“The pandemic changed who I am and I can say that I’ve grown a lot from who I used to be”
I was really planning my weight loss journey ever since I started to gain weight in my college days, but the problem was it was very hard to start your weight loss journey when you were constantly eating out, drinking with friends, having gigs, attending events and the like, so it was a near impossible task for me. But don’t get me wrong, I loved myself even way back when I was not fit and unhealthy, that was why I chose to be better and to improve.
When quarantine came, it became an all-out barrage of eating packed meals, deliveries, orders, home-made grilled cheese, unli-chocolates—and NOT MOVING around.
There was this one time at home when I went up from the first floor to my room on the second floor and went down again. I did this a couple of times and to my shock, I was gasping for air. From that moment on, it was April 24, 2020, I decided and told myself, “Hindi na pwede to, mali na to.”
My weight was 116 kilos or 255 pounds—my heaviest weigh-in ever. It was not fun and I was not happy, yet I still loved myself and I thrived on the thought that I would be a better me. That future me is the one writing this piece now.
From then on, I went on a diet, which for me, was and still is the hardest thing to do, because, unlike working out where the focus is only to work and to get better, when you diet it could be hard because hunger can strike any time. Dieting is one of the hardest challenges, eating less than what I was used to was very hard. There were so many times I passed up eating pizzas, chicken, burgers and fries. I did that just to get to who I am now and I can say all the sacrifice has been worth it.
The workout was surprisingly the easier task. I did a lot of cardio although some say it’s boring, but for me cardio is relaxing and good for the mind. When I’m doing cardio I always partner it with good music or educational podcasts.
Me wanting to improve myself was a long time coming. I’ve always planned it but never seemed to do it. I can say that this was one of the brighter spots for me during the pandemic; it changed my whole life. The pandemic changed who I am as a person and I can say that I’ve grown a lot from who I used to be.
When I was younger I would always say, “Kahit ano mangyari damit lang yung magbabago sakin,” but these words didn’t age well—my life changed to almost 360 degrees. Before, my lifestyle was always boozing out on weekends, hanging out with friends, and a gig wouldn’t be a gig if alcohol wasn’t involved.
Now, I’m more into working out, reading books, improving my mental state and always taking care of my body. I’ve come a long way from who I was although I’ll never regret anything that I did then—including all the mistakes I’ve made and all the decisions I’ve chosen. Those mistakes were prerequisites for my growth and improvement.
Before, basketball and music were my escape, but during the pandemic, they were nonexistent. There were no events, so I had no gigs, nor could I play basketball; working out became my sole escape.
I built a mini-gym in the rooftop of our house so I could work out any time. Looking back on it, I now realize it was one of my ways of coping. When I was sad I worked out, when I was happy I worked out. I fell in love with seeing myself at its purest form, dripping sweat, muscles building, and I gaining confidence. I was feeling good about myself, proud of trying to be the best version of myself, no expensive watch, expensive sneakers, nor designer brands could match.
This pandemic was one of the crucial moments of my life and ironically, one of the best. Because I had a glass-is-half-full moment, I discovered a new version of myself that I didn’t know existed. I am now 82 kilos or 180 lbs for someone who is 5’11 in height, but sad to say, I temporarily stopped working out because of my broken hand, but I guess that’s life. This gave me more time to work on my music again, one of the things I love the most. But that’s another story. My transformation wouldn’t have been possible without the help of my family, my Lolo Domeng and Lola Lui who buy me the protein I need, my Tito Michael who always teaches me good techniques and forms in my workout, my Tito Jude who is always giving me guidance in my mindset and discipline, my siblings John B and Angel for always supporting and loving me, and my coach John Sorima who helped me every step of the way. This wouldn’t have been possible without you all, I am thankful for you, and I will get better.
Photography Shound David
Styling Luis Carlo San Juan
Fashion Forever 21