If you’re expecting a story of a person who became sad and unhappy because she sees herself as the fat chick and one day she woke up and told herself that enough is enough, went on a strict diet and transformed like the ugly duckling turned into a beautiful swan – THIS IS NOT IT.
Hear me out first! There’s nothing wrong if that’s your story, but what I’m trying to say is that my storyline is different. So if you’re still interested in what I have to tell, then continue reading below. 😉
I’ve always been happy with myself, regardless of my weight.
Let me start by saying that I’ve always been happy with myself, regardless of my weight. When I was 29, I’ve made peace to my inner self that I’ll never be a size lower than 14 (my smallest size EVER in my entire life was 8) and that acceptance helped a lot because, unlike my younger self who used to hate the big & ugly parts of my body, I became confident being a plus-size lady.
I remember how I’ve always wished for a better pair of legs, etc. But you know as you mature, you realise that there’s more to life. I learned to be more appreciative with what I have and became more thankful for everything. I see everything as some form of a blessing.
The delicious food that we eat, that’s a blessing! Do we realise how many people or families are starving every day? So yes, you’ll never hear me complain about my life because I’m happy with what I have, body included.
The “Yo-Yo” Years
The photo on the left was me in 2009 – a year before our wedding. I weighed 76 KGS then and the very reason why I went thru a serious diet was because I got emotionally hurt when people laughed when I showed them the wedding gown design that I wanted. HINT: It was the Vera Wang gown that Kate Hudson wore in Bride Wars.
The laughter echoed in my head that it became my motivation to lose so much weight and let these people know that I can do it, even if they see me as a joke that time.
In less than a year, my weight went down to 60.5 kg and I even had to gain some more (63 kg) so my gown won’t be too loose. Honestly, it was the year of DEPRIVATION & UNHEALTHY DIET. I placed myself on a restricted diet that I stop myself from eating a lot of things. I only take a maximum of 2 SPOONS of rice in a day. I gave up junk foods, sodas and sugary food or drinks. I would only eat 1 full meal once a day – a bread or pasta then the rest will be coffee. Lastly, I did ZERO exercise.
Yo-yo dieting or yo-yo effect, also known as weight cycling, is a term coined by Kelly D. Brownell at Yale University, in reference to the cyclical loss and gain of weight, resembling the up-down motion of a yo-yo. In this process, the dieter is initially successful in the pursuit of weight loss but is unsuccessful in maintaining the loss long-term and begins to gain the weight back. The dieter then seeks to lose the regained weight, and the cycle begins again.
That method really worked because I seriously shed pounds but the problem was maintaining it. Now, I don’t blame the entire diet on this because let’s be honest, normally after the wedding, every couple will gain some weight and we’re not an exception. We love to eat! Eating and cooking is a form of bonding for us. And yes, just like that, I gained the weight back and it even doubled right after we settled in Singapore.
This is me in 2013, just days after I arrived in Singapore.
This is the part where I thank the makeup gods & goddesses for coming up with contouring products & sharing their skills that I can hide the double chin whenever I do selfies and lipstick swatches.
Living abroad became, sort of, a relief since we got a smaller group of friends here and they wouldn’t tell us “Uy! tumataba ka ah! Anyare?” (Hey! You’re gaining weight, eh? what happened?) And by the way, that’s a very Filipino thing, like if you’ve been away for a long time and then they see you – the first thing that they’ll point out is your weight. rolling my eyes now.
At times, our families would also point out that we’re becoming bigger and should start losing weight, but our response will always be a laugh and a nod. Sometimes we give out a hollow promise of going on a diet soon because sure, we acknowledge it, but we also don’t take it seriously. And of course, the diet gets rescheduled & rescheduled & rescheduled…
So, what changed?
There was a week when I felt so sluggish and I can tell that it’s not the usual case of laziness. As they say, the body has a way of telling you that something’s not right and so I listened. We visited a doctor and I underwent some tests and found out that I’m in a pretty bad shape.
