An Incontinence of Yellowlegs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

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

The Wagon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As ever thank you for reading,

Hayley x

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

How are you paying for that?

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you’ll know that when I fall off the wagon, I fall hard. The subsequent gains are usually of epic proportions, and sometimes it takes me a few weeks to get back to where I started. We live in a world where we simply cannot escape the lure of food – it’s absolutely everywhere and available 24/7 – so I’m on a continuous quest to learn how to cope with slipping up, rather than letting it completely derail me.

Yesterday morning I had a breakfast mishap. I was very tired and very hungry when I got in from work, but I knew I had to be up again in two hours to take my mum to a doctor’s appointment. I used this as an excuse to convince myself that I wanted to have a little breakfast treat. I’m still in the transitional period of using up any non-vegan items, so I decided to take the opportunity to get rid of some bits and bobs I had kicking around that contain milk. 20 minutes and about 50 syns later I went to bed, feeling rather guilty.

While I was laying there questioning why on earth I’d just completely sabotaged myself, I realised that I now had a number of options:

  1. I could do what I always do, which is convince myself that since I’ve messed up I might as well spend four days stuffing my face full of all the stuff I fancy before, bloated and disgusted with myself, I have to get back on it.
  2. Draw a line under it and just carry on as if nothing happened, or,
  3. Pay for what I’d done

That sounds a little bit drastic, but hear me out. With everything we do there are consequences. Number 1 is just going to get me further into debt, so obviously that option is out the window. Why it took me so long to see it that way, who can say, but I got there in the end and that’s what matters. With number 2, I’m not making things any worse, but there’s a strong possibility I’m going to charged interest come weigh day! But number 3, now that’s something I’ve never actually tried before.

This week me and my sister have been discussing maintaining weight, which she is doing spectacularly well at right now. But she wants more cake in her life (understandably so) therefore she is taking steps to make that happen. As she is moving closer to me this month, we have agreed that we are going to meet up regularly to exercise. I love her approach right now – she wants more treats, but she’s going to earn some credit before she indulges.

And it was thinking of this that spurred me into action – I decided to earn back the progress I’d lost.

This still isn’t something I want to make a habit of, as unlike my sister I still have problems controlling myself around junk food. When I’m at target I do want to increase my exercise in order to make it easier to stay there, and so I can start adding more healthy fats into my diet like nuts, seeds and avocado. I don’t want to get into a habit of eating rubbish and trying to make up for it afterwards, but right now I feel really good about accepting the consequences of my actions but also taking steps to make up for what I’ve done rather than just sit on my backside and accept my fate.

That evening I ramped up my steps and did twice as many as the previous day, I worked my absolute butt off during my shift, and as soon as I got in at 6am I went straight back out again for 3 hour walk at the local nature reserve. I’ve also just embarked on a 30 day squat challenge and have a step aerobics workout planned for tomorrow. Maybe I will have done enough to avoid a gain/maintain, or maybe I won’t have, but one thing I’ve certainly got rid of is the guilt that normally comes with a slip up, guilt which would be a sure-fire way to make me want to eat more junk. It feels like progress to me, anyhow.

As for the walk I took my camera out but the light was rubbish. There are so many lovely flowers in the gardens at the visitor centre, I can’t help but wonder how much more beautiful they will be with a bit of sunshine! Hopefully I’ll be able to go back there when the weather is nicer, but we’ll have to see. I daren’t go on my own because I have absolutely no sense of direction and will be lost for hours (good for exercise but not so good for getting everything done that I need to) and my brother (or the human compass as he is otherwise known) selfishly has to go back to work tomorrow whereas I am off until Thursday.

There were two major highlights though – seeing a baby coote (it’s a scruffy little creature!) and the one single, solitary, ripe and juicy blackberry in a sea of other completely unripe blackberries that was obviously just waiting for me to come along and eat it. Note to self – get a blackberry bush ASAP.

