Should I Get a Garmin?

So, I’m on day four of being “back on the wagon” and everything is going really well:

  • I’ve worked out every day (another run with my neighbor today!)
  • I’ve done really well with nutrition (I went a bit over yesterday – about 1500 calories – but I worked out hard and still felt hungry at the end of the night, so I figured my body needed it)
  • My weight is down again: 141.4 lbs this morning.

After running with Susan and her friend this morning, though, I’ve been really wondering if I should consider upgrading from my FitBit Charge 2 to a Garmin. I feel like all of the runners I know have Garmins, and they seem to have so much more functionality in terms of intervals, pacing, heart-rate monitoring, etc.

I’ve enjoyed my FitBit immensely since I got it (December 2016) and I thought it had a lot of cool functions and features, but in observing my friends and how they use their Garmins to actually fully control their runs (speeding up, slowing down, running in their ideal heart rate, etc), it makes me wonder if I am missing something.

Does anyone reading my blog have a FitBit or a Garmin and want to weigh in? Would using a Garmin improve my running and, if so, how?

Thanks for the feedback, guys!

~ Tori


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

Trying Something New

Well, as much as I was ENJOYING the Dine N Ditch meal plan service, they unfortunately closed up shop just a few weeks in. Not a permanent close (I hope), but they needed to relocate their kitchen, hire new staff, and take a step back from the service for a few weeks to restructure the entire business model.

I was doing exceptionally well on the meal plans, dropping almost 10 lbs in my first four weeks, but after the deliveries ended and I was left to my own devices …well, you can imagine what happened.

Today’s weight: back up to 141.2.

Yikes. It’s hard to believe that just two years ago I hit my all-time low of 123.4, and now I can barely get (and stay) in the 130s anymore.

I know it has been a combination of factors: stress, overeating, and, shockingly, overexercising.

For those of you who have followed the blog a long time, you know I’m a cardio-junkie and, as my weight started to slowly climb at the beginning of 2015, I started to seriously step up my cardio, hitting more than 3 or 4 hours on some days.

Well, as I’ve learned, you not only can’t out-exercise a bad diet (or, in my case, a healthy diet, but in MASS quantities), over-exercising can actually sabotage weight loss by making your body freak out and think you’re fighting for your life on a daily basis. Hence my weight creeping up and up, even when my diet was in check. Yeaaaaaah, that fucking sucks, if you don’t mind me being frank. Ugh.

So, with less than 5 weeks until my 32nd birthday, I am trying to switch things up and break out of my rut.

For the next 34 (well, basically 33, since it’s 11:35 pm EST as I write this) days, I am going to drastically reduce my cardio (think 10-30 minutes per day, versus my usual 90+) and look to integrate substantially more strength training, yoga, and stretching. My body has been in a perpetual state of stress for over a year as I pummeled it with intense bouts of cardio, so now I’m going to try to give those slow-twitch muscles a bit of a break and focus on building lean muscle mass.

In addition, I’m attempting to modify my diet slightly, increasing my fat in take and leaning more toward a Ketogenic plan. Not full Keto – which involves like 70% of your calories from fat – but definitely hoping that incorporating more healthy fats, like avocado and coconut oil, will help with satiety and appetite control.

Yesterday was a rough start, only because I have absolutely no will power when it comes to nuts, so my “single handful” of almonds before bed turned into half of a can, but today’s been better:

Calories: 1,611
Carbs (total, not net): 72g (about 17% of my daily calories)
Protein: 136g (about 33% of my daily calories)
Fat: 93g (about 50% of my daily calories)

I prepped all of my food for the next two days (salmon and green beans, chicken and broccoli, shrimp and sauteed cauliflower, etc), so hoping that having quick, easy to grab meals will help me stay on track. I’m aiming for 1,350 calories per day, but happy as long as I stay under 1,700, as I am exercising pretty consistently.

Fingers crossed I can reset my system and get back into the 130s before I hit 32. I feel like it’s only getting harder with age, so I need to really get control of my weight now before it becomes an impossibility, you know?

Any advice, suggestions, or feedback is always welcome.

Bon appetite, my friends!

