Double Weigh-In

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

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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

Back to Group

Just a few months ago I was really struggling with my hormones. The doctor put me on the pill, and the first month I didn’t notice a difference. But after that everything changed. I believe there are other factors at work, so I’m not putting my recent weight-loss successes down to a magic pill. I drastically altered my caffeine intake, I found more motivation, I’ve been back at work with no naughty early finishes, I’ve been sleeping better… there are probably more things too. But sorting out the hormone issue has made it so much easier. I was having some ridiculously intense cravings, my boobies seriously hurt for at least half of each month and my moods were gradually getting worse. The boob pain has completely gone as have the cravings. If I leave it too long between meals then I start thinking about convenience foods, but once I’ve had dinner everything is fine again. But the uncontrollable feeling that I must eat junk? It’s a thing of the past (and let’s hope it stays that way). I’m still a moody cow at times but hey, we can’t have everything in life now can we?

All of these changes combined mean that I am now celebrating my sixth loss in a row, and as I’m managing to get more and better quality sleep, I have made the decision to go back to group at the beginning of November. I’m going to be completely honest. I could do it now, but I decided to wait until the current series of Great British Bake Off has finished. Although I’d make it back from group in time to see it, I wouldn’t leave me much time to get ready for work. See this is how strong I’m feeling – I can watch a show about cakes and bread and it doesn’t bother me one bit!

I don’t particularly enjoy group that much, but I need something to get me going on a Tuesday because my step count always suffers at the beginning of my work week. Walking to group and back will make it that much easier to reach my weekly goals. Plus there’s the fact that I’m only 1st 11.5lbs away from target, and I need to be a group member to take advantage of the free membership that comes with hitting my target weight. Finally, although I’m feeling like a total badass when it comes to staying on plan, over the next few months I don’t think there’s such a thing as being too vigilant, and I need to make sure I have extra support in order to stay on the straight and narrow.

Less than two stone to go. It completely snuck up on me and I can’t quite believe it.

Oh yes, I nearly forgot about weigh day yesterday! I lost a very respectable two pounds which I’m very happy with as I’m still on track to achieve everything I want to, plus I only have one pound until I’ve broken my Slimming World weight loss record. Sorry if I’m going over old ground here but I’ll say it again anyway – I did get down to a lower weight once (in the 12 stone bracket), but I was quite ill will gallstones, taking dodgy diet pills AND feeling totally and utterly miserable. So I don’t see that as a real achievement. But even though I’ve been the weight I am now with Slimming World once before, this is still a whole new territory. I’ve never lost weight ‘properly’ like this before. I’m eating healthier now than I have in my entire life, and I’m also the happiest and most well-adjusted I’ve ever been too. And that’s why the weight is NOT going back on again this time.

The only thing I’m agonising over right now is what to do with my weight loss history when I’m back at group. I just want to start over because I don’t care about the past as such (unless it’s something to learn from), as far as weight loss goes I’m only looking forward. I also don’t like the attention it brings when my total loss is read out, and my consultant puts too much emphasis on the relatively short amount of time it’s taken me to achieve. I know what she’ll say though – that it helps other people. So am I selfish for wanting to stay fairly anonymous? I don’t know, but if anyone has any thoughts I’d be genuinely glad to hear them.

Finally, I don’t like a post without a picture so here’s my most recent comparison shot, taken at my sister’s on Sunday. 6st 10.5lbs between the two. I read a comment on someone’s comparison pictures on Instagram once where the person wanted to know why people always look so miserable in their ‘after’ pictures. I can’t speak for everyone else, but for me? I’m just trying not to look too pleased with myself!

It’s all an illusion though. I am very pleased with myself indeed.

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

Chiseled?

A man at work last night asked me how my diet is going. He is trying to eat healthily so we do talk about these things a lot, but last night he confessed that up until the last week or two he could see I’d lost weight on my body but he hadn’t really noticed much of a difference on my face. He said that now he can see the change he can tell me the truth, and that I’m now looking very ‘chiseled’. I had to laugh, firstly because he’s entirely wrong. There has been a huge change in my face, which has been noticeable for at least 6 months. I know this because I have mirrors, photos, and eyes, and also because it’s the first compliment everyone else started giving me. ‘Ooh, you can really see it on your face now!’ Secondly I had to laugh at his choice of words. Chiseled seems quite a masculine word, but do you know what? If this guy (who clearly doesn’t have the best powers of observation) can see that I’m looking a helluva lot different now, then I’ll damn well take the compliment. Backhanded or not!

