A woman whose weight shot up to 17st has transformed her life after losing eight stone in nine months and becoming a personal trainer.
Tori White, 21, struggled badly with her mental health and used food as a comfort.
The 21-year-old went into detail about her daily eating habits, which she described as her ‘depression meals’.
She 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.
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“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, from Anfield, explained how during her teenage years she never really felt accepted among friends and other students in school.
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.”
Thinking back to a holiday where she wouldn’t leave the room because she was too insecure, Tori 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.”
The 21-year-old went dress shopping and found she was a size 24. 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.”
This was the turning point for Tori who would go on to become a personal trainer in the hope she could help others going through similar torment.
She said: “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.
“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.
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“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.”
Tori has issued a warning to anyone looking to shed a substantial amount of weight.
She believes it’s important to keep a balance in life and not go “too far the other way”, something she’s dealt with herself through the effects of body dysmorphia.
She said: “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.”
Despite investing the majority of her time in her personal training venture, Tori entered Miss Liverpool 2020, coming runner up. She added: “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.”
When it comes to weight issues, Tori was keen to offer advice to anyone who finds themselves in the same boat.
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.”