Perkier

This morning I woke up at 4am and couldn’t get back to sleep. The whole reason behind it was that my mojo unexpectedly came back, and I’m so pleased to see it that I’m not going to complain about the less-than-ideal timing.

I am so excited for the future, the only way I could calm my thoughts was to get up, make a cup of tea and jot down a list of things to do and things I’m looking forward to.

Me and my brother have started planning our annual holiday already. At the end of May we’re climbing Scafell Pike, hiking in the Isle of Skye, climbing Ben Nevis, and and some point fitting in some sleep. That part’s not a huge priority though.

A friend of mine has been talking a lot about the universe being on his side lately, and I had a similar feeling today. One thing I’m going to need is new hiking boots, because mine pinch the big toe on one foot if I do too much ‘going down hills’. Going down Snowdon this year it did give me some jip, so I need to do something about that.

As I opened Facebook today the first thing I saw was a brand new post from a vegan site I read – all about vegan friendly hiking boots! They have contacted a whole shedload of companies to ask about everything from the glue they use to their working practices, and have compiled a nice list so I can choose a pair without it being a huge headache. How awesome is that?

The only spanner in the works is the price, which is a fair one considering the quality of the boots and the fact that a lot of work has gone into making them eco-friendly, but I’ll have to start saving now. I almost, almost bought them anyway (I still have an emergency overdraft) but I stopped myself just in time. Needing something for the end of May cannot be considered an emergency!

The thing that’s really getting me going is that fact that I’ll be at target by the time we go. Going up Snowdon last May I felt fantastic, but when I saw the pictures of me and my brother’s Gopro footage I must admit that my heart sank just a tad. I was two stone heavier then than I am now, so I know I look a lot different already, it’ll just be that extra bit special this time around. Even if we aren’t so lucky with the weather. Look at that gorgeous sky!!!

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I was also itching to get back on plan this morning as I’m feeling a lot better. I can breathe through both nostrils at the same time and the only thing ‘bothering’ me now is a tickly cough. I can take a tickly cough all day long, it’s nothing compared to a blocked up nose! At lunch I settled down to read Harry Potter (it always makes me feel Christmassy) and a ginormous bowl of thick, silky, syn free, cauliflower soup. Yum!

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I even felt well enough to get out in the garden to take some pictures, but I’ve got to admit these pictures of some of our visitors were taken through the window. They’re a bit shy you see!

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Now let’s see how much of my latest gain I can get off before Christmas! I’ve put on about ten pounds (according to my scales) which is a fair consequence of the way I’ve been eating. I don’t feel bad about it as such, but I’m still going to skip group on Tuesday if I’m showing a gain of over 7lbs. It’s normally quick on/quick off with me though so I wouldn’t be at all surprised if I end up going. We’ll see. Either way, I’m going to stay on plan now until Christmas Eve.

Everything is pretty much back to normal now (at least as normal as it ever gets) so I can get back to being festive in peace!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

PS Scratch that. I’m going to group anyway to face the music, no matter what happens. It’s time to start doing things properly again!

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Fun Times

I should not be writing this blog. I should be trying to create order out of the chaos that has become my bedroom.

The last week has been truly, truly wonderful. It was one of those rare moments in time that seemed to go on forever, so when I think back on what I was doing last Monday it feels like it was months ago. But on the other hand the time is passing in the blink of an eye, and I’m running out of it!

Now we’re in December I’ve officially gone Christmas crazy so the whole of Thursday afternoon was spent wrapping presents. I’m not even halfway done. On Friday I put up the tree and spent an age untangling and removing the lights (note to self: never buy ‘pre-lit’ again) and on Saturday I spent the day having a good 8 hours sleep in order to prepare myself for Christmas shopping in London on Sunday.

