Follow in Josh’s footsteps and love yourself enough to make the switch to a healthy lifestyle.

Submitted by: Josh Oblipias

It was August 2015. I was 292 lbs., obese, unhealthy, unhappy, depressed, and feeling hopeless about life. I desperately wanted a positive change in my life.

I have tried almost every kind of diet out there, but these were diet regimens for the lazy. My journey to fitness did not start recently; I started at the young age of 15, when I weighed 190 lbs. and I feared reaching the 200 lb. mark. So, I started crash dieting. I decided to eat only crackers when I’m really hungry and drank lots of water to trick myself into thinking I’m always full. I lost 10 lbs. in just one week. I continued on with this habit for about a month, and just like that I weighed at 160 lbs., ready for my Junior Prom. However, this diet was difficult to maintain, so I decided to eat in moderation and exercise at home.

As I began my college life, I started gaining weight due to the stress in my daily routine as a liberal arts major. I considered this period to be some of the most stressful years in my life. Weighing 205 lbs. during my sophomore year, I tried going back to the gym but I only was able to do so for 5 months. It was a very stressful commute from school to the gym then going back home so I gave it up.

At 17 years old, I was hospitalized due to hypertension. By the time I graduated in 2012 and got my first job, I had to get a medical clearance because I had a fatty liver. In 2013 and 5 months into my job, I was chosen to go on a business trip in Budapest, Hungary where I had my first asthma attack and was admitted to the hospital. My blood sugar level was also so high that I used to be borderline diabetic.

The same year, at 272 lbs., I decided to renew my gym membership at Fitness First. I was able to shed more than 30 lbs., going down to 240lbs. Not too long after, I found myself in and out of the hospital. In December 2013, I needed a shockwave procedure to rid my kidneys of stones, and I was hospitalized the next month for frequent asthma attacks due to stress. My asthma attacks caused my tonsils to get irritated and bleed, so I decided to undergo a tonsillectomy in March 2014. After a 3 week recovery period, I was no longer enthusiastic to go to the gym. I would sometimes visit, but eventually I lost the commitment. So from weighing in at 240 lbs., I soon weighed 292 lbs.

Growing up in an extended family setting, what made me decide to change my life was when my beloved Lola (grandmother) passed away last year, at 94 years of age. My Lola has always wanted me to lose weight and live a healthy life. She kept on reminding me to exercise and eat healthy, she would even sometime get up from her seat during breakfast and sing “mag exercise tayo tuwing umaga” (Let’s exercise every morning) while stretching. Losing her made me realize that I should make this change to make her proud of me as her apo (grandchild). However, during this time I was feeling depressed so I didn’t have the motivation to change.

I did not have a zest for life. I looked horrible and felt horrible. I had no confidence in myself; not being able to look and feel good affected my personality. I was stuck in a bubble of negativity. Early in 2015, I finally got the promotion I’ve been waiting for. This made me happy, but a part of me doubted myself, and wondered whether I actually deserved it. I suddenly put unnecessary pressure on myself because I felt that I needed to prove my worth. I didn’t only feel bad about my physical attributes, but I also doubted my capabilities. This did not go well for me, and in fact affected my performance negatively. All I cared about then was my job and nothing else. How was I supposed to show resilience if I no longer saw myself as a person worth of something good? I SAW MYSELF AS A FAILURE.

I have always believed that I would never get support from my family because I felt that they thought I would never succeed in anything I aspired to do. I compared myself to my brother, who I thought always had the support that I needed. This mentality made me an ungrateful and moody person. I would get along with others once I felt comfortable, but my mood swings were inevitable. There came a point where at work, I would hear my colleagues say, “Ayan nanaman si Josh, galit nanaman sa mundo (There goes Josh, angry at the world),” but I didn’t care. I was already feeling depressed months before my Lola passed away—depressed that I wasn’t achieving anything in life—that once she passed, I hit rock bottom. I couldn’t focus on anything. I would go to work and be unproductive. I would binge eat and sleep compulsively. I even contemplated committing suicide.

I asked my Lola through prayer to help me make a positive change in my life, help me push myself. Growing up, she would always gave me a card during Christmas, my birthday, and other milestones reminding me to always thank God for every blessing. On the day of her interment, I returned the favor for the last time and wrote to her, thanking her for being an amazing Lola and mentioned my intentions. At the top of my list was HEALTH and WELLNESS. Fast forward to August 2015, when an opportunity to join a fitness challenge (Freego Super Shape Me Fitness Challenge) came up, and I didn’t hesitate to grab it. This was where it all started.

When I told my family about my stint to participate in the challenge, they showed a tremendous amount of support. My relatives abroad offered help in case I needed financial assistance for expenses like my gym membership, training sessions, or whatever else I needed to really move forward with this adventure. They would also frequently motivate me via e-mail to ensure that I never felt pressured throughout this adventure. This is when I realized that I am loved.

Once I made fitness a priority and transformed to the person I am now, people noticed the big change in my attitude and personality. Now, I go to work with a smile, wishing everyone a wonderful day. I don’t let stress get the best of me, and I am more productive. I surrounded myself with new friends and strengthened my relationship with my family, showing them how thankful I am for their love and support.

The best advice I can give to someone experiencing something similar to what I have gone through is to “love yourself enough to make it happen.” Take control of your life and turn your dreams into reality. Learn to take responsibility for your actions and don’t blame anyone else for what you have become because it is never anyone’s fault but your own. Our actions reflect our true character. Burst out of that negative bubble. Listen to your body because it tells you what’s wrong. You have to learn to never lose sight of the goals you want to achieve, no matter what setbacks you may encounter. Always have an action plan and stick to it day by day. Believing in yourself is key, and the rest will follow.

Follow my journey to fitness by searching #SuperShapeJOSH on Instagram.

Weight Loss Tips:

1. Stick to a workout schedule no matter what the circumstances are. In my case, I am always at the gym before 5pm.

2. Always hydrate.

3. Avoid eating processed foods and sweets but do not deprive yourself from it: MODERATION NOT DEPRIVATION. But also learn to say NO when your mind keeps on giving you reasons to give in. It’s a test, don’t fall for it. IT’S ALL IN THE MIND.

4. Give time for rest. Rest days are important to avoid injuries. Also ensure that you get enough sleep every day.

5. Set realistic goals. Don’t feel bad if you don’t lose 10 lbs. in a snap. Our bodies react to fitness changes differently. As long as you stick to an active and healthy lifestyle, you’ll see the results. This is not a short term thing, it’s a lifetime commitment.

6. Believe that you can do it. Even in workouts, when you feel like giving up, always remember why you started.

7. Start engaging yourself in other activities. In my case, I have joined several marathons this year and have started hiking.

8. Join classes in the gym to avoid laziness. Choose a class that you’ll enjoy.

9. Don’t go for a cheat day, go for a cheat meal. Don’t do it weekly too, in my case I do it every 10 days, so that’s thrice a month.

10. Always think positive and have the right mindset.

Have your own weight loss story? Send it in to with two before after photos and 10 of your weight loss tips!

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