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Roy and I after Chicago Marathon

Tory in Chicago


Welcome to my site! My name is Tory and I'm a formerly flabulous, currently fabulous runner, wife, "teechur", daughter, coach, mentor, mentee, and friend. My claim to fame? I have lost and maintained a loss of over 100 pounds for almost ten years.

So how did I do it? Magic pills? Ab Lounge? Sleep away the weight? Experimental Government Project?

Nope, I did it the old fashioned way. I started eating a healthy diet using Weight Watchers online to manage my food.

Then, just for kicks, this card-carrying member of National Couch Potatoes Anonymous actually started exercise. Yup, the old "eat right and exercise" game. And you know what?

It worked!

Who knew?

Apparently a lot of people. Even I knew. But knowing a thing and doing a thing are two entirely different things, as anyone who has ever tried to lose weight can attest to.

So why was it different this time? Well, I think it was a few things. First of all, I had an experience that opened my eyes to how my feelings about my weight was coloring my feelings about who I was. I'll share, not to trash my mother, but because it's truly what happened.

I was visiting my mother in December of 2000. She was showing me her scrapbooks. She did digital scrapbooking on the computer so she was able to alter images. I noticed that the few pictures she had of me looked "off" somehow. Then I put my finger on it...she had digitally modified every picture to make me look thinner or placed a piece of clip art in front of my body to hide my fat.


I mean isn't your mom supposed to love you for WHO you are not WHAT you look like? I've always known my weight was an issue for her, but I guess I didn't realize how much of an issue it was. I was extremely hurt.

So I went home and said nothing. I did write her an email and in it I said "I am a fat woman. I will probably always BE a fat woman. Anyone who cannot accept me exactly the way I am, is not someone I need in my life."

She didn't get it. She never does.

But you know what I realized? I was asking HER to do something I wasn't willing to do. I had an epiphany right there...I did not love me the way I am.

"So then you joined Weight Watchers, right?"

Not even close. I didn't join Weight Watchers for another year. Instead I took a year (the timeframe is coincidental) to learn to love myself. I read books on self esteem, I bought a full length mirror and made myself look at my body every day (I had only my bathroom mirror, so to see my full body was an awakening). I stopped ALL negative self talk and turned it around. So if I started my normal mantra of "You look like crap, you fat pig" I would 'yell' "STOP!" (in my head...lest someone believe me to be insane) and I'd turn it around. At first it felt like a lie, but my theory was that my negative self talk I'd been indulging in all my life had made me believe I was not worthy of love...so maybe my positive self talk could make me believe I was.

Long story short...it worked. I recognized that my packaging did not represent my value. If I take a 10 karat diamond and put it into the toe of a dirty old sock, does the diamond lose value? Of course not! So why do we define our value and the value of others by external factors!? It's craziness, I tell you!

So there I was, happily living in a body that weighed about 230-240 pounds. One day I was sitting in the mall when a skinny little teenager flitted by and my old thoughts crept in, "Wow, I'd do anything to be that skinny."

...and out of nowhere this new voice said, "Yeah, anything but eat right and exercise."

Whoa! Where did THAT come from! "I love myself the way I am! I don't NEED to eat right and exercise!"

"Yeah, well if you love yourself the way you are, why do you treat your body like a garbage disposal?"

"Shut up. You don't know anything about me, freaky inner voice living in my head. Here, have a cookie."

The cookie didn't placate the voice and it continued to haunt me over the next few weeks.

"If you had a daughter, wouldn't you feed her healthy food? Wouldn't you encourage her to get outside and exercise? Why don't you love yourself enough to treat your body with as much care as you would a child?"

"Well I don't have a daughter, and I love myself the way I am. I don't need to be skinny."

"It's not about skinny. It's about health. Think about your feet for a minute."


"How do they feel right now? You've been shopping for about an hour. How does your back feel?"

"Well, they hurt and my back hurts, but if I just sit for awhile..."

"At the age of 37 should your feet hurt from an hour of walking?"

"Shut up and have a cookie."

"Speaking of cookies...how does your tummy feel?"

"I have had heartburn for years. Shut up."

"Did you know that most normal people don't suffer from constant heartburn?"

"I said leave me alone!"

