Don’t Panic! I’m Here.

I know, I know. I didn’t post on Sunday or Monday.

Don’t worry: I didn’t quit. I didn’t fall off the wagon. I didn’t binge eat tacos until my blood turned into queso.

Can I confess the silly, embarrassing, and downright amateur reason I didn’t post this weekend?

I forgot my laptop charger at work.

And, since my house is currently a state of chaos, I couldn’t find ANY of my spare chargers to save my life.

It was a really good weekend. Friday morning I ran with my girlfriends (roughly 6 miles), and then hit the gym for an extended sweat-sesh after work. Burned a ridiculous 1,900 calories Friday as a result.

Saturday was a good workout (over 1,400 calories burned!), but I did eat a bit heavy – went to a soccer game and had chicken tenders and fries. I probably rounded up the calories a bit much, but figured it’s better to overestimate versus under-estimate and see it on the scale a few days later.

Sunday I ran errands, ate Greek food, and skipped the gym, giving myself a well-deserved night off to relax.

Monday, the holiday, I opted out of BBQ and opted to spend an entire day in the kitchen, prep-cooking and making meals for the week.

The Planned Work-Week Menu:

  • Keto Blueberry Muffins
  • Keto Italian Herb & Cheese Muffins
  • Miracle Noodles Chicken Alfredo
  • Spinach, Egg, Turkey Bacon Frittata
  • Greek Cucumber Salad

I’ll share some of the recipes this week, but now …it’s time to head to the gym!

Have a great night everyone!

– Tori

Still Here!

I didn’t post Friday-Sunday, but it wasn’t because I fell off the wagon: I was literally just so exhausted each day from my action-packed weekend, I didn’t have the steam (or motivation) to post!

Friday my grandmother came to spend the day with me to celebrate her 74th birthday. She’s like the perfect combination between a crazy, eccentric German woman and a toddler; she’s brilliant and funny, but if you don’t keep your eye on her, she runs off and eats sand or something.

She loves the beach, so I took her to New Smyrna Beach!

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Kidding, kidding, but she does require a lot of energy and attention. She lives alone, so when we’re together she basically pummels me with conversation, which is definitely enjoyable but surprisingly exhausting after a few straight hours.

She’s also a diabetic who refuses to eat right, so I’m constantly aware of what she’s doing, eating, and drinking, making her check her blood sugar and cancelling her order (and getting herself she should be eating) when she turns her head at the restaurant.

Saturday, my husband and I spent the whole day at Disney World and had a blast. We ran around Magic Kingdom all afternoon, and then wrapped up our evening at Epcot. Despite our workout that morning, we still managed to get in an additional 20,000 steps (putting me at almost 38k for the day!) by the time we got home around 11pm. Yeah, needless to say, we crashed hard that night.

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On Sunday, we went out to lunch with friends (Vietnamese! Pho is my jam!) and then went to the Orlando City Soccer Game that night.

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Yes, I budgeted calories for that Jell-O shot, and it was worth it!

All three days, I managed to control my eating and stay on track, not to mention getting in a hardcore workout every morning!

After a successful weekend, I am going into my new work week back down to 134.2 lbs, down a staggering 7 lbs since Monday last week! I know it’s not realistic or sustainable to lose 7 lbs in one week, and I’m sure much of this is water weight, but it still put me in a great mood this morning and further reinforced my commitment to sticking to this as a lifestyle tweak, not a diet.

Hoping for another great week, and I’ll try to get back to posting daily from this point on, but I make no promises.

~ Tori

I Hate You, But I Love You

Dear Hide and Seek Alarm Clock,

I hate you. No, like, I really hate you.

You’ve ripped me from slumber four days in a row, and you’re planning to do it again tomorrow.

You yellow bastard on wheels.

Between your refulgent disco lights, your blaring, cacophonous siren, and the fact that you THROW YOURSELF OFF OF MY NIGHT STAND AND HIDE UNDER MY BED, you are guaranteed to wake me up, thus breaking a lifelong romance with the snooze button.

You abhorrent piece of cheap plastic and sticky rubber wheels.

I hate you, but I love you SO much.

Because of you, I’ve gone to work with my entire workout already finished, freeing up my evenings for personal time.

Because of you, I’m finding my sleep patterns to be slowly changing, and now I’m going to bed at 11pm versus my normal 1 or 2am.

Because of you, I’m feeling accomplished before the sun rises.