Thankfully my manager let me leave work at 5am Sunday morning so I got a full 2 hours sleep. It was a good job too, because I left the house at 8:30 and didn’t get back until 17:30. I was bloody exhausted! The good kind of exhausted though…

After having a preemptive coffee we went to Oxford Street to buy Christmas knick knacks from Flying Tiger. We got there for opening as it gets INSANELY busy, and it’s a good job we did because we were still in the queue to pay for an inordinately long amount of time. The Oxford Street Christmas lights were rubbish, so I wasn’t feeling very Christmassy at all, but on our way to Carnaby Street we saw a little brass band that changed all of that.

Then London redeemed itself entirely because Carnaby Street is looking fantastic! I couldn’t get any good photos because the weather was so dull and grey, but in real life it was great.

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And the most festive bit of all – the Hertfordshire Concert Band at Liverpool Street.

Ooh I’m feeling warm and fuzzy again watching that! I had a lovely day with my sister, and I ate an absolute ton of food (none of it Slimming World friendly) but I’m done with feeling guilty for the rest of this year. I will be on plan when I’m in the mood, but this month is all about fun times, and I will embrace them in whatever form they come. I’ll probably be on plan for tomorrow and Wednesday, but on Thursday I’m going to try the new vegan range at Pizza Hut so that definitely won’t be within my syns!

The most important thing is that although I’m really, really enjoying the season, I’m also desperately excited for the new year and all the possibilities it will bring. No matter what happens this month, I know any gains will be gone in no time and that 2018 is, without the slightest grain of doubt, the year I will reach my target weight. I can’t not be.

This morning I intended to get straight on and sort out all of my Christmas lights. I have loads of string lights because I love a twinkly Christmas, but I got distracted by Pea coming out to play and we spent hours just hanging out. I did get her to sit on the polar bear my mum knitted (eventually, anyway) so that was a result. It’s just a shame she’s moulting so badly right now. She’s not very photogenic.

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Now Pea is ready for her afternoon nap the lights are up but where I’ve sorted through so much stuff to find them, there is crap everywhere and a helluva lot of tidying to be done. Plus I need to sort out my work things and clean Pea’s cage, because I won’t have time tomorrow. As well as taking my mum to a hospital appointment as soon as I get her home I’m leaving again to go and give blood. Then I’ll have to try my best to have a pre-work nap and fit in dinner somehow.

Then on Wednesday I’m going to the cinema with a work friend. I’ve never done anything with her outside of work before, but I’m emboldened by my recent friendship successes and am starting to accept that I’m not quite at antisocial as I previously thought.

As I said before Thursday is pizza day, then on Friday I suspect I’m going to crash and burn and spend the whole day asleep.

Then once I get Saturday out of the way I have the week off work, where I’ll mostly be looking after my sister’s birds. She was telling me yesterday that Kiwi especially is in an exceptionally bitey mood, so there will be blood. I love her birdies though, so bitten or not I’m sure I’ll enjoy it.

So yeah, I’m busy busy busy!

Now I must get on, because it’s my mission to be able to see the floor before bedtime. Wish me luck!

Hayley x

PS I spent the next hour after finishing this post fannying around with Pea, taking photos, editing photos and generally procrastinating. Someone slap me please!

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What’s the Point?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Stop Effing Around!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Easy Like Sunday Morning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Induction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Abandoned

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I can do it. I WILL do it.

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

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

London

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Red Roses and Cabbages

On Thursday a friend popped round as he couldn’t see me on my actual birthday, which is today, and I was surprised with a lovely bunch of flowers. We’re good enough friends that he knows how much I love vegetables, so my bunch of flowers included what seemed to be cabbages or kale of some description! As he suspected, I was impressed. Since I don’t know exactly what they are I’ll resist eating them though.

Then this morning everything went topsy turvy and I had a slip-up. I knew I was getting a chocolate frog from my brother, which I had intended to save until Hallowe’en. Just because. But as soon as I opened him I lost control and bit his poor little head off.

