Lifestyle Blog from the Philippines

Monday, November 29, 2021

My Weight Loss Journey

Weight has been an issue for me for some time now. I have struggled with it for years since I started working. I blame it on a combination of bad eating habits, lack of exercise, and my thyroid and other health issues. But that’s the thing: I always blame something, I always had an excuse, but I never really did anything about it. I never took it seriously. I had a very defeatist attitude about it and felt that no matter what I tried, nothing would ever get me to lose the weight…until something did. 

I used to be 5XL. Wearing an XL shirt here.

In my weight loss journey, I have tried and failed with my many attempts at weight loss. I started at a healthy weight until I discovered that I had thyroid issues, which became a convenient excuse for me when I gained weight. I tried working out, dieting, and all sorts of methods: slimming tea, supplements, green tea, spa treatments…I could go on and on. My weight yo-yo’ed for some time before I finally gave up. From that point on the weight just kept piling on until it came to where I resigned myself to the fact that it was probably next to impossible to lose the weight since I was already too heavy.

It did not help that my internist/GP discouraged me from intense workouts and limited me to simple walking as exercise because of my heart. That made me give up on exercising altogether. But then the pandemic happened, and people were saying that people like me who were overweight and had a host of health issues were the most vulnerable to COVID 19. That was a turning point. I knew I had to do something to give me a fighting chance. I wanted to live.

There was an episode of Titan Games where the contestant featured who, like me, also had heart disease and doctors who discouraged her from working out — she ended up hitting the gym anyway and became healthier that way (and she was the female champion of the Titan Games that season too). That inspired me to get back into working out. Nothing too intense, just 30 minutes to an hour on the elliptical then later on alternating it with working out on the Sworkit app three times a week. 

Disclaimer: not following my doctor was something I did at my own risk. Please do not do it just because it worked out for me. Listen to your body and be aware of the risks of not listening to your doctor when he/she says not to exercise.  I for one started small and intensified things slowly to try and get my body used to the new routine. Don’t think you can just go all out and all in right away if you want to start doing something similar.

I had been doing the elliptical and Sworkit combination for almost a year when I decided to get on the scale, something I did not do often because I was often discouraged by the numbers. I was at my heaviest at 220lbs. When I went on the scale in July of this year, I was at 190 lbs. That meant a weight loss of 30 lbs. I felt so good learning that I lost weight but at the same time, I was disappointed because when I looked at myself in the mirror I did not see that much of a difference. I decided to try something new to see if it would help.

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I decided to combine my workouts with the use of the MyFitness Pal app to manage my calorie intake. I’ve been reading a lot about how calorie deficit is vital for weight loss so I decided to give it a shot. I also started doing 16-18 hours of intermittent fasting daily with the help of the Zero app. Another thing that changed is that I combined my Sworkit workouts with an elliptical workout, shifting from three times a week to daily workouts. Just one month after this change, my clothes started to feel loose and I was seeing changes in my body. That was a good sign.

After using my Garmin watch to track my intensity workout minutes, I discovered that I had higher calorie use and intensity minutes on the elliptical than on Sworkit so I switched to working out on just the elliptical. This time I shifted from an hour to one hour and thirty minutes on the elliptical. That was when the major change happened. People started to notice my weight loss and today, three months later, everyone is commenting that I look like a different person because of the weight loss.

My family cannot stop talking about how different I look from our family photos from recent years. My officemates told me that they don’t even recognize me right away because they were so used to what I looked like when I was overweight (I even had to re-register my face on our attendance machine because it wouldn't recognize me anymore). But the best part of it all is that I have started seeing how loose my clothes are on me and how I have started to fit into clothes that I could not fit into before. From wearing 4-5XL clothes, I can now fit into XL clothes again. Just yesterday I put on a pair of large-sized shorts, something I never thought I’d ever say again in this lifetime. 

I still have a long way to go before I can say that I am at my ideal weight. I’ve been told that the healthy weight for my height ranges from 110-144 lbs. I’m trying to go for that, something along the lower range of that. I haven’t weighed myself again yet because I don’t want to discourage myself from keeping this up but I plan on doing so before my birthday in February, which is the 8th month from when I started taking the weight loss thing seriously. I’m planning on going back to using the Sworkit app since I’ve lost a lot of weight and I think that toning is something that it can help me with at this point. 

Honestly, this is all still weird for me. I haven’t bought new clothes or shoes yet (because yes, my shoes felt bigger before because my feet used to be swollen from being overweight) because my brain is still on the mindset of me being my old self: the person who would see something I liked but would be disappointed that the clothes did not fit because I was too big. Even today I struggle to see myself as smaller. I take pictures to get used to it because when I look in the mirror, I still see the big girl that I used to be.  

I think for anyone who wants to lose weight, the key points here would be this:

  • Calorie Deficit – People always say this but no one takes it seriously. It does make a big difference to write down what you eat in a day and how many calories you take in vs. what you burn during the day. Intermittent fasting also helps with this deficit since you are limited to a few hours during your day to eat. 
  • Exercise – I know some people say calorie deficit is enough, just eat as much as you can burn and you don’t need exercise. I beg to differ. Exercise helps to keep your body strong and helps you develop muscles that help your body look good during weight loss. I used to have trouble breathing after just a few steps of walking and got tired easily. I don’t have that problem anymore. My resting heart rate has gone lower and into a normal rate compared to what it was when I was overweight too.
  • Eat healthily – It’s not enough that you are at a calorie deficit. It’s also important that you eat healthier food. It doesn’t mean you have to give up on the food that you love, it just means that you have to limit them. Everything in moderation, as they say. But you will realize that eating healthier food helps you to feel full longer so that is something that will help keep you at a deficit.
  • Discipline – I can’t tell you how many times I want to give up whenever I work out and all the excuses I come up with to quit. It is not easy to keep monitoring what I eat. It is not easy to do intermittent fasting when everyone else around me eats whenever and whatever they want. You just have to power through it and keep going. You will thank yourself later. 
  • Motivation - This was my challenge. It’s hard to get hyped up when the workouts get hard. I use a lot of good music to pump me up when I exercise and since becoming a fan, that music has always been BTS. As a friend of mine teased, I was losing weight with the help of BTS. She said she wishes I became a fan earlier so that I would have lost the weight a long time ago. 

Another thing I have to share is the use of beauty products. It sounds weird but true. I remember talking to a friend who lost a lot of weight in the past and he swore by the use of skin firming lotions to make sure that the skin does not sag after the weight loss. I decided to do that. I also invested in a skincare set for my face and neck because I’ve seen people who lost a lot of weight whose faces and necks sagged after the loss. I have also been using a beauty roller and those RF wands for my face and body that are supposed to help the skin to be firmer, something that I need due to weight loss. 

As happy as I am with my weight loss, I still have a long way to go. And I want to keep going. It’s also likely that this is something that I need to keep up with for the rest of my life if I want to maintain my target weight once I reach it. I guess it’s true what they say that the trick to weight loss is not diet and exercise per se, but a complete lifestyle change. I know I said I was only going to do this to keep myself healthy during this pandemic, but I think I will keep this going not just for that, but to stay healthy and live a long life…and maybe look as good as Jennifer Lopez in her 50s, hahaha!



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