Because of you, my husband is happy as a clam: he no longer has to endure the snooze buttons of the 46 alarms I normally have set on my iPhone (no, seriously, it was bad).

Thanks to you, you wanna-be Roomba, I’m building the habits and behaviors I want, and not settling for the ones I have.

Today was a good day. I ate about 100 calories more than I planned, but I worked out hard and the food was good, so I do not feel guilty. This is life.

Bon appetit, my friends!

~ Tori

An Anniversary Thought

Today marks four years since I originally started this blog.

Four years of successes and four years of failures, all shared vulnerably and with the hope of connecting with others who are enduring the same lifelong journey toward health and wellness with me.

For the first three years of the blog, I was consistent: I posted several times per week, often daily, providing insight into the diets I’d tried, the recipes I’d created, and the emotional roller coaster that is an eating disorder.

And, during those first three years, something magical happened: in sharing my inner thoughts and secrets with the world, I was somehow freed from the pain (for the most part) of the eating disorder. By making it public, it lessened its power over me. For the first time in my adult life, I managed to gain some semblance of control over my eating (and obsessive thoughts about food), even hitting my goal weight in June 2014 and maintaining it for almost six months.

But, around the end of year three, I started to slip.

I posted less and less. And, as the time between updates grew longer, my relationship with my body and nutrition began to regress.

I watched my weight slowly climb up on the scale, and over and over again I tried to convince myself that I would take back control “this Monday,” always excusing each binge as my last fling with food.

My posts grew more sporadic, and I found myself spending hours at the gym, trying desperately to counteract the more frequent binge eating I was experiencing. I was logging 40-50 miles per week running, not to mention the time spent on the elliptical, stairmaster, and other random cardio, while watching my weight increase and my clothing get tighter.

As my good friend Fitz always tells me, “You cannot out exercise a bad diet.”

For me, this wasn’t a bad diet. My eating disorder was back, the demons had returned, only now it had manifested into exercise-bulimia instead of the more common purging through laxatives, diuretics, or vomiting. Regardless, I was punishing myself. I was losing the battle against my body.

I randomly posted on here, more out of guilt for my silence than genuine concern for my body, and I could tell I was losing my readership. Worse, I was no longer believing anything I had to say, because I felt like I had lost any validity or right to talk about health – considering I’d stopped carrying about mine.

Last night, while out on a date night with my husband, Fitz forced me to wake up.

After reading a message I’d posted earlier in the afternoon in a Facebook Support Group she hosts about my heavy workouts (and my overeating, which I tried to playfully minimize), she messaged me on Facebook.

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I don’t think she realizes it now, and I’m not 100% sure I fully grasp it, but I think having her call me out (with nothing but love in her heart) might have saved my life.

I was spiraling, and fast. I had recently purchased boxes (yes, that’s plural: boxES) of laxatives and diuretics. It was only weeks (or days?) until I started to purge in every way I knew how. And, let me tell you: taking tons of diuretics and laxatives while overexercising your body is probably one of the most dangerous things you can do. I know it logically, but, looking back at how I was feeling even 24 hours ago, I honestly don’t think I was very far away from trying it, trying anything, to make the guilt of the binges go away.

Her message, though, reminded me that there are people who SEE ME, people who CARE, and people who expect me to take care of myself. Not for the benefit of others – not so that I can be a role model or an inspiration – but so that I can be the healthiest, happiest version of myself.

I owe Fitz so much for throwing me a life ring, because I see now I was drowning. Which, looking back at it, I don’t know how or why I didn’t see it. I don’t know how I let my ED sneak back up on me so quickly, and how it managed to spiral so fast. In less than a year, I erased nearly three years of success.

Well, I’m viewing this as my second chance. My second chance to regain control of my life: not of my diet, but of my life. My relationship with food, my relationship with my body, all of it. Fitz gave me a second chance, and I’m not going to waste it.

Expect to be hearing a lot more from me in the coming days, but let today be the first good day of many to come:

Bon appetit, my friends!

~ Tori

P.S. It’s good to be back.

Office Weight Loss!

Starting this Monday, August 15th, my office is starting a weight loss challenge. Normally, I’d be excited to participate (the more motivation, the better!), but this year is different: they’ve asked me to host/lead the challenge.

Wait, what?

After years of experimenting with diets and developing a consistent gym routine, somehow along the way I became an expert, of sorts. Most people in my office refer to me with questions about nutrition, fitness, and health-related concerns and, without consciously trying, I realized I’ve developed quite a passion for helping others on their journey to good health.

