BBQ Time!

Thankfully weather forecasts aren’t 100% accurate. Since Friday I’ve been checking various weather apps and websites, most of which said it was going to rain for the whole of Sunday afternoon. The Met Office however had the best forecast, so I went with that and decided to go ahead with the BBQ. I’m glad I did, because the weather was like this aaaaall day. Just beautiful. Everyone melted apart from me and my sister. My mum says we are lizards because we are usually cold, but this time of year we get to reap the benefits by being able to not only survive but really enjoy the heat.

I had a plan to prepare loads of Free and Speed food and stay in control for the whole day. My brother was issued with instructions to punch me hard, right in the mouth, if I even suggested otherwise. And…

…I did it, I actually managed to have a BBQ and stay on plan! This is a fantastic achievement, especially since the last time we had one I spiralled out of control and ended up spending four days trying to scramble back on the wagon. I certainly wasn’t perfect – I definitely overate Free Foods (namely my favourite corn-on-the-cobs) but that’s not the end of the world. I ended the day on 11 syns and that is something to be damn proud of.

Even though there are some tempting bits here – namely the rolls, houmous and halloumi – I managed to avoid it all by focusing on what I could have. I made a huge bowl of coleslaw which was 4 syns for the whole lot and that went down a treat, even with those who aren’t trying to lose weight, and everyone loved the fact that I’d put strawberries out. We were lucky too, they were the most strawberry-ey strawberries I’ve had in a long time! Another big hit was the yoghurt and mint dip, which amused everyone who wanted to know how it’s made. It’s very complicated so pay attention – you have to mix yoghurt… with mint… Got that? Good!

My sister’s boyfriend is avoiding gluten at the moment so he was very interested in my sweet potato ‘bun’. It was absolutely lovely and it held together really well, but I only had it for one burger because it would be ever so easy to overeat that way. Even on Slimming World, common sense must still be applied!

The burger is a Linda McCartney mozzarella burger (5.5 syns) and the cheese is a light cheese slice from Tesco (you can have 3 for your A Choice).

I made so much food that I had plenty left for dinner late in the evening and I have a full-on dinner of leftovers ready for today, too.

I’ve got everything crossed that I lose at least a pound tomorrow. Pleeeeeaaase let me have my five-and-a-half stone award!

Hayley X

Club 15

I had my weigh in yesterday, and it’s the first time in a fair few weeks that I’ve had two losses in a row. I lost 2.5 lbs which I’m super-duper happy with, and I only have 1 lb to go to get my 5.5 stone award. I’ve been so close to the 15-stone-something mark for weeks and weeks now, but every time I got within half a pound I sabotaged myself. I finally broke that particular pattern and am (for now at least) part of the 15 Club! I don’t intend to stay here long, I’ve heard that Club 14 has a lot more benefits so I’m hoping to join as soon as possible.

It’s been a bit of a weird day today. I was a lot sleepier than I usually am after a night shift so I had to upset Pea and have a little bit of extra sleep. She was NOT happy about it, but if I don’t look after myself then I can’t look after her, and sometimes a girl’s just gotta get her head down. I feel a lot better now but although I know I want to write a blog post, the words are really not coming easily today. I should probably leave it and come back to it another time, but I have too many things to do before work and also I am being bloody stubborn!

I have these things to do which is annoying because I want to be outside. The weather is glorious again, and looking back on my memories of last summer it’s so fleeting I don’t want to waste it. I was out in the garden yesterday, just assessing what work needs to be done, only to find that some greedy little buggers are eating our apple tree. We are going to have a bumper year for apples this year, the tree is abundant with them, but they’re also not very good quality which is due to the hungry, hungry little buggers. I feel for them, I really do, but steps need to be taken to save next year’s crop. It’s too late for this year unfortunately, I just hope some of the apples make it through OK. It was a good photo op anyway!

I think these caterpillars most likely belong to a moth species, but I’m having trouble finding out which one. Maybe I’ll find out as they continue to grow (and decimate the poor tree…) Phase one in the garden is definitely going to be a wet area for frogs so as long as my wages are OK come pay day I’ll get some pond liner and dig out a little space for them. We have a little area near the compost bin that should be perfect – it’s already home to loads of creepy crawlies but I’ll only be moving them a couple of feet to make a space so I should imagine they’ll be happy enough. I really hope it attracts some frogs because I haven’t seen a wild frog in years and that’s such a shame! Then if I have enough money left I want to get to the garden centre and get as many colourful yet easy-to-keep-alive flowers as I can. I believe they call them hardy in the business! I want to get all the flowers my grandparents had in their garden when I was a kid. My granddad used to take me out and let me pick marigolds, pansies, giant daisies and snap dragons. It was awesome and also the only fond memory I have of my grandparents who were not all that nice. But they did have a lovely, colourful garden! My nan on the other side of the family had strawberries and runner beans but she didn’t garden much because she was too busy going out and being a total old lady badass. She was great, I miss her a lot.

