Bye Bye Bullies

Since I first changed my hairstyle I’ve noticed a change in the way people at work treat me. I’ve mentioned it here before, but it seems like because I come across as being more confident people think they can be more brutally honest with me. When I walked into work in the past bulging out of my size 26 clothes, people were too polite to say anything. But now they don’t seem to feel the need to filter their thoughts and opinions before forcing them on me.

At first I just sat there and took it because although I’ve shrunk considerably, in my mind I mostly still feel like the old me. Not physically, because there’s no denying I can move around easier and whatnot, but I still see myself as a morbidly obese person. So when someone would say something extremely rude to me, I wouldn’t say anything back. I was frightened that their next move would be to call me fat, and I couldn’t bear the thought of anyone voicing what I was already thinking. Which makes no sense – everyone can see how big I am – but there you go.

Fairly recently one particular man started insulting me, mostly about my hair, and when I called him up on his rude behaviour he’d just say that he was joking. The more I got to know him, the more I realised that he’s just a nasty person. It came to a head when I asked him, very calmly, to ‘stop being a c**t’ (I kept my cool in a way but inside I’d totally lost my temper!) and for a while he stopped. But it was short lived.

Years ago I went to night school to learn how to be more assertive and although I still wouldn’t call myself an assertive person (except when there really is no other option) I learned a lot. One thing was about people who treat you like crap. I asked the tutor what you do if you’ve told the person how you feel and they simply don’t care. She said that you can’t force someone to change, so you have to decide if you want to keep that person in your life or not.

Sadly I can’t just stop seeing this person because we work together, so I made a point of distancing myself from him. And it was working until a couple of days ago when he came up and asked me why I don’t talk to him anymore. So assertive Hayley made a rare appearance and I told him straight – that he is mean. And although other people make fun of me, and I have a laugh with them, that’s not all they do. We have ordinary conversations too, about life and our passions and our struggles. And if they upset me (or vice-versa) I tell them and we work it out. At this point he apologised and I thought we’d made some progress. Then on the way out at the end of shift I heard him telling someone about his plans to bully several other members of staff, because he has decided that they ‘deserve’ it, and that if they ask him to stop he’s not going to until they report him.

If he starts on me again, or I hear him doing it to anyone else, report him I will. And I’ll do it without the fear of any comments about my weight. They may still come, but I have realised that I don’t care anymore if they do. The most important thing is that I surround myself with good people in my life, and don’t give any headspace over to the poisonous people of the world. It feels incredibly good to know that I’m strong enough to do that now!

Anyway on to a different subject, namely FOOD! I have a new obsession and I’ll be honest – I had to have strong words with all of the Polish people I know. I mean, how could they fail to mention that Poland is the capital of the gherkin world? It’s just not on!

Since I started working with Polish people I’ve tried some delicious food, but I don’t eat it now because it’s either meaty or chock full of calories. I tried homemade pierogi that a friend donated to me when her mum visited, which I fried in butter, Fasolka Po Bretonsku (a delicious sausage and bean stew), Krowki (a crumbly fudge that translates as ‘little cows’) confit chicken (the first and only time I’ve had confit anything), and Polish bread, oh how I love Polish bread!

For this reason I normally avoid the Polish food section at Tesco, but this week I decided to have a little look. I’ve noticed recently that gherkins can be inordinately expensive, so when I saw soured gherkins (ogúrki kwazone) and noticed that they were slightly cheaper than our boring old English ones, I knew I had to give them a try.

And oh my, I LOVE THEM! They have the kind of salty, savouriness of olives, but they’re SPEED FOOD! So I had to go back for more.

I shall be eating these until they come out of my ears, they’re just the perfect snack!

My other food obsession right now is fresh cherries. My mum has been poorly and can’t taste anything so I’ve been having the pick of all the perfectly red and juicy cherries every day, just as they ripen. It has been heavenly.

I do have a couple more things to share with you but I just looked at the time, expecting it to be about 5.30pm and thinking I should get a move on. It’s actually 7.15pm and I need to get a shift on!

Hayley X

I GOT THIS

Oh June, I am SO ready for you. I just checked my most recent food diary, which I started on 11th April. Since then I’ve managed to keep off 1.5 lbs. Which is cool. Better than gaining it, right? But I can do better. I WILL do better. If you read my last post you can see that I wasn’t too sure about my short-term plans. WELL NOT ANY MORE!

