I have always been a rice person. Back in college, my friends knew me as The Kanin Queen because my appetite was as big as that of most men. I used to gorge as much as two to three cups of rice in one meal. I am not sweet-toothed, but I consume more carbohydrates than anything else in the food group. During my senior year, we had more idle time in school, so most often than not, we spent it stuffing ourselves with food. Perhaps my metabolism had slowed down, too, thus my system did not burn as much fuel like it used to. That was when I began gaining weight.
I did not work until six months after graduating from college. I thought I’d rest for a while before jumping into the corporate world. That has got to be the most stupid decision I ever made. Every single day, for six months, all I did was wake up mid-morning and fire up the computer to video chat with Roan on Skype even without having breakfast first. When he goes to sleep, that’s my cue to take my lunch. In the afternoon, either I waste all six hours oggling in front of Facebook (yes, I had one) or engage myself in a movie or TV series marathon. Roan wakes up at five o’clock everyday for training, and gets back about two hours after. We talk again for a bit while he gets ready for work, then again during his lunch break which is almost midnight in Manila. That was pretty much our routine even when he got deployed to Iraq.
When I started working in October 2010, things for me got even worse. It felt like every Friday is someone’s birthday, thus we were treated with boxes of pizza, spaghetti platters, and all other comfort food one can think of. Having an appetite of a penchant for food, I eat to my heart’s desire. With this kind of sedentary lifestyle, I ballooned to my biggest weight to date: a whopping 135lbs! Okay, you might think I’m a bit overreacting at this point. Here’s the thing—I have never weighed more than 120lbs in my earlier years. My body mass index (BMI) calculation indicated that my weight then still fell under the normal weight category, but when I looked at myself closely in photos, I did not like what I saw. That’s what triggered me to do something about it.
In January 2011, I got myself into an active lifestyle. I started running, even joined fun runs. Either I go for a 1- to 2-hour jog/run before I report to work or I do so in the afternoon/evening, six times a week. The hardest part had to be my withdrawal from excessive intake of carbohydrates. Gradually, I lessen my rice from a cup to half a cup and increased my consumption of fiber and protein. I take my meals like an inverted pyramid—heavy breakfast, normal to light lunch, then light to no dinner. I also added more fruits and vegetables in my food plate. It took a lot of getting used to, but I eventually got the hang of it. It takes dedication and discipline to avoid junk/greasy foods, and I endeavored not to indulge myself into these. When I did, I punish myself twice as much in my next workout to free myself from guilt.
A few months later, I slightly changed my routine by incorporating other cardiovascular exercises and strength-training workouts. Roan even prepared different sets for me to work on, interchanging them to avoid boredom and muscle memory. I suppose this worked for me because most people had began to notice my weight-loss. If I may add, Roan used to be overweight in his earlier years, too. He started losing weight in college by working out (mostly weight-lifting and running), then eventually trimmed down to his current physique when he joined the Army.
When people ask me how I did it, I tell them, “Nothing happens overnight.” I guess the best [unsolicited] advice I could give anyone is to look for a routine that works best for you. It may be in the form of running, strength-/weight-training, interval-/circuit-training, sports, or even yoga. Fortunately, we have a make-shift gym at home. We have a set of weights from dumbbells to those used for bench press. We also own a mechanical treadmill, so when I don’t get to run/jog outside, I take my cardiovascular exercise indoors. I think it is also worth noting that you enjoy your workout because it helps you focus on your goal. Having a workout buddy—whether it’s your partner, sibling, or friend—does the trick, too!
To date, I have lost a total of 35lbs. I wouldn’t consider it a drastic change for the reason that I worked for it for about a year and a half. I wanted to do it right with proper diet and exercise because I have this notion that anything you lose easily, you gain twice as fast, thus crash diets were never an option. You reap what you sow, and now I benefit from my investment.
It feels good to finally be able to wear again the clothes I used to fit into which had been one of my motivations in losing all that excess weight. It feels even better when you decide to upgrade your wardrobe, and you realize that you’re a size or two smaller than you had been. I take pride in seeing what seemed to be out of place, and actually did something about it the best way I know how. This will be a lifetime commitment, and I hope to sustain it for a healthier lifestyle.