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How Entrepreneur Tory Dene Integrates Fitness Into Motherhood

Motherhood

xoNecole's Moms Who Inspire series highlights modern-day moms mastering all the tasks on their plate, from day to day responsibilities to ensuring their children are kind, educated and well-rounded human beings. Each mother describes their inspiration, their health and wellness routine, and how they maintain their sense of selves while being the superwoman we all know and love.


"I never really ate bad before becoming a mom, but motherhood made me more cautious about what I was putting in my body and what I was feeding my son."

26-year-old boutique owner Tory Dene is often surrounded by men. By day, she is a custom clothier in men's suits and by night, she tends to her son, 20-month-old Asher. But don't be fooled, Tory was taught by her mother to be a woman who rules her household. "My mother taught me to eat clean. We didn't eat a lot of fast food growing up, and my mom works out religiously to this day. So, I just followed in her footsteps. She's 50 and looks amazing!"

Tory Dene/Instagram

Tory may also co-own the Atlanta women's boutique Shop Fetch, but whenever she has time, Tory and Asher are usually outdoors living an active lifestyle. Even as a toddler, Asher already enjoys basketball with his mom and Tory plans to teach him some of the sports she played as a child, including soccer and softball.

Below Tory shares how careful planning and organization allow her to have relaxed mornings, work more productively, and keep an overall healthy lifestyle.

Tory Dene/Instagram

On what motherhood means to her:

"Being a mother wasn't planned. But when I found out I was going to be a mom, I instantly fell in love with my baby. Motherhood is not pretty at all. I don't get any privacy, I don't get much rest, and most of my days are filled with, 'Stop, don't do that'… but I wouldn't change a thing. He makes me want to be better and he keeps me on my toes."

On how her mother inspired her fitness routine:

"My mom is my fitness inspiration. She doesn't eat any fried foods or sweets and she works out religiously. She raised my sister and me on home-cooked meals. We didn't eat out much, but when we did it was quality meals. I also love the fact that she's not only healthy physically, but also healthy mentally. My mom meditates every morning."

Tory Dene/Instagram

On what a typical day looks like:

"Because I make sure everything I need is prepared the night before, my mornings are pretty relaxed. After I pick my son up from school, I spend time with him inside practicing the alphabet or outside playing basketball. When we come inside for the evening, I go back to working until I fall asleep."

On how her son changed her wellness routine:

"I take my son outside every day so he can maintain an active lifestyle, and when I workout at home he'll try and mock what I do. It's the cutest thing! He loves basketball so much. We have a little hoop at the house so his dad and I can play with him inside to keep him constantly active."

On preserving the characteristics of the woman she was before becoming a mother:

"I'm a mother, but I still like to get out and enjoy my social life. I like to plan my work and social life so I don't give one aspect too much or too little time. I'm still young and I like to hang out with my girls and my man from time to time."

Tory Dene/Instagram

On practicing self-care:

"As with most mothers, I try to get a decent amount of rest (and that rarely happens). I like spending time with others, but it's also important for me to have my alone time to just unwind and 'get to know me' again. I work out about four times a week and maintain a decent diet. I'm human so I do have my cheat days… I love wings!"

On the greatest lesson motherhood has taught her:

"Before becoming a mom I wasn't patient, and then I became the mother of a stubborn son. Needless to say, my son is now teaching me patience. I also tend to panic, and having a toddler doesn't ease the feeling. Just like other toddlers, Asher gets into everything!"

To keep up with Tory and Asher, follow her on Instagram.

Queen Latifah is saying no to unhealthy and dangerous lifestyles especially when it comes to her career. Since the beginning, the rapper/actress has always been a body-positive role model thanks to the range of characters she has played over the years that shows that size doesn’t matter. In an interview with PEOPLE, The Equalizer star opened up about taking on roles that don't compromise her health.

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When I was ten, my Sunday school teacher put on a brief performance in class that included some of the boys standing in front of the classroom while she stood in front of them holding a heart shaped box of chocolate. One by one, she tells each boy to come and bite a piece of candy and then place the remainder back into the box. After the last boy, she gave the box of now mangled chocolate over to the other Sunday school teacher — who happened to be her real husband — who made a comically puzzled face. She told us that the lesson to be gleaned from this was that if you give your heart away to too many people, once you find “the one,” that your heart would be too damaged. The lesson wasn’t explicitly about sex but the implication was clearly present.

That memory came back to me after a flier went viral last week, advertising an abstinence event titled The Close Your Legs Tour with the specific target demo of teen girls came across my Twitter timeline. The event was met with derision online. Writer, artist, and professor Ashon Crawley said: “We have to refuse shame. it is not yours to hold. legs open or not.” Writer and theologian Candice Marie Benbow said on her Twitter: “Any event where 12-17-year-old girls are being told to ‘keep their legs closed’ is a space where purity culture is being reinforced.”

“Purity culture,” as Benbow referenced, is a culture that teaches primarily girls and women that their value is to be found in their ability to stay chaste and “pure”–as in, non-sexual–for both God and their future husbands.

I grew up in an explicitly evangelical house and church, where I was taught virginity was the best gift a girl can hold on to until she got married. I fortunately never wore a purity ring or had a ceremony where I promised my father I wouldn’t have pre-marital sex. I certainly never even thought of having my hymen examined and the certificate handed over to my father on my wedding day as “proof” that I kept my promise. But the culture was always present. A few years after that chocolate-flavored indoctrination, I was introduced to the fabled car anecdote. “Boys don’t like girls who have been test-driven,” as it goes.

And I believed it for a long time. That to be loved and to be desired by men, it was only right for me to deny myself my own basic human desires, in the hopes of one day meeting a man that would fill all of my fantasies — romantically and sexually. Even if it meant denying my queerness, or even if it meant ignoring how being the only Black and fat girl in a predominantly white Christian space often had me watch all the white girls have their first boyfriends while I didn’t. Something they don’t tell you about purity culture – and that it took me years to learn and unlearn myself – is that there are bodies that are deemed inherently sinful and vulgar. That purity is about the desire to see girls and women shrink themselves, make themselves meek for men.

Purity culture isn’t unlike rape culture which tells young girls in so many ways that their worth can only be found through their bodies. Whether it be through promiscuity or chastity, young girls are instructed on what to do with their bodies before they’ve had time to figure themselves out, separate from a patriarchal lens. That their needs are secondary to that of the men and boys in their lives.

It took me a while —after leaving the church and unlearning the toxic ideals around purity culture rooted in anti-Blackness, fatphobia, heteropatriarchy, and queerphobia — to embrace my body, my sexuality, and my queerness as something that was not only not sinful or dirty, but actually in line with the vision God has over my life. Our bodies don't stop being our temples depending on who we do or who we don’t let in, and our worth isn’t dependent on the width of our legs at any given point.

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