~ Tori

P.S. The photo is totally my dinner tomorrow night: shrimp sauteed with basil, garlic, coconut oil over a bed of chopped cauliflower and orange pepper. Much noms. Many yums. So delicious.

Moving on UP!

I’ve been absolutely in love with the stairmaster lately, watching 90-120 minute movies on it 5-7x per week.

I know it’s terrible to do the same cardio machine every day, but I love how intense the workout is (I’m literally drenched in sweat and have to towel off multiple times during the session), but also how strong and sore my legs feel after.

I feel like I’m getting an intense lower body (and back, and core) workout from balancing on the machine, and I alternate between single steps, lunge steps, swing steps, and others to keep the exercise diverse and challenging.

As a result of all of my stepping, my UP band reports that I’ve set a new personal record for steps taken in a single week:


You saw that right: I walked over 83 miles in a single week!


That’s a little over THREE FULL MARATHONS worth of steps taken in just seven days. WHOA!

I’m going to try to take it a bit lighter this week, though, as I recognize that 83+ miles is a bit obsessive, especially for someone who is NOT training to be a pro-athlete. Still, though… I can’t help but be proud.

On that note …I think I’ve earned a snack. Bon appetit, my friends!

~ Tori

Morning Cardio!

So… I’m not much of a morning person when it comes to working out, but dinner plans with friends necessitated a morning trip to the gym. Skipping my workout was out of the question, as Monday sets the tone for my whole week – if I skip the gym once, I’ll find excuses to skip again. (Same goes for my diet, unfortunately!)

Much to my surprise, I felt awake and refreshed when the alarm went off at 5:45am. This is probably a residual effect from my long stint working two jobs, as I’d become pretty acclimated to waking up at 2am and having my brain functional for writing.

When I arrived at the gym at 6:15am, I was thrilled to see how EMPTY it was. Literally, almost every machine was available to me, something that rarely happens when I go after work. I decided to take advantage of this freedom by cardio-hopping, spending 5-15 minutes per machine and switching the moment I felt the boredom set in.

I did a little over 60 minutes of cardio, jumping from the elliptical to the stairmaster, stairmaster to the treadmill, treadmill to the bike, and bike to the rowing machine.

While I admit my flexibility and endurance is a bit less in the morning (still waking up slowly), I felt good. I burned a little over 625 calories and got home with plenty of time to shower, eat breakfast, and get ready for work.

The perks of working out in the morning are numerous, but is it enough to get me out of my warm, cozy bed tomorrow morning? Let’s see!

Bon appetit, my friends!
~ Tori

Ode to the Elliptical

I know I should do more strength training, but I am hopelessly and madly in love with the elliptical training.

Whenever I can squeeze a workout into my already hectic schedule, I find myself irrepressibly drawn to the beautiful, shiny black elliptical at the end of the row. You know the one: perfect view of the front door, a machine to the right (but clear and open on the left), and one of only three machines that has closed captioning, which will let me groove to my music AND watch the movie streaming on the private TV simultaneously.

My favorite.

I know strength training would give me more caloric burn (over the course of the day) and the added muscle mass would tighten, firm, and improve my overall look.

I know that mixing up my routine will likely help me break through my plateau and start to advance my weight loss goals.

I know that I shouldn’t have a romantic love affair with a single piece of cardio equipment, but I can’t help it.

I love my elliptical machine.


That is all.

~ Tori

Saturday Accountability Report

Man, this has been a weekend of ALCOHOL!

I’ve been getting a hefty chunk of calories every day from my drinking – almost 700 alone today! Yikes. Definitely need to tone that down a bit.

Here’s today’s report:




Way over my calorie allowance, but the workout helped to ease the deficit.

I hope everyone had a stellar Saturday! Hoping for more self-control on Sunday!

Bon appetit,


Wednesday Accountability Report

Thanks to a bout of severe insomnia, I’ve been up since 3:15 this morning (having gone to bed at 12:20am, this wasn’t much).

Since there is very little to do at this time of day, I opted to hit the gym right when it opened: 5am.

I did 75 minutes on the elliptical, only heading home because the morning hunger pangs had set in.

The good thing about morning cardio? It wakes you up.

The bad thing about morning cardio?
You’re hungry ALL DAY LONG.

