A woman has launched a new career as a personal trainer after transforming her body by losing eight stone in nine months.
Tori White was 17 stone at her heaviest, as a result of what she calls ‘depression meals’ that gave her comfort while she struggled with her mental health, reports the Liverpool Echo.
The 21-year-old said: “I always used to skip breakfast and I’d always have two lunches. My mum would always pack me a lunch and I’d always go to the lunch bar in school to get another one.
“On the bus home I’d stop off at KFC, then have my tea at my mum’s and then have toast before bed.
“I think it was a comfort thing because I used to call it my depression meal. If I had a bad day I’d always come home, have a large Domino’s pizza with a bag of wedges and a side of chicken strips.
“I’d finish that off with a tub of Ben and Jerry’s and a full bottle of coke and I would finish it all in one sitting.
“When I look back I think how can a human fit all of that food in the body. It should be physically impossible. It was more of an emotional crutch I think.
“I think it was because nothing could make me feel good because I still hated myself and for that first half an hour of eating that pizza I felt amazing and that’s why I always went back to food.”
Tori, who is from Anfield, explained her struggle for acceptance at school as a teenager.
She said: “I wasn’t bullied in secondary school, I was a bit in primary school but it was more of the fact I could never really fit in with the other girls as they were talking about boys and discussing what clothes they were buying, I couldn’t physically relate.
“I couldn’t fit into popular clothes and no boys liked me. I always felt like I didn’t really fit in with anybody. Everyone was going to parties and I was too insecure to even leave the house some days, it was quite isolating really.
“I feel like a big part of losing the weight was that I could never fully accept myself for who I was as a person. It wasn’t that I hated my body, I just hated myself.”
She added: “I struggled really badly with my mental health when I was younger as well. I had really bad depression and anxiety. It’s one of the reasons why I want to help people now because I know what a difference my weight loss made for me. It’s nice to help other people to do that as well.”
During one family holiday, Tori’s insecurity over her weight led to her refusing to leave a bedroom.
She said: “My mum was trying to help me for years. I remember vividly being on holiday in Turkey and I used to lock myself in the bedroom because I was too insecure to go to the pool in my swimming costume.
“My nan turned to me and said ‘I will get you a personal trainer, we will do anything to help because you are not Tori anymore, you’re just a shell of yourself.’
“At the time I was like no, I’m not doing it and then something just clicked in my head and that’s when I started.
“I was young at the time so I think I was like ‘I know what I’m doing’ as every teenager would think, but I remember the turning point for me was coming up to year 11 prom.”
During a shopping trip to find a dress, she discovered she had gone up to a size 24, and this was the moment that Tori knew she had to change her lifestyle.
She said: “I remember breaking down in floods of tears and thinking this needs to change now because I physically can’t go on like this anymore.
“When I get something in my head it’s the only thing I can envision and I can tell I wanted it this time because I’d tried all the diets before, but this time I didn’t approach it as a diet, I approached it as more of a lifestyle change.”
Now that she’s a personal trainer, Tori wants to help others who are struggling with their own battles with their weight.
She said: “I’ve got a really good group of friends who are also personal trainers and they’ve been really supportive. I just haven’t looked back and it’s so fulfilling and it’s so nice just to help people. I’m blown away with all the support I’ve got so far.
“Ideally I’d love to train people face to face but because of coronavirus it’s hard. All of my classes are online at the moment via zoom or my Instagram, Transform With Tori, so it’s good that I can still help people even though we are in a pandemic.
“I think people are more likely to join an online class because it gets rid of the gym anxiety and they’re more likely to join in rather than in a big gym class. I know it can be daunting for people starting off.”
But Tori, who has struggled with the effects of body dysmorphia, also warns those who have a lot of weight to lose to be careful and not take it too far.
“I went all the way down to seven stone and I actually got really poorly. It was to the point where I passed out on the kitchen floor so I did go too far the other way.
“I think because I lost it so fast I couldn’t comprehend what I saw in the mirror because I still saw what I used to be, when in reality I was really thin. So I’ve had to deal with both ends of the spectrum.
“I was going to the gym two times a day and it went from food being my emotional clutch to exercise and I kind of swapped.”
Tori has also received a huge confidence boost after reaching the finals of Miss Liverpool 2020.
She said: “At the start I didn’t want to do it as I didn’t have the confidence to do it, but it was a really amazing experience.
“My mum was like ‘I think you should apply’ for that and she applied on my behalf and next thing you know I was in the final.
“It was really amazing as I was able to do loads of things for charity raising lots of money. It was such a rewarding experience.”
After her own remarkable success, Tori offers advice and positivity for others who need to lose weight.
She said: “Take it one day at a time and treat every small victory like you’ve won a war. Focus on the small victories instead of saying I’ve got this amount of weight to lose because that can be really overwhelming.
“I just want people to remember that if they are in a similar situation, you’re not going through it on your own and you need to stop being so hard on yourself.
“When you look in the mirror, try not to focus on what you hate about yourself. Focus on at least one thing you like about yourself and from there you will go on a journey of self love and acceptance.”