This is, by far, my heaviest. I’m 5’4 and obviously overweight; Add up high cholesterol & fatty liver, I began to question my lifestyle choices.
After I stopped weighing myself for almost a year, it wasn’t much of a surprise to find out that my weight was at 86 kg. This is, by far, my heaviest. I’m 5’4 and obviously overweight; Add up high cholesterol & fatty liver, I began to question my lifestyle choices.
what I had was the result of the LACK OF DISCIPLINE and love for my own health. It was all about lifestyle choices. That simple.
I don’t smoke or drink but late last year, my meals would almost always be a fast food delivery. We’re also frequent guests (once or twice a month) in our favourite hotel’s buffet and Korean BBQ (eat-all-you-can restos) and I’ll always have a stash of junk foods that I eat in the middle of the night while watching TV. And yes, we got no physical activities – only the usual walk to the nearest mall in our place which is not enough. So what I had was the result of the lack of discipline and love for my own health. It was all about lifestyle choices. That simple.
Rolled oats with Almond Chocolate Milk, banana and strawberries
Food Choices & Changes
For the second time around, I became very conscious of the food I take but now, I’m eating properly. I don’t skip meals or giving up my carbs. All I did was to understand what made my stats shoot up and adjust accordingly.
Turkey and Egg sandwich with 3-grain bread
Since I usually prepare our food, we decided to change our cooking oil from canola to Avocado oil. I destashed my pantry & removed all kinds of artificial flavourings (bouillon cubes, MSG, etc). I monitored my salt intake and found ways to enjoy meals without sacrificing the taste. Here’s one tip: Just use fresh ingredients and be a little generous with your garlic, onions & tomatoes and you’ll have a tasty dish.
Quinoa, veggies and chicken breast
The Caesar Salad Syndrome
Whenever we hear the word salad, we usually associate it with “healthy” but it’s not always the case. If you’re like most of us, a salad is not complete without a dressing (thousand islands, mayo etc) but that’s where the healthy attempt fails. If you eat a bowl of greens yet smothered it with mayonnaise, then I’m sorry to say that you just sabotaged your supposed-to-be healthy lunch. Next time, why don’t you try eating them without condiments? Again, if it’s a fresh batch of greens & veggies, you’ll definitely enjoy the sweet and earthy flavours, I promise.
So going back to that Caesar Salad syndrome, when we’re on a monitored diet we USUALLY see Caesar Salad as the only way of eating our vegetables but we’re so wrong. And besides, your taste buds will get tired, too if you keep eating the same food EVERY. SINGLE. DAY for, say, 3 months.
Yes, I did the same thing and spent my first 6 weeks eating salad but later on, I learned to work my way with my greens. I added more vegetables to my diet but did not limit myself with romaine & iceberg lettuce. I made friends with kale, string beans, mushrooms, spinach & sweet peppers and they’re now part of my staple food.
Tuna Chunks in Olive Oil with sauteed veggies and quinoa
From white rice, we’ve successfully switched to the 10-Multi grain rice and I’d add some more quinoa per serving. Congratulations to me because he’s now eating quinoa! 😀 If I’m eating alone, I’d usually add more protein-packed grains on my meals like lentils, quinoa & chia seeds.
Snacks, Cheats & Treats
So there’s what they call healthy snacking that I’ve ignored for a long time and it definitely does not include chips! Also, notice that if you get directly from the bag, you’ll tend to eat more. Since I’m watching what I eat, I’d read the back label, follow the suggested serving size and eat. Placing the food bites in a small plate really helps not to overindulge.
I’d read the back label, follow the suggested serving size and eat. Placing the food bites in a small plate really helps not to overindulge.
Now, fries is hard to give up, so once a month, I’d indulge with small bites and maybe a sundae cone of the side. 😀 But now I’m making the most of my sweet potatoes at home. It’s obviously a healthier option but you know, fries keep me sane lol!