When my colleague asked me to lead the Weight Loss Challenge, she jokingly referred to me as the Jillian Michaels of the office. Not in the “damn, you’re a hard ass” sort of way, but more the “you’re an expert and we know you’ll push us” way.

I’ll admit it: I’m flattered.

While my own weight fluctuates between 125 lbs and 145 lbs depending on my eating habits, I’ve managed to stay between a size 4 to 6 (down from a 22) for almost four years and I’ve kept my overall fitness – my health and strength – at a very high level, even when my “love chub” is a bit higher than I like.

As a result of this consistency and perseverance, many people now look to me for guidance and inspiration, which is mind-blowing to me. The student has become the teacher? I feel like I’m still learning, but others feel I’ve learned enough to help them on their way, and that’s a very humbling and rewarding feeling.

To help motivate and lead the weight loss contest, I’m looking to develop a “double prize” program:

  • We’re going to have an INDIVIDUAL contest, which looks just at individual weight loss percentage. (Not pounds, but overall body weight percentage, to be fair.)
  • We’re also going to have a TEAM contest, which will match up three people and encourage them to motivate one another to lose weight.

I’m working to figure out additional challenges/contests for the TEAM participants, as I want this to be more than just about a number on a scale: I’d love for this to be about seeing your body grow stronger, healthier, and more vibrant.

Does anyone have ideas for office-friendly contests or challenges I can introduce for a team?

I would love any and all feedback! Thank you for reading and bon appetit, my friends!

~ Tori

The Winter Park 10K Road Race

On Saturday, March 12th, I forced myself out of my warm, cozy bed to lace on my sneakers and head out to run the Winter Park 10K Road Race.

I remember lying there, trying to come up with a valid excuse to skip, desperate to go back to sleep. Despite my better judgment, I had stayed up late watching House of Cards with my hubby, and I knew I would regret it when the alarm rang at 5am.

Somehow, I forced myself out of bed. Honestly, I don’t know what made me do it. I could have easily lied and told my husband I overslept or, to be frank, told him the truth: I didn’t want to go.

But why didn’t I want to go?

I had registered for the race months in advance. I had stepped up my cardio at the gym, and I had no one to impress: my friends and family weren’t running it with me, so I had signed up to do it all on my own.

So, why didn’t I want go to?

I was scared I couldn’t do it.

Not physically unable, but mentally. I knew I could do 90 minutes of cardio at the gym (absorbed in a movie on my ipad), but could I run with 35,00 other people with nothing but my thoughts and the asphalt?

I didn’t trust my will power. I didn’t trust my resolve. I didn’t trust myself.

I was scared to see myself fail, even though no one else would ever know. And I almost skipped the run.

But, somehow, I did it. I got up. I got dressed. I choked down a protein bar and sipped some water, and I drove to Winter Park while my husband and puppies slept peacefully.

I was anxious when I parked. I felt nauseated when I picked up my race number and t-shirt. I debated heading back to the car a hundred times, but as I saw runners of all shapes and sizes arrive, eager to run, I realized that I was focusing on the wrong thing.

It didn’t matter if I had to stop and walk. It didn’t matter if I was slower than the other women my age.

I was already winning.

I was here. I was willing to try. I was doing more than the other quarter of a million people living in the Orlando-area who weren’t up at 6am, stretching their calves on a curb. I was going to run, or jog, or run/jog, or run/walk, or whatever it was that I was going to do – I was here.

I sang along to the Star Spangled Banner and took off with the gun shot, and I ran.Well, jogged quickly, as I was working my way through 3,500 people just to get to the real starting line.

Before we’d gone half of a mile, people started to walk. I passed people younger than me, and people who looked like they lived in the gym. I felt a little stronger with each person I passed.

When I hit the one mile mark, the clock read 10:08.

Now, 10:08 isn’t a record mile by any means, but everyone knows the first mile is always inaccurate, as the real race clock starts when you cross the starting line, so seeing 10:08 meant my real first mile was likely closer to 9:30 or so. That was a good pace for a 10K (6.2 miles, in case you’re not into the metric system), but was it sustainable? Most of my 5Ks were around 28 minutes, so a 9:30/mile for a 10K didn’t seem realistic.

At mile two, the clock read 19:35.

Wait a second. Did I get faster? That couldn’t be right. I must have misread it.

