Great Run!

At least one hundred times in the last three years, I’ve bumped into a neighbor in workout clothes and we’ve chatted about our mutual love of running.

Despite this almost daily interaction, we had never run together. I had often thought about suggesting it, but I was intimidated by her fitness level: she regularly competes in triathlons and, despite my Marathon success this past January, my weight gain has really crushed my self confidence.

A few nights ago, after we’d bumped into each other walking our dogs, she told me she planned to do an 8 mile training run Tuesday morning and asked if I’d want to join. I hesitated, embarrassed that I wouldn’t be able to keep up, but then told her I’d love to.

For two nights in a row, I panicked, worried she’d be so much faster than me or that she’d feel like she had to tone down for me to keep up, and I even debated canceling on her. I didn’t want to be that person, though, so when my alarm went off at 4:45am this morning to get ready, I got up, stretched, and put on my running clothes.

I met up with her and her friend, another super fit runner, and I could feel myself getting really nervous that I wouldn’t be able to keep up. But they were so nice and friendly and excited to run together, I decided I would give it my all and hope for the best.

Nine miles later, we finished as the sun was rising over Lake Baldwin, and I couldn’t believe we were done. We talked the whole time and, except for a quick water stop, we ran the whole route. Because of the high heat and humidity, we committed to a 10:00 minute mile pace; and it felt perfect the entire way.

No pain. No stress. Just a beautiful run and great conversation.

I’m so glad I didn’t cancel, and this gave me the confidence I needed to know that my few extra pounds haven’t diminished my athletic ability or endurance. I can get this weight back off, and I can continue to get stronger and faster at the same time.

I can do this. We can do this.

Bon appetite, my friends!

– Tori

A Letter to the World

Dear world:

What do you want from me?

I spent the first twenty years of my life “too fat” by your standards.  I was heckled, ridiculed, ostracized, and abused.

When I was in grade school, the kids would warn one another that I might eat them, or (worse yet) sit on them if they made me upset.

In middle school, I was ridiculed. Teased, voraciously and cruelly, by anyone that needed an ego-boost to get through their day.

In high school, I faced the worst of the abuse: I was ignored. I faded into the background, the lockers clanging and bells ringing, and no one really bothered to look for me beyond help with test questions and customized study guides.

For the last decade, I’ve worked to take control of my body.

I developed (and fought to overcome) an eating disorder as an adult. I dieted and I binged; I exercised and I purged; I succeeded and I failed.

In the last few years, I gained balance (for the most part) of my body.

I eat healthy and clean, but savor my fair share of chocolate. I exercise heavily and frequently, but make time to lay in a hot bath and veg.

I’ve gone from my peak weight – 214 pounds – down to 125.

I’m less than five weeks away from my 30th birthday and, for the first time in years, I feel like I’m back in school. Except now instead of being called fat, people call me “skinny.” Why does it hurt just as much?

“You’re too thin.”
“You’ve lost too much weight.”
“You look sickly.”
“You need to stop.”

When I was fat, everyone – children and adults alike – felt it was their right, their privilege, to pass judgment on my body.

I was “unhealthy,” and they needed me to know it. I was “unhealthy,” and they needed to set me straight. Maybe a little tough love would do the trick?

Now, at 5’3″ and 125 pounds, their civil responsibility has returned. My body isn’t right, and it’s their duty to remind me as often as they can, lest I forget.

I eat 1,200-1,900 calories per day.
I exercise 4-6 days per week.
I eat chocolate.
I eat chips.
I count calories, but don’t deny myself the things I enjoy.
I love to run.

I am strong. I am healthy. I am finally nearing a place where *I* am OK with my body.

Yet the world is not.

Why is my weight someone else’s business?

Why is my body the subject of someone else’s conversation?

Too fat, too thin, too big, too small.

What, exactly, do you want from me, world?

When am I allowed to be happy with my body? When will YOU be happy with my body?

And why do I care what you think?

Feeling dejected today,

~ Tori

A Weekend in a Bathing Suit

For the first time in years, I spent more of the weekend undressed rather than clothed. By undressed, I’m referring to the fact that I spent most of the weekend in my bathing suit.

This probably doesn’t seem like a big deal – I am a Floridian, after all – but for someone like me, this was pretty huge. Spending an extended period of time in the Lycra equivalent of a bra and panties is quite the test for someone with body image/weight issues.

Saturday, I went boating with friends. For six hours, I sat in a bathing suit with 9 other people. People I trust, of course, but vulnerable and exposed nonetheless. Amazingly, I felt great. Comfortable, even. I didn’t worry about how my body looked and just enjoyed the sun, the water, and the company of my friends.

Monday was more of a test: a public beach. Hundreds upon hundreds of men and women – also mostly naked – looking and judging. Yes, there were times on the beach where I felt uncomfortable (some people really do stare and it’s not enjoyable), but I felt at ease for the most part.

What used to be a dreaded (and often avoided) necessity – wearing a bathing suit – became a natural and casual experience. I didn’t worry. I didn’t think about it, really, except for when I caught someone watching me in that observant, judgmental way I recognize from my heavier days. It was rare and I brushed it off for the most part.