So far the weather forecast is looking good for Sunday, and since it’s my mum’s birthday next week my sister is coming over and we are doing a surprise BBQ. My mum has a whole range of health problems and I’m trying to help her lose weight but unfortunately her underactive thyroid is really not helping, so I want to help her stay on plan as much as possible. Therefore although my last attempt at a healthy BBQ failed miserably, I am trying again and this time I will succeed! My sister has been out on the town a few weekends in a row so she also wants to be sensible, so with most of the family on board I should be OK! I’m not sure what kind of crap my brother will be eating, but knowing him it’ll be meat-based so at least I won’t be tempted there.

Well that’s enough rambling now I think, it’s time to get Pea’s dinner and have my first cup of coffee of the day. That’s probably why I feel weird, I haven’t been medicated yet!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley X

Edit: The last paragraph originally read ‘crap my first cup of coffee of the day’. You ever have that where you’re thinking one word but type a completely different one? No? Just me? Probably…

 

 

Baker’s Dozen

Yesterday was the Think Parrots exhibition and I thought I’d have tons to write about, but unfortunately I wasn’t all that taken with it. We watched a talk by a specialist avian vet named Matthew Fiddes who seems to be more or less at the top of the avian veterinary game. He even name dropped the Supervet who he knows personally, so in the bird world it was probably a very rock n’ roll event! He went through common bird health problems but where I did so much research before getting Pea I honestly either knew it already or it wasn’t relevant to her species. In fact I felt the small parrots were very under-represented! God I sound like such a big head… But it was interesting to watch anyway and it was fun to hear him being heckled by a macaw in the audience.

As for the rest of the event it was very small and was mostly people selling bird stuff. I bought a desk perch for Pea for £3 which will be useful for training but at the moment she is absolutely terrified of it. It’s going to take some training just to get her on the thing. I also bought her some dried grasses for her to pick through which will be good for enrichment. It was very nice to see my sister but for the money I spent on petrol and the time I wasted on the M25, there would have been better ways to have a sibling meet-up. In fact she’s coming over for dinner next Sunday (hopefully for a BBQ if the weather is good) so it could have waited until then, but ho hum, now I know to try a different bird exhibition next time!

As for the food, the lunch I took with me weighed 9 pounds so you could say I went a little bit overboard. I arrived just before my sister so I ate my cereal bars (B Choice) then when it came to lunch I wasn’t all that hungry so I just ate my four scotch eggs. I made them with panko breadcrumbs which cost me 4.5 syns, so if I make them again I’ll leave them off because they didn’t add anything to the flavour. I’d rather save the syns in future.

So I brought all the rest of the food back home with me and had my quiche for dinner. For breakfast yesterday I had two eggs, Quorn low fat sausages and garlic mushrooms. After dinner I was still feeling full although I could have had dessert if I wanted it. Turning down dessert is most unlike me, and at that point it occurred to me that I’d had quite a lot of protein. I had a count – yesterday I ate a total of THIRTEEN EGGS. God help my poor mother who has to live with me for the next couple of days! As a result of all this things, um, aren’t quite working as they should be and if this feeling keeps up I’m predicting an undeserved gain or maintain on the scales tomorrow. I think egg bound is the phrase I’m looking for (sorry, TMI I know…)

Yesterday my sister complimented me on my weight loss and told me I was looking particularly slim. That’s the good thing about not seeing her for a few weeks at a time – she picks up on the things I can’t see. I am feeling pretty fantastic this week so I decided to do some comparison pics which, when I’m doing well at least, is one of my very favourite (and most narcissistic) things to do to help keep me motivated. For me the most shocking aspect is my back!

I’m really pleased at the progress I’ve made there! On the left I’m bulging out of a size 22 top, one that I only used to wear around the house because I knew it was becoming like a second skin. I wouldn’t have dared to go out in it. The dress on the right is a size 18.

I’m really happy with how things are going right now, and I absolutely love my dress (I got one in a pink stripe too) which I will no doubt wear until it disintegrates. I feel so comfortable in it, plus it has a drawstring waist so it’ll see me through for a while as I continue to lose weight.

The rest of yesterday was dedicated to crafty pursuits, as I need to take more time to do the things that I enjoy. After Pea had gone to sleep I got my watercolours out and sat down to do a quick painting of one of the geeselets I photographed the other day.

