This picture can serve as my introduction – a shocking change of a person who used to be me. But to quench your curiosity, let me share my story with you.
Ever since I was a kid, I had always been big. I guess being big-boned ran in my family since I inherited my grandmother’s short and stocky Filipino bone structure that was prone to weight gain. Regardless, I was always very active in sports and loved long-distance cycling, badminton, weight training and jogging. Always conscious of my weight and eating right, I dived into the extreme by becoming a pescaterian for three years in high school. During my senior year, I was in the best shape of my life at 125 pounds.
Then, in my sophomore year of college, I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism – which I had learned, was contributing to my weight loss. I began radioactive iodine therapy with the warning that I COULD develop hypo-thyrodism – only the doctors weren’t sure when this would happen.
Being happy-go-lucky and hopeful, I struggled to fight the odds of my oncoming hypothyroidism – which, by the doctor’s definition, I would start gaining weight. So I began a strict regimen of weight training, six-mile bike rides every day, and portion control. However, I lost that battle 2 months later, when I discovered that I gained 15 pounds. It seemed as if no matter how much exercise I did, I still gained the weight. Once my hypothyroid verdict was official, the doctors then branded me with a mantra that stuck with me for the next twelve years: “You’ll have a hard time losing weight with a hypothyroid.”
And that began a downward spiral into weight gain. I began yo-yo dieting and tried many other healthy (and unhealthy) ways to lose weight – from the South Beach Diet to the Master Cleanse (lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper), to the Thyroid Diet and the Venus Diet, and they all ended in disaster – I kept on gaining back the weight and then some. My self-esteem steamrolled downhill when I experienced a number of major life events, and the stress ultimately made me turn to food for comfort. My love affair with food became so strong that it became an addition – food became my constant companion. However, by April 2015, reality hit me in the face when I realized that I tipped the scale at 233 (the picture on the left).
Then in May 2015, I found out that my company was starting a health initiative where every employee was going to get an awesome perk – free gym memberships. Something shifted in me when I realized that I was tired of a lot of things – tired of being big, tired of being fat, tired of being tired, tired of being ashamed of myself, and tired of carrying all this negativity where I couldn’t even love myself. I felt like I needed to do something – I was jeopardizing my health by letting my defeated attitude take control over me to allow my body to balloon as much as it did. A month later, I signed up for a membership and a personal trainer and began this journey that has ultimately changed my life.
So here I am, 6 months later: I now weight 190 pounds, and I feel great and look so different in a good way (the picture on the right). I know that I’m not at my goal weight of 125 pounds yet, but I feel that the goal is reachable now that I have an awesome support system, amazing personal trainers, and a desire to help others eat and cook great-tasting food in the right macro-nutrient breakdown – 30/40/30 style.
Losing weight is not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change. But some lifestyle changes are worth it – you never know what you’ll discover about yourself until you make the first step. And I’m sure glad that I was brave enough to make that first step to change.