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

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Three Days

Three days of feeding my body.

Three days of being normal.

Three days of planning for – and deeply enjoying – my dessert without guilt.

Three days isn’t much, but it’s big in my world.

Did I mention the Chocolate Halo Top is just heavenly after a sixty minute adventure on the stairmaster? Because it’s lovely, lovely, lovely.

I woke up early today (potty break – too much water in the day) and, since I was strangely awake, I went for a run …and, sort of like Forrest Gump, I sort of kept going just because I felt like it. Almost 12 miles! Just a tiny bit short. I felt so tired, but it was a GOOD tired, and after a shower, I was motivated for work even more than normal.

Shockingly, even 16 hours later, I still feel well-rested and energized. I guess fueling your body right – not over or under feeding it – really does optimize it.

 

I feel strong. I will love myself again, and I’ll do it three days at a time. 🙂

Bon appetit, my friends.

~ Tori

Halo Top and Happiness

Today was the first official weigh-in of my office Weight Loss Challenge.

I am hosting this challenge, not participating, which is an exciting turn of events for me.

There are currently 28 employees participating (out of an office of just 45), so I’ve created three different competitions to keep it fresh:

  • An Individual Competition: based on percentage of weight lost over 13 weeks.
  • A Team Competition: based on percentage of weight loss over 13 weeks for teams of three.
  • A Non-Weight Fitness Competition: based on number of push-ups, length of plank, and length of wall squat endurance.

I must say, having people weigh in (and take measurements – my personal gift to everyone who wanted it) was such an incredibly motivating experience!

Seeing people happy at their first positive successes or, in some cases, helping them understand that the scale staying still does not reflect the nutrition and wellness changes they’re making – which will have profound impact on their health long-term – has helped me put my own struggles in perspective.

My goal is a healthy, long life. Binging and purging won’t get me there.

As my beautiful sister-in-law reminded me last night, I have two gorgeous nieces who love me and I want to be a positive role-model to them in every way. I want them to understand that the number on a scale does NOT define self-worth, and that a truly beautiful soul goes much deeper than a smaller jeans-size. As a woman, I am greater than the sum (or the look) of my parts.

With that being said, I’m leaving work with the plan of enjoying an evening watching Netflix with my husband and enjoying a pint of Halo Top Mint Chip ice cream: don’t worry, I budgeted for it in my eating today:

 

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.

Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 9.13.43 PM

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.

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.

The Dopey Challenge: Committed!

On a masochistic whim, I decided to do something very, very crazy: I signed up to complete the Disney Dopey Challenge.

What is the Dopey Challenge, you ask?

It’s running 48.6 miles in four days: a 5K, 10K, 1/2 marathon, and full marathon in a long weekend.

I’m not 100% sure why I decided to sign up …I just did it. It felt right. It felt like something I needed to do.

In January 2017, I’m dragging my husband and some friends to Walt Disney World to spend a weekend running, recovering, and potentially boozing (just a little).

What did I get myself in to?

Thus far, I’ve never run a marathon in my life. In fact, I’ve only run two half marathons, and only one was at a timed race. I’m running in the OUC Half Marathon in December, and less than four weeks later, I somehow think I’m going to run my first marathon – after running 22.4 miles the three days before.

*GULP*

Any suggestions for a good training plan (other than RUN LIKE HELL)?

Bon appetit, my friends!

~ Tori

Meal Delivery, Week One

On Sunday, I began my quest to regain control of my eating disorder (and return to a healthy body image and weight) by utilizing a meal delivery service.

I selected Dine N Ditch, a locally-based company that caters to athletes and busy, working-adults who care about clean eating and overall wellness.

I signed up for the 6oz meal plan, which consists of five meals per day, six days per week (30 total), with one day scheduled for “normal eating.”

Dine N Ditch delivers every Saturday morning (between 9am and 12pm) and Wednesday afternoon (free of charge), right to your house.

One of my main issues with meal-planning is the repetition, but I have to admit right off the bat that this will not be an issue with Dine & Ditch. Every three days I’m provided with a totally different menu and never have to repeat the same meal more than three times in three days.

For example, this was my menu for Sunday-Tuesday:

  • Crustless Egg Quiches (mini-muffins) with turkey sausage and herbs.
  • Grilled Mexican Chicken with carrots and fresh pico de gallo.
  • Roasted chicken with homemade pesto and sauteed zucchini.
  • Baked cod with cream sauce and sauteed green beans.
  • Roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, and carrots with mushroom gravy.

Every dish is gluten-free and they’re a pork free (and shellfish free) kitchen! As someone with a pork allergy, this is a big deal to me. I never have to worry about cross-contamination with Dine N Ditch, which is a huge worry off of my plate.

And did I mention the food is incredible?

Not too shabby!

Each meal is between 250-350 calories, has 25-35g protein, and is under 25g carbs (maximum).

But here’s the real kicker: the meals are so filling and satisfying, I haven’t been able to eat all five in a day! In fact, I’ve managed to save one meal each day since Sunday, so I actually won’t need to worry about taking a “cheat day,” as I still have three meals leftover that I’ve frozen to use later.

