Lazy Bones

So far this week I’ve done less steps over seven days than I did in just the Monday of the week before. I know I’ve been chilling out but that is just ridiculous! It also goes a little way to explaining how, according my scales, I have now gained THIRTEEN POUNDS since the 27th of November. That’s a pound a day!

I’m now regretting saying that I’ll definitely go to group on Tuesday in my last post, but I’m still going. A couple at group I’ve known from my Slimming World days in 2012 have been on holiday to Lapland, and they always have enormous holiday gains. So if nothing else I’ll make them feel better (or at least show them how it’s done!)

Perhaps I’ll also make other people feel better if they’ve had a couple of pound gains here and there from work Christmas parties and the like. Then next week I’ll (hopefully) show them that even when you’ve gained almost an ENTIRE STONE you can make a significant difference in just seven days. Hopefully.

Today I’ve been hungry, and I’ve massively overeaten. Before lunch I could feel some intense cravings coming on, and I ended up eating an entire packet of Linda McCartney red onion and rosemary sausages. They are free, and I’ve lost weight eating those kind of volumes at a similar weight to what I am now, but it still feels wrong. Greedy, even. Having said that, they did the job and I’m still not hungry now. If I feel I need a dinner later I’m going to roast a (speedy) butternut squash and have it with some salad. I’m well within my syns, so I should actually be okay. I still feel guilty though.

I just have everything crossed that some of the bloating comes off before Tuesday evening. Because despite everything I’ve just said, I still don’t want to go and face that kind of gain. It’s no one’s fault but my own though. When will you learn Hayley?!

Last night was my one solitary night in work before I’m off for nine, yes nine days of guilt-free and all being well illness-free holiday. Because I’d been off sick I had to drag myself in for that one day otherwise all of my holiday would go down as sickness and I’d have to get a doctor’s note to explain my absence. Which I wouldn’t even be able to do because I’d long be back at work before even getting an appointment!

Thankfully there wasn’t much actually work to be done and I got away a couple of hours early. My alarm went off in the morning to make sure I don’t make Pea wait for her breakfast, and when I pulled back the curtains I was greeted with a veritable winter wonderland!

I quickly got Pea’s breakfast sorted then wrapped up in my work gear then went out into the garden to take pictures.

I’ve been raving about the work salopettes I got this year, because even out in the snow I was actually breaking out in a sweat. Perhaps I shouldn’t have worn my winter coat on top of everything else…

IMG_3156After rushing around before my camera got too wet, I took some more birdy pictures from indoors. The robin looks all the more festive in the snow!

I can remember the last time we had this much snow round our way – it was 2008 – and I got home from work at 3am so I could make a snowman in the back garden. I don’t remember the last time it snowed in December though. How exciting!

This afternoon I sat down with my mum, brother and Pea to watch The Santa Claus and do Christmas crafts, and it was lovely. Pea seems to be enjoying Christmas films weirdly – she’s has chattered all the way through every single one we’ve watched. I think it must be the music that she likes.

Tomorrow I have the dentist for my filling (yep, I’m dreading that) then I’m free to only do enjoyable things for the rest of the week. Just gotta get that one damn thing out of the way first…

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

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Perkier

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

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

Sevens

It’s been something of an eventful week so far, and it’s only Wednesday! I don’t remember how long ago it was now that arrangements were made for me to meet a fellow blogger (this awesome dude here) but it was certainly a while ago. At the time it seemed like a perfectly natural thing to do. I’d estimate that I’ve been reading his blog for about a year now, and what with regular snapshots into another person’s life and the odd comment becoming the odd conversation becoming a proper (albeit online) friendship, I completely forgot that I’m ridiculously shy and that my default setting is to avoid meeting new people at any cost.

I remembered this fact a few days before we were due to meet, and thought I’d warn him incase (at least initially) I struggled to come out of my shell like the social tortoise that I am. Then I put it out of my mind, and early Monday morning I managed to make the two-hour-something car journey in a state of relative calm.

