When I was younger, It didn’t take that much effort to maintain my weight. I was never sporty, I never exercised, and I always ate like there was no tomorrow. I was not skinny, but not chubby either. I was just normal. So I never really put that much thought into what and how much I ate. Simply because there wasn’t any need to.

Even after I gave birth, I still didn’t gain a lot of weight. I was bigger, but I wasn’t fat. It was only when I turned 26 and worked an office job that I started gaining weight. And I gained it fast. People started calling me “madam” instead of “miss” and kept assuming I was pregnant (even though I wasn’t) and calling my son “kuya” with the assumption that I had another one in the bun. My son even came up with a jingle for me. “Ang taba ni mommy, ang taba taba taba taba ni mommy.”

But still, I did not pay much attention to it. I knew I was bigger, but I didn’t think it was THAT bad. I always hid behind calling myself “voluptuous” because I knew I had a big behind, and resigned to the fact that maybe this really is my body type. That I am just meant to get bigger as my titas and lola are. Maybe this is just the natural order of things.

It was only when I had a heart break, and relocated to Bohol that I got to really evaluate my life, and also myself. I bought a weighing scale and just couldn’t believe what I saw. I was at 145 lbs (and I am just 5’1). That was the biggest I had ever been. I knew I needed to do something about it. After all, I was a single mom, and I needed to be healthy for my son.

I started by cutting down on what I ate. I stopped eating rice, and only ate salads and fruits and corn kernels. I did some zumba and followed a 30-day workout program. It worked at first, and I lost a lot of weight fast. But I felt and looked miserable. I was cranky and always hungry, and was just not happy. So when I went back to Manila for a vacation and had a birthday, I binged ate and gained back all the weight I had lost.

And so I decided that I didn’t just wanna be skinny. I wanted to look and feel healthy. And I wanted to make it last. These are the things that helped me achieve just that.

Weight Loss Tips 

ALWAYS BRING A WATER BOTTLE

The best way to start your journey to being healthy is to always have a water bottle with you. Sometimes, we think we are hungry but we really are just thirsty. If you had a water bottle, taking a sip of water would help eliminate these cravings and keep you hydrated. My take on this, if you get hungry and it goes away after drinking some water, then you saved yourself some unnecessary calories. If it doesn’t, then you really are hungry and you should eat something healthy.

Also, counting how many water bottles you’ve had is a simple and easy way to get you started at being aware of what and how much you are eating or drinking.

BUY A PAIR OF RUBBER SHOES 

I never owned rubber shoes. And this just goes to show how inactive I was. So the first investment I made when I decided on this healthy lifestyle journey was a pair of comfy rubber shoes. Just the task of putting on your shoes is enough motivation to actually do something active. Whether it be running, dancing, or just walking. You’ve already got your shoes on, might as well work out right?

BE AWARE OF WHAT YOU EAT, NOT JUST HOW MUCH YOU EAT

I count my calories. Same as many other people who try to loose weight do. It makes you accountable for whatever goes inside your body. But I am not obsessed about it. I am more concerned about WHAT I eat as opposed to HOW MUCH. For example, 100 calories worth of potato chips as opposed to 100 calories worth of fruits. Yes they are both 100 calories, but the latter is a better choice. Don’t get stuck on counting calories. Think of how your body would use those calories. Would they be stored as fat, or would they give you more energy to work out and help build your muscles.

GET TO KNOW YOUR BODY 

I used to follow fixed workout programs. Like the 30-day challenges posted by other people. It worked for me at first but eventually my body got used to it and I didn’t get any more results. And worse, my body hurt too much that I just didn’t look forward to working out again. And so I learned to pick and choose my exercises based on what I can and cannot do, and what I think works for me.

I have a bad back, and so I stay away from exercises that might hurt it like running and sit-ups. I love to dance and so I do zumba to burn calories instead. I lift weights that are not that heavy, and compensate by doing more repetitions. I do a lot of exercises for the tummy because I know this is where my body stores fat. I never risk injuring myself by following a program that I know would be too hard, and I adjust my exercises depending on what my body needs.

When it comes to food, I know now that it’s best for me to stay away from rice, bread, and pasta. Not because I am on a no carb diet, but because I always feel bloated after I eat these carbs. Same goes with coffee. No matter how I love my jiampong and my brewed coffee, I’d much rather feel healthy than bloated. Listen to your body. You’ll figure out what makes it happy.

TAKE SELFIES

Taking your picture is a great way to see where you are, how far you have come and how far you still have to go. I only realized and appreciated how much weight I have lost and how much healthier I now look when I saw an old picture of myself. I could not believe how big I was until I made a before and after picture. And it was a great feeling knowing I have come so far.

SET SMALL GOALS

2 lbs per 2 weeks. This is how I set my goals, in small amounts, and with a specific time frame. This way, you have more moments of triumph as opposed to having one major goal, with a long and dragging timeframe. Setting small goals and reaching those will help keep you motivated. And before you know it, you’ve lost 20 lbs, 2lbs at a time.

PREPARE A PICTURE PERFECT PLATE

Take the time to prepare your plate and arrange it like it would be if you ordered it from a restaurant. Even if you were eating with other people and were sharing food, take the time to prepare your plate before starting to eat. This way, you’d be able to see just how much food you would be eating, as opposed to having an empty plate and having seconds, thirds or fourth servings, without even realizing it. Making your plate look pretty would also entice your mind and would make your food look tastier.

WORK OUT EVERY OTHER DAY, OR EVERY OTHER WEEKEND

I used to workout every day. And it was not only tiring, but I started to hate working out. Instead of having great and productive workouts, I ended up just doing the motions and not really giving it my all. So I decided to give myself mandatory rest days. This made me look forward to my exercise days more since I had a day of rest in between. And, it gave me no excuses not to do it. I always say to myself “I didn’t work out yesterday, no reason not to work out today”.

AVOID ANYTHING THAT WAS “MANUFACTURED”

Canned food, processed food, junk food, and fast food. Just say no. Not only do they have a lot of preservative, chemicals and salt, but you really don’t know what else they are putting in them that makes them all oh so tasty. Try to eat what nature gave us. Fresh fruits, veggies, and home cooked meals are far better options than anything manufactured and store bought.

And lastly,

STOP THINKING THAT YOU ARE MEANT TO BE FAT

No one is meant to be fat. Don’t give up and just say “this is just my body type. I am not meant to be skinny.” I used to say that. I used to chalk my weight up to my genes. I never thought I’d look and feel like this again at 29 years old. But I worked hard, and I took it a day at a time, and here I am. I did not crash diet, and I still have my moments of weakness, but when I do, I get myself back on track and am accountable for pounds gained and lost.

All you have to do, is START SOMEWHERE, AND START NOW. Start with drinking water. Or doing 5 minutes of running. Or just walking to and from your favorite store instead of riding a jeep or tricycle. Just DO SOMETHING.

And who says you need to be skinny? You just need to be healthy. Don’t aim to be a supermodel. I don’t. But do aim to be in the best shape for you.

If a 29 yo, work at home, single mom can do it, so can you 🙂

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