I do struggle with the summer months, because I love the warm weather and sunshine. A lot of people find it harder to slim in the winter what with all the warming comfort food, but for me summer is more of a challenge – it immediately brings to mind ice cream and barbecues. Both fit in perfectly with Slimming World if you want them to, but I’ve been finding it really hard to maintain control. We had a barbecue a week or two ago and I had plenty of syn free stuff that I genuinely enjoy, but instead I ended up eating two packs of halloumi! I had corn-on-the-cobs in the fridge, which are one of my favourite barbecue foods of all time AND they are syn free. Yet I didn’t have any!

Until last year I really struggled with going to the cinema or even watching TV and films at home, because I seemed completely incapable of watching anything without having a snack to hand. But I managed to completely and utterly break that habit without really giving it too much thought. Now if I go to the cinema I take a healthy snack like fruit or an individual pack of popcorn, but 9 times out of 10 it stays in my bag, completely forgotten about.

If I can do that, I can make summer about syn-free iced Americanos and walks in the park. I’m already halfway there, I just need practice. If only it was summer all the time!

Until yesterday I’d been off work for two weeks, partly because of a strike and partly because I had holiday booked (hence the trip to Snowdon), and I only managed to stay on plan for the first few days. Whilst walking to the picket line instead of having my usual iced Americano I had a large, full fat, iced caramel latté. I didn’t even enjoy it that much, but I still got the same again on the way home. On the plus side I walked there and back, which was just lovely! I didn’t have any sun cream on and I got completely burnt to a crisp, but we won’t talk about that…

It got worse from then on, but the day after I got back from holiday I was food optimising 100% and managed to prevent one of my epic gains. This week I ‘only’ put on 4.5 lbs, and I’m absurdly happy with that. My goal for June is to be 100% on plan for the whole month, and to have a loss every single week. I am taking into account that our bodies don’t always play ball so if I have an unexpected gain or maintain that could be attributed to hormones, water retention, exercise etc then I’m not going to count that as a fail. As long as I stick to the plan I’ll get what I’m owed.

In typical fashion a few hours before work last night I started to feel a bit unwell, nothing I can really put a finger on as such, just generally not quite right. Then I noticed I have a hurty lump on the side of my neck which according to Mr Google is probably a swollen lymph node and my body is most likely fighting off an infection. Of course, me being me, I’m going to do nothing and see if it goes away on its own, even though it is pretty painful. According to the internets that’s pretty normal though. We’ll see how it goes!

Little Pea the parrotlet added to my worries by acting strangely just as I had to leave for work. She was flapping about in her cage when she’s usually fast asleep, and I was so worried about her I popped home during my lunchbreak at 2:30am to check she was OK! She was fine, I think she just likes to keep me on my toes. Silly bird. She had two whole weeks to mess with me, but no, she waits until I’m lacing up my work shoes…

As for today it’s been a good ‘un.

I had a nice little delivery of an enamel pin to mark my Snowdon trip. It’s from Auntie Mims’ Etsy shop, and isn’t it cute?

After obtaining a lime this morning (Tesco sent me a lemon by accident. I’m not sure how you can confuse the two personally but there you go) I made three salsas. The recipes are here, and also make sure you check out the rest of the blog because it’s marvellous. I’m going to eat some of them tomorrow because I needed time for the flavours to develop, but I did have a little taste and I’m very impressed so far.

How beautifully summery do they look? I would go into detail about what they are but you can find that out by following the link. As it is I am running desperately late and shouldn’t even be writing this blog. Shut up Hayley!

Thank you for reading, but now I really must be off.

Bye for now!

Backtracking

Ooh I’ve been naughty and haven’t written a blog in a while! In my defence… actually nope, I have no defence. I’ve just been a bit crap. So what’s been going on since last time? The week before last I lost 1.5 pounds, which is lovely and all, but on the way home from group I decided to go off plan and eat a ton of chocolate. After that I had two days on plan, then the rest of the week was mostly a disaster.

Do you remember me saying that I wanted to have a more colourful life? Well I did try to find colourful clothes but nothing suited me, so instead at my hairdresser’s appointment on Friday I instructed him to go as mad with the dye as he wanted. This was the result:

The picture doesn’t even do it justice, it’s just AMAZING! It’s so vibrant it’s unbelievable. So I was pretty chuffed with the end result, that is until I got home. I looked in the mirror and realised how exposed my face is now that my hair is even shorter and I admit it- I had something of a meltdown. It’s like all of the confidence I’ve gained over the past few months has just up and left me, but don’t worry, I’m working hard to find it again. That day I totally ate my feelings and ordered a massive takeaway of falafel, houmous and chips which doesn’t sound too bad, but the portions were enormous and the falafel was deep fried. It was yummy, but it occurs to me how little sense it makes. I am worried people can see too many of my chins so what do I do? Eat food that’s guaranteed to give me an extra one! Yeah, how stupid!

