Throwback Thursday #tbt

Digging through a box of high school photos, I’m amazed by the strength and clarity of the memories produced.

Moments in time that I thought were trivial, insignificant, come back to me as if they were yesterday.

This picture is from a church event at Our Savior Lutheran. I was about 16, maybe nearing 17. It was shortly after my Confirmation ceremony, but before I entered senior year.

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I’ve come a long, long way – but I’m glad to see that I knew happiness at any size. Look at that cheesy grin! Ha!

It just goes to show you: happiness isn’t based on size, it’s based on self. Find your happiness through loving yourself.

Bon appetit, my friends!

Tori

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Throw Back Thursday!

Throw Back Thursday!

This photo was taken after our senior trip to Islands of Adventure in high school. I had just gotten SOAKED on the ride in Tune Town and we were all giddy for our upcoming graduation.

It was at this point in my life that I had finally begun to take charge (and responsibility) for my health. A mistake on my senior schedule put me in NJROTC classes and the group accountability helped me follow-through on promises to exercise. By the end of senior year, I had dropped down to 170-175 pounds from my high of 214 over the summer.

This photo reminds me that happiness is NOT about weight, but rather about enjoyment of life in the moment. I think back to this day with only fond memories. I don’t recall my weight or my looks affecting my happiness in any way – we were just a group of kids reveling in a day off from school and the promise of a bright future.

On the days where I wake up and don’t like how I look, I remind myself that five years from now I won’t remember what the number was on the scale that morning, but I would remember doing something positive for someone. I would remember an event, a significant conversation, or an act of generosity. I try to shake off my bad days by remembering the happiness I felt in this picture – with no concerns about my weight or my body – and how today can be a good day, too.

Bon appetit, my friends!
~ Tori

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Throw Back Thursday!

Throw Back Thursday!

God, that hat! Did I really think that looked good? Yikes.

This photo was taken just two days after my 15th birthday. By 15, I was already a very big girl. I was struggling with my weight and learning – quickly – that I didn’t fit in with society’s expectations for a teenage girl.

My body didn’t look like the women in the magazines, especially not the TeenBeat or Seventeen, which I read with frenetic energy back then.

My body didn’t look like the girls I went to school with, either. I was twice their size, developed, and struggling against tom-boy tendencies and a desire to be more feminine like the rest of them.

I’m not alone in saying that my teens were the most challenging years of my life, partly due to my weight and partly due to the fact that I was unsure of my identity. I found solace in my confusion through food – lots and lots of it – and it took me several years to gain control of my eating and learn the source of my bad habits.

I used to look at these photos and get mad at myself: why was I so lazy? why didn’t I care more about my health?

Now, with fifteen years perspective, I can look back at the younger me with forgiveness and without judgment. I recognize that my priorities were different, I wasn’t fully self-aware, and I had other issues to deal with at the time. Now, I can see this photo for what it was: a birthday celebration at a theme park with my family. I remember being happy, feeling loved, and enjoying the day, and, in retrospect, those good feelings are all that matters.

Bon appetit, my friends!
~ Tori

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Throw Back Thursday!

Throw Back Thursday!

This is one of the few photos from my family album that had an electronic date stamp on it: January 17th, 1999.

I was at a theme park with my mother and father. I can’t remember the park based on this photo, but my guess is Universal Studios.

I cropped it out, but my father stood across from me in this picture. It was very hard for me to see this, as my waist was easily twice the width of my father’s. Granted, my dad was a thin man by nature – he wore a men’s size 28 pant – but to see us standing next to one another, the size difference was a painfully stark contrast.

I know my shirt was an XL and barely fit. My pants were at least an 18, but probably a 20. Man, I could EAT!

I still enjoy a frozen margarita (not a virgin one, as pictured!) now and then, but I definitely recognize and respect moderation. Life is about enjoyment, not stressing every calorie. I’ve learned that eating healthy 80% of the time makes the cheats I have now and then that much more fulfilling and I can savor the food/drink/candy without guilt. Life is about LIVING!

Bon appetit, my friends!
~ Tori

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Throw Back Thursday!

Throw Back Thursday!

This picture is really hard for me to look at. This was definitely my largest: I know I was over 200 lbs by this point, as I remember worrying if my ocean kayak could really hold my weight.

This photo was taken during the summer between sophomore and junior year of high school. The summer, for me, consisted of playing computer games until 3-4am (while drinking Mountain Dew and eating junk food) and then sleeping until 1-2pm. As a result, every summer during high school normally packed on 10-15 lbs.

My mother tried to keep me active – I really did love kayaking and biking – but it was hard to counteract the damage I was doing with my late night binging and irregular sleeping habits.

Looking at this photo reminds me that exercise alone is not enough for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Good nutrition, healthy sleeping patterns, and regular fitness are the secret to success: not pills, not restrictive diets, not excessive exercise. This photo reminds me that BALANCE is crucial to long term health and body satisfaction.

Find your balance, my friends!

Bon appetit,
~ Tori

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Throw Back Thursday!

Throw Back Thursday!

This photo was taken while I was on a religious youth trip (Lutheran, ELCA – “Dancing at the Crossroads”) in St. Louis, Missouri.

At this point I was broaching my heaviest weight in high school: I was at least 190 pounds in this photo. I remember being very upset just before this picture, as I had struggled to keep up at volunteer event that day. My weight made it challenging for me to run around and hustle the way the organizers needed me to in order to keep everything running smoothly.

I started to distance myself in pictures by this age (this snapshot is actually part of a larger photo of our group – I snuck off to the side to try to avoid the central focus) and I really noticed my weight was impacting the quality of my life.

These TBT photos help to remind me of the girl that I was and the woman I became as a result of taking control of my health, my fitness, and my life. A good reminder of the past helps to keep your focus on the present!

Bon appetit, my friends!
~ Tori

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Throw Back Thursday!

Throw Back Thursday!

A velvet dress! Boy, that dates me, doesn’t it?

This photo was taken at my Confirmation ceremony (Lutheran, ELCA) back when I was 15 years old.

At this time, I was probably teetering between 180-185 lbs and wearing between a size 18 and a size 20.

I was my heaviest between the ages of 15-17, reaching my max of 214 pounds at the end of my junior year of high school.

I hang on to these photos to remind myself of how far I’ve come and the never-ending journey I am on to be healthy, fit, and happy.

Bon appetit, my friends!
~ Tori