I needn’t have worried at all though, because after an entire day of hopping from parks to coffee shops to charity shops and back again, it was clear that I wasn’t meeting a ‘new person’ at all, it is just a lot easier to have a conversation with a good friend when you can see them in person, rather than having to type everything out!

It also helps when that friend is a complete chatterbox, but a chatterbox who actually has something to say rather than someone who just fills the silence for the sake of it. As such I came away from the experience feeling kind of… nourished. There aren’t many people within a 100 mile radius of me who are on the same wavelength (I can count them on one hand) so to meet up with someone who just gets it was simply brilliant. We went to Harvester for dinner and there was no ‘oh let’s just have what we want and screw the diet’ but a healthy dose of ‘look how much salad I can fit on this plate’. It was a Free Food feast!

According to my Fitbit I walked about 15 miles in that one day, but when you combine that with an epic natter then believe me, you don’t even realise you’re exercising. It was my first experience of having an official Twalk™ and I know it won’t be my last.

I was treated to a tour of my friend’s local haunts, and at first I did get my camera out but as the conversation got into full swing it ended up being forgotten about. Eventually it found its way back into my bag without me quite realising it. This is no bad thing of course, it just goes to show how absorbed I was because normally I’m always thinking about what would make an interesting photo.

It just goes to show though – look at the cool stuff that can happen if you put aside the things you think you know about yourself. Am I really that shy these days? I think not. What other assumptions am I making about myself that simply aren’t true any more? I’m sure there will be more revelations as time goes on.

When I got home the next day I spent several hours with a very sulky Pea on my shoulder. My brother looked after her, which she normally enjoys, but she’s been in a bit of a mood lately and only Hayley would do. Well it’s nice to be wanted!

In the evening I toddled off to group to find out how I’ve done this week. I hadn’t weighed in officially for a couple of weeks, but I had entered my home weigh-ins into the app because I have a complete record of my weekly weight from August 2015 so I can’t be having gaps now!

It was a bit of shocker – I lost SEVEN POUNDS and got my SEVEN STONE AWARD!

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Initially my Christmas goal was to get into the 13 stones, and even though I’m 14 stone 3.5 lbs now and it’s doable, I changed my goal to getting this award because I didn’t want to feel bad for not achieving the first one. Although it’s within the realms of possibility, I have a lot going on over the next couple of weeks so if I can just maintain the weight I am now I’ll be very happy indeed. I’ll keep trying though, I just don’t want to pile on the pressure too much.

Next Tuesday I’m not weighing in because in the afternoon I’m taking my mum to a hospital appointment, then a little bit later I’m going to give blood. What with having to go to work later as well, I think it would just be too much to do in one day. On Sunday I’m out with my sister and naughty food will be had, so I have to stay extra focused during the in between times. The past week shows that I am absolutely capable of doing that, and I’m not even grudgingly on plan as I sometimes am. I’m damn well enjoying it again! I keep trying to find the balance between food-orientated social events and not backtracking and undoing everything I’ve achieved so far. I feel that I’m actually getting there!

On that note it’s time to prepare a perfectly on-plan and delicious dinner before work.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Abandoned

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I can do it. I WILL do it.

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

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

A Pleasant Surprise

Last night I wore my three layers to work, as has become the norm over the last week, and I nearly bloody melted. It’s been so warm today! I’m not complaining because it’s been beautiful, and it was absolutely ideal as me and my brother had already planned to visit Eltham Palace today.

Autumn colours are always lovely, but it’s even better when the sun is shining on them and there was barely a cloud in the sky all day. After arriving we headed straight to the house (palace my backside) and picked up one of the free audio guides. In fact it was all kind of free now that we are English Heritage members. That’s a very good thing because I would have been slightly cheesed off if I’d paid for the audio guide because it really was dreadful! It sounded like the narrator was trying to be seductive, and I don’t know who wrote the script but after one description of a painting I had to turn if off because I wanted to throw the thing through the window.

