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

Valhalla Bakery – The Real Trip to Heaven!

Let me preface this post by saying immediately: THE CAKE MENTIONED IS NOT PALEO, nor is it any way diet-friendly, which is why I absolutely loved it.

As I’ve said on here many times, I’m trying to learn to be less obsessive about my relationship with food, and with that comes a leniency –no, a revelation and enjoyment– of the occasional splurge. This post is about one of those splurges.

Back in April, I attended the Florida Film Festival opening night party, which featured booze, decadent food, and the talented film elite of Central Florida. While there, I discovered a vendor passing out TO-DIE-FOR cupcakes, and made a mental note to look her up on Facebook later to commission a cake from her.

True to my word, I searched for her the very next day – April 10th – and immediately asked what steps I needed to take to secure a delicious, heavenly scumptoid for a holiday get together. Valhalla Bakery Inc., run by the coolest tattoo-covered, blue-hair sporting woman I’ve ever met, truly lives up to its name.

Since both my husband and I LOVE key lime pie, I ordered a custom Key Lime Pie Cake for Father’s Day. Now, I don’t *technically* have kids with my husband (yet), but we do have two fur-babies, and I considered Father’s Day to be the closest acceptable holiday to show up with a cake, since there was NO WAY I could hold out until my birthday in July.

Needless to say …this was the best Father’s Day ever. Check out this miraculous cake:

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In case you can’t read it, it says: “Happy Father’s Day! Love Taco & The Black Bat!” The baker cracked up when I placed the order. What can I say? We love our doggies.

Dear God… it’s beautiful. It truly is Valhalla!

I can’t begin to accurately describe how wonderful this cake is. Layers of moist cake (thicker than normal cake; it actually tastes like the crust of a real key lime pie, but extra thick), sweet cream icing, and a heavenly glaze of key lime deliciousness (honey based, I think?) that made it downright sinful.

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I didn’t ask about calorie-content or worry about how many miles I’d have to run to burn it off.

I ate a slice that day, and a second slice the next day, and damn it… it was worth it. 🙂

We froze the rest to enjoy at a later date, but I can say it was an act of sheer will power not to dig in with my hands and just shovel the rest in. Valhalla Bakery, you win at life! ❤

Bon appetit, my friends!

~ Tori

Product Review: Eastwind Cashew Butter

For anyone that knows me, it’s pretty obvious that I have a sweet tooth. I can eat, and eat, and eat sugars all day long.

I normally try to satiate the craving with a spoonful of almond butter (except I have to avoid Maranatha’s Caramel Almond butter, because it’s so good, I can’t control myself), but it normally doesn’t cut the craving for candy.

And then I discovered Eastwind Cashew Butter.

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Now, I’ve never been a huge fan of cashews – they’re normally the last nuts I pick out of the deluxe mix, once the pecans and walnuts are gone – but I’ve always thought they were just so-so. Until today.

This cashew butter is amazing.

Buttery, creamy, slightly sweet …but there’s no sugar or salt added. It’s like a miracle in a jar.

I can’t stop eating it. I reached in for a spoon, and had to have my husband pry the jar out of my hands after I’d polished off my fourth serving. And for 210 calories per serving, I *needed* that jar taken away.

I’m already salivating at the thought of what I can do with this cashew butter. Mixing it into sauces, baking with it, smearing it all over a paleo waffle or toast. YUMMMMM.

I strongly suggest picking up a jar if you want to experience a low carb taste of heaven – but make sure you have someone who will rip it out of your hands when you realize you’re spooning it out from the jar with your fingers like a wild animal!

Bon appetit, my friends!

~ Tori

Countdown?

Uh oh. It’s that time of year again. I’m just six weeks away from my birthday, and the nudging voice inside my mind has begun its annual bleating.

This is the time of year I normally commit to a rigorous exercise regime, an über strict diet, and a nearly fanatic pursuit of the “ideal body” to flaunt on my birthday.

I’ll be turning 31 this year. Yikes. The years have flown by, haven’t they?

Last year, I was at the lowest weight of my [adult] life on my birthday: 123.8.

