Saturday, January 11, 2014

Personal Weight Loss Story

I’m writing this to hopefully establish the fact that I do have some credibility that would support what I have written in this blog regarding fitness and what I will soon write about as well.   

First, disclaimers:

  • I DID NOT HAVE A FITNESS TRAINER (Well, not until recently. And also unless you count my boyfriend as a trainer, haha)

I just wanted to get all that out before my story casts any doubt unto people. For further proof, visit Gold's Gym Glorietta for eye witness accounts on how I practically lived there from June 2012-August 2012 ;)

Anyway, now on to the story.

"Fat" was a word that I was more than familiar with. Since I came out of my mother's womb, that word has been used to describe me so much so that it has stuck for years on end. At some life stages, it was considered cute, but beyond the age of four, it has acquired a negative stigma which caused many to cast prejudice upon me. Because of this, I considered "fat" to be an entity that I did not only have nor was only a mere part of me--it was, at one point, what I considered my identity.

Macau Trip 2011. Me at 205lbs., and about to order a White Chocolate Raspberry Shake in Godiva. NO REGRETS YO.

You may think of me as dramatic, but it's all too true. When someone mentioned my name, the adjective "fat" came up (along with more subtle descriptions that only added salt to the wounds--plump. chubby, etc.) and it eventually became my identifier. Truth be told, I thought it was still my identifier up until last month when someone in the gym yelled out "sexy!"  and I ended up looking (to my shame, it wasn't I that was being called, but thankfully I knew the guy and even he said I deserve to be called such a name. I don't know whether he was being nice and I'm just vain enough to believe I'm sexy, or I know I'm sexy. Either way, let's end it with me being sexy, cuz from that day on, he calls me sexy. HAHA).

Hong Kong Trip 2011. I am showing this picture because of my huge ass belly that is seen through my shirt. 

It was not like I wanted to accept "fat" as my identifier, really. But throughout the years of being made fun of, being discriminated upon in social events and even experiencing rejection from the opposite sex because I was fat (as being fat seemed tantamount to being ugly), I became too daunted that I decided to just accept the criticisms about me. “I'm fat, okay. I'm ugly because I'm fat, okay. Now leave me to eat my cupcake, kthnxbai.”

So with that said, I did not really bother to do anything about my weight because I learned how to live with the stigma associated with me and I found that life goes on even for a fat person such as myself. However, I knew there was a glimmer of hope inside me that wanted to veer away from that "fat" identifier, and I knew this because I unwaveringly focused on one aspect of my life which I hoped would redeem me from the ugliness caused by my weight: academics. I knew I was far from being an Einstein, but I knew that I was also far from being a complete dunderhead because of my historical performance in school. Hence, as far as I could remember, I would focus on school and literature (because I liked writing) during my free time up until a point that "smart" was also an adjective associated with me.

College Graduation 2012. Blonde hair don't care, cuz I'm Cum laude yo HAHA 

For the longest time, I thought I could take people's attention away from thinking I was just a fat lazy person by excelling in school. In high school, I didn't graduate with distinction, but I did get good grades and won a medal in every Science Investigatory Project competition. In college, I managed to graduate Cum laude, and several teachers were quite fond of me as well. Such achievements kept me satisfied with myself, and I thought I was happy enough to coast along through life being fat but being smart at the same time.

But of course, life is all but fair and I was made to realize that people will never forget about what they see first. People do not see one's intellect or personality right away, because the first thing they see is what's in front of them. And people, really, don't use their brains a lot most of the time so in times of conflict, they nitpick on what's easily seen. Hence, when I get into an argument with someone, whether it be a friend or a relative, I am made to remind of the fact that I am fat, like as if being fat has the same gravity as murdering an infant.

Christmas 2011. It was cold and I was into J-fashion okay, so sue me for the knee-high socks and the loud leopard-print skirt (I still have it, and I still like it, go away).

