Angge De Borja – I never thought I’d go to a gym or be seen crossing the finish line

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Angge De Borja – I never thought I’d go to a gym or be seen crossing the finish line

“2 years ago, I wouldn’t be caught dead in a gym or be seen crossing the finish line of a run.”

Hi, my name is Angelica, most of my friends call me “Angge”. I’m 27 years old, a PHP Developer, residing in Makati and would like to share my story.

Ever since I was young, I’ve always been a “big kid”. I’ve been teased about my size since grade school, mostly by the boys. Some made it obvious I wasn’t a “normal-sized” kid — got called with different nicknames associated with being fat, “tabachoy” and “balyena” to name a few. The teasing stopped when I transferred schools for high school. But those years were the best; my girl friends, schoolmates were awesome and both my appearance and weight weren’t issues for any of them.

Given this, I didn’t pay much attention to my weight and continued eating however and whatever I want. If I gained a few pounds and inches, I would simply buy a top or bottom a size larger than the previous. I sometimes shopped at the men’s section because pants for women didn’t fit me. I did however feel insecure of my size every now and then but again didn’t put much attention or effort to rectify this.

My college years were no different, I continued the way I eat and continued gaining weight. This went on until I graduated and started working. I didn’t have the drive to change my eating habits and lack of exercise. A few years into working, I dabbled in weight-loss products: slimming coffee, pills, gels, etc. Some of them would work for a short period of time but as soon as I stopped taking them, the pounds would come back, some twice than what I’d thought I lost. It became a cycle, which incurred a placebo effect and I wasn’t losing weight anymore but would like to believe I was in my head.

At my 2nd job (2012-2016), I was a member of the company’s fitness club, believe it or not. I wasn’t living up to its name though. While most of our members would either go running or playing sports, I’d only show up to some of them to document the activity or join if food was involved. My colleagues would suggest I try going to the gym or join them for a jog. I refused the invites by saying, “Not in a million years.”, “I cannot imagine myself going to the gym.”, “I won’t be able to finish a run.” I made excuses to avoid these.

What prompted me to change was fairly simple: I was walking up two flights of stairs and as soon as I reached the 2nd floor, I was almost out of breath.

What prompted me to change was fairly simple: I was walking up two flights of stairs and as soon as I reached the 2nd floor, I was almost out of breath. I thought, “What’s going on? Those were only a few steps but how come I’m already out of breath. That’s not good.” It was after when I started to make small changes: I started walking home instead of talking the jeepney, a 2-3km walk from the bus terminal to my apartment and I started portioning what I eat. This went on for the entire year of 2015. Although I didn’t lose a lot of weight, the change was still a start.

Near the end of 2015, I joined a colleague go to the gym for a month and try out their group classes: Zumba, spinning and boot camp. I fell in love with Zumba. It was then I found an exercise I enjoyed doing. I was happy with the experience that I availed a 2-month unlimited membership again early 2016. From February to March, I attended the gym’s group classes almost everyday. After my membership ended, I had decided to avail a year long membership and continued going to the gym.

It was around May 2016 when I started noticing a difference in my size and weight. Some of my clothes no longer fit me right, they were looser and I was feeling lighter, I no longer find myself running out of breath easily. These changes were what made me want to continue. Add to this, my colleagues suggested I join a fun run. I was hesitant, stating that maybe I needed to lose more weight but they said I’d be fine and would be able to finish one. And so I agreed and found myself joining my first ever 5km run, Jun. 12, 2016’s Colors of Freedom Run.

I still finished and felt accomplished

Lo and behold, I was able to finish the run. There was no cut-off time though so I may have taken my time to finish but hey, I still finished and felt accomplished. That run was the start of many others. To date, I’ve joined 16 runs now and have already signed up to a number of runs for the 2nd half of this year (2017). My farthest distance is 25km but I am planning on finishing at least one 32km and 42km run in the near future.

When asked what changes I made to my diet though, I tell them I cut back on sweets and have limited myself to just a cup of rice a day. That’s it. I still eat whatever I want: pizza, spaghetti, fastfood, etc. but I did make changes to how much I eat… sometimes. Hahaha!

Truly, year 2016 was one heck of a year for me. It was the start of my lifestyle change. I’ve lost quite a lot of weight, now enjoy going to the gym and participating in runs and have never felt more confident in my own body. I will forever be thankful for my friends who pushed me into doing this.

From weighing 190lbs (86kg), I now weigh around 140lbs (64kg).

From weighing 190lbs (86kg), I now weigh around 140lbs (64kg). I’ve gone from a size 3XL or 4XL to either an M or S. Oh yeah, and my love for Zumba? Well, I’ve recently acquired my license so yes, I am now a licensed Zumba instructor as well. I occasionally jam with Gold’s Gym BGC’s regular instructors. Else, you may catch me dancing in front with the rest of the students, enjoying every minute.

Thank you for reading my story and I hope this inspires others to try and make a change in their lifestyle no matter how small or big they are. What I’ve done may not be your ideal but I trust you will find what works best for you. Also, the changes may not be that noticeable at first but just keep going and you’ll be surprised at what an achievement will be waiting for you. Good luck! — END

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