After that it was all downhill. I was back at work Saturday night and to be honest I was ready for a fight with the first person who criticised my hair. Thankfully I only had to contend with one rude person who greeted me not with a hello, but with ‘oh my god what have you done? You looked so pretty before, you’ve ruined it’, which was just lovely, but I told him how rude he was being and off he went. Everyone else was (uncharacteristically) very kind indeed.

Sunday I started thinking about the work drinks scheduled for Monday, and over these two days I learned some very important things about myself. One is that I should listen to my instincts. I decided that I didn’t want to go but I did anyway, because I didn’t want to let people down. Even though those people got there roughly three hours after they said they would… The other thing is that I no longer enjoy alcohol. I did put away a fair bit of booze but not once did I feel drunk. I felt sick from the first pint of Magners, which I used to really enjoy, but it was sickly and bloated me out. Someone bought me a Fireball Whiskey and coke which was disgusting– I had one mouthful and donated it to another member of the group when the person who bought it for me went to the toilet! By 9:30pm I was ready for my bed so before everyone else hit the clubs I made my escape. Oh yes, I forgot to mention I had a giant pizza on Sunday night, and on the way to the station on Monday I stopped off at a Tesco Express where bought yet more chocolate and some other bits and pieces. When I got home me and my mum watched some TV together while I ate an entire brioche loaf, then I got myself to bed before I could do any more damage.

I woke up the next day, which happened to be weigh day, feeling not positive as such, but like I can actually do this. The fact that I didn’t want to go out on Monday threw me for the whole week. Or more accurately I let it throw me. What I should have done was just stick to my guns, not go, stay on plan and be happy. But I made myself miserable by trying to force myself to enjoy something that just isn’t me any more. While we were on our way to yet another pub I looked longingly at the Costa Coffee over the road and daydreamed about how wonderful it would be to be sitting in there enjoying a flat white with my sister…

Anyway! I braved weigh in on Tuesday evening even though it was the very last thing I wanted to do, and discovered that yet again I have had an epic gain. But it was ‘only’ 9 lbs this time! I need to stop doing this because not only does it make me miserable, but according to my Fitbit my heartrate rockets every time I eat extreme amounts of food. Clearly it is putting a lot of strain on my ticker, so I need to stay in control in future.

My mission from now on is to only spend my precious free time with people who are helping me to achieve my goals. Not because they are particularly going out of their way to do so, but because the things we like doing together just happen to fit into the whole Slimming World lifestyle. I haven’t seen much of my dad, well, ever because mostly he doesn’t give a crap, but also because when I do see him it’s always centered around food. I’ve asked him if he wants to come out on a walking adventure with his children but he isn’t the slightest bit interested! He is however happy to walk along the seafront with his girlfriend’s family, but I’ll save that particular rant for another day…

So the rest of May will probably be spent undoing one weekend’s worth of damage, then it’s my Snowdon trip at the end of the month. I still have no idea what to do about food for the trip, so it’s going to take some research. Which I’ve been saying for a couple of weeks so I really should get around to that!

It’s time for me to get ready for work now (story of my life) so goodbye for now!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Positivitea

I’ve got to admit, I’m finding it really hard to get my head back in the game. I thought I’d do a bit of reflecting about how March went for me, but that may not have been the best idea. Out of 31 days I spent 27 of those on plan and I managed to lose about 12 lbs. The four I spent off plan undid every last ounce of that hard work and I’m ending the month at exactly the same weight I was at the beginning of it. Normally for me, it really is ‘quick on, quick off’ but this week my fat is being extra stubborn. Which I shouldn’t know because I shouldn’t be weighing myself daily BUT I AM. Oh dear me!

HOWEVER…

I’m working extra hard to look at the positives, which began with a bit of retail therapy. I reward myself with a little enamel pin for every half stone I lose, but a couple of days ago I decided to break tradition and bought myself a ‘positivitea’ pin, just as a little treat for myself. It’s a reminder to find the best in every situation and that we don’t just need a pat on the back when the scales go down, we deserve it for so much more than that.