Hence I came home knowing nothing about Eltham Palace at all. I have just had a quick read on Wikipedia though and it seems it was a palace once, but it was all but destroyed in the 1600’s. What’s there now is a house that was built on the site, which includes the restored great hall of the original palace. The Art Deco house was apparently a ‘masterpiece of modern design’ and I read a little plaque that said it was inspired by Scandinavian design. I’d much rather kit my home out with Ikea though because I thought it was ugly. The only pictures I took inside the house were not Art Deco at all!

The grounds though, now they are lovely. There’s a big lake that goes part of the way around it and the fish there (I think my brother said they are carp) must be used to being fed because they are so friendly. Normally I have oats in my bag as a matter of course, in case I need to tempt a water bird on my travels, but I didn’t replenish the last lot I used so we had nothing to lure the fish closer with. Then along came a family eating their sarnies who decided to throw bread in the water.

I’m sure most people know that you shouldn’t feed birds bread, because uneaten bread can pollute the water and it doesn’t provide enough nutrition to see them through the winter. I’m not sure what the deal is with fish, but it would be irrelevant in this case anyway. The fish snaffled up the bread immediately and I’m not sure even a single crumb was missed.

We spent most of the afternoon just wandering around exploring the grounds or watching the fish, and I was just loving the colours of everything so much. I’m going to find out what kind of flowers they have because everything was still in bloom and it would be lovely to have our garden looking something like that this time next year. Not that I’ve done anything at all with the garden since I decided I was going to sort it out, however many months ago. I really must do my research in time for spring.

I don’t know why this year has been so different, but documenting the changes in the seasons and trying to enjoy every minute of it has been really important to me. I need to make sure I’m out every week until all of the leaves are gone because I don’t want to miss a single photo op!

Just gorgeous.

When we left in the late morning I’d just eaten breakfast and wasn’t hungry at all so I didn’t take food with me, but I did have the foresight to have a lunch already prepared for when I got home. That was a good call because on the drive back my tummy was rumbling like mad. I’m frightening myself with all of this organisation.

You may notice that I didn’t put any weekly goals up last week, and that’s because I had no intention at all of avoiding the sneak peek. I’m feeling really bloated and I think it’s possible I’ll have a maintain but the important thing is to not freak out about it.

That’s if it does happen at all, because a lot can change between now and Tuesday morning. What I do know is that I have had an impeccable week as far as food is concerned and if I don’t get a good result I only need to look to the people I admire who deal with gains and maintains spectacularly well. There are two in particular. One is Just Julie and I’m pretty sure the other can guess who he is, and the thing about these spectacular people is I see them have disappointing and undeserved results at times, and although they’re obviously not happy about it, they don’t let it derail them. I wait with anticipation for the following week’s results and watch all of the hard work pay off as they are rewarded for sticking with it. Even when it might be the last thing they wanted to do at the time.

And that’s where I must leave you because it’s 8pm and I haven’t even started dinner yet. So much for being organised…

Hayley x

After the Storm

Today I feel like I haven’t stopped, but at the same time I haven’t really achieved very much at all. Maybe it’s because I didn’t sleep too well last night, and that’s because everything went a bit screwy around bed time.

After we’d all finished watching Blade Runner I was messaging a friend and not really paying attention to what was going on in the room, and while this was happening a disagreement was brewing between my mum and my brother. I had a feeling there was going to be some sort of conflict because my mum had been really argumentative the whole day. Whereas I (probably from my childhood years spent trying not to antagonise either parent) am quite good at letting things go and diffusing the situation, my brother is too young to remember the old times and hasn’t had much practice. Or sometimes he just won’t back down as a matter of principle. It’s just his nature.

A little while later I thought things were OK-ish, so I got myself off to bed. Ever since I first started working nights I’ve worn earplugs to bed, and now I can’t sleep without them, but even with them in about half an hour later I could hear shouting. I managed to stay upstairs until I heard my mum shouting some stuff that was totally made up, and about me, so I couldn’t control myself and went down to give my money’s worth. Thankfully it all kind of got sorted and everything is kind of OK again, but these things really take it out of me. I’ve always hated living in that kind of environment, and whenever things kick off (which admittedly was rarely but is now worryingly increasing in frequency) it takes me right back to when arguments like this between my mum and my dad were at least a weekly occurrence. As a result my resting heart rate has shot up despite it usually dropping like a stone when I get back on plan. In fact is was dropping steadily until yesterday. Hopefully we get a nice long run before there are any more arguments, because there really isn’t much I can do about the situation.