With eating four meals per day (roughly 1000 calories), I’ve given myself a 200 calorie allowance to be human – which I’m using daily with a piece of raw chocolate (under 50 calories) and a spoon or two of almond butter (between 90-180 calories) so I don’t go crazy and binge later.

So, how am I doing so far?

Monday, 4/25 Weight: 143.6

Today (Wednesday, 4/27): 141.0.

Already 2.6 lbs down in two days? Not too shabby.

Bon appetit, my friends!

~ Tori

A Confession and a Commitment

I have spent the last few months making excuses [to myself] for not posting on here. Lots of excuses.

“No one cares what I have to say.”

“There are more important things I should be working on.”

“No one reads this blog anyhow.”

“Blogging doesn’t really help me.”

Ultimately, though, I wasn’t posting on here for one main reason:

I’m embarrassed.

Why? Because I slipped. And not a little …I slipped right off the damn cliff.

I went from my all-time low weight (123.4 lbs back in June 2014), up to 132-133 in Summer 2015, to a whopping 143.4 as of Monday, April 25th, 2016.

I’m back over 140 lbs for the first time in almost four years.

I let my eating disorder take back over. Except, instead of my usual bulimia, it manifested itself as pure binge-eating, subsequently followed by hours at the gym.

While I realize 143.4 lbs doesn’t seem like much compared to the 218 lbs I used to weight, I have gained the weight while continuing to exercise 2 to 3 hours per day 6 to 7 days per week.

I understand nutrition and understand the logic behind eating healthy, and I will eat healthy for several days, and then I uncontrollably binge on food, even foods I’m not a fan of.

There are days I will eat three or 4-to-5000 calories and I can’t seem to make myself stop.

Unlike my teenage years, though, instead of purging with laxatives or vomiting, I tried to work out to burn it back off.

I’ve spent entire days at the gym.

I’ve called out of work the day after a bad binge and spent a solid eight hours on the elliptical and stairmaster trying to undo the damage of my binging. Which, as you know, isn’t really realistic. Unless you are an Olympic athlete, you cannot work off over eating or bad diet.

I watched the scale slowly creep up, the pants get tighter (and eventually stop fitting), and I kept making excuses for myself, refusing to admit I’d lost control to my ED again.

How did this happen? How did I lose my footing?

I’m in a bad head space right now because I can’t stand seeing myself self-sabotage with diet when I work so hard to eat well and exercise. It’s like a tiny part of me is trying to destroy everything I’ve worked so hard to achieve, and that part of me shovels in food while the rest cries helplessly in the corner.

Fortunately, I’ve stopped lying to myself.

This week, I signed up for a meal delivery service to help me get me back to a healthy relationship with food. Five meals per day, six days per week — all prepared and catered to a healthy, clean lifestyle.

It’s a small step toward fixing the damage I’ve caused, but I’m hoping it will help me be more cognizant of portions, of my true motivator for binges, and it will take away my ability to count calories or stress over ingredients, as everything will be made for me.

I’ll try to post daily as I work to take back control of my weight, my health, and my life.

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!!!

prisoners

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

Product Review: Quest Chips!

Protein Chips.

Yes, you read that right: protein-loaded potato chips. Not only do they exist, they’re also ridiculously delicious.

As you probably know if you’ve followed this blog for a while, I’m a big fan of Quest Nutrition. They sell flavored protein powders (the caramel is to die for), protein bars, and, like a gift from Heaven, protein-infused potato chips and candy.

If you’re like me, you’re probably VERY skeptical about the idea of a protein-packed salty snack, aren’t you? Lord knows I was. But, trusting in the delicious quality of the protein bars I’ve had in the past, I decided to order a couple packages of Quest Protein Chips on Amazon.com.

I ordered the BBQ flavor and the Sour Cream and Onion Flavors:

bbq sco

Needless to say, Quest delivered on their promise.

While the crunch isn’t the same as your favorite, high-fat kettle-cooked variety, these chips definitely deliver the potato-chip like texture you’re craving. I’d compare them to Pringles – thin and airy – but flavor-loaded.

When I read the ingredients (and saw the Whey protein), I was worried these chips would have a chalky or awkward aftertaste, but I am pleased to report they were perfect. The seasoning blend was not too salty, but still packed a punch. My husband preferred the BBQ (he said it tasted like a spice-rub from his favorite restaurant), whereas I was absolutely hooked on the Sour Cream and Onion.

They have a few other flavor options (Sea Salt, Salt & Vinegar, and Cheddar & Sour Cream) and I can’t wait to try them and see how they compare.

As a note: the chips are very light, so I would *not* recommend them for dips unless the dips are very soft. I tried dunking the Sour Cream & Onion chips into some Greek yogurt dip and they cracked pretty easily, so I’d suggest a different alternative if you’re trying to recreate your long lost nachos.

All in all, I’d strongly suggest stocking up on these (they’re super cheap on Amazon, especially if you use Subscribe and Save for bulk purchases), especially if you’re a sucker for salty indulgences. There is nothing to feel guilty about with these chips, and you’ll wonder how you survived so long without them!

Bon appetit, my friends!
~ Tori