I was super bored at work last night as I was stuck in a quiet area all by myself with nobody to talk to, so I let my mind go for a little wander. I started to remember this time last year, when if I got too hot I’d keep wearing my fleece because it was an extra ‘security blanket’ to hide under. Last night though I took it off without even thinking about it, and it was hours later before I realised the significance of that. I also remember the last time I ordered work uniform. It was a while ago, and I ordered stuff I knew would be too small as I was ashamed to order in a bigger size. We got new order forms this week though, and I’m so looking forward to replacing the clothes that now drown me. I cannot describe the feeling of handing over the form to my manager and not caring if he looked at my waist size. I’m bloody proud!

This morning I did a little top-up shop in Asda because last night I had sauteéd kale and it was seriously delicious. I now have a giant bag of the stuff which should keep me going for, um, two days maybe? The first couple of days being back on plan was really difficult but I’ve fallen in love with healthy food again now, which makes it a helluva lot easier.

Speaking of food I think it’s time to go and get some!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

 

When to Stop

I’m a bit angry today, so be warned this post may be more than a little sweary.

Now I’ve lost 4 st 8 lbs I’m over the halfway mark and ‘only’ have 4 st left to lose. But despite still having a significant amount of weight left to get shot of the nay-sayers have already started piping up. When I’ve lost weight before they have been the bane of my life. All the ‘don’t go too far’, ‘you need to stop now’, ‘you’ll look ill’ comments are such a bore! It’s weird- at my highest weight if someone had said to me ‘Hayley, you’re getting too fat’ I would have lost my sh*t, but when it’s the other end of the scale I try to reason with them.

At first I thought maybe people were genuinely concerned for my health, but I really don’t think it’s the case. I don’t know what the motivation for these comments is, but since I clearly still have a lot of changes to make when it comes to my body I can’t understand why someone should feel compelled to tell me what I should weigh. In future if this subject comes up I’m going to channel one of my heroes, Archer, and tell them to eat a buffet of ‘male genitals’. Ahem. Seriously, go and watch Archer right now. It’s worth it for insult inspiration alone. But please DO NOT watch the YouTube vid below if you don’t like swearing or general extreme rudeness!

In all seriousness though it’s no longer something I’m willing to entertain unless someone really is concerned for my health. I’m not going to explain that I will only just be within a healthy BMI, and that I’ll be at the very top end of the scale at 24.9. As a woman I’m ‘supposed’ to be nearer the bottom end of the scale. I’m not going to tell them that I’ll probably be a size 16, which is still considered ‘plus size’, because it’s no one’s business but my own. Even Slimming World don’t have a say in your target weight (unless you want to be dangerously underweight in which case you can’t be a member), so why should anyone else?

So the answer to the question ‘when to stop?’ Simply put, whenever YOU want to.

I think I’m extra tetchy today because someone at work was really horrible to me last night, even when I calmly and politely told him that he was upsetting me and asked him to stop. He kept on though, so I broke out a very rude word that I only use on very special occasions, and shortly after I got an apology. It wasn’t the things he was saying as such, it was more that some people think it’s acceptable to try and make other people unhappy, for reasons that I really can’t fathom. He’s done this before, so if he doesn’t behave himself in the future then he’ll simply become one of those people I don’t mix with in work. To be honest I think that’s where it’s heading, because he’s just a really nasty, bitter, negative person. It’s not just ‘banter’ as he claims, it goes beyond that. Which must be true as it really takes a lot to properly offend me. As I’ve lost weight my self-esteem has grown and I no longer feel that I just have to put up with things like that. Until now I’ve stayed friendly to spare his feelings. Well I won’t be doing that in future.

Today I shall be mostly catching up with household things. I want to get it all out of the way today so that tomorrow is left clear, for what I haven’t decided yet. Except this evening I’m watching a film with my mum and brother, which will hopefully have the combined effect of getting them to talk to each other again after a silly argument yesterday. It’s a funny old life…

Thanks for reading and apologies for the potty mouth,

Hayley x

Energy

I seem to be stuck in a weird energy cycle at the moment. For a couple of weeks I barely need any sleep, I’m super productive and I get a ton of stuff done. Then for the next couple of weeks I want to sleep all the time and can barely be bothered to cook dinner. For someone who loves to eat as much as me this is a big deal! During these times it’s a case of just slogging away and carrying on regardless, but there are times when I just can’t help but be lazy.

At the moment I feel like some area of my life always has to be out of control in some way. There is very little in my life right now that’s more important to me than staying on track with my weight loss. In order to be successful it’s right up there at the top of my list of priorities, second only to my gorgeous parrot. Deep down since I’m so tired at the moment I want to forego exercise, but I really want my Gold Body Magic award, I really want to improve my body shape, and get fitter, and aid my weight loss. So even when I should relax or go to bed I’m soldiering on. The downside of this is that when I get to work, like last night, I’m ready to drop. Then the manager says ‘there’s not much work, who would like to go home?’ and although I really shouldn’t, although I know money is going to be so tight come payday, I just can’t help myself.