I’ll be honest. The rest of him did not last much longer. Then I opened my next present, which was a gorgeous little box of 6 gold-dusted vegan truffles (not real gold, I’m assuming) and they didn’t last long either. I followed that up with toast smothered in peanut butter, then finally with dairy-free Ben & Jerry’s. Not the healthiest breakfast I’ve ever had. On the plus side, I stopped eating before I felt sick, although in ‘normal person’ terms by rights I should have been feeling sick already. I probably ate 1/5th of the ice cream before I put it back in the freezer, which I’m fairly certain has never happened before.

I then opened a present from my mum – a size 14 sweater-dress that I was quite sure would be a bit tight even though the style is deliberately oversized. Nope! It fits perfectly. I’m not sure if it’s how it’s supposed to fit, but I felt just brilliant wearing it, plus it has a nice high neckline that will keep me nice and warm but still shows evidence of my actual neck. I absolutely love it and at that point I felt over the moon.

After a little more present-opening, including a very sweary cookbook called Thug Kitchen – Eat Like You Give a F*ck (check it out, there are loads of healthy recipes that look easy enough to convert to Slimming World) I went to bed for some much needed sleep.

When I woke up, before I was even aware what day of the week it is, a wave of guilt at what I’d eaten this morning washed over me. So I did what I promised myself I would do the next time I found myself feeling bad about food, and that’s to reach out for some help.

I messaged my friend and favourite blogger to confess, and I was given some excellent advice. It was all stuff that any of us slimmers would tell each other in the same situation – that we’re only human, that it’s not the end of the world, that beating yourself up doesn’t do any good whatsoever. Sometimes we just need to hear it from someone else. And as the messages came pouring in I felt myself exhale and my shoulders drop (they had been making their way up to my earlobes) because I was so tense and I hadn’t even realised. I remembered to just breathe and that actually, everything is still OK.

Another result of talking to a fellow slimmer is that I’ve cemented a goal I’ve had floating around in my head for a while. My target weight (for now) is 12st 10lbs, which will take me into the top end of a healthy BMI and also give me leeway of a couple of pounds. But more than that, I want to comfortably fit into a size 14 from any high street store such as Topshop, River Island, New Look, Next etc. Once I can do that, there won’t be many (perhaps any) places I can’t shop and from then on I’ll only have to worry about getting clothes that are long enough, rather than wide enough, to fit me. Wouldn’t that be something?

Tonight I’m at work but tomorrow I’m out and about in London with my sister, and although I will still have my vegan pumpkin spice latté, that’s the only thing I’m going to have while we’re out unless it’s a free food. I’m taking a packed lunch with me, and I’ve given my sister instructions to knock any bad food straight out of my hand if I do pick any up. Although I don’t think I will even want to now. I still have all of my goals in sight and I can’t afford to be distracted any further.

This is where I’ve gone wrong in the past – one bad morning, or evening, or whatever, has sent my spiralling out of control. And it doesn’t have to be that way. It WON’T be that way.

I’m going to enjoy the rest of my birthday guilt free and safe in the knowledge that I’m still on my way to target. It feels damn good.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

The Losers Club

This is my pin collection. Every one of them represents a half-stone that is gone forever, and rather than rewarding myself with food or with clothes (that I will inevitably shrink out of) I wanted something that would last forever. These are in no particular order, but to begin with I chose things that meant something to me. As time went on that got harder and harder, so they’re mostly just pins that I like now.

The one I ordered for my 6.5 stone award came today and this one does have a bit of a deeper meaning. Regular readers will know that I went to see IT recently, and although I’ve read the book too it’s not my all time favourite Stephen King (which is The Shining, by the way…) Having said that when I saw my latest IT-themed pin I knew I had to have it. The group of kids from the story call themselves The Losers Club which I absolutely love. I was never someone who just ‘fit in’ and I never will be, and I’ve always liked it that way. I don’t want to just do what everyone else is doing, no matter how unpopular it makes me. I like what I like and I will make no apologies for it!

Then there’s the obvious other meaning, that since I’m losing weight with Slimming World it’s a losers club of sorts! To top it off the year on the pin, (1958, the period the book is set in) happens to be the year my mum was born. I was obviously meant to have it.