There are many reasons I can’t and don’t even really want to move out, and I can’t change my mum’s attitude after so many years. My brother is too stubborn so I wouldn’t even attempt it. But being screamed at because it’s apparently your fault your mum doesn’t watch Casualty any more is not much fun. It sounds ludicrous writing it down, but it’s actually frightening because I genuinely think, no I know, that she needs help. Unfortunately I can’t seem to get it for her and the last attempt to calmly talk to her about it ended up with some great conspiracy about me and my brother basically gaslighting her because we are just awful people. Or so she thinks.

I don’t know, I just wish I could get her counselling or something, but when she saw the doctor about her depression getting worse he gave her the web address for Therapy 4 U. She watched stupid videos totally unrelated to anything she’s going through and filled out irrelevant multiple choice questionnaires. Needless to say it did not cure 50 years-worth of depression and anxiety. Weird that.

There are so many more layers to the situation, so many things that I could talk about that I don’t even know where to start. All I know is that these feelings need to be outside instead of bottled up inside.

Anyway, things are calm and civil between us all now. Fingers crossed it stays that way for a while.

The good thing (or the excellent thing I should say) is that I did NOT use food to comfort me. I’ve had an excellent on plan day today, and weirdly I seem to have (at least temporarily) acquired a willpower made of steel. I have two and a half Mini Vego bars in the fridge, which are absolutely delicious vegan chocolate bars with whole hazelnuts them. The problem is that even the Mini bars have almost twenty syns in them! Somehow, miraculously, two days this week I had a quarter of a bar and I still have half of one bar completely untouched. I haven’t gone over 12 syns any day this week! It’s complete madness, but I’m not knocking it that’s for sure. Long may it continue!

Another good thing is that between putting my washing on the line, it raining, taking it off the line, raining, putting it back on and eventually relenting and using the tumble drier, I got some lovely rainy autumn shots for the photo album. We did have an actual storm (not counting the one last night) and once the clouds had blown over everything was fresh and clean and lovely again.

We also have a mad amount of apples on the tree this year, so much so that some of the branches are nearly touching the ground. A lot of them have been partially eaten by unknown critters, but because it’s such a bumper year I think we have enough sacrificial apples to ensure there are plenty left for us too. Speed food that doesn’t cost a penny? Yes please!

Finally me and Pea had a wonderful day, and she let me touch her wing with my lips. Because she was parent-reared instead of hand-reared  she won’t let me touch her, she’ll only perch on me. So we’re working on our trust (lips are much less scary for birds than fingers) and hopefully, one day I’ll be able to scritch her neck and help preen new feathers coming throuh. The good thing about her being parent-reared is that she’s much less prone to behavioural issues, but I do sometimes wish I could touch her like my sister does with her birds. Mostly because I think it will be nice for Pea, for us to have that bond. Even if it never happens though, as long as she’s happy then I’m happy too.I h

I haven’t done as many steps as I’d like today, but I did do a 40 minute workout on the exercise bike so I’m not feeling as guilty as I would have otherwise. Now my plan is to escape into another universe, specifically the Marvel one!

I shall update again tomorrow with my official weigh in results. Eek!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

One For The Road

If you’ve been reading my blog for the last couple of weeks then this post will come as no surprise to you. I haven’t fallen off the wagon, I’ve just kind of stepped off for the evening. The thing is, I’m back at work tomorrow after three weeks off and I’m partly really looking forward to getting back into a proper routine and partly dreading the very thought. I’m not going crazy, I’m just having a some crumpets, avocadoes, and I really fancied a bottle of rosé, so that’s what I’m having.