I have an important thing to say about doing anything like this: it’s OK to be a bit crap.

You might think my little painting is alright, but then just look at these pictures below, all done by my remarkably talented little sis.

They’re such incredible little paintings, but I don’t let that take the joy out of sitting down and taking the time to paint something. Just because you’re not good at something doesn’t mean you can’t have fun doing it! In fact I’m going to try to find an art class nearby at some point, which seems a bit silly what with my sister being an art teacher and all. But I know if we met up to paint we’d just end up chatting for the whole time and never get anything done!

Today for breakfast I had defrosted berries and a pot of vanilla Skyr, which was originally supposed to be yesterday’s lunch, then yesterday’s dessert. So now I need to go and get my lunch, which is Shredded Wheat, almond milk and two oranges, and which should have been today’s breakfast! Confused? Yeah, me too!

Until next time,

Hayley x

Victory Is Mine

The Workweek Hustle is over and the results are in – between Monday and Friday my sister did 74,392 steps but I did a winning 87,581! My sister was gaining on me considerably, that is until Thursday night when my manager put me on a really physical job and I worked my absolute butt off. I’m really hoping this increases my chances of a good loss come Tuesday because I am seriously chasing that 15 stone bracket now. I want to see those numbers so, so badly!

It’s been a weird old week. Wednesday I wore two layers of clothes to work and needed a hot water bottle to warm me up when I got home in the morning, but today it’s absolutely gorgeous out there. I did a bit of washing as I’m out tomorrow and my favourite summer outfit was dirty, but it took me a while to get it on the line. The first time I went into the garden my brother was out there with Chester, our ginger cat. He has to be supervised outside, on a lead (Chester that is, not my brother), because he has kidney failure. He can’t go exploring by himself because where he isn’t processing protein properly his back legs are weak so he can’t get himself out of trouble if he needs to. Weirdly he seems quite content with being on a lead. So I just had to run in and grab my camera.

After Chester had finished posing I went indoors and actually managed to get the wet washing out of the machine before Kitt came along to say hello. Kitt (named after the car from Knight Rider) and Chester are brother and sister and they are both getting on a bit now, so Kitt doesn’t venture far these days. Most of the time she escapes through the back door then goes straight round to the front of the house to sit on the window ledge and meow to be let back in. They’re not the brightest of creatures! Eventually I managed to stop getting distracted and the washing is drying in the sun and the wind as I type.

Whilst out in the garden I noticed that it can’t be long now until the cherries are ready to eat. There’s nothing like eating them straight off the tree, although it’s still more of an overgrown twig at this stage.

It occurred to me today that in a way I seem to have aged considerably in the last year. I have become a person who watches Springwatch on purpose, I have started doing embroidery, I joined a bird identification group on Facebook, I am contemplating learning how to do gardening (what kind of stuff do I plant where? Will it come back next year? Do I need to know what pH my soil is?) and I love being outdoors. In my early twenties I harboured a secret ambition to become a hermit but now I’m the complete opposite and I’m absolutely loving it.

My sister is the same, and we talked recently about how we used to be so different yet we have independently become practically the same person. She went to university in Southampton, moved to London, became a teacher, met a guy… I never had a clue (still don’t) about what I want to do, never had any luck with relationships, never had much interest in nature or animals, yet here we are, for the most part sickeningly happy and both obsessed with birds, nature and absolutely anything arty or crafty! I think we both agree on one thing though – being happy certainly didn’t come naturally to either of us and we had to work bloody hard to get to where we are now. If you asked us how we did it though, I doubt we could come up with an answer. There’s not a one-size-fits-all solution sadly.

Oops I seem to have got a little bit too thoughtful there and have gone off on a tangent! Anyway, this evening I don’t have to go to work because I booked the night off. I’m leaving early in the morning for the Think Parrots show and I have a ton of food prep to do before hand. It’s going to be an absolute feast! I also have an enormous batch of ‘chilli-non-carné’ that I prepared yesterday so that’s today’s and tomorrow’s dinner sorted, meaning I can just concentrate on making my enormous Slimming World picnic. Another dinner highlight this week has been Fishless Fingers (thank you Quorn, they really hit the spot) which I served with all of the most summery-looking veg I had in my fridge.

Well, I’d better stop sitting on my butt now and get cooking!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Healthy Competition

Me and my sister are currently embroiled in a bitter battle for first place in the Fitbit Workweek Hustle challenge. The challenge is a simple one – whoever gets the most steps between Monday and Friday gets first place. It has not been easy, but for now at least I am holding first place with a 4000-step lead. I can’t get complacent though, she could sneakily overtake me at any time so I need to keep walking! An early morning trip to Tesco today certainly helped, because I kept forgetting things and I retraced my steps a lot.