Today has just been the absolute best, even though I’m exhausted. Last night I went to bed at 1am feeling like I’d drop off instantly, but my brain had other ideas and transported me back to when I was about ten and my best friend’s older sister randomly started bullying me at school. If you had asked me yesterday if I was bullied at school I would have said no – I’d completely forgotten about it up until last night. It went downhill from then on with me remembering awful things, some of which made me burn with shame in the darkness. So yeah, thanks for that brain! Through sheer bloody-mindedness I forced my thoughts back to my happy place and eventually got to sleep.

Sometimes after nights like that I wake up feeling dejected, but thankfully that didn’t happen today even though I got up at 7am after less than 5 hours actually asleep. There were things to be done! I got to town before most of the shops were even open so I decided to pop into Asda, which always opens earlier than everywhere else. I told myself to just look at the dresses, strictly no buying.

Yeah… that didn’t work.

As I was browsing I came across the most amazing dress. If I wrote a list of all the things I want in a dress then this one would tick almost every single box. I was convinced I was the wrong shape for it though, so I decided it was worth trying it on. It might put me off buying it.

So on it went, and when I looked in the mirror I was genuinely shocked. It’s like I was looking at the me I want to be. It’s almost the perfect fit, and the perfect style, and perfect for the season. And only £16 too!

I raced around town getting the other bits I needed because I wanted to get home and show my mum. When I got in I tore up the stairs to get changed, and when I came downstairs my mum (who is used to such shenanigans and just turned around reluctantly at my request) actually let out a genuine gasp because it’s such a lovely dress. And it really shows off my weight loss.

I’m not going to post a picture yet because I don’t have anyone around to take a good one for me, and I want you to see just how pretty it is. It is also the perfect vehicle for wearing pins as the material is thick enough, plus there are straps that are the perfect place for them to sit. I’m aware that I’ve said perfect about a million times (she says, not exaggerating at all) but it’s the only word for it! I’m going to wear this dress when I go to London with my sister next Sunday and I’m sure she will be amazed too. It even has pockets! I’m sure it’s not just me and my sister who think the holy grail of the dress world is the pocketed dress. Regardless of what anyone else thinks, it really is, I’m telling you.

This weekend I’ve done some drawings for Inktober, but to be honest after today I decided to give up on that. After a few nice sketches I just completely ran out of inspiration – the bee in my bonnet has flown off! There are other things I want to do more, and I’ve decided to just follow my instincts. That doesn’t mean I won’t be drawing anymore, but I’m not going to force myself to do something when I’m just not feeling it. What I am getting excited about it making some gifts for my family which I think are going to turn out great, I just need to wait for some additional materials to arrive after Hobbycraft completely let me down today.

That’s the reason I don’t do anything creative for a living. Part of me would love to just make things all day, but I could never build up a business because it’s so dependent on my moods. If don’t have my mojo then I find even the most basic artistic pursuits utterly draining. So I just do it for the love, as and when the mood takes me!

One thing I have sort of enjoyed today is having a good clear out. I have a veritable mountain of stuff for the charity shop, and three black sacks of things that are no good to anyone. I have been absolutely brutal when deciding what to keep and what to get rid of, and my room is going to look a lot better for it. I’m going to throw the toot out first then sort out the charity shop stuff, because I really don’t want to two to get mixed up.

Other than that I do need to increase my activity this week. I only barely managed to avoid last week being my worst ever in terms of calories burned, and I’m worried I haven’t lost weight too. It’s weigh day tomorrow so it’s not long until I find out, but either way I need to alter the balance a little because I’m not enjoying the lack of exercise. If anything I’ve found I have less energy and I don’t want to slip back into bad habits. As for food I have been absolutely PERFECT (sigh, there I go again) but the fact that my portions have decreased in line with my drop in activity only makes me feel marginally less guilty.

So there we have it, with a few tweaks I should be a lot more on my way to achieving goals than I feel I am this week. Only time will tell though, so I’ll let you know how I get on tomorrow.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x