Yesterday I watched Guardians of the Galaxy with the family, in preparation for Volume 2 being delivered today. Me and my brother have already seen the second one, but my mum hasn’t so we’re all sitting down together to watch it tonight. Then that’s it- once the film is over then it’s back to reality. I’m going to try and stay up as late as possible then sleep as much as I can during the day tomorrow, because I have to get back to my usual vampiric ways! It’s been really nice sleeping normally for a while though. I really feel that I’ve recharged my batteries, and that if this time off work hadn’t come when it did then I would have really struggled to cope. It all worked out OK in the end.

I’ve also been naughty in regards to weighing myself too often, but this week it’s actually worked out to my advantage. I weighed myself before, ahem, lady time and it showed a massive loss. But then lady time happened and now it shows a moderate loss. If I hadn’t seen that big loss then I’d be disheartened by what I saw after, but I know it’s just bloating and whatnot. I have no idea what the scales will show tomorrow, on official weigh day, but I have to be honest here and tell you exactly what’s going on. So if it’s a gain, it’s a gain, and I won’t try to hide it. Despite all of my ‘next weigh day will be fantastic!’ promises. I really do mean it when I say it, that’s the sad thing. Anyway I still intend to get all of my gains off by the end of the month – it ain’t over yet!

Yesterday was nice and active, which is handy because today I’ve just been chilling out in a spectacularly lazy fashion. Apart from doing a load of washing because I somehow only had one pair of undercrackers left, I’ve just lounged around reading. It’s actually been quite lovely!

Oh yes, I was going to tell you about yesterday. Me and the brother went to visit Lee Valley Regional Park. Unfortunately it wasn’t quite what we were after because it just doesn’t do a good enough job of making us feel like we’re away from civilisation. That’s been something of a theme with the last few places we’ve visited in fact. We walked around some lakes, and that was nice, but as we walked along the canal everything become more and more, well, disgusting. There was litter everywhere and people passing us were really rude, either just not wanting to walk single file down the narrow track or not even bothering to look up from their phones. It was really sad. But enough of that, on to the highlights!

It must be a great park for kids, because there are little sculptures to find all over the place. Some of them you are even encouraged to climb on, but I’ll come to that later.

The first lake we came to was filled with friendly swans. Well, as friendly as swans ever get I suppose!

Then, possibly for the first time ever, I saw some tufted ducks. I say possibly, because I may well have seen them before without noticing. But they’re certainly the first I’ve seen before I became interested in birds. I didn’t even notice them to begin with, despite their really cool yellow eyes. How did I not see that?

Tufted ducks are excellent divers, so I tried to get a shot of one mid-dive. They were just too fast though, so this is the closest I was able to get. But when I got home and reviewed my photos I noticed the little coot in the bottom right-hand corner.

I think he was coming up from a dive, but it looks like he’s just happily hanging out under water! 

I did see a heron but he was just too far away for me to get any kind of shot, and this cormorant was too far away for me to get a decent shot. This one will just have to suffice!

When we came to the canals we stopped for my brother to buy a cheese roll and a coke from an ice cream boat, as you do, and as we sat down we were treated to a couple of swans and their almost completely grown up swanling slowly making their way towards us.

And then, my favourite part of the day. We found a giant’s chair!

Although it seems like a pretty insignificant thing, I am really proud of this picture. For one, this time last year I would have been too self conscious to do this. And even if I had dared to, my arms are pretty weak (despite me trying to strengthen them with kettlebells) and there’s simply no way I would have been able to haul myself up. Yet here I am, posing for a photo. In a way it’s hard to believe that’s even me. But there I am, I even have proof. I wonder what kind of photos I’m going to be posting next year?

Do you know what, despite not entirely wanting to go back to work I am feeling really positive about the coming months. I really do find it so much easier to lose weight in the autumn and winter and I’m going to make so much progress. I’m going to make promises in this here blog, but instead of going back on them or making excuses I’m going to see them through.

The proof shall be, as they say, in the pudding (for want of a more slimming-friendly phrase!)