It’s doing me a lot of good though, being back on plan and keeping my activity levels up. My heart rate is gradually getting back to normal after my holiday at least!

Today Google photos sent me one of those ‘this time last year’ notifications and it was quite good to reflect how much things have changed in a year. I remember this time last year I was really pleased with myself for getting down to 20.5 stone. Now I’m 16 stone and half a pound! And there was a lot of upping and downing still to come.

As you can see it’s been one hell of a rocky road! The light blue line is my actual weight loss graph whereas the dark blue is my weight trend. For the last couple of months I think it’s been quite kind! I’m really excited to start seeing a downward trend again.

But a lot has changed apart from my weight. This time last year I was out drinking with people I now realise aren’t very kind people at all, and I was already paralytically drunk by this point (5pm). Thanks to modern technology my phone photos auto upload to the interwebs and even when I delete them off my phone I don’t delete them from Google, because you never know when you might need something. I probably could have done without keeping this little gem, but part of me thinks perhaps it’s good that I did. You see, I am never going to feel (or hopefully look) like this again, ever. Unless I get dragged through a hedge backwards, although I hope it doesn’t come to that.

That was one dreadful hangover. I woke up in the morning fully clothed, even with my shoes still on. That night I had fallen asleep in a toilet and all of my companions had gone on to a club without me. For some reason (I have no idea why) when I came to rather than go home I decided to join them! Never again. Never, ever, again.

This weekend instead of going out on the town I am looking forward to going to a bird exhibition type thingy called Think Parrots, and I’ve been getting excited thinking about what I’m going to eat. I have the night before booked off work so during the day I’m going to be making a crustless quiche, vegetarian scotch eggs and potato salad. There is only junk food to be had at the venue so I’m taking a ton of food for a few reasons – I don’t know how long we’re going to be there, 90% of the journey is M25 so if I get stuck in traffic I may need sustenance, and finally I LOVE FOOD! Whatever I don’t eat can be eaten for dinner when I get home, and if I do eat it all then what the heck, it’ll all be on plan. I’m also taking two pots of Alpro Go On (1 syn for a pot of the blackcurrant flavour) vanilla Skyr from Lidl (it reminds me of custard and it’s syn free) and some speedy fruit (mainly strawberries I’m thinking). I’m also having a cooked breakfast before I set off.

After that night out last year, once I’d recovered enough to eat, I ate an entire 20 inch pizza. This has been my favourite dinner of the week so far:

There’s an entire broccoli on that plate. Plus sweet potato, tomato, kale, red onion, tomato, carrots, veggie burgers, extra mature cheddar and mustard mayo. I used to think that I’d never be able to change, not really, but now I truly believe that I can. I’m never going to be the unrecognisable woman in the picture again. This is me now, and I like her much, much more!

Holy moly, I’ve just had a notification from Fitbit that my sister is on my tail! I’d best be off.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

 

Nice Weather For Ducks… and Hayley 

Since I’ve decided that for every day in June I’m going to do 10,000 steps a day or more, I realised that on my days off I just have to get out of the house. My usual routine would mean me doing about 1,800 steps and that just ain’t good enough! I don’t feel like I’ve done all that much today but the day has disappeared nonetheless . I did the vacuuming, popped to Lidl for supplies, pottered around on the computer then before I knew it I had to leave to meet my brother. On his way home from work he rides through a park so I walked to meet him there this evening.

I deliberately got there about 45 minutes early so I did a few laps of the lake and got my 10,000 steps. Then I only went and saw a bloody heron! He had a fish in his mouth, which I watched him eat, then I quickly rooted around in my bag for my camera. He was too far away for me to get a decent pic (the one below is cropped) but there he is just the same.

I’m glad I’ve got a picture because for some reason seeing a heron feels really surreal to me. This first time I saw one it was about 6 am and I was on a stress-induced walk. It was a few years ago and I was still with my boyfriend, who had a habit of going off the radar whenever he went to visit his kids. He has a history of falling asleep at the wheel so when after a couple of days I still hadn’t heard from him and I eventually plucked up the courage to call (I wasn’t allowed to in case his ex found out he was seeing someone… go figure…) his phone was switched off and I couldn’t get the images of him lying in a hospital bed out of my head. In such situations my anxiety was just too much to bear and I just had to move, no matter what. So I went out walking in the early hours.