Last night instead of earning money I slept for nearly 10 glorious hours. I should be getting stuff done now, but I’m procrastinating because what I really want to do is go back to bed. That can’t be right! On the other hand I remember how much I struggled with my energy levels the last time I was successful with Slimming World. It was definitely a factor when it came to me regaining all the weight- not because I genuinely needed extra food for energy, but because I just started letting things slide. For instance I’d tell myself that I ‘need’ a sugary energy drink to get through my shift. Or that I’m justified in ordering a takeaway because I need extra sleep.

That’s all nonsense though. The way to cope with this lies in planning. Today I’m going to get off my arse, go to the shops and get me some microwave jacket potatoes. These help me in two ways- when I do Slimming World chips it’s hard to me to control my portions, but with a jacket potato I just have the one potato rather than three or four. Also if I pre-cook some veggie sausages and whatnot plus get some salad bits, maybe boil a few eggs, then for the rest of the work week I can have a dinner ready in 10 minutes. For lunches I will knock up a batch of Slimming World ‘Heinz’ tomato soup. Preparation is key, and there is no excuse for failure!

With these strategies in place I can make sure I get extra sleep in the evening to prepare myself for my shifts. So no more going home without pay for me.

Despite these little struggles in some ways I’ve been having a fantastic week so far. I popped to my dad’s while he’s on holiday to have a soak in his tub which was nice, but to be honest I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would. It was very nice to note how there’s a lot more space in the bath then there used to be, but I got bored pretty quickly so I posted back his keys ahead of time rather than going for a soak every day like I’d originally planned.

Tuesday was weigh day, and I lost a fantastic 4.5 lbs, got my 4.5 stone award and got Slimmer of the Week!

I’m now in the 16 stone bracket which I haven’t been in since early 2014, and I only have 11 lbs to go before the 15 st bracket. I can almost taste it! It’s my plan to be 15 st 13 lbs or under before my work night out on the 1st of May. This is one of the reasons I’m so focused right now- there’s no opportunity for a slip up when I want to achieve my goals this badly. The main focus point is my next award though. 6 lbs to go, that’s all I really need to think about.

Right then, I’d better be off and get some of things done that have to be done today. Then I’ll have an afternoon nap!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Fresh Inspiration

First of all a shoutout must go to Gempiccaddilly for putting me on to a new (and marvellous) source of inspiration. I’ve watched a couple of YouTuber’s talk about various things in the past and always found it quite cringey, but when Gempiccaddilly mentioned one particular vlogger in this post I decided to give it another go.

Oh. My. Gosh. This lady – Von Choc – is brilliant. She’s just wonderful to watch, and within two days of watching some of her videos she’s already helped me so much. Remember the Super Slimmers ‘documentary’ on Channel 4? She made a video about her thoughts on that and wow, there was such a lightbulb moment. She just has this way of putting things in perspective, which is so important for us slimmers I think. It’s easy to be a bit blinkered and not be able to see the bigger picture.

The first video I watched was nearly 30 minutes long, and to be honest I really didn’t think I’d sit it out. But now I’ve started I can’t stop and I’m currently watching all of her videos from the beginning, which she has very helpfully compiled into a chronological playlist here.

This video, titled Can Slimming World Be Better, had me saying ‘yes, exactly!’ out loud to my computer. Just to be clear – like me, this lady loves the Slimming World plan, but there are things that could be improved (Syns Online search function, I’m looking at you) and her idea, along with other vloggers, is that if we start the conversation about it as members, then maybe we can implement change.

Since I’m a vegetarian I’ve been watching the Porky Lights saga unfold from a distance, but Von Choc makes some really interesting points about the whole thing in a video dedicated to ‘SausageGate’. There are a few facts that you won’t get from your Slimming World consultant, in fact I haven’t heard a thing since Slimming World’s initial statement advising people to use 4.5 syns per sausage, so I’d recommend giving it a watch. I’ve managed to convince a fellow member not to feed the 18-pack she’d just bought to her dog, which cannot be a bad thing.

Ok, I think I’m done gushing for now!

