‘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 I reached an all-time-high in the weighing scale. 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 was a thin girl growing up 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 its 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!
My typical 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, then I will have a normal lunch meal (rice + viand), snacks in between, sometimes 2 tetra pack of Choc-O again for merienda then dinner at home. Not to mention, the random cravings for fast food, milk tea or ice cream. It wasn’t my daily routine but you get the idea why I probably got fat in a year or so.
I was in denial that I was fat. Whenever I looked in the mirror, I think I looked fine but I honestly 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 noticed a buffalo 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 every morning. I’d tell myself, this will just take 3-5 mins. I started by doing crunches and planking then gradually added more exercise in the routine.
The thing is if you start by doing 10 different exercise in one go, the next day you’d probably dread exercising and just the thought of doing it all over again makes you not wanna 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 little by little, I add a new exercise in the routine and I discontinue which doesn’t work for me. My current routine is: Planking, Side Planking, Flutter Kicks, Scissors, Double Crunches, Bicycle Crunches, Full Sit-Ups with Twist 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 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 have read that you should not plank for more than 2 minutes as it 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. During the 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 (that is after I get off from P2P — not walk from Fairview to Makati lol). 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 can compensate the exercise that I missed that 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 introduced me to Keto diet. She said I might like it because I don’t have to count my calories, instead, I just have to cut off carbs. It seemed interesting as I researched more about it. I joined the Keto Philippines Facebook group (which was helpful by the way, they share where to buy Keto products and which restaurants offer Keto meals, etc) to learn more about the diet.
I consulted my Dietitian friend about it and she did not approve it. Still, I tried strict-keto for 1.5 weeks. But for someone who doesn’t prepare her own food, it was hard. My parents were supportive, so they’ll cook something that will fit my diet despite them avoiding fatty food. After a while, I felt guilty with all the fatty food I’ve been eating on a daily basis and started to get “umay”. So I changed my strategy…
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 forced me to eat rice again, pft.)
- My alternative for rice was lettuce. I just think of it as Samgyupsal style. I’d bring lettuce to work and wrap any ulam. If I don’t have lettuce, then I’ll just eat any ulam without rice. For breakfast, sometimes I’ll bring boiled eggs.
- I avoided any colored drinks. I only drink water. Good thing I am not fond of soda, so that’s kinda easy for me to avoid. But I love frappes! There was one time, I was really craving for JCo Frappe, I bought a medium-sized drink and I didn’t finish it because I was too guilty with all the carbs it contains.
- I was literally OA with the carbs that I consume, I tracked EVERYTHING I EAT! (more about it later)
- I limited myself from eating chocolates and cookies (my favorite!). If I was really craving, I’d eat like one cookie only that day.
- After I have seen the changes in my weight and my body, I eventually became more lenient with myself. I allowed myself to eat what I want in moderation. Like 1 slice of pizza, sometimes 2 (the buy 1, take 1 from Pizza Hut, yes) but my only condition is to do more exercise tomorrow or to walk more.
- So to sum up, I cut off my 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 monitored my food intake using MyFitnessPal (GREAT APP!). The suggested macros for Keto is 75% fat, 20% protein and 5% carbs. I think the suggested total carbs should be 25 – 30 grams of net carbs, which no way in hell I can 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. And would you believe I started reading nutritional facts too!
PART 3: MINDSET
THIS IS FOR ME THE MOST IMPORTANT PART. 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 the thing is, if you want something you should make an effort to get it. Habit is not built overnight, it something you repeatedly do. And it is by your habits that you start to get better.
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 what I did because this journey varies 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.