‘To lose weight’ — this item has always been present in my New Year’s resolution every year since I started working. But I have never given it much effort until last year when it got worse. I’ll share below what I did to lose 14 lbs in a span of 5 months.
This was supposed to be a vlog, but tbh, I may have gained the 14lbs back before I even finish that vlog.
BACKGROUND STORY: I grew up as a thin girl and I was never bothered by my weight because despite eating a lot, I regularly trained for volleyball (until 2015) and my metabolism was still at it’s peak. So, my weight was the least of my concerns then.
Fast forward to 2016 – 2017, I moved to a new job where wide-range of pantry food and drinks are all free! So, imagine my amazement!
Picture this, my normal breakfast was 2 tetra pack of Choc-O (because that’s what it takes to fill an entire glass) and then a bowl of Koko Crunch with milk, normal lunch meal, snacks in between then 2 tetra pack of Choc-O again then dinner at home. Not to mention, the random cravings for fast food. Of course, it wasn’t my daily routine but you get the idea why I probably got fat in a span of 12 months or less.
I was in denial that I was fat. Whenever I looked in the mirror, I think I look fine but I don’t feel fine. My clothes were getting tighter and I felt a lot of things going on in my body. My pimples were breaking out and I started getting irregular menstruation. I thought it’s just my hormones. But then, my sister noticed that I started getting stretch marks on my tummy and I have a hump below my nape. My mom and sister (both doctors) suggested it could be something serious and I should have it checked.
It was towards the end of September 2017, when I decided to do something about it.
I consulted 2 doctors: an Endocrinologist and an OB Gyne.
My Endocrinologist, Dr. Joy Fontanilla of St. Lukes Global City, requested for blood tests to check Glucose Tolerance (OGTT), Insulin, Potassium and HbA1c (for Diabetes). All came back normal except for Serum Insulin which is slightly higher than normal.
With that, I was advised by my doctor to start exercising and dieting. And I thought, “wait, that was it? Can I just take a medicine or something?” I wanted something instant. I don’t want to “diet and exercise”.
After a couple of weeks, I went to my OB, Dr. Regina Capistrano of St. Lukes Global City. She requested for a transvaginal/rectal ultrasound. Results came out as positive for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). She gave me two options: prescription meds or natural way. By natural way, she meant diet and exercise.
I chose not to take medicines for my PCOS. It was a wake up call for me to have 2 doctors tell me that I have to “diet and exercise”. It was hard, just thinking about it. But I learned that with a proper mindset and commitment to diet and exercise, you can actually make a big change in your life.
Here’s my weight loss journey…
PART 1: EXERCISE
Getting yourself on the mat takes a lot of willpower. I’ve been there. But when you stick to it and you start to see the results, exercise can be addicting.
Find an exercise that you like
I started by dragging myself to the mat everyday. I’d tell myself, this will just take 3-5 mins. And I’ll just do crunches and planking. Because if I made myself start by doing 10 different exercises, just thinking about it makes me want to not get up. So I started with 10 seconds planking and 10 crunches for a few days. Then when I got comfortable with it, I added 5 seconds to my planking and then 5 crunches. Then I added a new kind of exercise. Now, my current routine is: Planking, Side Planking, Flutter Kicks, Scissors, Twist Crunches, Bicycle Crunches, V-Ups and then 3-5 minutes of meditation (deep breathing)
Note: I don’t adjust my exercise every week. I only do when I start to feel comfortable with my current routine. The 30-day exercise challenge (where you will increase your exercise by day/week) doesn’t work for me. I prefer having the freedom to adjust my exercise when I feel like it. I listen to what my body wants and what it can take. Also, I don’t plank for more than 1 minute. I read somewhere that planking for 2 minutes or more is not good for your back.
Compensate if you miss an exercise
There were times when it’s really hard to get up in the morning to do your exercise. Especially when you slept late the night prior and you just want more time in the morning to sleep. My first 3 months, I had days when I’d skip exercise. What I did was to “punish” myself by walking to and fro the office. I’d take the longer way. I’d take the stairs. Any option where I need to walk, I’d take that. This is so I still get to exercise for the day.