Do you ever go through a phase of a month or so where you don’t feel any different, then all of a sudden you just do? Lately I’ve looked in the mirror and just seen my old self looking back at me, but yesterday I felt really slim for some reason. I tried on my old motorbike trousers a little while ago (I don’t remember when) and I could just about get them over my legs. As for being able to do them up well it wasn’t even close! So I decided to get them out of storage and they only bloody well fit now! I can do them up AND breathe at the same time. Which is handy. Unfortunately I can’t sit down in them yet, but that’s not hugely important. At some point the plan is that I’ll go out with my brother on his bike as he’s never had anyone ride pillion with him before. When he passed his test his instructor told him that when he does it for the first time to take someone who has experience being a passenger on a bike, and I think I’m the only person he knows with that qualification. The problem is that at the moment our combined weight is too much for the bike to handle! I haven’t been able to do those trousers up since 2014 though, so I’m still feeling pretty good about it.

The day before yesterday I started doing more structured exercise again and got my kettlebells out for the first time in weeks. At the time it didn’t hurt, but now it really, really, does. So I’ve been walking a little bit like I’ve made a mess in my undergarments, but as soon as the soreness has died down I’ll do it again. I also have a pilates video recommended by my sister to try out. I really want my Gold Body Magic Award, which is eight weeks of 30 minutes exercise a day including two sessions of strength training. I do 30 minutes walking every day at least (which is where I actually take time out to walk around rather than include any incidental walking as I go about my day) and if I keep up the exercise videos too then that award will be mine! I’m not very good at remembering to do my kettlebells so I’m hoping the incentive of a new shiny sticker will keep it fresh in my mind.

Work has been a little… tricky this week. Our activity is monitored every second of every shift, so we always have to be doing something, but this is the quietest time of year for the company I work for. So there isn’t actually much to do. It’s been a fine balancing act of doing enough that we hit our rate as a department but also pacing it out so it lasts, and hitting our personal rates as workers, and also not falling asleep due to the sheer boredom of these quiet times. And then there’s the fact that we can go home if we want to, but it’s unpaid. Things are a bit tight for the next couple of months but that temptation is ever present!

So far I’ve been good though and have stayed at work, and I’m staying motivated by thinking about my plans for the weekend. Me and my brother are going back to the woods we visited last week, as we are waiting for the bluebells to come out. According to my mum they’re what I photographed last Sunday, and I don’t want to miss them even though it’s still very early and unlikely they will flower for a good few weeks yet. But I’m not taking chances! For extra exercise and to save using petrol, we are going to walk to the country park. It’s at the top of a very long and very steep hill, which is excellent for exercise and excellent training for our Snowdon trip in May.

I shall update on Sunday when I have more to say other than how boring work was!

Hayley x

 

Posh Shopping

I decided to give Ocado a try this week (which is purely an online supermarket, just in case you’re in the minority of people who has never had a leaflet fall out of their Slimming World mag!) 

To be honest, the actual shopping part was a bit of a pain in the bum because there’s just so much to choose from. The veg did seem a little on the expensive side but my order was delivered this morning and I’ve got to admit- it was a lot better quality than the stuff I’m used to. I also got a couple of Slimming World-friendly bits that Tesco don’t deliver online (at least not to my area) such as Meridian Free From pesto, Liberto vegetarian paté, Ohso chocolate and Quorn gammon steaks. If money was no object and I had the freezer space I would have bought a lot more. The fanciest bit of all though is that on your receipt everything is listed in order of how quickly it will go off, so you can see at a glance what you need to eat first. That is SO handy, as when I’m Food Optimising I’m forever trying to eat the fresh stuff as quickly as possible before it goes off (and forever going to the shops to top up again). I’ll probably get an Ocado shop about once a month from now on, as it’s the most convenient stockist I’ve found for the higher-welfare eggs that I like to get. Having said that, this week I’ll be experimenting with vegan egg replacer so we’ll see how that goes. It is syn free so it’s worth a try, and apparently one packet can replace 66 eggs! We’ll see how true that is in practice though…

It’s nearly time for me to get ready for weigh-in but I’ve had to ditch my lightest weighing-in outfit (shock, horror!) due to the iron packing up. Well, it didn’t actually break to be fair, it just turns the power to the whole house off thanks to our newly installed circuit breaker. It’s a bit scary that we’ve been using a dodgy iron all this time with the risk of electrocution, but to be honest I avoid ironing at all costs so the risk to me personally was minimal! Instead I actually weighed another top that I have on the kitchen scales, one which doesn’t need ironing, and it’s only a few grams heavier than my normal top. It’s going to be a gain anyway so I really don’t know what I’m worried about!