This weekend was a very freeing experience. I feel more comfortable with my body as a result. Perhaps a few more weekends spent in a bikini and I’ll one day grow to love my body. Here’s hoping!

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Don’t judge me for the dreaded duck-face; this was after five hours of hot sun and a few beers. I was feeling… happy. 🙂

Bon appetit, my friends!

~ Tori

 

 

Mondays

Ah, here we go again.

Another Monday.

Yet another re-commitment to my diet. To a better lifestyle. To everything that is good and wholesome and caring for my body.

My weight jumped back up today, which I can only attribute to the massive dinner I had Saturday night at Kobe’s. Soy sauce, noodles, and rice – OH MY!

Good God, they give you a ton of food there. Despite spending 90 minutes on the elliptical and 15 mins running fartleks on the treadmill that afternoon, I couldn’t cancel out the massive amount of calories I consumed in one sitting.

Why is it SO easy to consume 2,500 calories and yet SO hard to burn it back off?

It’s unfair that I can take thousands of calories into my body in just minutes but it takes HOURS of vigorous exercise to burn them back off.

Seriously, was this God’s practical joke on the human race? Make food delicious, readily available, and chock full of calories and then make it ridiculously hard to expend enough energy to burn it off? Then, to top it off, introduce a society that glorifies thinness and collarbones and you’ve got a bona fide eating disorder on your hands.

Grrrrrrrrrr.

Sorry, I’m in a bad mood today. I’m just tired of the fact that I work out EXTREMELY hard and then sabotage my own success by pigging out. I love food too much – but it doesn’t love me back.

There once was a lady name Tori,
Who, with food, she had quite the love story,
They got in a fight –
And try as she might,
She couldn’t kick its ass out the door-y.

[A bit of a forced rhyme, but you get what I’m feeling here.]

Tired of the yo-yo,

~ Tori

 

Bad Decisions

Two days in a row, I’ve skipped the gym.

Two days in a row, I made really bad food choices. I skipped lunch, then gorged when I got home. The day before, I pretty much polished off a box of Kix cereal all on my own.

What gives?

Last week, I had the will power of a saint. This week, I’m like a flailing infant, unable to keep my arms and legs in check. I’m eating everything, letting my laziness overpower my desire to workout, and I’m starting to feel like I’m going to be forever stuck in the 140-141 plateau.

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I’ve faced some criticism lately, where people tell me that I AM at a healthy weight and I need to stop being obsessive.

What people don’t seem to realize is that I’m 5’2″. I’m very petite, so 140 on my frame is different than 140 on the frame of an average [5’5-5’7″] woman. For me, 140 means thick thighs, squishy tummy, and arms that wiggle and shimmy like leaves on the breeze.

For my frame and height, I should probably be between 120-125.

Of course, I wouldn’t know for a fact what my true ideal weight is because I’ve NEVER been there.

I was in the 140s-150s in elementary school, the 150s-170s in middle school, and the 170s-214 range in High School. I’ve never been my ideal weight, so I’m basically guessing as to where it should be.

If I keep up with my current habits, my ideal weight will remain that: a guess and not a reality.

I really need to get myself into gear and stop making excuses. I’m still signed up for GymPact and I have to get 3 more workouts in during the next 4 days or I lose $10/session. At the minimum, that should get me moving!

Enough bemoaning the past. Today is a new day. I will make better decisions. I have kickball tonight, so that should be fun. 🙂

As always, my friends, bon appetit –

~ Tori

Vingt à Neuf (because everything sounds better in French)

So, another birthday has come and gone. It’s official. I’m 29.

I have entered the last and final year of my 20s.

Boy, that went fast.

I had just gotten into the groove of the 20s, feeling like I was coming into my own. Now, suddenly, I’ve gained sight of the bridge leading into my 30s. Whoa, slow your horses there, friend. I’ve only just set the cruise-control on my 20s and it’s already time to slow down, shift gears, and prepare for the ascent into those trichotomous digits? No, no, no. I’m not quite ready for that, thanks.

I’m 29 and I still feel like I’m 21. I’m a college student (for the second time), I drink more of my calories than I eat (whoops), and my weight is still yo-yo’ing more than it remains still. Shouldn’t I have better control of that on the brink of the triple-decade?

As you can probably guess, I did NOT hit my goal weight by my birthday. In fact, I packed on two pounds, bringing me back to 144.

Lovely.

I was 134.4 [my lowest since grade school] just before the holidays, and I’ve been spiraling out of control [OK, that’s slightly dramatic, but you know what I mean] since Christmas dinner.

Will my 29th year of life bring me some stability?

Will I suddenly, on the cusp of “true” adulthood, find balance in my diet, in my exercise, and in my body image? Or will I spend this last year of my 20s just as obsessive about food and numbers on a scale as I had for the decade prior?

I’d like to say that I am starting 29 with a renewed sense of self-worth and purpose, but really, I’m just starting it with a muffin top, a lingering hangover, and a wish for another piece of birthday cake.