The more the voice bugged me the more I found myself realizing that the voice was right. My fat did not define me as a person of little value, but my actions did not speak to my feelings. I was not treating my body with respect. I was not giving it the love it needed to remain happy and healthy for a long time. I started to watch what I eat a little, and was already noticing that my clothes were getting looser. I realized that this was the time. My mind was in the right place. I was not wanting to lose weight to "look better" but to be the healthiest me I could be.

So I started researching weight loss options. I knew "I'll just watch what I eat" didn't work in the past for very long, so I'd need some tools. Roy agreed that it was time for him to lose some weight too. On February 2, 2002 I joined Weight Watchers online and over the course of the year I went from 222 (my first official weigh in, although I weighed probably 235-240 the summer before) to 130, meeting goal on December 16, 2002. I continued to lose another 10 pounds in January and have remained around 120-125 since January 2003.

I've kept it off the same way I lost it. I continue to be a member of Weight Watchers, and am even one of their official "Success Stories". In July of 2005 Weight Watchers flew me to NYC to be an online success story. My success story can be found online here at Weight Watchers.com. I was their online acheiver success story in October 2005, and again in June and August of 2006, as well as a number of other times. They re-use our stories quite often.

To the right is my success story picture from the Weight Watchers success story. Even after being at goal for over three years, it's still exciting! I don't even recognize the chick in the "before" picture, though. To me it looks like "Mama's been let out on a day pass from the Women's Prison. Don't piss her off or she'll sic Melba on you!"

Actually the picture WAS taken in prison, but I had a "Just Visiting" card. We were in Alcatraz and I was pretending to be a "hardened criminal" while Roy took the picture.

Once again I would like to apologize to the city of San Francisco for that and other unfortunate pictures and fashion choices taken during that vacation!

On top of that, part I of the roundtable discussion is online here. Some of the ladies who were asked to come to be success stories participated in a long roundtable discussion on body image. It was very interesting to hear how much different, yet alike we all were in our experiences and our thinking.

I was once again asked to be a part of a Weight Watchers campaign in 2010! This time they flew me to LA and me, and five others, got the total star treatment. I filmed two commercials and shot a print ad. Making the commercials were a lot of fun. They used to be online, and I do have a DVD of them. I should find that and rip it since I ca't find them online any more.

I journal my food daily using the food diary available at Journey Nutrition. I am still a Weight Watchers Member, as well, and will also journal on that site, especially if I feel I need to take off a few pounds. I also exercise daily. I have become an avid runner. (I still marvel at that. Me. Running. No, seriously...ME RUNNING!) In fact, I have coached people who are interested in running their first marathon, or returning to running. I have completed over 70 marathons and am training for my first 100-miler.

I am a personal trainer and run my own personal training and weight loss coaching business at www.journey-fitness.com helping others with weight loss and fitness support. I also coach 5k and marathon groups and teach bootcamps. Yeah, if someone had asked me years ago if I'd ever...again, the answer would be no.

In addition to running I have completed a number of triathlons, including the Troika Half Ironman (70.3 miles of tri-love). I have taken up trail running. I also love to bike, swim because I have to (but I'm getting better at it), lift weights, and am considering joining a rowing crew for fun. (Again, this still boggles my mind that I'd say something like ...considering joining a rowing crew for fun.)

I am the woman I always hoped I would be, but never dreamed I could be.

I think if I could send one message to people, though, it would be that if I can do it, you can do it. I am just this teacher from the PNW. I'm not special, particularly talented, gifted, or lucky. I just woke up one day and said "I don't need to live like this any more" and started a journey that lead me from morbid obesity to life that is endlessly fulfilling. It wasn't magic or luck. It was just putting one foot in front of the other and striving to move forward day after day. If I can do it, you can do it.

So how has my life changed since I lost weight? Well, I should start out by saying that I intentionally decided to do a lifestyle makeover. I wanted to leave the Old Tory behind, taking with me all the good qualities but leaving that tired woman who felt like she had little to offer. So the changes have been dramatic, but I have chosen that and worked towards it. So here are just a few things:

  • Roy and I will run or ride our bikes out to breakfast on a weekend rather than take the car.
  • If possible, during the summer we try to park the car and use our bikes and feet for transportation.
  • I schedule my exercise and, with rare exception, it is non-negotiable that I miss it.
  • I journal my food every single day. I do not see it as a burden, but rather as health management.
  • I haven't had heartburn more than 3 times in the last ten years. I'm not kidding.
  • If my feet hurt at the end of the day it's because I ran 15 miles.
  • I run an average of 40-50 miles a week. No, this is not necessary to keep the weight off. It is something I seriously love to do.
  • I have a goal to run a marathon in every state. I've run 79 marathons in 11 states and one province. Out of these, I have finished 8 ultra marathons of distances from 50k to 50 miles.
  • I have been in online ads for Weight Watchers a number of times. They never tell me! I just open my email or log in, and there I am! I've also been in two commercials, and a magazine ad for Weight Watchers.
  • I have had my story published in Women's Own Magazine, The Enquirer, and Family Circle for my weight loss.
  • I have had three newspaper stories written about my athletic endeavors. Ha! Seriously! ME!
  • My picture and story is in the 2008 Weight Watchers Winning Recipes cookbook.
  • I feel healthier in my 40s than I felt through my teens, 20s, and 30s.
  • I weigh less now than I did in high school.
  • I am in better shape in my 40s than I was in my teens.
  • I am a member of the Joy Fit Club on The Today Show. See my television appearance here.
  • Roy and I were featured as success stories in Joy Bauer's Joy Life Diet book. (If you click that link you can see our story on page 10. It's actually on the site.)
  • I do things I never DREAMED I would do!!
  • I completed a Half Ironman Triathlon (Swim 1.2 miles, bike 56 miles, run 13.1 miles all in one session.)
  • Completed a 50 mile ultramarathon
  • My next goal is a 100 mile Ultra Marathon

This just in:

I happened upon my page today and realized that it has been over a year and a half since I updated. I looked at the date and a shudder went through my body. It was three days before I had a headache that has changed my life.

On January 28, 2013 I had run six miles with my running class that morning. My husband and I were going to see a movie, "The Descendents". I was in the lobby, had just answered a question from a friend who happened to be there. I turned to follow Roy into the theater and suddenly it felt like someone had hit me with a board in the back of the head. Long story short, finally six hours later a friend convinced me to go to the hospital. I had had a Subarachnoid Brain Hemorrhage. It was a bleed in the space outside of the brain in the subarachnoid space. I was in the hospital for three weeks; 19 days of which were in critical care.

So not fair for someone who runs, lifts weights, eats right, etc! But fair isn't what it's all about, is it? I had zero risk factors for any kind of stroke, and yet that didn't matter. But what DID matter is the outcome. I truly believe that my good health, low blood pressure, low resting heart rate saved me from very serious complications or worse, death. I won't lie. I have had a number of pity parties in the last 18 months over this. But the fact remains that I am alive. I have had complications related to this, but I am back running. I am back coaching my running classes and teaching bootcamp. Most days I can still do what I want.

The main thing that remains is that I have had a headache every day since January 28, 2012. Today is August 1, 2013 so yes, for 18 months I have had a headache. I'm seeing my fourth neurologist now and have tried lots of different medication that haven't worked in any capacity. Some days I'm fine-it hurts but not enough to impact my day. Other days I'm in bed all day, sometimes for two days in a row. I am told this will not last forever and I'm hanging onto that. I'm mostly upbeat about it! :)

So what else is new...well not a lot because I've been in a holding pattern the last year and a half. So no new big news! No new commercials, no new nothing...well maybe a few things. I'm writing a few blogs, but I don't know if they are worth sharing. My main one at www.cleanleaning.com is about my foray into clean eating. Not anything as prescribed by anyone...not paleo, not gluten free (I loves me some gluten), not anything but trying to move towards a cleaner diet. I don't have a bad diet, but my journey isn't ever over.

Oh, and I know some might be wondering--during my recovery from Brain Explosion 2012 did I regain my weight? I did not. I definitely lost some muscle mass and gained some fat. I also did have a period of fast gain after starting a new medication (9 pounds in one week) with a total of 11 all together. I worked VERY hard not to let it go over that, eating at a level that would normally see me losing. I have dropped down to 1/4 of the dose and lost 4.5 pounds the first week (I'm in the second week now). SO, while I am up a bit, I am not now over my goal more than 2 pounds (Weight Watchers Rules) and hope that I'll be back soon. Back at my happy weight, back being able to work out every day, and back doing all of the things I love to do! I am back running marathons, but not at the pace or number I used to. It will come, though. Like every journey there are going to be pit stops and pitfalls. The key isn't that you don't have them, the key is that you come back from them.

Updated: August 1, 2013