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

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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

The Poem of the Yo-Yo

Mondays.

Really, that’s all that needs to be said. Anyone that has followed this blog for more than a week knows that Mondays are the day of the week that are most painful for me as a yo-yo dieter.

Ashamed of my weekend. Determined for my week. Depressed. Committed. Sad. Prepared.

An endless cycle.

WW_weight_loss_yo_Yo

I decided a poem was in order.

Because, really, how can you be depressed when something has a lovely cadence and the words rhyme? A well-constructed poem can make a eulogy sound like a nursery rhyme.

So here goes:

Victoria was a dieter,
Who counted every bite.
She tracked each tiny morsel,
And logged it all by night.
She found the time to run,
She hardly ever skipped the gym.
Every effort that she could make,
Her attempt to live life slim.
Turning down a slice of pizza,
Saying no to each cupcake.
Her will power was infallible,
Her calorie allowance wasn’t fake.
She huffed and puffed and cried,
The sweat, it always poured.
Yet her body rarely changed,
The scale, she, too,abhorred.
You’d think one day she’d adjust,
And learn to love her frame.
But an act of biased futility,
Is a handcuff just the same.
And so she’ll keep on counting,
Deprivation will be her law.
Until one day she wins the battle,
When her self-doubt does withdraw.

Hoping for a good week,

~ 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

 

Throw Back Thursday

I seem to be one of the few people left in [social-media aware] society that doesn’t practice in the art of posting about Throw Back Thursdays.

So, what exactly is “Throw Back Thursday?” A toast to the past? A reflection on who/what we were in years gone by? Or is this just something Radio Jockeys use as an excuse when they’re tired of playing the same 40 songs over and over and want to mix it up a bit?

Well, since I don’t want to miss the boat on the tradition, here’s a little throw-back for you –

This is me - at age 16. Yeah. I was probably right around 195-200 lbs at this point in time.

This is me – at age 16. Yeah. I was probably right around 195-200 lbs at this point in time.

Yup. Just a little over one decade ago, this was my every day. This is right around the time in my life where I was a devout Mountain Dew enthusiast and would come home and prepare my “pre-dinner” – AKA, a family-sized portion of pasta salad or mashed potatoes that I’d eat before my family got home to have a real dinner.

A lot of people ask me why I keep some of these pictures around. This photo is actually in a drawer in my kitchen, which is where I’ve kept it in the last three homes I’ve lived in. I do it as a reminder of the person I once was: unhealthy, self-deprecating, and a little lonely.

While that may seem a bit morose on my part, it reminds me that every day I wake up, I get to make a decision. Well, several decisions actually:

Will I be happy or will I be sad?

Will I nourish my body or will I punish it?

Will I seek out the positive or dwell in the negative?

There’s something about looking at your past that makes the decisions of your future seem significantly easier.

So, Happy Throwback Thursday everyone. It’s time to make the most of the present and plan for the future.

Bon Appetit,

~ Tori