I’m actually feeling very positive about this week and I’m looking forward to learning what the damage is so that I can properly move on. I’ve got loads of speed food in the fridge, I’ve already done 6,000 steps towards my daily goal, work should be a doddle… all is right with the world again, at least in my world I should say. And if I believed in tempting fate then I’d be seriously asking for trouble!

So, off to group I go. I’ll update again in a couple of hours…

Well the results are in and I managed to LOSE weight! I’m totally over the moon for losing half a pound. A loss is a loss after all!  

That teeny half a pound that means I’m still going in the right direction and that I only need another measly half a pound to get my 4 st award.

It was a very interesting group this evening because I’m not the only one who has struggled this week. We were able to give each other some really valuable support and advice  After all that’s what it’s all about. And it made me feel that at least something good has come from my fall from the wagon. 

This was my post-group celebratory dinner – completely on plan Quorn Southern Fried Bites, chips, salad and only 7 syns harmed. 

Cheers to a week being 100% on plan! 

Hayley x 
 

Out of Exile

I am ashamed to say that I didn’t make it to work the other night. In fact I have not been to work (or barely moved if I’m honest) at all since Wednesday night. You see I have been struck down with the dreaded lurgy! On Friday I had an evening nap to prepare me for work but when I woke up I couldn’t walk in a straight line, so I thought it’d be best for the general public and my colleagues alike that I stay home. Then on Saturday morning I woke up with a red, itchy rash all over my back and arms. By lunchtime it had spread to my tummy and I felt absolutely rotten, prompting my dearest mother to exile me to my room as she was convinced I had scarlet fever. To be fair it is doing the rounds in our area.

This morning I woke up still feeling utterly dreadful but even if it wasn’t a two-week wait for me to see a doctor at my local surgery I feel guilty for going with a potentially contagious bug and infecting the poor (already ill) people in the waiting room. But if it was scarlet fever and I went back to work, which I’d obviously have to do eventually, I’d infect people there too. So after some consideration I decided to trial Push Doctor, which is where you get to speak to a real life doctor via the magic of a video call. I had to wait 6 minutes for a doctor to become available, then within 10 minutes and for £7 (an introductory price) I had the diagnosis of an allergic reaction coupled with an entirely coincidental cold. So on Tuesday (the next day I’m due in work) I’m safe to go back. It was a good feeling that I didn’t unnecessarily take up an NHS appointment or waste the doctor’s time, so perhaps someone who really needs it won’t have to wait two weeks for their appointment. For minor things I think it’s a great idea and I’ll definitely be using them again. Normally a 10 minute consultation is £20 but I think that’s reasonable. Even when I’ve had a more serious problem I don’t ever remember taking more than 10 minutes in a doctor’s appointment. There was the time I waited hours for my appointment only to find the doctor had forgotten about me and gone home, but that’s something else entirely…

Weirdly, I’d really like to be back at work as I’m missing my routine terribly. My appetite has been all over the shop with me mostly not wanting to eat a huge amount then an hour later wanting to eat everything in sight. I have managed to stay on plan, but exercise has gone completely out of the window. I tried to get a decent amount of steps in this morning but after 3,000 I was completely wiped out! I’ll still do some more later though because my Fitbit tells me my calorie burn this week is virtually non-existent and I’m worried about how that will (or won’t) affect the scales. I need to get moving again no matter what!

For the last two days I’ve been spending my time watching numerous episodes of How to Lose Weight Well, where ordinary people trial some of the mental diets that are on offer these days. I’ve watched every episode aired so far and on not one occasion have they featured a diet that works as well or fits into ordinary life as easily as Food Optimising does. There was not one single instance where I thought ‘hmm, I’d like to give that a go one day’ which reaffirmed to me that I’ve chosen the absolute best healthy eating plan for me. It did make me sad to see people on a restrictive plan for four months who only lost a couple of pounds. It just doesn’t have to be that way! I really hope they feature Slimming World in the next series and that the person trialling it makes a proper attempt at it. They featured one woman (as an extreme case) who was paying £350 a pop to eat NOTHING for 10 days while nutrients were pumped into her stomach (she carried the pump around in a backpack the whole time) via a nasal tube. I think she was on her sixth session and she’d only lost 2 stone, and she was doing it again in order to lose the last 7 lbs. How awful and how wrong that it’s completely legal for people to offer such a thing.