I walked up a hill I’ve driven up a thousand times, and as far as I knew it was just rows of very posh houses up there. I was stomping along when I saw something out of the corner of my eye. It was eerily quiet and I hadn’t seen another soul so I was shocked when I looked to the side of me to see a little stream which runs underneath the road, one I didn’t even know was there, and a heron just standing there looking at me. I’ve got to be honest, I wasn’t sure if I was hallucinating or not!

Today was similar. There were kids all around playing football, lots of dads riding bikes with their kids, people walking dogs, yet all of a sudden I was completely alone except for the geese, ducks and cootes (who had gone for a swim, frightened off by the footballers) and Mr Heron here.

My brother arrived just seconds before the heron flew away, then we tempted the geese out of the lake with some tasty porridge oats. It also started to rain, but such things won’t deter seasoned walkers like ourselves, and I kept my camera dry but putting it in a carrier bag and making holes for the lens and the viewfinder. 

 

I cannot believe how quickly these geeselets have grown. This is what they looked like when I saw them last, on the 13th of May. I wish I’d taken my camera that day!

I suppose they must be teenagers now, although it was the parents who were the worst behaved. This one had clearly taken offence to us feeding the kids and it kept hissing and sticking its tongue out. How unfriendly!

We saw some ducks too, and at least someone other than me didn’t seem to mind that it was raining. I know it’s not really smiling but seriously how happy does that duck look?

But this little one though, THIS one was the absolute cutest. JUST LOOK AT THAT FACE!

I’m pleased I had a good photo day, I love getting home to find out what I’ve captured. It was especially fun today because of the rain – I couldn’t review the pictures as I took them so I was completely in the dark as to what they’d come out like.

When I got in I was starving but there’s only one thing that can truly distract me from food, and that’s editing my photos. Once I was done though I had a potato salad with Quorn crispy fillets. I’m just loving simplicity when it comes to my food the last few days – the salad was just baby plum tomatoes, cucumber, red onion and boiled potatoes and it was just so damn good.

I can’t quite believe it’s weigh in tomorrow because it’s come around so quickly. It honestly feels like it was only yesterday I was last at group. I suppose that’s what being back at work has done to me, I’m completely up the wall with my sense of time. Ho hum, hopefully I’ve lost weight, which I’m not sure about because Star Week (sorry, TMI) has arrived early. I did wonder why I was extra angry at work this week, I just put it down to resenting being back after all that time off. I’m not usually one to sulk about things like that though, so it’s making a lot more sense now!

Ok, I’m going now before I ramble at you any further.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

On Top of the World

Denial is something I’m really, really good at. When I’m on plan I log every morsel that passes my lips, I look in the mirror regularly to try and spot changes, and usually there are some. I’m generally pleased with my reflection these days, too. But when I’m off plan, like I have been since I last posted, then I’m adept at not thinking at all about how I look, how my clothes fit (or don’t as the case may be), the huge volumes of food that I’m eating and the effect it’s having on my body. All I allow myself to think about it what I’m going to eat next.

I’m stuck in this horrible pattern of losing a large chunk of weight one week and gaining it back in a fortnight or so. It’s not good for me, and I need to stop it. Unfortunately I’m expecting my biggest gain yet at group on Tuesday. Now I’ve faced up to what I’ve done I need to face the scales, and I think that’s best done at my usual group. Plus I’m not back at work until Wednesday night so there’s no excuse not to go. I’m dreading it, but I need to break the cycle. This has happened to me before, in 2013, and my consultant suggested that I call target for a while until I get my head straight. I didn’t, and I regained everything I’d lost plus more. This time I’m not going to let history repeat itself. I have a few weeks left of a 12 week countdown, so if I’m back to my lowest weight (at least this time around) by the time it’s finished I think I will maintain for a while, probably for a month or so, to take some of the pressure I’ve given myself off a little bit.

On the plus side (and it’s a very big plus indeed) on Thursday my Snowdon trip finally came around. It was a 6 hour drive to our campsite so on the way there me and my brother had plenty of time to plan our strategies. We both admitted that we were rather worried about not being able to reach the summit, and agreed that if we needed to we’d turn around and go back. I don’t like giving up as much as the next person, but it is dangerous and if we got out of our depth we needed to be able to admit that. We also agreed that we’d set off from the Pen Y Pass car park at 5am the next day. It sounds a little bit bonkers, but Snowdon gets really busy and we both like peace and quiet so it was worth getting up early for.