The last couple of days have just been mildly irritating. I’m generally behind on everything. Blogging doesn’t really help, it’s not an essential task, but because I like doing it I’m saying to hell with it and doing it anyway. Work has been crazy busy, but because I’m one of the faster workers I’ve been put on a job just putting pallets away into storage. I must have moved thousands of Christmas trees this week alone! This means that I’ve barely been getting off the truck each night and my calorie burn is really suffering for it. It also means that with it being colder anyway, I also have to contend with wind chill factor. I had to finally relent and break out my big winter thermal hi-viz jacket. I have to wonder though- if I’m this cold now, what am I going to be like when the temperature gets into minus figures? It doesn’t bare thinking about.

I do work hard, but it’s not the kind of job that takes up a lot of mental capacity so my mind is free to wander. I was thinking last night – we sell a crazy amount of artificial Christmas trees, but who is buying them? Our family always keep a tree until it completely disintegrates, but are there families out there who get a new one every year? Are there that many people from a new generation reaching adulthood who are moving into their own place and getting their first Christmas tree? Are there people who have one in every room? It boggles my mind to think that along with the amount my employer sells, there’s also all of the other companies that sell them, and there are the people who buy real Christmas trees, too. It makes my brain hurt. As you can see it’s no wonder I start thinking about Christmas so early. It’s just one of the many joys of working in retail.

In other news I dropped my glasses on the floor and they are now completely buggered. I was somewhat clever when I bought my last pair and got my prescription sunglasses in the same frame, so that if I have any bother I can swap the lenses over. But I broke them not long before work and I couldn’t undo the damn screws, so I had to wear an old pair that I thankfully came across the other day. I’m also lucky in the fact that the prescription is only marginally different to the one I have now so I can still see well enough to do my job safely. When I found them I took a picture of myself and compared it to my go-to awful ‘before’ picture.

I hate the style of them now, probably because I’ve had them for donkey’s years. In fact in the first photo I’d dug them out to see me over until I could replace the most recent pair of glasses that I’d bought. If I remember rightly I sat on that pair… What I am pleased about is the difference in my face, and despite not liking them I think they look a lot better on me now!

Today I had a delivery from The Ethical Superstore. I bought some exciting Slimming World-friendly vegan treats- fake mayo that’s 3 syns per tbsp, sausage and burger mix, mock duck, and best of all… tins of sausages and beans! I’ve already tried the sausages and beans and they taste just like the ones I remember having as a kid. They’re 6.5 syns a tin but well worth it I’d say, especially since I don’t tend to spend syns on snacking these days so tend to have a fair few left over daily. The mock duck is free, and probably the one I’m most wary of even though I hear good things from other vegans. Finally the sausage and burger mixes are only a few syns each per packet, but I hear on the grapevine that they’re being discontinued so even if I love them I probably won’t get them again. I like trying new things though.

Well I suppose I really should get on now. I have some chores to do but they will be made easier with the power of music. It’s been ages since I last properly listened to anything, so I bought both of the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtracks. Because as the title suggests they really are awesome! I will dance around the house like a loon and see if I can bump that calorie burn up a little.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Ahead of Schedule

I woke up at 2:30am today, purely because I was excited about weighing in. I probably could have gone downstairs and got a nice result there and then, but official weigh in time is 10am so I just had to wait. I was too tired to get up and do stuff so I tried to quiet my brain but to no avail. At some point I gave up and started browsing the interwebs on my phone and as happens all too often I found myself looking at clothes.

I’ve been a bit uninspired by my go-to websites recently so I decided to leave my comfort zone and see what is available in the shops that were totally beyond my reach as a teenager. Firstly I checked out Miss Selfridge, and instead of the clothes being geared more towards the younger generation as I thought they’d be, I found a beautiful tea dress in exactly my size. I didn’t buy it though, because I already have two dresses in my wardrobe that have never been worn. I had planned to wear them in December but I tried them on the other day and they’re too big. So I’m not buying anything else for an occasion until the occasion is actually upon me.

Next stop was Topshop and again found plenty of things I really liked in my size. Then River Island, and it was the same there! Lastly I went on the George at Asda website to see if there was anything affordable that I liked and I very, very nearly bought a snowman print dress. I was halfway through the checkout process before I remembered I’d pledged not to buy anything yet.

I did have an Asos delivery today, and that’s because I had literally nothing in my wardrobe that fit me properly. I ordered a plain black swing dress in a size 14 (it was only £15) thinking it would be tight but that it would fit me soon, but as it’s very forgiving around the tummy area it fits me perfectly right now! I know that my mum has bought me a sweater dress for my birthday, also in a size 14, so I don’t doubt that I’ll be able to wear that straight away, too.