Over the last couple of days I’ve noticed that the weather has been a lot milder which is good for me as I HATE being cold, and that the quality of the light is a lot better. I really love that kind of muted winter-coming-into-spring light that’s just so much nicer than ordinary winter grey. If my brother was reading this he’d roll his eyes, tut and say ‘photographers’. But anyway, I was itching to get outside to look for and photograph signs of spring but thought better of it, so as usual I looked to Pea (my little parrotlet) for inspiration. She was the first to let me know that spring is on the way as she’s started to molt like there’s no tomorrow. There is a direct link between her growing new feathers and the increase in daylight hours, but until they’ve grown through properly she’s looking like a right little scruff pot. That doesn’t stop her posing for the camera though!

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Tomorrow I don’t care if I feel better or not, I’m going to get out of the house and do something, because I’m going quietly insane trapped in here. As much as I love hanging out with Pea she’s not much of a conversationalist!

Until next time,

Hayley x

Smashed It

By the time work came around yesterday I was absolutely knackered and wondering how I’d get through the night, let alone go out walking with my brother the next day. But then there was a minor miracle and I got out of work 5.5 hours early. Things had been going well until that point – when my Fitbit reset at midnight I’d hit over 18,000 steps and burned over 4000 kcals (by a smidge) plus I’d helped out a nice manager with my superior knowledge of the system. The two-and-a-half hours I managed to stay in work were productive then! That being the case I went home without an ounce of guilt and got some sleep ready for today’s walk.

Some people might think that an estuary is not the best place to go when it’s a little, shall we say, on the cold side? But I am obviously a hardcore walker because even though it was snowing when I got in the car at 9am it didn’t put me off. 40 minutes later I arrived at my destination which was a little car park at Heybridge Basin. Well I didn’t see any kitchen or bathroom sinks, only a canal that leads into an estuary. I was looking forward to seeing the lock and hoped a boat would be going through at some point but unfortunately Heybridge is currently undergoing a facelift and all the boats are trapped where they are for the time being.

It was (or would have been) a short walk to the lock from the car park but me being me I accidentally went in the complete opposite direction. This wasn’t such a bad thing because we got to see more of the canal, got more exercise, and we also saw some ducks and moorhens. I took a few pictures on my travels and was surprised at how well they came out. I took my old camera and lens that I bought when I first got into digital photography as I was afraid all of my better gear would get snowed on. I needn’t have worried because it stayed dry for the rest of the day but there you go.

After the canal ran out of boats and became a lot less interesting we turned back and headed for one of the two pubs at the lock. As usual when I’m out walking I find I need the ladies room as soon as we set off, which I’m sure is psychological. I don’t know about anyone else but I find it impossible to go in a place just to use the loo so felt obliged to buy a coffee even though I had a flask back in the car. Happily it was a very nice cup of coffee and it was good to have a little sit down before we set off again. I would also like to point out that the sugar didn’t get touched!

img_3531As we headed out along the edge the estuary it was a lot colder but we walked along the sea wall for a good while, all the time my brother telling me interesting ‘facts’. My brother is really good at retaining information and it’s interesting to hear what he’s learned recently, but he has a terrible habit of mixing in some stuff he’s made up himself. A small part of me finds it infuriating that he can so convincingly make up elaborate lies but the rest of me is mostly impressed and finds it fun. Just don’t tell him I said that…

I’m pleased I had him with me because there wasn’t really a huge amount to see, though a passing local (this awesome old dude who left us in the dust) assured us that it’s much nicer in the summer.  We carried on walking until we reached what looked like an industrial estate and decided to turn back. In some ways it’s nice that we’re never far from civilisation but in other ways it really, really isn’t! All in all we walked for about 8 miles, did 14,000 steps, met some friendly dogs, and spotted a cormorant (I couldn’t get a good picture sadly). It was also nice to see the last remains of autumn which added a little colour to an otherwise gray day.

We were out for about 2-and-a-half hours in the end which I think isn’t bad for 8 miles-worth of exercise, plus I got to christen my new boots. I was right- I don’t have a single blister and my dodgy right knee didn’t ache at all despite us trudging through quite a lot of mud. That usually does me in! All in all I’m feeling virtuous for getting off of my back side and braving the cold.

When I got home I decided I wasn’t quite done with exercise yet, so after hanging out with my parrot for a while (she was very displeased indeed that I’d gone and left her for the morning) I felt that I needed to get walking again. I mentioned in my previous post that I wanted to hit 30,000 steps in a single day before weigh-in, and since I was over halfway there already I thought I might as well smash it out before the end of the day.


And smash it I did! My sister’s record is 31.5k steps and I did have a fleeting desire to beat her, but I’ve got to admit I am EXHAUSTED, and my knee has started to hurt. That’s my signal to stop.


I also exceeded my weekly step record by 12,000 steps. And now I’m off to bed before I fall down. 

Good night!