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Indoor and Outdoor Pursuits

I’m a big believer in printing out your photos. I have all of mine backed up on two separate hard drives, on two separate ‘clouds’, and I still think they should be printed out just in case. Plus there’s nothing quite like leafing through a proper photo album in my opinion. It’s a big job though, one that I always say I’ll keep on top of and one that I never do. As a result practically the whole of yesterday morning was spent re-editing two month’s worth of photos, as they need to be lightened slightly for the printers I use. Once that was done I used Photoshop to stitch together all of the portrait-oriented photos into pairs so that they will fit nicely into my Becky Higgins photo wallets, and sent my order off.

Then all of the afternoon was taken up with the messy part. All of the photos that don’t make the grade for my posh photo album go into more of a scrapbook style album that my brother bought me years ago. This was the floor yesterday:

What doesn’t help is that I have decided I prefer rounded corners, so every photo has to be cornerised using my corner contraption. Then finally it’s neatly glued into the album using double-sided sticky dots. With this album nothing is in order and anything goes, but with my main album I like to keep each page to some sort of theme.

The end result is always worth the hassle, and it’s not so bad with Pea perched on my shoulder watching what I’m doing. Everything’s better when you do it with a friend! Because all of this was so time consuming I knew there was no way I’d do 20,000 steps, but luckily I was 9,000 ahead so I didn’t have to worry too much. I also did 40 minutes on the exercise bike and just scraped a 3000 calorie burn for the day. Since I was already feeling indoorsy, I took the opportunity to get my teeth into some comics kindly donated by a most awesome friend. Let’s just say I’m not going to be struggling for something to fill my time with for the next ten years or so!

Today started off outdoorsy, although I wasn’t feeling it at all. I knew I just had to get out there though, my goals aren’t going to achieve themselves after all. I usually like to walk to my chosen spot, to get extra steps in where possible, but I’m getting a bit bored with my usual haunts. So I opened Google maps and just decided to go anywhere vaguely interesting within a short drive. I finally settled on Thurrock Thameside Nature Reserve, the visitor centre of which is charmingly built on top of an old landfill site. I remembered going here as a kid and being utterly bored, but I think a helluva lot of work has been done since then.

There are two car parks at the reserve, so I chose the one farthest away from the visitor centre (all the better to get my steps in) and started on my merry way. The weather was absolutely lovely – really sunny, hardly a cloud in the sky, a refreshing breeze… so of course it figures that I forgot my hat and suncream. Thankfully it clouded over later so I didn’t get burnt to an absolute crisp. I was a bit worried that it’d be really busy, but I hardly saw another soul. That’s right up my street, I just love peace and quiet. I saw some interesting birds but I couldn’t tell what they were, and I couldn’t photograph them because I limited myself to one lens today. My shoulders are still killing me from my last outing so I decided to travel light. Trust me to make the wrong decision! I’ll go back soon though to investigate further.

I watched a small murmuration of starlings for a while, which was pretty cool. When they were perching they were noisy as anything, then all of a sudden it would go quiet all at once and off they went. As soon as they landed again it was back to normal.

I went to the visitor centre for a map because I wasn’t sure where to start, but it turns out there’s only one path and it isn’t a circular walk. That’s a little irritating for me, I prefer to return a different way wherever I go, but the chap I spoke to assured me that they are acquiring a huge area of land next to what they already have and will be expanding soon. So that’s good to hear!

I really loved this art work from a local school, made with an old pallet. I would have loved doing that when I was a kid. Well I’d love doing it now if I’m honest!

It was a really nice, peaceful little walk, and I’ll definitely be returning in the future. Especially as they have interesting winter birds, or so I’ve been told. My walk wasn’t very long, so I’m only half way towards my 20k step goal, but the day isn’t over yet. Plus later me and a friend are going to pick up a bed for my mum from an aunt, so there’s a bit of heavy lifting that’ll keep the calories burning.

I think that’s it for today then. I’m just trying to update more regularly because I’m sure it’ll help keep me on the straight and narrow. I’m doing everything I can to get an awesome loss next week!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

The Last Supper

Since I’ve been blogging somewhat sporadically/practicing self-denial/sleeping for England I haven’t been quite as open about my current situation as I normally am. That wasn’t a conscious decision at all – I’ve been hiding from myself rather than anyone else. As August comes to an end and I haven’t achieved much at all of what I set out to do, it’s time for one of those famous fresh starts.