Arguments, conflicts, and criticisms may have been a reason for me to have decided to have lost weight. But I’ll make this clear to everyone: even if I was fat, I was still comfortable with myself and I still loved myself. In college, I wore what I want—miniskirts, sleeveless tops, and what have you—without a care in the world and even if peoples’ criticisms affected me, I knew my rights and defended them nonetheless. I did not hate myself for being fat; perhaps, I was disappointed with myself and from time to time I would question my own worth, but I would get over my self-doubt after a few days or so and go on with my own life. I was fat, but I KNEW that there was so much more to me than being obese. That was probably the reason as to why I was able to remain stagnant and satisfied with my weight (satisfied in a sense that I didn’t put much effort to do anything about it) for several years.

May 2010, Milan. Around 190lbs.

But throughout the years of my existence, I was encouraged by my parents and other medical professionals to exercise and go on a diet, so since I was 5, I’ve had a gym membership. In grade school, I did Taekwondo for about two years until I got tired of it. I started playing tennis when I was 12, and although I played intermittently at the latter part of high school, I kept playing until my second year of college. I was into boxing during my senior year in high school as well, but I only really did it to prepare for my Senior Ball. In college, I did yoga, soccer, and some jogging, but they were all for P.E classes. Point is, I was not an overly sporty person, but I was more athletic than the average person.

April 2008. Summer Roadtrip. 175-180lbs.

In essence, the height of my weight gain was towards the latter part of college, where there were infinite requirements to be completed and there was barely any time for sleep, exercise, and other essentials. My diet was very unhealthy, as I just ate whatever I wanted (i.e sweets and oily food) and I would only eat out. Before college, I did “Yo Yo dieting,” experimenting with South Beach, Atkins, and all other diets one could think of that would make me lose weight only for a short amount of time. Eventually, I just gave up on trying to shed off pounds and decided to focus on other more important things, such as school.

October 2011, Grandma's Birthday. Mom coined the nickname "Fat Cat" during this period. Suffice to say, she now calls me "Thin Fat Cat" (whut)/.

There’s one thing people need to know about me, though: I am probably one of the most competitive people out there. I do not like being compared to others, and I most certainly do not like it if I am at a disadvantage once compared. Having said this, I’ll admit that the reason that triggered me to go on my weight loss journey was because people close to me who used to be heavier (why yes, there were people heavier than me) started losing weight while I remained…well, fat. I knew there was something wrong with the picture and I was just so uncomfortable with situations wherein I would be compared to my cousins or my best friend and people would say things like “See, they lost weight!” and of course, even if they didn’t say it out loud, the following statement to that would have been “So why haven’t you?”

Because of my constant desire to always be on top of things, I’ve decided to go on a weight loss journey right after graduating from college. At that time, I had just accepted an offer from an international business school to take my Masters abroad, and I had to wait three months before the program started. After traveling to Japan for two weeks, I decided to get my game on, diet and hit the gym on June 2012. And that’s when my journey started.

I counted my calories—1200kcal per day total, with 250kcal meal replacement shakes as my breakfast and dinner, tuna and wheat bread for lunch, and hardboiled egg, yogurt and soy milk for snacks in between. I stayed in the gym from morning to night, spending a total of 5 hours of cardio per day running on the treadmill, using the elliptical machine, and joining zumba, kickboxing, and spinning classes. I would cheat on weekends—if I didn’t, I knew I would go insane. If I cheated on a weekday, then my only solution was of course to work harder the next gym session.

September 2012. My Farewell Dinner. 158lbs. 

Fast forward to September 2012, I was down to 158lbs. from 205lbs. When I started my Masters program, I didn’t lose weight for a month since I was adjusting to my new surroundings, socializing with new classmates, and preoccupied with schoolwork. My diet was fairly normal wherein I regulated my food intake, but I gradually reintroduced certain foods to my diet such as sweets and other simple carbs. There was a time that I would even have a cup of Starbucks’ Signature Hot Chocolate every morning, but I knew I would burn it with the amount of commuting I did throughout the day and the fact that I ate other healthy dishes as my staples.