Don’t be frustrated
Most likely, the first few days or weeks you won’t see any changes in the weighing scale. But don’t fret, by working out, you are building muscles which don’t reflect on the scale. So just stick to your exercise and diet and soon you’ll see changes there!
PART 2: DIET
Exercise is hard, but we all know that diet is waaaaaaaay harder! With all the restaurants around the metro and the marketing strategies in social media not to mention the #foodporn your friend just posted on Instagram, how can you go on a diet!?
Choose a diet that suits you
I have tried diet programs where they’ll prepare your food for a week (with strict calorie count) and deliver it to your doorstep. Dude, I was starving came Wednesday and ditched the diet program for the rest of the week. Then a friend of mine mentioned Keto diet as “you won’t feel too restricted with food, cause you can still eat pork and bacon and everything you want”. I got curious so I joined the facebook group (which was helpful by the way, they share where to buy Keto products and which restaurants offer Keto meals, etc) and researched about it. I tried it for 2 weeks. But for someone who doesn’t prepare her own food, it was hard. My parents were supportive, so they’ll cook something for me, but after a while, I felt guilty with all the fatty food I’ve been eating on a daily basis and started to get “umay”.
From my research, I learned that sugar is the culprit for the weight gain.
Here are some changes that I did:
- I stopped eating rice. It wasn’t sudden though. For 2 weeks, I reduced my rice intake to 1/4 cup per meal. Sometimes, I’ll eat rice, sometimes I won’t. But after 2 weeks, I was able to stop eating and craving for rice. (This went on for 5 months, until I got amoebiasis, which required me to eat rice again, pft.)
- My alternative for rice was lettuce. Samgyupsal style. I’d bring lettuce to work and wrap any ulam. Sometimes, I’d bring boiled egg too for breakfast.
- I avoided any colored drinks. I only drink water. There was one time, I was really craving for JCo Frappe, I bought a medium-sized drink, and wasn’t able to finish it because I was too guilty.
- I limited myself from eating chocolates and cookies (my favorite!). If I was really craving, I’d eat like one cookie only.
- At first, I was strict with my diet. Eventually, I became more lenient with myself. I allow myself to eat what I want as long as it is in moderation. Like 1 slice of pizza. Or 2 (the buy 1, take 1 from Pizza Hut, yes) but then I’d have to do more exercise tomorrow or I had to walk more.
- So to sum up, my diet was no rice, no softdrinks and junkfoods, and moderation of everything. Or if I eat a bit more than “moderate” I would have to compensate it by walking or exercising.
Note: I know that there is a debate whether Keto diet is good or not. I know Dietitians don’t
promote it, but I also see how Keto can really help people in losing weight. I don’t actually know what’s the real deal so I am not in the position to recommend or comment anything about this.
Monitor your macros
I learned about Macros when I started with Keto. I monitor it using MyFitnessPal (great app, by the way!). The suggested macros for Keto is 75% fat, 20% protein and 5% carbs. The suggested total carb intake should be 35grams and below per day, which I cannot commit to. Instead, I let myself get 75g of Carbs per day. Some days, I let myself eat 100g of carbs, which should include fruits. I also started reading the nutritional facts.
PART 3: MINDSET
Decide when you’ll start and commit to it. You don’t have to force yourself too much, just start small and slow, the important thing is you start. Every year I’ve been telling myself that I should lose weight, but I never did. I realized it’s because I never took little steps to get to my goal. I wanted it instantly, I don’t want to work hard for it. But that is never the case, if you want something you should make an effort and commit to it. Habit is not built overnight, it something you repeatedly do. And it is by your habits that you get to be a better version of yourself..
Here’s my favorite mantra throughout this journey: “show up everyday“. It doesn’t matter if it’s on the mat, in the gym, in the boxing ring. As long as you do something about it everyday. You’re on your way to change your body and your life.
I swear, when you start to see changes, it’s so rewarding. You’ll feel more committed to exercise. You’ll feel good about yourself. 🙂
My weight-loss journey was paused since I moved to Dubai, this March. But once I am settled here, I would return to my active lifestyle.
Note: All the statements I’ve shared are based on my experiences. I am not saying that you have to do the same as these things vary from person to person. I am not a fitness expert nor a health and wellness expert. So, I’d say it’s still best to consult a professional about your diet and exercise.