This is so exciting, I’ve never bought a size 14 anything, let alone have it fit me!

At 6:30am I eventually got back to sleep and stayed that way until it was time to make Pea’s breakfast and step on the scales.

And the result?

3.5 pounds off!

And do you know what that means?

Yep, you’ve guessed it…

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It’s been sooooo long since I got an award, I’d almost forgotten what it felt like. Yet here we are, and I only have 5.5 lbs to go until the next one. The plan is to get that by the end of the month – after all there are still 4 weigh in’s left so it’s absolutely achievable! And with such a decent loss today I’ve also put myself ahead of schedule for all the goals I have for the remainder of the year. All I can say is BRING IT ON!

I’ve kept up with Inktober so far and have added a fruit bat and a llama to my sketch book. I’m really enjoying this, I hope I continue to sketch regularly once the month is up.

I’d best be off now because I’m sure there are loads of things I’m supposed to get done today. Goodness knows what they are though…

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

On-Plan October

October is here and I’m so excited! Normally it’s a miserable month for me, because it’s my birthday month. Every birthday for me as an adult so far has been fairly dreadful and I think last year was the first one where I didn’t cry at any point. Usually the problem is that I’m failing in some respect and it brings it all home that I’m not a proper adult and haven’t done anything right and that every second is bringing me closer to my inevitable demise…

The big three things that used to bother me were that I should be married, I should have had children and I should have reached my target weight by now. Right now I don’t give a hoot if I never get married, I am profoundly grateful that I don’t have any children, and I don’t care that I’m not at target yet because I knowwithout a shadow of a doubt, that this birthday will be the last one ever that I spend overweight.

Birthdays used to mean eating what I want for a week because I ‘deserve’ to. This year I’m still going to eat exactly what I want, it’s just that what I want has changed dramatically. Treat food has recently become corn-on-the-cob, purple carrots or a fancy variety of kale, but also I stumbled across vegan-friendly baked beans and sausages so I have a few tins of those on order. I really fancy some nice, comforting, nostalgic food, so I’ll have a tin of those on toast (using my B choice) for 6.5 syns and stay completely on track. Now I think of it, at the end of the month it’ll also be a year since I’ve been completely meat free. How mad is that? A whole year and I haven’t even had one tiny little stumble. It’s amazing what we can achieve when we really put our minds to it.

On Instagram the hashtag #onplanoctober is doing the rounds and I am totally on board with that. My sister suggested we eat at Wagamama when we go to London the day after my birthday and although they do reasonably healthy options, I want to keep my halo so I said we can do it another time. Every day this month (and the one after for that matter) is going to be a perfect Food Optimising day, simply because I have too many goals to smash. I know I’ll get my 6.5st award, because I only have 2lbs to go, but I’m also aiming to beat my lowest Slimming World weight. I need 7lbs for that, and with 5 weigh ins to achieve it I know I can do that too. The next milestone is then my 7st award which is 9lbs away. I need an average of 1.8lbs a week to do that… What the heck, I’m aiming for my 7st award too! How amazing will it be if I manage to do all of that? Well, hopefully we’ll see at the end of the month.

I do have another challenge to complete, and that’s Inktober. The premise is simple – 31 days, 31 drawings in ink. There are optional prompts but they weren’t inspiring me so I started off today with a not-so-great little drawing of Hogwarts. Well it is the month of Halloween so why not?

I’m not overly worried about quality, but it will be interesting to see if my drawing skills improve significantly over the course of the month.

Today I am feeling rather crafty so I’ve been painting a paper maché spider and a paper maché bat that I bought from Hobbycraft last year. I have so many art and craft supplies that I always mean to do something with, I thought I was about time I actually cracked on and did it. As such this month is all about fun and creativity. I have no idea what I’m going to do with my little creatures, if anything, I’m just doing it for the sheer joy of creating something.

In the next couple of weeks I’m going to a local farm to pick my own pumpkins and I’m looking forward to that way more than is normal. I nearly went yesterday, but I decided I want to get a big pumpkin for carving and a small one for eating. If I get them now then the big one will go off way before Halloween. I only ever ate pumpkin once before, the first time I ever carved one, and it was foul. But I did eat it raw so it’s no wonder! This year I’m looking forward to finding out what it tastes like roasted, which I imagine will be a lot more pleasant.