Things changed, however, when I started dating the guy who is currently my boyfriend, namely Varun. Varun is a health buff, and even when we started out as friends, I knew he was very particular about what he ate. During our first two weeks of dating, I would cook food for him such as white rice, sautéed vegetables, meat balls, and grilled chicken, which was what I would usually eat except I would add some sauces here and there. He never really said a word, until gradually, I would notice him telling me to decrease the amount of sauce I would put on my chicken and the amount of rice I ate, and so on.

When Varun Did Kung-Fu. He can do a flying push-up, guys! O:

October 2012. See mah chubby fez? Yeah, too much hot chocolate and milk tea until this guy intervened.

I just like this pic so I'm showing it. Irrelevant to weight-loss, LOL.

Eventually, the Nazi in him was revealed after a month of dating. He put me on a strict diet where I could only buy my beloved hot chocolate once in two weeks (or any sweets I wanted), eat brown/black rice or pasta coupled with many vegetables, have a limited amount of fruits (one serving per day), and have chicken breast as my main source of protein. It wasn’t easy—we would always argue, but he knew that deep inside, I wanted to reap the benefits of what he was making me do. And I really did, and that’s why even if I cheated  every now and then, I followed what he would tell me for the most part.

December 2012. Pre-Christmas Dinner with Varun. This was before I left for Manila to celebrate with my family.

December 2012. With gym friends and one of my fitness inspirations, Trainer John Cuay (I will forever be thankful for the routines he gave us).

December 2012. 149lbs. I gained some holiday weight cuz of the eating, duh. Varun tortured me after this, FYI. 

February 26, 2013. 3-Day Fruits and Veggies Detox pic. 145lbs. 
March 2013. M on the Bund (in Shanghai) Roofdeck. 136lbs.

March 2013. The Bund. Yeah still 136lbs. and you can barely see my overall body, but hello, don't we look cute HAHA

Fast forward to the present, I follow pretty much the same diet as what Varun put me on, except I would eat more protein sources such as turkey breast and salmon. Currently, I’ve given up rice and opted for quinoa instead, but I still do eat brown/black rice and even white rice if there aren’t any other options. I’ve increased my fruits intake as well, and would treat myself to sweets once a week, provided that I would exercise. At the time Varun put me on a diet, we never counted calories, though I’ve counted my macros once again after coming home and have been more strict about it due to the increased flexibility I have on what I eat now (hello, I have Starbucks whenever I want these days—which is  usually just once a week, but whatever).

August 2013, Post-Grad Party Outfit. Still around 134-135lbs. 

October, 2013. 132lbs. My leg muscles would like to say hi. And I didn't know where to put my iPhone, so yes, I know it's distracting :(

Typical Meal. Two weeks ago, post-plyo session.

My exercise is still cardio-heavy, as I would run, and attend zumba, kickboxing and spinning, though now I do plyometrics every Saturdays. During my Masters, I would follow the Insanity series and lift three times a week in the gym. Since my fitness goals have changed, however, I recently got myself a personal trainer for enhanced muscle building.

Look at mah GUNZZZ (not really, I'm just bony lol).

With my dad. This is after I ate a Tomahawk steak. My gunz look big. 

Currently, I am at roughly 130lbs. (the range is 128-132lbs. to be exact), with 14-15% body fat (which was honestly lower than I expected). I am honestly happy with what I have achieved, yet that doesn’t mean I don’t seek any improvements upon myself. I still have a lot to learn, and so many things to work for (such as a nicer butt and abs, haha!). However, what I would really like to say is that my whole fitness journey has taught me that self-love and contentment are different from laziness and mediocrity; one can be happy with what he has while still working towards his goals.

To those who have read up until this point, I would really like to thank you because this post is LONG. I just tried to put some pictures in it to entertain you, but I really couldn’t find a way to shorten it due to its overly personal nature. But once again, thank you, and really, I hope to inspire more people about my story and say that YES, YOU CAN LOSE WEIGHT AND IT’S NOT TOO LATE TO START.

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