Yesterday I was in London with my brother, sister, and my sister’s boyfriend. The main purpose of our trip was to visit What the Pitta at Boxpark in Shoreditch, and I must admit to there being something of a having-a-blow-out-before-getting-back-on-plan agenda. I’ve never been to Boxpark before and hadn’t Googled it beforehand, so I was surprised to see that it’s a trendy, modern establishment consisting of several small business each operating out of a stacked shipping container. There must be about twenty different shops all crammed into one street corner. It’s awesome!

There are certain foods that I thought would never be recreated now I’m vegan, and doner kebab was right at the top of that list. But I was oh so very wrong, because yesterday I had the best meal I’ve ever had in my entire life ever. I don’t even know what it’s made out of exactly, but What the Pitta’s version of a doner kebab is just heaven on earth. They start of with this enormous yet light and fluffy warm flatbread, which they smear with hummus and then fill to the brim with an absolute mountain of salad (they’re not stingy at all), and whatever the meat substitute actually is, and then drizzle it with some sort of dairy free minty dressing. Oh my goodness it’s so savoury and delicious and approximately the size of a toddler!

Now although the actual doner is no doubt full of goodness, as part of a calorie controlled diet it’s not going to be helping in the slightest. I’d be very surprised if there was less than a thousand calories in that bad boy. Although yesterday I did a very respectable 21,000 steps I still managed to eat my way into a 7.5 lbs gain this week. That’s on top of the 4lbs I gained last week. But I’m still very, very positive. I’ve been searching for some delicious food that’s going to satisfy a craving and that kebab was it. If tomorrow I feel like eating something naughty, I’m going to ask myself if it will even come close, and it won’t, so what will be the point?

Today I’ve been on plan, haven’t had any cravings, and haven’t felt resentful even once. I’m jumping back in with both feet and even though right now I’m back in the 16 stones (16 st 1.5 lbs to be exact) I’m going to be in the 14’s before I know it. I want all of my gains off by the end of the month, which means I need to lose one stone and half a pound. I can do that, it’s actually possible!

After doner kebab naughtiness we all walked to Hackney in the blistering heat, and of course us being us instead of going somewhere, well, Londony, we managed to stumble across a farm right slap bang in the middle of the city. All these people visiting the Natural History Museum and the Portrait Gallery and the Cutty Sark and Trafalgar Square don’t even know what they’re missing, not to mention the fact that Notting Hill Carnival was on! This was actually a godsend because where everyone was off partying in the street the rest of the city was virtually empty so we didn’t have crowds of people to contend with.

This morning I woke up absolutely raring to get going with the healthy eating, and I also fancied something a bit different for breakfast so I had 14 cashew nuts as my Healthy Extra B choice. I wasn’t all that hungry, so soon after I packed my bag and got going on a long walk to a nearby (but not too nearby) high street. When I got there about an hour and half later, I remembered I needed some jars because I want to make my own pickled red cabbage, so I picked some up in the pound shop (not thinking about how much weight they’d add to the several pounds worth of photographic equipment I already had in my bag) picked up some fresh fruit from Waitrose (new season cherries, yum! And my favourite nectarines of course) and thought about heading back. But I remembered that there’s a park nearby so I quickly had a look to see how far it was. Only another half an hours walk! Well, it’d be a shame not to.

This park has a café, lakes, a boathouse, a statue (I couldn’t find it though) a playground, a pavilion (again, couldn’t see it!) but what I didn’t factor in is the school holidays. Tt was absolutely rammed with people! It was nice that there were so many families out and about but I decided not to stay long. I ate some fruit, got a shot of a moorhen and a young coot, then headed back. It’s not a route I’ll take again in a hurry, because most of the travelling is done next to a very long and very busy main road. The noise started to do my head in by the time I was on my way home, and although I’m getting the health benefits of walking I wonder how much of that is negated by all of the traffic fumes I’m breathing in!

I did what I set out to do though, and I’m currently ahead of schedule with another 28,000 steps today. So far.