Check out my food diary for proof:




Feeling guilty for my heavy consumption, I hit the gym a second time from 9:30-11pm to perform another round of cardio.

It was a good day! I’m exhausted, so let’s hope I’m not revisited by that insomnia a second night.

Bon appetit, my friends!


Tuesday Accountability Report

It was a good day, but a bad evening. A very bad evening.

I won’t expound here, but I will say that a bad evening translates into a good workout: when I’m upset (or angry, or stressed), I feel compelled to push myself harder than normal at the gym. I try to make the emotional pain fade by trading it for physical exhaustion.

When your muscles ache and tremble from fatigue, it’s hard to think of anything but a hot bath and a soft bed. Through exercise, my hurt is numbed.

Probably not healthy, but it’s better than my old habit: binging and purging.

With that said, my exercise tonight basically cancelled out the entirety of my day:





Fortunately for me, I ate my “planned cheat,” the gluten-free chocolate chip cookie I was salivating over in an earlier blog post, before heading to the gym. So, at least that part of my evening went well!

Tomorrow is a new day. Tomorrow will be a better day.

Have a good night and bon appetit, my friends!

– Tori

Too much of a good thing?

Everyone has a favorite.

A favorite color. A favorite food. Favorite pair of jeans. Shoes.

Place. Person. Pet.

[Shhhhhhh. Don’t tell anyone, but I sort of like my boy Chihuahua a bit more than my girl. Proof is that he has his own Facebook page and she doesn’t. Whoops!]

Everyone is guilty of having favorites in almost every aspect of their life, including their fitness regime.

I happen to have a favorite type of cardio exercise: the elliptical machine.

If you've followed this blog for a while, you probably realize that's not ME in the photo.

If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you probably realize that’s not ME in the photo.

Image source:

I don’t know what it is about this machine in particular, but I can literally spend 90+ minutes on it and feel great. The TV distracts me, I’m often rocking out to some killer tunes, and in some cases, I’m reading a book for the duration of the workout.

Unfortunately, you can have too much of a good thing.

I’m extremely guilty of not diversifying my workout. I have a tendency, especially when I’m tired or not motivated, to do the exact same exercise [60-90 minutes on the elliptical] every time I go to the gym.

For the past three weeks, other than one super motivated day in which I did a strength circuit, I’ve ONLY done the elliptical machine as my exercise.


The same machine. Always for 60-90 minutes. Every week, 4-5x per week.

As you can probably guess… it’s not helping my weight loss. In fact, as of this morning, I’m up a pound from my starting weight on June 11th.

It’s frustrating, because, despite the repetitious-aspect, I’m putting in effort. I leave the gym pouring sweat. I feel an ache in my legs the next day, which is normally a good indicator that I’ve given those muscles a pretty strenuous workout.

Why isn’t that enough?

I was reading a few fitness articles online and I discovered there are a couple of major CONS to doing the same workout over and over.

  • For one, you’re more prone to injury! As this article by Body4Life states, doing the same workout over and over creates a “repetitive-task” response, which can lead to an increased chance of injury.
  • The workout becomes less effective. As you continue to do the same workout over and over, your muscles learn the motion and it requires less energy/effort to mimic the action. Practice makes perfect – but, in this case, it means the workout provides less overall caloric burn because it’s not a challenge to your muscles anymore.
  • You won’t see the same results. If you continue doing the same exercise over and over but expect different results [aka, new definition or muscle development], you’re going to be sorely disappointed. [get it? sorely disappointed?! I’m such a pun-artist!]

So, with all of that being said, I guess I’ve fallen into the cardio-rut and it’s time to overhaul my workout a bit.

I hate to say this, Mr. Elliptical-by-the-Door, it’s time to take a break. I need to see other machines.


That treadmill is looking mighty sexy. And I’m pretty sure Mr. Stairclimber has been checking me out all night. Don’t get me started on the rowing machine… he’s been dying to bend me over since he laid eyes on me.

Don’t be upset. We can stay friends. I’ll still visit from time-to-time. I’m just not ready for a committed relationship at this point, you know?

I’m glad you understand. I love you and I’ll never forget the joy – and the sore buttocks – you’ve brought me.

Bon appetit, my friends —

~ Tori