I’ve been fat for most of my life, until now
by: Andre Casibo
I’ve been fat for most of my life. I was chubby in elementary school and constantly gained weight throughout the years. I reached my heaviest back in 2012 at over 220 lbs. (I am 5’3″). I’ve always been reminded of the repercussions of being obese and with our family history of diabetes, I was sure that I’ll get it one day but that didn’t motivate me to lose weight.. It felt like an impossible task. I was very comfortable with my lifestyle and didn’t have the willpower, every fat person’s problem right?
Back in mid-2013, I was urged to have my blood tested. The results showed that I had high cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar and a fatty liver. Seeing the test results lit a fire in me. It made the health risks real for me and I felt that I needed to do something immediately.
My initial goal was to get my blood test to normal levels and to go down to around 180 lbs. I wasn’t dreaming of having a slim body, just enough to be a little bit healthy. Near the end of July, I got myself a bike so I can ride around our subdivision. I committed to riding at least 30 mins a day. Back then, sustaining 16kph got me winded. I also mixed it up by playing Dance Central and Kinect Sports or following some easy workouts from fitnessblender.com, anything to get myself moving.
Mid-August, I began my journey to eating healthy. I limited my caloric intake to about 1400-1500 (net) calories and slowly cut back on my sugar intake. Since I was a kid, I never drank just water. My hydration came in the form of juice, tea or soft drinks; so you can imagine how difficult this was for me. After a couple of weeks, I took it up a notch. I eliminated refined sugar from my diet, increased my fiber intake, minimized trans-fat and saturated fats. I logged everything I ate into Myfitnesspal. Keeping track of how much calories I ate and the nutrition I got was very important. My diet consisted of brown rice, whole wheat, oatmeal, beans and vegetables for carbs; lean meat, eggs, fish, chicken breast, tofu for protein and fats. I usually snacked on nuts and fruits. Eating healthy doesn’t mean bland tasting food. I researched online for good recipes and learned how to cook which actually made the journey even more fun. If you’re wondering, yes I indulged from time to time but I always remembered to get back on track.
When I started, it was easy to lose weight. Although I didn’t notice any changes in my physical appearance, the weighing scale said otherwise. That, in addition to the fact that I was having fun riding my bike and learning how to cook, got me really motivated. It really helped that I have a great support system. Family and friends were always encouraging and complimenting me. I also have a triathlete friend, MJ, who was training for Challenge Philippines at that time. We ended up always talking about training and our bike adventures. MJ also talked me into joining a gym which turned out to be very convenient and added variety to my workouts.
As the months progressed, the results of all the hard work were beginning to show. People started noticing that I was slimming down. My clothes were becoming too big for me. More importantly, my blood tests results came out normal and I was able to go riding harder, faster and longer. All of these motivated me even more that despite reaching my initial goal, I wanted to do more. So, I continued with my journey. I increased my workload, got into swimming and running, joined races and renewed my goals. By July 2014, I reached my final goal of 134 lbs. with 17% body fat. Now that I reached my goal, I am focused on maintaining my health and weight, and improving my performance.
What can you take away from this?
1. It is possible and it’s never too late! You just have to believe in yourself and understand that this isn’t going to be quick, nor easy, but the outcome is well worth it.
2. Measure everything! Your weight is not the only way to track your progress. Take your body measurements, take photos, measure your body fat.
3. Set SMART goals. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound.
4. Realize that this is a change in lifestyle. You can’t diet and exercise and when you’ve reached your goal, go back to what you were doing before. What do you think’s gonna happen?
5. Research! And get good advice. Google is our friend but it’s not the absolute truth. It’s easy to find pages that will support whatever you want to believe to be true. Better to use online communities with people who have gone through this such as pinoyfitness.com, Reddit’s r/fitness, etc.
6. Get a good support group. I don’t think I would have gone this far without the support of my family and friends. Small words of encouragement go a long way. What especially helped was that I wasn’t doing this alone. I have friends who went to the gym with me, ran with me and went on long rides with me.
7. ENJOY! Absolutely this. You can’t possibly continue doing something you don’t love.
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