My weight was never an issue to me. I loved myself with all my flabby arms and thick thighs. I wore my dresses and mini-skirts with genuine confidence. I truly believed in the motto, “Rice is Life.” Don’t get me wrong, I did try to lose weight several times. Diet pills, crash diets, calorie counting – I’ve tried these but failed. So I just resigned to my usual ways, enjoying the undeprived life and the happiness that food could bring.
The insecurities came not while fitting clothes at the mall, or seeing K-pop stars on YouTube, or realizing that some of my own clothes did not fit anymore. They came while talking to my patients at the clinic. How dare I, an obese doctor, preach to them that weight loss is basically the answer to most of their problems – gastroesophageal reflux disease, gallbladder stones, fatty liver? How can I look them in the eye and tell them to maintain a normal weight in order to decrease the risk of developing about all forms of gastrointestinal cancers?
It was during my renewal of my driver’s license that I was not able to avoid stepping on a scale again. I was at 102 kg. I would like to think that I was unbothered. When it was time to fill up the form, I put in 80 kg. The medical practitioner saw what I wrote and reminded me to put the correct weight. It was a funny anecdote. But then I realized that denial of my true health status had become second nature to me.
The turning point came during my 1st dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. This was a big thing for the entire world and there I was about to receive my shield of protection. When the nurse got my blood pressure, it was at 160/100. The denial has to stop.
I started with stopping eating rice altogether. This was HARD. But I assure you, sinigang and kare-kare still taste the same without it. When I overcame this struggle, I tried intermittent fasting. The 18-6 IF worked well for me. When my body got used to this, then I started with some exercises. It began as a Sunday morning zoomba (Zumba via Zoom) with friends. Then I challenged myself to more difficult routines. HIIT, Tabata, Taebo, belly dancing- Youtube has a treasure trove of these. I just choose what I feel like doing at the moment. Now, I am used to eating low-carbohydrate food and am able to exercise for at least 1 hour a day, 3 times a week.
Two COVID-19 vaccines and 1 booster shot later, I already lost 60 pounds. My blood pressure is normal, and for the first time in a long time, I’ve broken free of the obese category. I am still overweight and this inspires me to set better goals for myself. I now show my before and after photos to my patients and I’d like to think I get to be a good influence to them.
Many friends ask, “What’s your secret?”
Well, the secret is just loving myself a little more.
By AUBREY TAGUBA