On Thursday the weather was absolutely glorious, and baking hot, so we were looking forward to it being at least slightly cooler up the mountain. Despite the long drive we did have time to get some dinner at a local pub and check out a little waterfall. As we bought cold drinks from the café it was free for us to get in, otherwise it would have been a pound each. It wasn’t the most spectacular waterfall I’d ever seen, it was more of a big stream really, but it was a nice little walk and you really can’t go wrong for that kind of money.

We did try to get an early night but I really struggled to get off, so I must have had about 5 hours tops. Not ideal for when you’re about to go up a mountain but there’s not much I could do about it! I did wake up for a tinkle at 3am and the sky was just stunning. We were camped about a 30 second walk, literally, from the lake you can see in the picture below. What with it being so remote there was no light pollution, and happily at 3am there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, either. I’ve never seen so many stars in my life!

When we set off for the summit the next day, as we’d hoped there was barely another soul around. We did see people occasionally as we made our way up, but they were clearly seasoned walkers and they overtook us every time. We saw one man carrying a mountain bike up, which was inconceivable to us. How did he manage to carry it over the precarious parts? When did he actually get to ride it? Who can say… Anyway we didn’t mind being overtaken, and considering it was our first time doing anything like that we were making really good progress. The best part though was seeing the sun come up behind the mountains.

Another benefit of leaving so early was that we were able to cope in the heat! And considering 90% of the year visibility is pretty awful we couldn’t have wished for the views to be any better. We gradually made our way up the Pyg Track which is one of the steepest yet shortest routes, and it involved actually climbing at various points. I’m talking using both arms to clamber over the parts where the path isn’t actually a path. It was scary, but so exciting and so much fun!

We checked online before we went and apparently a ‘reasonably fit person’ can complete the Pyg Track in about 3 hours. Somehow, we managed to do it and three-and-half and I honestly couldn’t be prouder of myself. 7 months ago I couldn’t walk from the clocking out machine at work to the car park without getting out of breath, and I certainly couldn’t hold a conversation. But on Friday I climbed a mountain. An actual mountain! I still can’t quite believe it!

The views from the top were absolutely spectacular and we even had the summit, which is very small, to ourselves for 15 minutes or so. My camera is old and very heavy, but I’m so glad I lugged that extra weight around. I mean just look at it!

I must admit I found going down a lot harder than going up. My legs were like jelly by the time we got to the lake you can see in the picture above. The picture below? Yep, same lake! We took a different route back down, the Miners Track, which took us right down to the shore where I put my feet in the numbingly cold water and rinsed my hair. It was just an amazing feeling, I can’t even describe it. It was a magical experience. And the water was so clear.

The very last bit was reasonably flat and eventually it turns into what can be described as an actual path, but it was a hard slog as I’d run out of steam at that point. In all, including stopping for breaks and to take pictures (I also video-called my sister from the summit, the only place we could get mobile internet bizarrely) it took us 7.5 hours to get there and back.  When we got back to the campsite I felt super happy and content though! Until this morning I’ve been enjoying my holiday and have continued to eat and drink anything I wanted, but today I’m back on plan before I cause any more damage.

I feel like I’ve been given a rare bit of clarity today – I can see how easy it would be for me to give up now and undo all of my hard work, or I can do something I’ve never done before – to just keep going even when the going is really tough. Even if I don’t lose much more weight for the time being, I need to remember how different I feel now. I’ve achieved something I never, ever thought possible, and I’m looking forward to finding out what else I can do when I put my mind to it.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley X

Gloriousness

Has it or has it not been the most beautiful day of the year so far? At least it has been where I am, so if you have had bad weather then commiserations to you. Yesterday was a work day but I burnt the candle at both ends and went in search of geeselets (goslings, whatever!) with my brother and at the same time I got a load of steps in. It was also part one of a little test to see the average time it takes me to walk a mile, without putting any extra effort in. The verdict was 18 minutes and 30 seconds, which seems quite slow to me but as I say I certainly wasn’t pushing myself and I didn’t get out of breath.

We found the goslings straight away but the parents wouldn’t let us get too near (and of course I forgot to bring any food for them) so we went for a little walk around. My brother suggested we sprint up a hill and I decided to go along with it. In the process I learned something about myself – I have forgotten how to run. You know those dreams you have where you’re trying to run but it feels like you’re in quicksand? That’s what my normal run is like! My brother honestly thought that I was playing around, but I really am that slow. I did have a second and more successful attempt (with him shouting at me to get my knees up) but it’s definitely not my idea of fun! At least now I know that if I encounter a fight or flight scenario then I’d better be ready to throw some punches.