Hmmmmmm.

Maybe it’ll be better tomorrow. Until then —

Bon appetit, my friends!

~ Tori

Independence Day

It’s been over 200 years since America declared its independence from their distant British ruler. Over two centuries since America and its colonies established itself as a force to be reckoned with on a global scale. For 237 years, the United States has stood for freedom, for acceptance, and for refuge for those suffering.

Suffering from persecution, prejudice, or the restriction of their basic human rights? You’ve found sanctuary here.

It seems fitting, then, that I found myself reflecting on my personal struggles with weight and body image during the festivities of the 4th of July celebration.

For years, I’ve been a slave to the scale.

You can't see it, but imagine a ball and chain locking me to this damn thing.

You can’t see it, but imagine a ball and chain locking me to this damn thing.

I’ve allowed it to dictate my mood, control even my most basic decisions, and play the role of judge and jury over the value of my life.

I’ve talked about it here extensively in the past, but the scale in my bathroom is both one of my most prized possessions – as well as one of the most malignant items in my house.

A good weigh-in means a day of happiness, of celebration, of pride.

A bad weigh-in means a day of guilt, of self-inflicted punishment, of shame.

You know, I’m getting really tired of the oppressive dictatorship of my scale.

While I can’t directly compare it to the British control over the American colonies, I can relate to the feeling that it’s not quite FAIR that this scale – which is not involved in my exercise, my diet, or any other element of my health – is able to have so much control over me. Sort of feels like taxation without representation, you know?

That’s just not right.

So, with that thought in mind, and a healthy dose of American pride coursing through my veins thanks to the fireworks yesterday, I’ve decided to declare my independence from the scale.

While I’m not sure I have the strength or fortitude of our founding fathers to make it a PERMANENT division in our relationship, I do plan to secede from the scale for as long as possible. A few days. A week. Maybe I can make it until the end of July, who knows.

Regardless, I’m declaring today – July 5th, 2013 – my personal Independence Day from the scale. Much like the British, I anticipate a bit of retaliation from the little metal and glass piece of evil… but I’ll fight that battle when I have to. In the meantime, I’m going to savor my liberty for as long as possible.

Bon appetit, my friends, and happy Independence Day [from the scale] to all!

~ Tori

I might be too old for Forever 21

Thanks primarily to the Paleo Diet, a good workout regime, and intermittent stress, I’ve managed to get down to a size 6 and stay there for a solid year. With that strong track record, I decided it was time to splurge and update my wardrobe a bit. I always wait a few months at a new size before shopping, as I never know how my body will respond and if the weight will truly stay off. After 12 months, I figured my body had given up the fight and would let me enjoy the size for a while

Last week, I went on a shopping blitz, purchasing a bunch of hip, trendy, and cute clothing from Forever 21 online. Surprisingly, they have a lot of professional clothing which, since I have short legs, manages to be appropriate for the office despite the deceiving appearances of their skirts on their beanpole models.

Since I was shopping online, I checked their measurements against my own and ordered appropriately.

Hmmmm. I should have checked the HIPS to WAIST ratio a bit closer.

Nearly 99% of the skirts/dresses fit perfect on the waist [some of the size 6’s are loose!] but several of them are SHRINK-WRAPPED around my bottom half. Literally, the material is so tight around my hips and thighs, it looks tattooed on for many of these items.

Evidence, Exhibit A:

Even my husband said, "Ummm. I don't know if this brand is a good choice for work clothing." After a pause, he added: "Your butt looks good."

Even my husband said, “Ummm. I don’t know if this brand is a good choice for work clothing.” After a pause, he added: “Your butt looks good, though.”

Huh. Now, I’ve never considered myself disproportionate in any way. In fact, I’ve never really had any body issues with my hips before. Most clothing has always fit my waist and hips with equal snugness, so shopping has never really been an issue, other than the normal panic over the size in general.

Well, per Forever 21’s standards, I’m pear-shaped.

Are people really supposed to be the same width at their waist as they are at their hips?

That doesn’t seem right.

Instead of thinking something was wrong with me and my body, I decided that I probably don’t fall into Forever 21’s normal clientele [hence, the name] and they likely design and market to the pre-pubsecent population with more gusto than the almost-30 generation like myself.

With that said… I think I may be a tad too old for Forever 21, but just the right age for my body.

Off to the mall to make returns!

~ Tori

Why I Run

I wrote the following poem between sprints on the treadmill at the gym.

Consider this my attempt to make up for not having my video blog ready to post on Sunday, as originally anticipated. Editing’s not easy work, folks!

Why I Run

Until the bitter voice,
of self doubt
is silenced,
forever.

To escape the demons
of my insecurity,
the evil whispers
of my skewed vision.

To be free.

No matter how far I go,
I cannot escape the ghost
of my former
self.

She haunts me
Taunts me,
Mocks.

And so I run.

The voice cannot shout
louder than the wind.

Faster.

********

Video blog coming this week, I promise!

Bon appetit,

~ Tori