Truffle Sweet Potato Fries with Wasabi Dip from Cedele
This is one of the bad habits that I gave up and it was for the better. I used to munch on cookies, chips or chocolates on the wee hours. Now, my last bite will be before 10 PM and the only thing that can go pass that hour is a cup of green tea.
Lifestyle change also means being more active and tho’ enrolling to a gym is an option, I opt to utilise what we already have. We started the daily post-dinner walk & run for almost 8 weeks but later became 3 times a week and now that we got rainy evenings, we would skip it. Our weekend is usually a walk back & forth to the wet market & grocery or even if we’re going out for a last full show. 😀
I’d happily choose stairs over escalators & elevators and that was the effect of getting this Fitbit fitness monitor. We got more conscious with our steps! Thanks to our friend who’s also into fitness & recommended this to us. This tracker was one of my best buys and had a great impact on my fitness journey.
As for my personal exercise, it normally includes Zumba, weights, bodyweight routines and some yoga stretches. Truth is, you just have to make use of the internet and you can come up with a routine that works for you. If after a while it gets easier to do, then add some variations to make it more challenging.
Where Am I Now?
I’m currently on my 8th month since I started my fitness journey and so far, I’ve lost 20 pounds. My weight loss may be slow compared to what I had in 2009 but this time, it’s steady. I’m not depriving myself, but I’m cautious with the long term effect of the food I chose to eat. I’m a work in progress and tho’ I’m way far from my target physique, I’m not losing hope!
In those 8 months, a lot of things became clear to me:
Discipline, Commitment & Dedication Are Very Important.
It doesn’t matter if you’re paying membership or if you’ve started losing a good amount of weight because, without these three, everything can go back to how it was. You can be motivated but with the lack of discipline, it’s gonna be hard. That’s where the Yo-yo effect comes in.
I also realised that my husband can’t always accompany me for evening walks so with or without a fitness companion, I created my own set of activities. I won’t stop exercising just because he’s not available and at times, you also have to push each other to be more active and continue what you’ve started.
Don’t compensate your bad food choices with a workout.
We used to think that “I can eat all these junk and just run or exercise more.” It doesn’t work that way. I remember one celebrity coach saying that if you’re trying to lose weight, don’t eat junk foods. And since then, it became one of my rules, too. A healthy diet and a good amount of exercise will always, always go hand in hand.
You Do You.
The only competition that you have is with yourself. Mind your own business and don’t compare your progress with others. Different people have different goals and it’s my job to fulfil mine.
Listen to your body.
Always. Don’t overtrain because it’s not healthy. Remember, anything that’s too much is bad. The body also needs time to recover so don’t take that away.
Don’t obsess with numbers.
I used to be fixated with the figures on the scale because according to the weight & height chart, my ideal weight is 59 kg. But this is me at 62 kg and please agree with me that it doesn’t look good.
At times you’ll experience water retention or muscle soreness (especially after a strenous workout) and those factors add up to your numbers on the scale but it doesn’t mean that your efforts were useless.
Now, I’ve understood that being healthy & having muscles does not mean a lower scale register. I don’t aim to be a size 2. All I want is to be fit, not skinny.
2017 Fitness Goals
Aside from being healthy & shedding weight, I also want to have a STRONGER CORE and TONED ARMS & LEGS. And because of that, I do workouts that target those areas and to finally see some cuts after weeks of hard work, it’s really giving me the high to push for more. 😀
I’ve neglected my body and I’m really apologising to myself for letting that happen. Now, I feel stronger & healthier. I’m happy with my slow, but steady progression and I’m dedicated to doing this for a long time.
This is me. This is the story of a happy girl who used to weigh 86 kilos but with a lifestyle change, she’s even happier.
This is just the beginning and I’ll keep you updated with my developments, achievements and setbacks. I hope my story inspired you to pick that pair of training shoes and go for a 30-minute walk because frankly, my dear…nothing beats the combination of a healthy diet and proper exercise. 😉