As we were deciding to go home we noticed that the geeselets were having a swim so I stopped to take some video. As luck would have it they came right over to the shore where I was standing so I managed to see the cuteness first hand. Goodness me I wanted to pick one of the fuzzy little lumps up, but I’ve been chased by a goose as a child and I do not want to relive that experience. Especially since we have established that I’m not going to be able to outrun it.

After having a quick nap this morning I got up, fed Pea whilst having a coffee then since it looked so nice out I decided to head into town to mosey around for a bit. I walked of course, there’s no way I’d be taking the car on a day like today! This also constituted phase two of my little experiment and again it took me 18-and-a-half minutes to do a mile. So there’s a good baseline to improve upon anyway. It was so lovely and warm out, but with a nice breeze too, and I broke out my sunglasses for the first time this year.

In town I went to Starbucks with the intention of getting a flat white, but then I saw cold brew iced coffee advertised. I’ve never had a cold brew before so that’s what I had, and since it’s just coffee it must be Syn free! A cold brew is supposed to be smoother than ordinary iced coffee and it certainly seemed that way. I’m pretty sure it’s not just my imagination. Either way it was lovely walking home in the sun sipping on my summery drink! Weirdly though, I’ve only just gotten around to putting the cup in the recycling and three hours later there is still solid ice in there. Um, HOW?

For the rest of the afternoon me and the green one chilled in the garden. I read a chapter of my book while she shouted at a sparrow, so we were both doing things we enjoy!

After all the fresh air and exercise I’m feeling super content but just about ready to drop. So I’ll leave it there for today, I just had to come and tell you how beautiful the simple things in life can be.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Ivinghoe Beacon

On Monday I left the house at 6am in order to start the day off with a nice walk. We don’t have many nice places near us so I drove for just over an hour to Ivinghoe Beacon which is basically a bloody big hill. When we arrived the car park was virtually empty and it was damn cold but that’s ok because I hate getting too hot while I’m walking. Once I got moving I soon warmed up. The first thing we saw when we got there was a field full of little lambs and they were so cute! You could go in with them too, there was just a little sign warning not to get between the mothers and their babies. The little ones were so inquisitive, but we didn’t want to disturb them so I only managed to get a photo using my phone as I didn’t have the right lens with me for taking pictures of sheep!

As is the tradition for a British bank holiday there was a little bit of rain and it was cloudy and dull the whole day, but that certainly didn’t stop us. When we got home we checked my brother’s GPS tracker and we had climbed 1/3 the height of Snowdon. It was hard work so I’m starting to become somewhat apprehensive about our Snowdon climb next month, but I’m not going to know if I can do it or not until I try. In the meantime I’m going to keep walking and also ramp up my use of the cross trainer to get my legs nice and strong! Squats probably wouldn’t be a bad idea either because the area most affected by Monday’s walk was my butt!

I also managed to get a picture of some bluebells that I actually like! We went off the beaten track to investigate a fallen tree and found this little plant nestled behind it.

Some sunshine would have been nice, but we can’t have everything in life. When I got home I updated my Fitbit and found that I’d broken my record for most flights of stairs climbed in a day (or at least the equivalent height).

I was on 135 flights of stairs at this point so I thought to myself, ‘is there another badge for climbing 150?’ So I ran up and down the stairs for a bit and this is what I got when I was finished:

I wonder how many it’ll be once I get to the top of Snowdon? I’m excited to find out!

On Tuesday I got up early again to walk into town and clock up a nice amount of steps. While I was there I had my bra fitting at M&S and it was about as uncomfortable as I thought it would be. It was very thorough and I got two lovely fitting bras (I realised that this is the first time in my life I’ve had a bra that actually fitted) and the woman was very friendly but there’s still nothing that really prepares you for getting your boobies out in front of a total stranger. Even though in my younger days I flashed a couple of times (alcohol has a lot to answer for) and I had two medical scares that needed to be investigated. They were nothing serious thankfully, but still the whole process was fairly awful. Apart from the fact that the NHS service I received was wonderful and I had the all clear within the week on both occasions.

After that I strolled over to Yours to pick up a parcel and all three dresses I ordered in the sale fit perfectly and look exactly as I hoped they would, then I popped to Starbucks to spend 6 syns on a delicious flat white. I walked back home, got a couple of hours sleep and before I knew it weigh in time was nearly upon me.

Again I hadn’t had a single sneak peek this week so I had no idea what to expect, especially since I still had some muscle soreness from Monday, but I lost 2.5 lbs and picked up this beauty!