Other October plans are visiting Bodiam Castle with my brother and seeing some free fireworks on the last Saturday of the month, which by some small miracle I managed to book off work. This month is going to be frikkin awesome! Despite that I’m still thinking ahead to next year, and have already booked the family in for a Halloween party (or gathering would probably be a more accurate description). Do you know what? I’ve never been to a Halloween or fancy dress party. I don’t have the spare time to do it this year, so next year I’ll be ready and get organised early. Probably some time in July, knowing me…

Right now I’m feeling in a sewing mood so I’m going to toddle off and satisfy that craving.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Vanity

Every now and then it’s nice to see what I look like in a full-length mirror. At least it is now, it never used to be nice at all! I had a passing thought not so long ago that it would be even nicer to have a full-length mirror at home, but I dismissed the thought straight away as being way too vain.

On Monday my friend, the one I went to the cinema with, asked me if I wanted a full-length mirror that makes you look fat. Well I almost bit his hand off. The fact that it would make me appear bigger than I am didn’t really bother me, I just wanted to have some idea of how I look in new outfits. Especially when I’m trying on stuff that I’m waiting to fit into.

He assured me that it was like a circus mirror and I would be hugely distorted, but when I got it home and gave it a good clean I checked myself out and was surprised to see that I looked super slim. I called my mum over for her to compare me to my mirror image and she confirmed what I didn’t think could possibly be true – my actual self and the mirror image were the same. I suppose it must have become warped and as I was cleaning it I popped it back to its original shape, but until my mum confirmed it I thought I’d pushed it too far the other way and it was distorting my image to make me look slimmer. I’m glad that doesn’t seem to be the case, but it is still a really vain thing for me to have. I’ll try not to look in it too often.

At the same time as trying not to be vain, today I was taking selfies to show off my new hat which arrived today. Every year I like to buy a new silly hat and I’m absolutely in love with this one. OK, I won’t be called comrade like I did last year with my trapper hat, but I’m sure someone will come up with some sort of nickname. I sent this picture to my friend and got the reply ‘it looks like they found Wally’, but I think there’s room for improvement on that. Suggestions on a postcard please!

What I like about this hat is that it will keep my ears warm but even better than that, there is the opportunity to stick tinsel around the balls. Which is very important to me. I’m also something of a magpie and love anything that’s shiny or glitters, so while looking for some vegan mascara recently I just had to treat myself to a tiny bottle of fairy farts. Every home should have one in my opinion.

I had a conversation with a friend recently about where my money goes. Yes, it’s partly rent and other bills. But if I’m honest a lot of it goes on the emissions of mythical creatures, too. Thankfully I I managed to restrain myself and didn’t buy any unicorn tears. Not yet anyway. You may also be pleased to hear that I went to the shops today and managed to stop myself buying a wooden elephant and three enormous glass acorns. I’m rather proud of that actually!

At work yesterday the order forms for the cold weather clothing finally came through and as I expected I was rather excited to tick the boxes for medium and large. I then took the form back to my manager and instead of going bright red and pleading with him not to look, I shoved it under his nose saying ‘hey, look at that! Look at the sizes I’ve ordered!’ For the next few hours I drove around feeling fab with the ‘Everything is Awesome’ song from the Lego movie going round and round in my head.

Now I just have to muddle through tonight at work because at the moment I’m already looking forward to going to bed in the morning. This is because I’ve been up all day finally getting the brakes on my car sorted, which I’ve been meaning to do for a while. I’m somewhat buzzing, not only because I just generally feel great, but because while I was waiting I foolishly chanced a Costa Coffee. I had a soya cortada, which is very small so only 3 syns, but it has still prevented me from having my afternoon nap. I suppose that’s what happens when you don’t have a lot of caffeine for a while, but on the plus side it didn’t make me feel ill so I think I can start to slowly re-introduce coffee into my daily routine. On my list of things to try is a vegan pumpkin spice latté, as I’ve never tried pumpkin spice before, but that’ll have to wait until I go to London with my sister next month. I hear people are divided on the matter so I’m interested to see what it’s like!

Well that’s it from me for today as nothing much else is going on, despite the last day or two being marginally more interesting than a normal work day.

Thank you for reading,

Hayley x

Twelve Week Countdown

If you’re familiar with Slimming World you’ve probably heard of a 12 week countdown, where you pay for 12 weeks in advance and you get a discount. As it happens I always pay for 12 weeks at a time because of the savings, and I know I’m going to use it because there’s no way I’m giving up! That’s not what I’m talking about here though, and I’m so sorry to mention the C-word again, but I have twelve weigh in’s left before Christmas Day.

I weighed in this morning and was exceptionally relieved to find that I’ve lost 1.5lbs, taking me officially into the 14 stone bracket. I am now 14st 13lbs to be precise. And isn’t that an excellent starting point for my 12 week challenge? I even made myself a little motivational thing to keep a record for the duration of the challenge which should help to keep me on track.