This year, I’m sitting around 132-134 (I haven’t weight myself in over a month, so I’m not sure) and I feel good. Yes, I’d like to get rid of the pooch of my waist and the chub on my thighs, but I feel strong, well-rested, and self-secure.

Since quitting my second job in mid-April, I’ve spent the last two months focusing on repairing my health from the ill effects of sleep deprivation, and I’ve finally reached a point where I feel my body has gained balance. I feel like I’m repaired, though not fully 100% just yet. The scars are healing nicely, though.

Even though the alarms in the back of my mind are sounding, I’m choosing to ignore them this year. If I weigh 120 or 140 on my birthday will not matter: what matters is spending the day with the people I love, and celebrating a life being lived to the fullest.

On that note… bon appetit, my friends!

~ Tori

Sleep is the Cure

For the past two weeks, I’ve been on a “normal” schedule.

And by normal, I mean I have not balanced two full-time jobs and graduate school simultaneously. I’ve worked just ONE full time job and attended my two graduate classes, which has allowed me to do something I hadn’t done in nearly a year:

SLEEP.

Not nap, but SLEEP. Full, deep, nightly sleep.

For two whole weeks, I’ve averaged no less than six hours of sleep per night. Last night, I got a solid eight hours. EIGHT HOURS!

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My mind doesn’t even know how to grasp the concept of “eight hours of sleep.”

Now that I’m well rested, I’ve found controlling my appetite to be substantially easier. Yes, I’m still working to get over the sugar cravings (seriously, I’d created a severe addiction the last nine months while working at the TV studio), but I can control my portions and stop after a few bites (versus the murdurous rampage I’d go in before, like a shark smelling blood in the water).

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Seriously, this was my life for the entirety of the last year balancing the two jobs. I had -100% will power.

I’ve also noticed my skin is nearly perfect again, no pimples or dark spots from lack of sleep and raging hormone fluctuations. Woohoo! I’m no longer the pubescent 30-year-old!

I’ve been hitting the gym 5-6x per week, not because I need to, but because I want to. I’m energetic and excited, so I feel even more motivated to exercise than I did before.

I have NOT been weighing myself (I’m trying to allow my body to get back into a healthy food/sleep cycle again before I tackle weight concerns), but I can feel my clothing getting back to its normal fit: loose where it should be, not as constrictive as it was just a few weeks ago.

Huh.

Funny.

Sleep truly was the cure to most of my problems.

Appetite control? In check now that I’m not a walking zombie.
Skin problems? All gone.
Lack of energy? Nope, not anymore. I’m high on life.
Cranky? Depressed? Amazingly, I feel like I’m happier now than I’ve been in years.

While I absolutely miss working at The Daily Buzz, I have to admit that I was sacrificing a lot –too much, honestly– and I finally feel like I’ve got my life back.

On that note… bon appetit, my friends!

~ Tori

Monday’s Accountability Report: Back on the Wagon

OK, I got the pity party out of my system. If you read my earlier post, you probably realize that I had a rough weekend (over-indulgence that led to a dramatic spike on the scale), which nearly sent me into a spiraling depression this morning.

Thanks to the comforting words of some of my blogging friends (I’m looking at you, Want Need Will and you, Keen Peach), I’ve calmed down and climbed back into the saddle. Fitness and wellness is a journey and not a destination, right? I’ll continue to take this one day at a time.

I’ve been mostly good today, with just a little bit of chocolate (seriously, I can’t make it more than 12 hours without SOMETHING chocolatey) and under 1,400 calories consumed.

I had a substantial amount of homework to do in prep for class tomorrow, so I had a window of under 90 minutes to workout (including travel time to and from the gym). With that in mind, I decided to max out on the Stairmaster, doing 60 minutes all out, ranging from 104 to 128 steps per minute. If you’ve never been on the Stairmaster before, let me assure you: that’s a strenuous pace. I almost fell off when I was doing my 60 second sprints at 128 steps/min.

I’ve decided I’m going to be 100% honest with these accountability reports, so here’s the full summary of food log/ exercise log:

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As you can see …I get a lot of veggies in daily, but portions are my challenge. And I sneak sweets in a bit too often, but it’s really hard to resist in my office setting.