This week I have to be spot on because on the 1st of May I’m going on an epic work night out. Yes, there will be a gain, but I have to make sure I’m only off plan for one single day. There can be no hangover fry ups or stops for cheesy chips from the kebab van on the way home. It’s all about the prep so I’m going to make a Slimming World curry and syn free onion bhajis that I can reheat when I get in and also have ingredients for a Slimming World grill-up on hand for the morning. I’m also not going to go mad on the booze and make sure I drink plenty of water throughout the night. Finally I shall be forewarning everyone that if they buy me a shot then it won’t be going anywhere near my mouth, so it’ll just be a waste of money for them. Other than that I’m just going to enjoy myself.

Until next time thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Health & Safety

You may or may not know that I work in a warehouse. When you start your training in such a place one of the first things you cover is manual handling. I’m not sure about other sites but at my place the maximum we are allowed to lift is 25kg. For anything heavier we have to find another person to help us. Even with anything up to 25kg there are certain rules we have to follow, like making sure we are in the correct position and assessing the load before attempting to actually lift it. Today I worked out my loss so far in kilograms, and I have already lost more weight than it is safe for me to lift. How frightening is that? My weight loss so far equates to just over 30kg, which I can lift, but not easily and not for long. I was carrying that around with me. Every. Single. Day. And I still have that amount to lose again! It shocked me to think of it like that, but I’m also very much looking forward to finding out how much more of a spring in my step I get once the rest of the excess weight has gone. It’s just mind-boggling…

I’m currently executing a brilliant plan. I buy so many food items on a whim and my fridge, freezer and cupboards are full of random crud that I never get around to using. I have part-used bags of quinoa, macaroni, lentils, couscous, chickpeas, kidney beans… I need to stop buying more things and use up all the stuff that I have. Plus I desperately need to de-ice the little freezer compartment in my fridge that I REALLY WISH WASN’T EVEN THERE! Whoever invented that needs a slap, bloody pointless things. It doesn’t even keep anything frozen!

I begrudge going to my local Asda because you have to pay for parking, so next week as I have to pick up a parcel from town anyway I’m going to walk there and get the Asda-only bits I that I need. Tesco is a bit too far away to do that, but I need to plan better so that I make less trips. Really I only need Quark and frozen fruit from there so that’s not too bad. As for any fresh fruit and veg we have a Lidl round the corner, so I’ll be walking there every couple of days to top up on my greens and whatnot whilst I run down my freezer and cupboard bits. After that I want to keep my food items to a minimum because I’m so sick of all the clutter and sometimes having too much choice hinders me as much as having too little! As for eggs and Quorn products, I’ll bulk buy those from Ocado once a month.

Having said all that, I did fail from the offset. I went to Lidl yesterday with the intention of only buying soy sauce and frozen fruit, but in addition to those things I also bought sour cream, guacamole and mustard mayo. On the plus side they were super cheap and they range between 1-2 syns per 20g portion (that’s absolutely excellent) but let’s face it I didn’t need them so I should have left them on the shelf. As it is I’m refusing to open them and try them until I’ve used the other condiments I have already started on, such as pesto, mustard, garlic mayo, BBQ sauce and hoisin sauce. Well it’s a work in progress!

I’m refusing to do any more shopping whatsoever until Tuesday, so today I’ll be using some freezer bits including frozen stir fry mix (I’m a little afraid of that after my recent frozen veg fails) and I’m going to use up the last of the frozen courgette as although it’s fairly gross I refuse to bin it. I have a butternut squash which is enormous (thank you Ocado) so that will last two days and I’ll be making some sort of concoction to take with me on Monday when me and my brother visit Ivinghoe Beacon. It’s a really bloody big hill, so we’ll be getting there super early and going up and down it a fair few times as training for Snowdon, which we will be climbing at the end of May. We will also attempt a nearby hill which isn’t as high but is very  steep. We were too chicken to try it last time, but we’re a lot fitter and braver since we visited about a year ago. I think this is it, and I assure you the picture doesn’t do it justice! I am also a lot better at photography since the last time we went so I’m looking forward to updating my photo album.

Look how tiny the trees are at the top. It’s the only thing in the picture that gives it any sense of scale. So yeah, I’m very much looking forward to that and I also welcome any excuse for a picnic. Ooh, I think I’ll make some Slimming World-friendly scotch eggs!

My sister sent me a couple of pictures she took from Dover, including one of us together, and one of me and my brother. They are such lovely pictures they brought a tear to my eye, and it was also a lovely feeling that I didn’t think that me being in it ruined the picture.  In this one I can see myself from behind, and I’m almost unrecognisable. It’s very odd to look at a picture of myself and not hate it. Odd, but very nice indeed.

Right then, it’s time to get moving as I’m only halfway to my step goal for today.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x