Although me gaining weight has pretty much stabilized, that wasn’t always the case. I never really had any weight issues, up until I went off to college.
When I entered college, I remember hearing about the so-called “Freshman 15” and to be honest, I ignored it. I had the mindset of, “Oh that’ll never happen to me.” I was coming from the perspective of being active as a high school tennis player. But little did I know, the “Freshman 15” would catch up to me later that school year.
As a freshman, I didn’t know how to cook. Back then, my groceries were literally all frozen microwaveable food. It was convenient. But man, my body paid the price.
My health during my freshman year was probably the worst it had ever been. I was sick for a month or two, I got bronchitis, my lymph nodes were swollen, and I was on antibiotics. My body was going through some sort of a shock from such a drastic lifestyle change. Sleep deprivation, drinking, partying, nightly kick-its, all taking a complete bad toll on my body.
And then this was the start of the comments…
“Are you gaining weight?”
“Malusog ka.” (You’re round)
It’s one thing to have the negative comments in English, but once they are said in Tagalog (Filipino) there’s an added heaviness to the comment that makes it hit much harder.
Instead of facing the issue back then… I ran away from it as far I could.
I was in denial for a really long time.
I remember when I would return home to visit my parents and we’d run errands at stores, I would purposefully hide if I saw someone I knew. I didn’t want to get the comment, “Oh, you look different.”
I remember whenever I took photos, I never looked at them after the fact, because I didn’t want to see myself.
I would go to family gatherings and the discussion would turn to, did I look better when I was skinny or did I look better with my face filled out?
This continued for 4 years.
Fast forward to my college graduation, a highlight of my life. All the hard work and stress had finally been worth it and I could finally mark “college grad” off my list.
A friend of mine on Facebook tagged me in a picture that one of the professional photographers took at my graduation and it literally hit me.
I couldn’t even recognize myself and it was heartbreaking.
Here I am… on what was supposed to be such a happy moment in my life, but also getting an ultimate reality check. I’ve let myself go big time.
From then on, I’ve had my ups and downs. I’ve started workouts, counted calories, but didn’t pull through. I was doing all those things to prove a point to those who made the negative comments. In retrospect, I did it all for the wrong reasons.
But currently, I am concentrated on the long run. I am doing this journey for myself, and myself only.
I eat meatless once a week and have been focusing on cardio to get into the routine of working out consistently. It is all about doing activities that I enjoy. Right now, my current fitness obsession is “Hip Hop Fit” which is a dance fitness based workout with 80s/90s/00s music as the background. On days that I don’t feel like dancing, I’ve brought back jump roping. Once I’ve incorporated the cardio permanently into my routine, the next will be weight training. Until then, the goal is to keep on going and figure out what is the best for my body.