After the walk I stopped off at Lidl’s to pick up some Guatemalan ground coffee, which I like better than the fancy Tesco Finest one and a posh one from M&S that I tried recently, so now I must be off to get my caffeine fix. The posh coffees were OK, but I like my coffee to be nice and (figuratively) punch me in the face. The Lidl one certainly fits the bill!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Such a Perfect Day

I had to get up early this morning so obviously I had real trouble sleeping last night, because isn’t that always the way? But I refused to let that stop me making the best of the day.

First stop was ferrying my mum to a 9:00am doctor’s appointment, which I expected to last a lot longer than it did. I was home and out the door again by 9:30am. Result!

I left the car on the drive and walked into the town centre via the park which was just beautiful today. The sky has been amazing the whole day – so many interesting clouds! My mum loves learning about weather and via a book I bought her last year we believe that they were cirrus uncinus, which has streaky bits, and the streaky bits are ice crystals and snow. Yep, it’s been snowing today but it never reached the ground. Bonkers!

Best of all, the park was virtually empty apart from a few seasoned fisher-people, some very loud grasshoppers, plus the birds, bees and butterflies.

 

Once in town I realised I was pretty hungry, and it’s a sign of how healthy my attitude to food is right now that I really, really, really craved a perfectly ripe, juicy nectarine. There is no point buying a ‘perfectly ripe’ anything from Tesco or Asda, because the last supposedly perfectly ripe fruit I bought from either of them could have been used to break a car window. But we have an M&S in town, and if they can’t provide you with a juicy nectarine then no-one can.

I was not disappointed so, craving satisfied, I hit the shops. I went to Hobbycraft to pick up some art supplies, WH Smith to spend a Love2Shop voucher my mum gave me (and being a grown-up I bought some kitty stickers and push pins shaped like buttons), Evans for the only tights I can get that will fit me width-ways as well as length-ways, then it was time for some clothes shopping. I went to Primark but didn’t end up buying anything, but it’s still a huge buzz for me that they sell clothes that fit me at all. I tried on a dress and it was too big. Madness. I tried on a couple of bits in other places but the real highlight was in Next.

Next go up to a size 18, which is the size I am now, and they are the only place I’ve found that does a high waist, long leg jean that might actually fit me. Except you can’t get a size 18 for love nor money. So I tried on a size 16 and they felt really damn good, but sitting down in them would be an impossibility at this stage. Plus if I wear jeans or trousers that are too tight I get violent hiccups! Normally I’d buy them to ‘shrink into’, but they were £48 so I’m not going to be buying any jeans from Next until I’m maintaining my weight. I also saw a top I liked, and again they had the 16 but not the 18 so I thought I’d give it a go. I was delighted to find that it fits, and I’ll be wearing it to weigh in tomorrow, and probably to every weigh in for next six months knowing me! I can sit down in it, it feels really comfortable, it’s long enough which is a rare find for me, and it’s not black… It’s perfect!

Finally I visited Starbucks for a venti (mahoosive) cold brew to sip on the way home.

Again I went home via the park and I saw not one but three dragonflies! I didn’t get a chance to photograph them because they were so fast. I just heard the thrumming of their wings and saw a flash of electric blue. There were also countless butterflies and wild poppies and little yellow flowers everywhere, so I sat down with not a soul in sight to finish my coffee, eat another nectarine and soak up the scenery.

On the way home I decided I wasn’t ready to go indoors yet, so I walked to a nearby church at the top of a nice big hill. It’s about a ten minute walk from my house, it backs onto a little conservation area, it has some beautiful flowers, and despite living here for over 15 years this is only the second time I’ve been there. Disgraceful! I live about a 30-minute train ride from Fenchurch Street but on a clear day like today I could make out Canary Wharf and The Shard, and since I’m really not a city person for me it’s the perfect distance to be viewing them from.

Finally, after being out for four hours and not having a huge amount to show for it, I returned home to relax in the garden with Pea and a good book. The only problem is I was supposed to go to Lidl’s before going home because I absolutely needed a cabbage, so once Pea was bored with watching the bees enjoy our mallow plant, I headed out again.

Just after getting home my new lens arrived and I’ve been playing with that ever since, but annoyingly every bird in the area seems to have deserted me so I haven’t had a chance to properly test it. Besides, I think there are enough pictures in this post to be getting on with!

