n sunny and warm Miami, Gabi Torres enjoys a cool glass of iced coffee to fuel her days. Gabi is a former staff writer with SundayMorningView,
after she found a love for writing when she was in school. Whether it’s with school or with her body image, Gabi believes in progress and the hustle -- that hard work pays off. Originally from Venezuela, she moved to the United States for her education. “Everybody in Venezuela is obsessed with hot coffee, but I’m like - I only drink iced coffee!”
Gabi is usually on the go -- she used to put in forty to sixty hour weeks while she was in school. She now tries to take some time for herself. To clear her head and visualize her path, she makes a goal to wake up a little earlier each day to talk her dogs for a walk.
During that time, she unplugs by leaving her phone at home. “No one will freak out if I’m out of reach that early in the day. I look around, breathe, and observe what’s going on.”
“Two or three years ago, I had a wake-up moment. I can’t live my life like I’m not skinny enough or I’m not good enough or I don’t know enough English. Being that anxious is not good. So I took small steps to know that I’m doing everything I can, I’m doing my best. I am trying to enjoy the simple things in life. Happiness is now. Don’t wait to be in a certain point to be happy. We often say, ‘When I lose x amount of weight, I’ll be happy,’ or ‘when I graduate, I’ll be happy,’ and we forget to enjoy the present. That is all we have.”
Gabi remembers that her anxiety and struggle to keep up with the world’s idea of ‘perfection’ started when she was just a kid. She had a lot of allergies when she was young, and the doctors often treated her with steroids to calm down her flare-ups. A major side effect of the drugs was weight gain. “It was ugly. I blew up [in weight], and I was really sweaty. And as kids, it’s hard to explain what’s going on. They made fun of me.”
Gabi’s mother would also poke fun at her for being “chubby”.
Gabi forgives her mother now, because they’ve both evolved in their relationship with each other, but she remembers that this dialogue with her mother messed with her relationship with food. “She doesn’t really see how much we’ve changed, but now, when I see her with my little cousins and her granddaughters, she doesn’t talk the same way. She doesn’t tease them about their weight or tell them to diet.”
The criticisms of her childhood wove their way into Gabi’s young adult life. “I was in negative [dating] relationships. During intimate moments with someone I was dating, he would laugh at my belly. I would swallow my anger and tell myself that I deserve it. If someone was cheating on me, it was okay, because I wasn’t good enough. That hurts, you know? But then, I met my husband now, and I realized that everyone before was full of shit. I was at my heaviest ever when I met him. But he holds my hand in the street and tells me I’m the most beautiful woman on earth. What was I doing before, for so many years?!”
“Sometimes, we are going through things, and we don’t realize that other people are going through the same things. I’ve met so many women in my life who are so positive. My Crossfit community is so good.
I struggled with bulimia before, so I was intimidated by macro-calorie counting.” She found a mentor in Crossfit who was able to make food a less terrifying obstacle.
“Even with some jobs I would apply for, I didn’t feel like enough.” People discouraged her from pursuing management positions because they didn’t think her English was good enough -- now she’s a marketing manager, and she’s published in major publications. “You are in control of how you react in these situations, even if it’s painful sometimes. You can take all the good and keep moving, or you can let those negative things drag you down.”
If Gabi could talk to her younger self, she wants her to know that she’s enough and to not be so hard on herself. “You don’t have to try so hard to please people. You are so much more than just a number on the scale, and you have so many good things to give to the world and to your friends. Treat yourself well, take care of yourself before anything.”
To see more of Gabi follow her at @mariitatorres