I’ve just eaten an enormous pile of completely made up red split lentil pasta bolognese, and I’m feeling like everything is right with the world. The only thing that could cause a problem is those inevetable back-on-plan parps. To my family (even though you don’t read my blog) I am so, so sorry!

To everyone else, thank you for reading!

Hayley x

Hatfield Forest

Today I was up before the crack of dawn, at 3:50 to be precise, and out the door shortly after. Me and my brother wanted to go to Hatfield Forest, because it’s not too far away and we’ve never been before. We both like getting to places while they’re still empty, and I had my fingers crossed for some nice morning light. I did my research (I do that before I go anywhere because I like to be prepared) and discovered that one of the car parks is open from ‘dusk till dawn’, that you pay at a machine, and that the actual park is open 24 hours. But when we got there, there was a cover over the machine saying ‘Please Pay at Kiosk’, which doesn’t open until 9am or 10am, depending on which sign you read. I have a thing where I freak out if I get in trouble or get told off, so if I was on my own I probably would have turned around and gone home. But as my little bro was with me we decided to go into the park and come back later to pay when the kiosk was open. Which I didn’t like, but was actually a completely reasonable course of action.

When we got into the park we walked for about twenty minutes before we came to an internal car park, that we couldn’t get to by car because the gate to it was locked. But there was a pay & display machine. So I bought a ticket and walked it all the way back to the car. Because that’s how much of a stickler for the rules I am! Ridiculous, I know, but it allowed me to enjoy the rest of our walk with a clean conscience.

As you enter Hatfield Forest (on foot at least) the first part is a long road interspersed with plenty of cows and plenty of cow poop. I was also provided with some of that morning light I’d been hoping for. There was morning dew on everything and although I hate the word when it’s applied to food or people, I have to say that it was lush.

The thing about Hatfield Forest is that although it is huge, and has loads of really old trees (which is wonderful) it’s just not all that exciting and doesn’t seem to have much character. It’s lovely that there are so many trees being looked after, it was just more of a strolling around kind of place, rather than an exploring kind of place, which given its size (about four times the size of my local nature reserve) I was a little disappointed with. I’m maybe being a little harsh – I did enjoy the greenness and freshness of it all – I think maybe I just need more excitement after some of the cool places I’ve visited this year (Snowdon, I’m looking at you…) I still got a couple of really nice shots though, and as of right now I’m on a very respectable 22,500 steps.

I’ve had something of a meltdown the last few days and have done so much damage to my diet. I’ve completely gone off all of the usual foods I eat and feel sick at the thought of eating them. I’d just like to get it out there that no, I’m not pregnant, unless the next baby Jesus is on his way!

I need to swear now, because when I’m passionate about things my language gets filthy. You’ve had fair warning!

I might fuck up but I will never give up. The last few months have seen a succession of monumental fuck-ups as far as my diet is concerned, and I’m desperate to get my positive head back on. On the 28th I’m going out for vegan treats in London with my brother and sister, so from tomorrow until then I need to be 100% on plan. And I need to get straight back on it as soon as I get on the train home. I say this every time I have something like this planned, and every time I mess up. I’d really love it if I could post here when I get home that I did what I said I was going to do. This time is the one!

I also made a promise that I was going to do an average of 20,000 steps a day this week, but over the last couple of days I’ve got really behind. By the end of tomorrow I need to do 33,000 steps if I’m going to achieve my goal. There’s a huge part of me, the part that’s currently winning over happy Hayley, that questions what the point is when my weight has shot through the roof. It’s counter-intuitive, because any extra activity is going to help. Diet and exercise go hand-in-hand of course, but one can still be done without the other! Still, she’s practically screaming at me – why bother? I’m going to ignore her though, and keep putting one foot in front of the other. 

I’m giving myself two weeks, and if my mood hasn’t improved then I’m getting myself straight back to the doctor because although there’s plenty of things I can do to help, I don’t think I can fix the way I’m feeling by myself. It won’t stop me trying though.

I’ll say it again – I’ll fuck up, but I’ll never give up

Thank you for reading, and many apologies for the potty mouth…

Hayley x