Sunday, July 27, 2014

The So-Called Secret

5:34 PM

Share it Please

It’s that time again— the time to go back to the routine of struggling to get out of bed early every morning, getting ready for school, and facing another day of lectures, quizzes, and other schoolwork. Of course, we can’t help but feel wistful about those warm, sunny days wherein we got to do pretty much whatever we want (or in some cases, do nothing at all).

Now that it’s another school year, it’s high time for the cliché ‘new year, new me’ sort of thing. If you’re thinking of including on your list shedding those pounds that you gained during the break, then worry no more! I shall share some tips (tried and tested by yours truly) to get you started.

Over the past months, I have heard the line “pumayat ka! (you’ve lost weight!)” several times. Of course, I couldn’t help but feel flattered every time. It makes me proud that the measures I have gone through (though nothing that drastic, really) have worked.

 From when I entered college (which was two years ago), I lost around 15 pounds and went from a size 4 to 2 (that’s from Medium to Small). So yeah, after being complimented, a question frequently followed: “anong sikreto mo? (what’s your secret?)”. I usually just bashfully laughed it off. But now, I have decided to share my so-called “secret”.

Before I go on, I’d like to put up a disclaimer that yes, I am sharing everything here; however, I cannot guarantee that it will work the same way with you guys as it did on me, given that our bodies are all different. Also, I'm no expert in the field. Aaaaand, do not expect immediate results. (I know it's hard to resist-- I kinda expect too, but let's not because it doesn't work that way haha!)

1. Be inspired and get influenced.
I seriously think this should be the first one on the list. Being inspired will keep you going. So look for your “fitspiration”. Create a motivation board if you want. Have a goal and keep it in mind. Honestly, what motivated me in the beginning was fashion. I wanted to be able to pull off more types of clothing. As Karl Lagerfeld once wrote in his book, The Karl Lagerfeld Diet, “fashion is the healthiest motivation to lose weight”. 

It also helps to be with the company of other health-conscious people. Just recently, my parents started regularly working out, thanks to the fitness programs in their workplace. They also switched to healthier breakfast choices. So instead of the usual –silog (fried rice, fried egg, and whatever) breakfast, they now eat wheat bread and fruits in the morning. Consequently, I followed the good path and began eating a bowl of cereal and milk plus a banana for breakfast. I started with Nestlé Fitnesse paired with non-fat, high calcium milk and topped with raisins. Sometimes I like to switch some things up, like trying other cereals or granola, or putting dried cranberries instead of raisins. I’ve also recently added chia seeds on my cereal. Chia seeds are known to be full of Omega-3, protein, antioxidants, and other good stuff. (You might want to read The Huffington Post’s list of ten reasons why you should start adding chia seeds on your food.) They’re quite hard to find though; I get my fix from The Healthy Options.
2. Eat less, but more often.
The first major change I did when it came to my diet was to cut down on the carbs. I never go for more than a cup of rice during meals anymore. A common advice when it comes to eating would be to eat less, but more frequently. This means eating smaller portions, but eating more often. Normally, we eat 3 meals a day—breakfast, lunch, and dinner—and these leave us full afterwards. Change it into something like 5 meals a day— breakfast, AM snack, lunch, PM snack and dinner; but make sure each is just enough to not make your stomach growling until your next meal. This “technique” has not yet been medically-proven yet, however. But I guess it makes sense to keep on supplying your system with something to digest by every 2 to 3 hours, rather than feeling hungry all of a sudden and eating your heart out. (Other people are blessed with a quick metabolism-- sadly, I'm not one of them.)

3. Choose healthy. Ask yourself— do you really need that Frappuccino? The answer should be no, really. But if you really can’t resist it, then go “light”: that’s no whipped cream, blended with non-fat milk instead of the regular one. Judging by its name, non-fat milk sounds a lot healthier. True enough, it is! Regular milk has saturated fat which is known to increase cholesterol. Non-fat milk (a.k.a. skim milk) also wins over the regular one with its lower calorie count.* Trust me, you won’t taste the difference between the two!

Apart from eating less, it’s also important to eat healthy. This is why I have learned to fight the urge to take in unnecessary stuff. This "step" requires you to be picky yet open at the same time. For example, I used to dislike dark chocolate because I find it bitter. But now, I would choose it over milk chocolate in a heartbeat.  According to an article on Livestrong, dark chocolate has more cocoa compared to the latter. A higher cocoa content means more flavonoids, a group of antioxidants that can help lower blood pressure, lower the risk of blood-clot, and other do wonders to the body. Peanut butter has also become my favorite spread over Nutella and Cookie Butter. A Harvard study shows that peanut butter is loaded with vitamins and minerals such as potassium and fiber. It is also stated that the regular consumption of peanut butter or nuts in general can reduce the risk of catching heart diseases. For the same reason, I would choose frozen yogurt over ice cream as much as possible. (I strongly suggest Red Mango’s original yogurt with pom cherry granola topping!) A cup of fro-yo will usually contain less calories and fat compared to ice cream of the same serving.** When it comes to drinks, I always go for water (we add lemons at home— here’s why you should do the same too!). Luckily, I have never been a fan of softdrinks. Those are just totally unhealthy, what with their high calorie, sugar, and fat content. Frequent consumption of soda is also known to heighten the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.*** Those nutrition facts on packages? I never took even a glance at those before, but now I make sure to check them always! If something has a low calorie amount per serving, then it’s got my approval.

