It’s five in the morning, and while most of us are lying comfortably in bed, the doors of the Guilderland YMCA open and Tory Carman, 40, walks in, ready for her morning workout. Energized, focused and determined to keep pushing herself, Tory laces her sneakers and sets off on the track.
At her heaviest, Tory weighed 250 pounds. She was in her late 30s at the time, with three kids, a husband and working for the Business Council of New York State, handling insurance. She and her husband were avid outdoors people; they loved hiking, snowshoeing, hunting and camping but Tory’s weight seemed to take the enjoyment away from her daily life. One morning she woke up, looked in the mirror and broke down crying. “Who is that woman?” she said.
It was at that moment that she decided the weight had to go. “You have to be physically and mentally ready and say, ‘I want to do this’ and you’ve got to be all in,” Tory said. “You can’t have doubts weighing.” Her friend Lisa had encouraged her to join the YMCA before, but at that time she wasn’t committed to make the change — now, she was ready.
Tory had many motivators: she wanted to be around for her kids; she disliked the way she looked and felt; her father had passed away due to diabetes, and Tory was not about to suffer the same fate. All she needed was a support system, which she found at the Guilderland YMCA, especially in trainer Andrew Scott who helped guide her toward healthy weight loss.
It wasn’t easy in the beginning. Tory struggled to do a single sit-up. But as time went on, she noticed small changes — she could push a little harder, go a little longer and most of all, her confidence was growing. Trainer Marilyn Westervelt helped Tory to focus on herself during workouts, not on what others can do, and to do what she could. Tory expresses how helpful every trainer was to her; they personalized her workouts with modifications in the beginning and through injury, never taking their eyes off her, making sure she trained safely.
Little by little, the pounds fell off. At times, the weight loss was too slow and discouraging for Tory, but she kept her spirits, which she feels is an important thing for people to understand. Change doesn’t happen overnight. It wasn’t until she stood in a dressing room in a pair of size 8 jeans that she realized how far she’d come. And although she is eligible for surgery to remove excess skin, Tory feels it’s unnecessary for her. “It’s my badge of honor,” she said. “It’s going to remind me of where I was and how far I’ve come.”
Her waist went from 48 inches to 32 inches in two years. She lost 80 pounds, 57 inches overall and her health is the best it has been in years, and it all started on the day she walked in to the YMCA and took that first Zumba class.
Now, Tory goes to the Y every morning before work and takes classes in the evenings every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. She enjoys Urban Adventure, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and Insanity.
At the beginning, Andrew asked Tory what she wanted to accomplish and her answer was, “I want to be able to wear a tank top without being embarrassed.” Now, over two years later, Tory feels confident showing off her arms. Her current goals include hiking Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico with her kids, becoming a health and wellness teacher so she can inspire others and give back, and maintaining her weight and healthy lifestyle.
The process of how one goes about losing weight is important, Tory said. The Y has provided her with knowledge about healthy living as well as a supportive environment in which she pushes herself everyday.
“Sometimes I still feel like I’m that 250 pound woman,” Tory said. “I have to remind myself that this is me now.”