How I lost 50 pounds before I turned 40

With hard work and fervent prayers, thank God, I finally achieved my ideal weight

I never thought this day will come. After many years of being called ‘obese’ and ‘overweight’, I am now inspiring many people with my successful weight loss journey. (READ: Fit, fierce, & 40)

Did you know that I used to tell people I only weighed 165 pounds, when I really weighed 190 pounds because I was ashamed of how heavy I was becoming? As a kid, I’ve always been so insecure about my weight because compared to my younger sisters who had always been skinny and petite, I looked bigger because I’m taller and had a bigger bone structure. (READ: Why I lied about my weight and how I got it eventually)

Due to the constant comparisons and pressure from school, I turned to chocolates, junk foods, and cookies for comfort. I used to eat two cups of rice every day and finish one pack of Chips Ahoy in one sitting. (READ: 9 fun & random facts about me)

Entering the military academy

Before and after. Back in the days when I can’t even perform a proper squat.

In 2000, I joined the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class in Baguio City primarily to prove something to myself, my family, and my community that I could be the very first female PMA graduate in our hometown, and I was also hoping that the rigorous training could help me lose weight on the process.

Compared to my female classmates who were way fitter and physically prepared than I was, I was overweight when I entered the academy. I couldn’t even pass my physical training tests such as 3.5-km run, push-ups, sit-ups, and pull-ups.

Being inside the military school was hard physically because when I was a civilian, I wasn’t physically active and I don’t really play sports, to begin with. But I had to keep up with the physical demands inside the academy.

Luckily, my seniors pushed me to go beyond my physical ability and made sure I would eat less and do extra runs and exercises during my free time so I can pass my quarterly physical tests. Special mention also goes out to my male classmates who would pace me during our 3.5-km runs, company and battalion runs, and would encourage me whenever I felt like giving up.

I lost weight drastically inside the academy, but after two years, I realized that being a soldier was not for me, so I decided to leave for good. Unfortunately, I turned to food for comfort outside the academy, but this time, without the rigorous exercise so I quickly gained weight and before I knew it, my weight ballooned to 190 lbs – my heaviest ever.

Turning point at age 38

I was 38 years old when I started having dizzy spells and pain in my lower back hip that I started to consider losing weight seriously. I prayed and asked God to help me as I don’t want to take any maintenance medications.

I tried the 16:8 intermittent fasting as they say it is proven to speed up weight loss by lowering insulin levels and risk of type 2 diabetes, improve heart and brain health, and reduce the risk of cancer. (READ: Why fasting is good for body, spirit) Apparently with diet alone, one could feel weak and sluggish. So, I realized there has to be a balance: healthy eating and a regular exercise regimen.

I don’t really like the idea of giving up anything or depriving myself of food, so I ate in moderation, especially those cookies and junk foods I used to eat in one sitting. Instead of drinking coffee three times a day, I reduced my intake to once a day. From instant, I switched to brewed. From white sugar, I switched to brown sugar or honey or just creamer. I looked for alternatives. (READ: That thing called trans fat)

What also motivated me to lose weight was because diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease run in the family. My father told me that he was 40 when he found out that he’s diabetic, so I guess that was my cue: I need to lose weight and live healthy before I turn 40 or else suffer the consequences. (READ: The truth about heart diseases, stroke)

But this journey would not be possible if not for the people who inspired and motivated me to make this change. You see, healthy lifestyle was a decision I made three years ago. Somewhere along the way I may stumble and fall, but I know God will always help me to rise again and find my way back.

Apart from eating healthy, I also exercise. I’m a fan of the outdoors so I chose running as a form of exercise. I run twice or thrice a week or work out at home (if it’s raining). When I’m busy, I do household chores and keep myself active.

At work, I also try not to sit all day. I try to get up at least every 30 minutes or one hour, and drink at least eight glasses of water a day. Whenever I feel like snacking, I try to drink water first.

Also, I have accepted my strengths and weaknesses and I stopped comparing myself to others. I also learned to love myself more and trust my own journey no matter how slow it may be.

Weight loss journey

With hard work and fervent prayers, thank God, I have finally achieved my ideal weight: 140 lbs (which is equivalent to 22.6, Normal in the BMI category) before I turned 40.

But this journey would not be possible if not for the people who inspired and motivated me to make this change. You see, a healthy lifestyle was a decision I made three years ago. Somewhere along the way I may stumble and fall, but I know God will always help me to rise again and find my way back.

April 2019 vs December 2019

Disclaimer: I do not claim expertise. Just purely personal experience.

Published by Mylene Orillo

Mylene Orillo is a contributing writer at My Pope Philippines. Prior to that, she contributed to the Health & Lifestyle magazine.  She's a former correspondent at The Manila Times; former editor-in-chief of TravelPlus magazine; and former assistant editor of Health & Lifestyle, Zen Health, and DiabetEASE magazines by FAME Publishing, Inc., a company owned by cardiologist Dr. Rafael Castillo who has given her the much-needed break and opportunity in the health industry and medical field.  Her previous job as a Media Consultant at the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office and Writer-Researcher at the Headquarters Philippine Army ignited her passions for charity, volunteering, selfless service, and love of country. As a young girl, she loved reading her mom's collection of Mills & Boons pocketbooks, which started her passion to write romance stories.  She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Sto. Tomas in España, Manila. She is now working towards earning her master's degree hopefully this year. She loves traveling, long-distance running, reading romance and non-fiction books, watching Korean Drama series, feel-good rom coms, military movies, and documentaries during her spare time. Someday, she wants to meet Prince William and Pope Francis, settle down with the love of her life and have a family and kids of her own; and become a bestselling romance author.

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