4. Get moving. Of course it’s not enough that you go on a diet. You have to exercise, too. It’s important to choose the kind of routine that works best for you. This was my weekend routine when I started out during Christmas break last 2013: I did the Victoria's Secret 10-minute circuit, followed by 20 to 30 minutes on the orbi-track or stepper, and some lifting in the morning. I lift 6-pound dumbbells on each side (but don’t lift that much if you’re just starting out!). In the afternoon, I did 45 minutes of Zumba and then a second batch of lifting weights. Honestly, I think I burnt more in my morning session; you might be wondering, why didn't I just do 1 hour of running on equipment? Well, I know I'll be bored with a repetitive routine. This is why I like Zumba-- there's variety. I also like to dance, so it's a win-win for me.

If you're wondering how I do Zumba, I just do it at home. I discovered the Zumba app, and I got it for free! It makes your Apple product work like a Wii or Kinect because it detects your movements and gives you scores. (Not sure if it has always been free though.

Just this summer though, I found something that I enjoyed more—strength and conditioning! I took an S&C session every other day for the first few weeks; but when my body got used to it already, I hit the gym everyday (until school started, that is). In every session, I get to do a variety of cardio, weight training, and core exercises. (I go to Elorde Boxing Gym in Taft—they have many branches though, so try looking for one near your place!)

Also, don't be a bum. Be game to walk distances and all that. For example, in school, don't hesitate to take the stairs even up to the 4th floor (especially when the elevator lines are long!).

5. Be consistent. 
Yup, you better keep it up if you want to maintain your body. It's actually a COMPLETE lifestyle change. It might help to enrol in classes in legit places instead of doing exercises at home. Maybe your fees will push you enough to keep going. But you should enjoy your journey to your dream body. Learn to love the feeling of sweat drenching you and your clothes after an intense workout session!

As much as possible, make time for exercise. I may not have gone to the gym ever since I got back to school, but I still do some lifting at home from time-to-time. That way, my efforts don’t end up wasted with me going back to the way I was. Sticking with your new diet should be easier though. Just don’t be too hard on yourself; you’re allowed to have cheat days! Just remember that moderation is key.


The road to a fit body is a tough one. So before you push through (if you haven't), you deserve to know both the pros and cons. Let's start with the negative stuff:
  • Living a healthy lifestyle is actually pretty expensive, especially when we're talking about organic foodstuff.
  • For the ladies, if you're not especially "gifted", be ready to lose some curves (you know what I mean).
  • Most of your clothes may become too big for you in the end. With that, you'll either have to spend on alterations, or spend on restocking your wardrobe! (Or you could buy a fitclip, like I did!) Shopping should be a delight, but your wallet might take its toll.
But don't be discouraged! It will all be worth it in the end, really. Don’t get me wrong, losing weight isn’t the best thing that could happen to a person. But if you need a boost of self-confidence and you feel like that may just help, then go ahead. I have to admit, I feel a whole lot better about myself now. But in the end, I realized it’s not all about looking and feeling good in the clothes I wear; it’s also about living a healthy lifestyle. Keeping a balance diet and doing regular exercise is said to lower the risks of heart diseases. As long as you have the proper motivation/s and means, then all shall be well.

With that said, good luck! Let us know how it goes if ever you try the things I shared! Have a great way to a new you!

Brady, Krissy. "11 Benefits of Lemon Water You Didn’t Know About." Lifehack RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 June 2014. <>.
Bruso, Jessica. "The Health Benefits of Dark Vs. Milk Chocolate."LIVESTRONG.COM. LIVESTRONG.COM, 18 Dec. 2013. Web. 11 June 2014. <>.
Coles, Terri. "10 Reasons To Add Chia To Your Diet." Chia Seed Benefits: 10 Reasons To Add Chia To Your Diet. The Huffington Post, 03 June 2013. Web. 11 June 2014. <>.

** Makkieh, Kay. "Nutrition Facts Frozen Yogurt Vs Ice Cream." Healthy Eating. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 June 2014. <>.

*** Newell, Lori. "Why Are Soft Drinks Bad for Your Health?"LIVESTRONG.COM. LIVESTRONG.COM, 16 Aug. 2013. Web. 10 June 2014. <>.

* "Skim Milk: Natural Weight-Loss Foods." HowStuffWorks "Skim Milk: Natural Weight-Loss Foods" N.p., n.d. Web. 11 June 2014. <>.

Article and photos by Erika

Erika is a self-proclaimed "stylephile" who tries to prove it in her blog, Style and Sundry ( She is incredibly fond of houndstooth, the color blue, and the word ‘courage’. She also desperately wishes to live in a country with a spring season (or for where she lives in to have spring, whichever works).


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