s different this time around because I will keep trying and trying until I get to my target weight. No matter how many times I slip up, I will never truly give up. I have been reflecting over the last year and it is super annoying that my mood should hit me like this right now, because I wanted to make a YouTube video about how the last year has gone and how fab I feel (felt/will feel?), but all I want to do is curl up in bed and sleep. It’s hard enough writing this blog post! So I’ll put that on hold until things even out a little, even if at my next weigh in will be exactly a year since my first and I’ll be celebrating it with a nice big gain. Never mind, I’ll just practice damage limitation as best I can until then.

My time so far hasn’t been totally wasted (although that’s a matter of opinion) and I’ve been reading, playing a game (Zelda on DS, and I’m a gnat’s whisker away from completing it) and watching the latest series of Orange is the New Black with my mum. I did have plans to go out visiting some friends I haven’t seen in a long time, but there’s something wrong with my car and it won’t be looked at until Monday. I certainly cannot risk any long journeys. I looked at getting the train but the prices were astronomical – no wonder people drive when they have the option!

Although I do enjoy these ‘sitting around’ activities it’s really hard for me to enjoy them without guilt, especially when my Fitbit tells me how few calories I’m burning this week. But there was a little inspirational moment on Orange is the New Black where one of the characters says something (I don’t exactly recall) about how feeling sad is like when there are loads of clouds in the sky. You don’t think that the sky’s still blue, but it is, it’s just hidden behind the clouds. And the clouds are your mood. They’ll pass eventually.

Speaking of clouds even though it was chucking it down yesterday I went out walking and it was really nice to be outside and to be pretty much alone. I walked to the local country park from home and when I last did that walk I was too tired to do any exploring and had to go straight back home again. This time however I walked around for about an hour and a half, plus I only saw four other people the whole time. One was a hardcore jogger and the rest were dog walkers. One particular dog went absolutely berserk at me because he had never seen an umbrella before. I must have looked pretty scary! The sun even came out just as I was leaving (typical) but it was nice to dry off on the walk home and top up on some vitamin D.

I will go out for another walk later, especially as I’m nearly out of coffee, but this time I won’t eat a load of crap when I get in. I am determined to stay on plan until at least Monday, as I might be going out with a friend and I’m not sure what the food plans are. We might be visiting a vegan restaurant but all this is up in the air for now and I’ll have to see. I think I can handle having one meal out off plan, whereas I have learned this week that if I have stuff in the house then I just cannot control myself, even when I’ve gone way past the point of actually enjoying what I’m eating. I still keep on stuffing it in! This morning the nice man from Ocado delivered an absolute ton of fresh veggies, so I should be OK now that all the bad food has been eaten.

One thing I have learned is that there is absolutely no going back with this veganism thing. When I first became a veggie and I had a ‘treat day’ one of my friends just couldn’t understand why I didn’t eat meat! I tried to explain that stuff like that just isn’t food for me any more, so even on a cheat day it’s not an option. Although I’ve eaten so much bad stuff this week (I’m talking Biscoff spread straight from the jar bad) I am happy to say that not one speck of it came from an animal!

Well I think I’ll end this post now before I depress you all too much.

As ever thank you for reading,

Hayley x

PS I nearly forgot to say – I saw a gosh darn green woodpecker on my walk (and if that’s not a positive then I don’t know what is!)