As you can see my goal is to get into the 13-stone-bracket, but more than that I would like to stay in the 13 stone bracket over Christmas. I’d like to lose enough to have a little wiggle room. Last year I tried to stay on plan 100% but I did feel a bit deprived on Christmas Day and ended up eating crappy non-Christmas food, and finding that nothing hit the spot. I only gained half a pound which I’m still majorly proud of, but I’m taking a different approach this year.

I’m going to be prepared but there are three potential days over the whole period where I might go off plan.

The first is a work outing. The young chaps want to get suited and booted and go out disco dancing in London (that’s not quite how they put it but that’s the crux of it) and I really want to go. I don’t care about getting ‘wasted’ and not remembering any of the night, I just want to go out feeling confident in a gorgeous dress and dance the night away! No date has been set and there’s a very high probability I won’t be able to book the night off work, so although it does sound like it’ll be fun I’ll leave it completely up to fate. If I can get the time off easily I’ll go, if not I won’t. Swapping shifts with someone or sweet talking my manager could swing it for me, but I’m not going to do that because my sister’s birthday meal on the 20th of December is more important. I’d rather save any favours for that.

My sister’s birthday meal is occassion number two. I may have already mentioned it (my memory is awful!) but she wants to have a meal in an Italian restaurant near her house. She is going to call them beforehand to check they can cater for a vegan, which I’m sure they can, and ask if I can have Penne Arrabiata (basically pasta in a tomato sauce) which also happens to be super Slimming World-friendly. It won’t be totally on plan because there will be oil in there, and I should imagine there will be some prosecco doing the rounds, but as far as these things go it should be easily manageable and there’s no reason it should mean disaster for my diet. Again this is dependent on getting the night off work, during our peak season, which could prove very difficult.

The last occasion is Christmas Day, the one day I’ll completely let my hair down. Working in retail has turned out to be very helpful this year, because the way my shifts work out will mean that I only get Christmas Eve and Christmas Day off. There is a work Christmas dinner in the staff canteen but I stopped having it years ago because it’s so gross, and they never cater for vegans so I can’t now even if I went insane and did want to! Other than that on Boxing Day it’s right back to normality and the daily grind.

Christmas Eve I’m going to stay completely on plan because I don’t want to feel bloated and sluggish Christmas Morning – this year will be the first year in absolutely ages where all of my siblings will be together and I cannot wait so it’s all about family. Food definitely comes second!

So there we have it. For the next 12 weeks and beyond I’m going to be 100% on plan apart from those three exceptions. And even then they might not all happen.

I know it’s really early to be thinking about all this, but I needed to get a plan in action. If a situation arises there will be no shall I/shan’t I because I’ve already made the important decisions. As such now it’s all straight in my head I will just concentrate on my weekly losses, fill in my charts and graphs and enjoy myself whilst being happy and content that I’m completely in control.

Speaking of charts and graphs today I filled in my measurements so I can compare them again at the end of the 12 weeks. So today was an excellent opportunity to compare them to the ones I took roughly at the beginning of my journey. Here’s how many inches I’ve lost so far:

  • Waist -14.5
  • Hips -10.5
  • Bust -7.5
  • Thigh -6
  • Upper arm -3.5

That’s a total of 42 inches which I’m incredibly happy with! In all of my previous weight loss attempts I never kept these kind of records, and I’m glad I do now. It’s really helpful, especially when the scales aren’t moving as fast as you’d like (not that I had to worry about that this week after all).

As usual this weekend has passed in a blur but I made time to hang out with my friend yesterday. We had booked our tickets to see IT in the evening and he was running a bit late (that’s kind of his thing!) so we had to rush to Tesco to get something for dinner and also cook it in time. This would have been a perfect opportunity to use the lack of time as an excuse to eat peanut butter sandwiches but instead I used my noggin and got Bannister’s microwave jackets which are really nice and 1 syn each, a tin of beans and Linda McCartney vegetarian sausages. As such a filling 2.5 syn dinner took me just 15 minutes to prepare. If I’d had more time I would have had mushrooms too, but the only other thing I’d eaten the whole day was porridge with hazelnut milk so the lack of speed food didn’t bother me at all.

If that wasn’t enough to make me feel pleased with myself, my friend kept glancing over and saying that he swears I’ve lost more weight every time he looks, plus I decided to wear a nice outfit and do my makeup properly. In case you haven’t noticed yet I’ll reiterate that I LOVE autumn, so I wore an acorn necklace and acorn earrings and got out my orangey lipstick.

I felt pretty damn fantastic!

It’s back to work tonight but I don’t even care. Nothing can bring me down!

Hayley x