I’ve just had such an amazing day, enjoying the simple things in life. The only downside is the sunburn I stupidly allowed myself to get. I MUST remember to put cream on in future!

It’s scary to think that no so long ago I never would have dreamed of going for a walk by myself, or just for fun for that matter. I certainly wouldn’t have gone to the church alone or stopped to take a photo in case someone looked at me. God forbid! I’m never going back to that, not ever.

Now all that’s left to do today is keep my fingers crossed for a good result on the scales tomorrow. Wish me luck!

Hayley x

Nice Weather For Ducks… and Hayley 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

On Top of the World

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,

Hayley X

Gloriousness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Weigh In Results: Did I Lose the Epic Gain?

I’m not going to keep you waiting. Last week I gained 9 pounds, this week I LOST 9 POUNDS! I’m not going to get complacent. I was incredibly lucky to get that off all in one go. Now it’s time to knuckle down and get some serious weight off! I want to lose another 1st 12.5 by the end of the year, so let’s get cracking. Today I did a kettlebell workout for the first time in absolutely ages, and my legs have forgotten how to go up and down the stairs. But apart from being rather wibbly it feels damn good!

Last night I was doing the more physical aspect of my job as a warehouse operative. It used to be all on foot and an excellent workout but now we have a little electric contraption that ferries us around the warehouse. Although I only do a fraction of the steps I used to at work, I figure that since you stand up on these machines that very fact will mean that I’m burning more calories than I am when I’m sitting on my butt. So it’s not ideal but better than nowt, and at least I’m getting paid to do it.

Tomorrow I need to catch up on the housework and take delivery of an Ocado shop (the final one just before my free Smart Pass trial runs out) then on Saturday I’m walking to a local park with my brother. He has reliably informed me that we will see plenty of ickle baby geeses, so I’m totally sold on that.

I have been preparing for my Snowdon trip and now have pretty much everything I need, including an enormous (plastic) jar of peanut butter. I’ve decided that will be my main energy source for if I start to flag, because it’s packed with energy and protein, is relatively light and easily transportable. And scrummy. Normal Slimming World rules shall not apply! I’ve bought a lovely backpack that sits nice and snug against my back, has comfortable padded straps and does up at the front. It was a close call – just a couple of pounds heavier and I don’t think I would have been able to do the clasps up. So that was a nice non-scale victory right there.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m terrible with money, and I haven’t made any progress on sorting that out just yet. Instead of being sensible Mr Credit Card treated me to a pair of beautiful Swedish Clogs by Lotta From Stockholm. They’ve just brought out a vegan range which is absolutely awesome, because since turning veggie I haven’t bought any leather products. I have had a red pair for several years and thought I’d never be able to get another, but here they are. In a lovely aqua green!

They’re going to be so perfect for the summer, and they’re totally comfortable and easy to walk in so I can wear them anywhere. Yay! In my defence the vegan range has completely sold out in my size already, so, y’know, really I had to get them when I did. And I’ll pay the whole lot off as soon as I get paid, honest!

If you remember, a couple of blogs ago I was talking about how I don’t enjoy drinking any more. This week I nearly forgot everything I learned when I was invited out by the work people on the 2nd of June. To a club. I nearly said yes, because it’s an alternative club so the music would be much more up my street. But then I remembered that my expectations vs what it would actually be like would be very different indeed. So I put my foot down and said no despite lots of cajoling. Then not five minutes later I was invited out on a pub crawl on the 3rd. Nope, nope and nope again! I have had so many people tell me that I’ll be missing out, and how much fun it will be, but they just aren’t listening to me. They seem to find it impossible to understand that just because they find something fun doesn’t mean everyone else does too! I shall stick to my guns no matter what, especially as me and my sister are going to a parrot show on the 11th. Now THAT is my idea of fun! Perhaps I should start pestering all of my colleagues to come with me. They won’t know what they’re missing out on!

Hayley x

Ivinghoe Beacon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Health & Safety

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x