Before I hit mile three, I realized a lot of people had “dropped off” from the run. Not quit the race, of course, but they’d stopped to walk along the way. The people I was pacing with now were in it for the long haul. I spotted a middle-aged man, maybe in his early 50s, who was in great shape and holding almost the exact same stride as me. I decided he would be my mental-pacer, the person I would try to stay with throughout the rest of the race.

At the 5K (3.1) mark, the clock read 28:04.

Wait, what? I AM getting faster.

At mile four, there was a hill. Now, for anyone who knows Florida, we don’t have hills. At all. But Winter Park has a few baby ones, and one happened to be at mile four. It may have been small, but it BURNED. But I kept with my pace-buddy (did he think I was stalking him?), and I made it.

At mile five, the clock read 48:37. I have never run five miles in less than 50 minutes in my life. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I wanted to cry, but then I realized how silly it would be to start crying during a 10K and I kept going.

Did I mention I hadn’t stopped? I had kept running –and kept up with my pacer– for the entire time so far.

Mile six gave me a jolt of excitement. I could see the finish. I could hear the music. I had very few people around me now, and most of the “droppers” were gone. I was with the runners.

I crossed the finish line at 56:46. I ran 6.2 miles in 56 minutes and 46 seconds. How? What? Holy shit.

Race 56.46

Sorry about the ridiculous watermarks, but I can’t pay $28.99 for a single JPG. Seriously, Track Shack??

Come to find out, my official race time was 56:10. I ran the 10K at a 9:02/mile average pace, faster than I normally run my 5Ks.

Let’s summarize this a bit:

I woke up anxious. I spent the entire morning afraid I couldn’t run the race (regardless of pace). I had to give myself a pep talk just to start the run, and yet I set a PERSONAL RECORD?

I SET A PR!!!

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I’m glad I didn’t let my mind hold me prisoner on Saturday morning, for I never would have known just how strong I could be.

Bon appetit, my friends!

~ Tori

February 1-29: It’s DietBet Time!

You guys know I love using technology for tracking my health and fitness. I use MyFitnessPal to log my meals, RunKeeper to track my mileage, Jawbone Up to track my steps, and multiple Paleo apps to search for recipes and ingredients list for new dishes. So, it’s only natural that I would start using Instagram for health and wellness, too!

Now, I try to keep my account on Instagram pretty loose, in then sense that I do not want my profile associated with any one topic. So, instead of using my account to talk about my weight loss or workouts, I tend to post pictures of my puppy, funny gym shirts, and whatever delicious food I’m about to scarf down. However, I absolutely LOVE following people who are dedicated to their journeys, and that’s how I came across @AmyDown100!

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She’s this super cool chick who has managed to shed 100 lbs through healthy diet, exercise, and positive thought. She’s very real: she talks about the good days and the bad, just like I try to do on here. She recently underwent surgery for excess skin removal and, since the recovery period severely limited her exercise, she admits she gained a few pounds back. It’s human, and I love the fact that instead of getting upset or depressed about it, she’s taking charge. How?

With DietBet!

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DietBet is basically the real-life version of putting your money where you mouth is. You pay in $30 to join a pool of other dieters. Ultimately, the goal is to lose 4% (or more) of your body weight in four weeks.

Here’s the best part: it’s not like a tournament where only the top losers win (sounds oxymoronic, but you know what I mean). ANYONE who loses at least 4% of their money back is guaranteed to get back their initial investment ($30), and then they split the “winnings” — aka, the $30 investments of everyone who didn’t lose 4% — with their teammates!

I’ve seen people making $20-30 per DietBet they join — the investment keeps them motivated ($30 is a nice dinner out), and so they follow through with their exercise and healthy eating plans. You’re not limited to being in one DietBet at a time, either. You can join dozens, if you want to, as long as your willing to pay the $30 to get started per bet and you’re committed to working your butt off to ensure you don’t miss your 4% weight loss goal, since you’ll lose the investment for all bets simultaneously!

Amy’s trying to get herself refocused and shed those couple extra pounds that creeped up over the holidays and after her surgery, so she’s hosting her own DietBet challenge, starting February 1st through the 29th!

If you’re already struggling on your resolutions or just need a little extra umph to get you going through the cold months, I strongly suggest you join us on DietBet!

So… what are you waiting for? Let’s lose this winter weight together, and make money while doing it!

Bon appetit!

Tori