Here’s a glimpse at just some of the tasty food I had today:

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And, just in case you doubted the intensity of my workout, here’s my proof:

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Booyah.

Let’s hope the scale is better to me tomorrow.

Bon appetit, my friends!

~ Tori

Thursday’s Accountability Report

OK, I’m exhausted. EXHAUSTED.

Three hours at the gym this morning, ran a few errands, and then my dinner date cancelled …so I hit the gym with my girlfriend in the evening.

TWICE!

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I wasn’t hungry for the majority of the day, but the last half hour I’ve had a serious case of the munchies. I’m trying to cut myself off now before I cancel out my ridiculous hard work!

Hoping this morning’s scale miracle doesn’t bounce back tomorrow!

Bon appetit, my friends!
-Tori

Weigh-in Wednesday!

It looks my vacation from work -and my nearly three hour morning gym sessions- are really helping with my weight loss!

Today’s weigh-in: 126.8!!

That means I’ve dropped 9 lbs since January 5th, which is:

1) Slightly insane,
and
2) Too much, too fast.

I know this won’t be sustainable, as I won’t be able to commit to 2-3+ hours of exercise once I head back to work on Sunday. I guess I might as well take advantage of it now, as my weight loss will slow to a crawl once my normal exercise pattern sets in.

But that’s OK. Slow and steady wins the race. Or, in the case of overall health, moderation and consistency keep bad weight off and good muscle on!

Will post my accountability report this evening after class!

In the meantime …bon appetit, my friends!
– Tori

Accountability for Thursday

OK, it’s my fourth day of clean eating (counting a daily cheat of chocolate and/or wine), and I definitely felt challenged to stay on track.

I had four pieces of chocolate, and it took every ounce of self control not to have 1,871,491 more. Ugh.

My appetite is crazy, probably from the massive amount of cardio I did yesterday. Here’s how I managed for the day:

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As you can see, I definitely toned down the cardio today. I’m sore (and tired), plus I have a bit of a sore throat/sniffle thing starting …uh oh. Hope I don’t catch something, as that will completely throw off my exercise routine.

I’m dosing up on NyQuil and hoping a good night’s sleep knocks it out of me.

On that note, bon appetit, my friends!
– Tori

Trader Joe’s is my BEST FRIEND!

OK, I know everyone raves about Trader Joe’s for their Two Buck Chuck (technically, it’s Three Buck Chuck, since it’s $2.99, but let’s not argue technicalities) and their insane Cookie Butter spread, but I’ve discovered that this Aldi-esque giant is actually PERFECT for someone trying to eat well, eat fast, and eat on a budget.

Introducing …their insane selection of pre-made and SUPER INEXPENSIVE salads!

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Seriously, this is HEAVEN.

All of the salads are between $2.99 and $4.99, they are perfectly portioned, and there are at LEAST fifteen different varieties/options when I go to my local Trader Joe’s.

They offer some vegan options, some vegetarian options, and several with salmon, seafood, chicken, and chopped deli meat!

I love the fact that the nutrition labels include the calories/fat with and without the dressing! Huge convenience and really helps us put into perspective the calories added with just a little cup of sauce! I’m one of those weird people that happens to just REALLY enjoy the taste of my fruits/veggies, so I never use dressings, so the separate calorie count helps me be more accurate.

These are my TOP salad choices:

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I could eat the broccoli/kale one for every meal, honestly. It’s just SO good!

I’ve been making it a point to go almost every Sunday morning and buy about a dozen salads to eat for the week. I try to buy the ones at the very back of the refrigerated section (the ones dated the last the longest, since they’re the freshest) and I’ll eat 2-3x per day over the course of the week until they run out.

Most of the salads are just 160-300 calories without their dressing, so I can eat three per day and still fit in another full meal, a snack, or a sweet treat without breaking my 1,500 calorie goal.

If you have a Trader Joe’s nearby and haven’t check it out, it’s time for you to go! You won’t regret it!

Bon appetit, my friends!

~ Tori