I'm not new with the weight loss saga. I think every girl would have to deal with body image at some point in their lives, albeit on many different levels. Some go to great lengths to lose weight, resorting to not only unhealthy but dangerous diets, pills, surgeries, what have you. Thankfully, I've never really detested not being a size zero. My mom was a size zero and despite her nagging, I actually liked being curvy. I was fine with my size.
But summer days are cunning. I found myself wishing I could fit into the nicest swimsuits, which BTW keeps on getting smaller every season! So I tried every known diet on this planet with limited success until I finally realized that it's not diet that would help me. It's a conviction to feel better and live healthier. Not too fat nor too skinny. Just healthy. Comfortable in my own skin. Hence, I started my 'Road to 125' and 'Project Healthy'. I'm on my second year now, and I have no plans of looking back.
|Hitting lightest weight since college|
|Corporate photo 2013 vs. 2015|
Since I've been getting a lot of inquiries, I thought of sharing some practical tips. These are based purely from my personal experience, so please exercise caution.
1. Decide for yourself. It's tiring to hear and read about people and so-called experts telling you to eat this, not that. The more pressure I get, the less encouraged I become. So I stopped following a set guideline and took control of my journey. It takes a little research and close observations but the more you understand your body, the easier for you to get the hang of it. I became more selective on what to put in my mouth. More real, organic food. Less processed and junk food. It takes longer to prepare a pasta dish from scratch, but I get more satisfaction with less serving because it's customized to my taste. More water and less sugary drinks. When a crave for Coke, I buy the smallest portion (in can) and take small sips and drink more water afterwards. More walking, less driving. I take the stairs, not the lift. It's no science, just a lot of common sense. Consistency is also key.
2. Learn to compromise. If I had a big lunch, dinner will be small and simple. I stick to my usual, home cooking on weekdays as much as possible. I treat myself to fancier meals during weekends mindful that I'm eating good food in small, just enough portions. Cheat days are meant for eating what you like, not eating all you can. If you're a coffee junkie like me, choosing between coffee and cake/doughnut will help lessen your sugar intake. Either I get a cup of coffee or a lovely dessert which I wash down with warm water. I also steered clear of instant coffee. Freshly brewed coffee/tea with a bit of milk and sugar (no sugar if you can) is much better and more satisfying!
3. Don't deprive yourself. Again, crash diets will get back at you big time. I learned this the hard way. Plus, when you feel deprived, you get depressed; then it's very easy to slip back into old, unhealthy eating habits hoping it would make you feel better. I'm selective with what I eat, but I make sure I eat healthy food that I actually like. Experiment and tease your taste buds. You'll be surprised on how much healthy food you actually enjoy. Case in point: I love ice cream, but I discovered that freezing lassi with roasted almonds makes a yummy, more healthy alternative. If you love rice like most Filipinos, convert to brown and red rice which are more filling and have better nutritional value. Make sure to soak them in water an hour before cooking for better texture.
4. Take baby steps. Losing 20 pounds in 2 months is unrealistic. Plus, losing weight too fast will leave you weak and looking sick. Make gradual changes. Putting too much pressure on yourself won't help. Set a realistic goal and regularly track your progress. In my case, I made a pact with my former colleagues. We posted a weight track sheet that we update every so often. It made things more exciting and fun! (Hello, NaiNai and Jelleh) Lastly, instead of forcing myself to go to the gym four to five times a week (to me, it's punishment), I looked for workouts that I actually enjoy like yoga, running and badminton.
5. Be appreciative. Give credit where credit is due. Thank yourself when you make progress. Gratitude comes in all forms - telling a friend, getting a big gelato, taking a selfie, buying a new dress. Whatever rocks your boat. Personally, I like my massages.
I hope this helps a bit. Just remember that life is not all about your waistline. What's inside matters a lot more. So don't forget to also invest on learning new things and improving or mastering your craft. I'm an advocate of lifelong learning. Everyday is the best day to learn something and one is never too old to try new things. Most importantly, be a kind and loving person. No one wants a 36-24-36 doll without a heart. ;)