A Woman’s Struggle

I remember that the first time that I was introduced to the world of health and fitness was back in the 6th grade. I was a chubby 12 year old kid. I wasn’t obese, but I was overweight. I was always a big girl. I found my nursery class picture and I was the tallest and fattest kid in our class (I practically covered two people behind me in the picture). I remember showing this picture to my husband, and upon seeing it, he said with a laugh, ‘kinain mo ba classmates mo?‘ (Did you eat your classmates?). I laughed back.

I could laugh about it now, but what people don’t know about me is that there was a time when I was really obsessed with how I looked and how much I weighed.

That time, I knew that I was going to graduate the year after and I wanted to look my best during graduation. I started dieting. When I started, I was around 135 pounds at 5 feet 4 inches tall. My mom went with me to see a nutritionist, Tita Sunny Rose (I still remember her name). She gave me a meal plan that I should follow and our helper would prepare meals according to the plan. My mom kept a huge thick Mead notebook for me and she would write down everything that I ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner and even snacks. I also went with my aunt to a place called Joanne Drew (I don’t know if it’s spelled correctly). It was a slimming salon in Greenhills, which was popular during the ’90s. I was twelve years old, but I was already undergoing body treatments (like the ones that you see in the ads of slimming salons nowadays).

The treatments and the diet worked. Before graduating, I was down to 103 pounds. But then, Joanne Drew closed after a year, so I had to enrol with Slimmer’s World to help me maintain my weight. I was one of the first customers of the newly opened Slimmer’s World Megamall. I was 14 years old that time. My younger sister, who was 11, also enrolled with me. We were one of the few ‘kids’ in the gym.

Ginger at 103 pounds

Ginger at 103 pounds

Me and my friends - Grade 7

Me and my friends – Grade 7

But my age didn’t stop me from taking the gym seriously. I was really into it and I really wanted to be thin and fit. I went to the gym every day after classes, and I would stay there the entire day during the weekends. During summer break, I would go to the gym at 7:30 am and would leave Megamall at 10 pm. The gym was like a day care for me and my sister. I would bring a big gym bag, almost as big as me, and it would contain 10 shirts, 4 sports bras, 4 cycling shorts, etc. I attended all the aerobics classes (a hit that time) and would run on the treadmill in between. I have no idea how I got to do that!

Aerobics Marathon... won 1st for the Female Advanced Category

Aerobics Marathon… won 1st for the Female Advanced Category

Me with my mom and my friend, Mich, from the gym. I was 16 that time.

Me with my mom and my friend, Mich, from the gym. I was 16 that time.

When I was 15, I discovered Aerobics marathons, and I joined every single one of them. I became good at it and I enjoyed competing very much. I was reaping awards and was even featured in magazines. But that wasn’t all of it. When I was alone, I was unhappy. I felt so unaccomplished and ugly. I thought I looked fat (even if I was thin and lean already). I think I really had issues with how I viewed myself. I was fit at 112 pounds and as I recall, my body fat was super low. My BMI was just right, but I hated myself for gaining weight. In my mind, it was always, ‘I should be back to being 103 pounds’ or ‘I’m so fat and ugly’. I would always wear ‘manang’ clothes as how my friends would put it and I always wore a jacket, because I felt my arms were huge.

I took diet pills that contained Ephedrine (which is now banned). I took diuretics (pills that would help you pee) so that I could lose water weight. I lost, but then after eating, I’d gain weight again. I’d weigh myself every morning and evening, which I know is something that shouldn’t be done (because it was probably just water weight that I lost or gained or maybe even the muscle mass that I gained with all of the ‘gyming’ I’ve been doing). I would starve myself, too. I would skip eating or if I ate, I would kill myself by doing a lot of cardio workouts or I would take laxatives.

I don’t think that I was anorexic, because I still ate, but I was probably a bulimic. I didn’t throw up but I took laxatives and diuretics — a lot of those (I read that bulimics are those that binge on food and try to expel it after by vomiting or by any other means). I started with one pill a day until I felt that it wasn’t working anymore, so I would add dosage. I got to the point when I would take one whole pad of diuretics and laxatives.

Then came the day when upon waking up, I couldn’t stand and I couldn’t talk (literally). I slurred when I tried to talk. I was rushed to the hospital and what they found out was that my potassium in the body was really low. I had sodium-potassium imbalance in my body, which caused me this inability to move my limbs and to talk. I hated the feeling. It was like being strapped to your bed, but without strings. I was aware of what was going on around me, but I could not react to any of it.

Me with friends and my sister. I was around 19 years old :)

Me with friends and my sister. I was around 19 years old 🙂

After three days, luckily, I was up and about again. I think I was around 17 that time. As if that episode did not matter, I continued to being how I was prior to the incident. The incident didn’t really make me change my thoughts and how I perceived my body to be. I worked out again and competed. Even with a fit body, I thought I was fat and I wanted to lose more. I entered college and my routine did not change. At 19, I was competing in running marathons and I usually placed 5th in the 10K category. My best time was 40 mins and 47 secs. My friends would tease me. They would say that if I was on break from the gym, I would go to school and not the other way around. Most of my life was really spent inside the gym.

My friend Sharon and I. I was at a high of 150 pounds.

My friend Sharon and I. I was at a high of 150 pounds.

To be honest with you, my weight was really a big deal for me. I think the only time I realized that gaining weight isn’t a big deal was when I reached mid-20’s, when I had a lot of things at work going on and I couldn’t work out as often. Lucky for me that it wasn’t (I think) too late for me to let go of all these inhibitions and my really low self-esteem. I gained weight during that time, even hitting a high (excluding my pregnancy weight) of 150 pounds at 5 feet 4 inches. I think it was because I was always out partying with friends and drinking alcohol. Alcohol was really the culprit!

This was me when I met my hubby. I was on my way down to 140 lbs and plateaued there :)

This was me when I met my hubby. I was on my way down to 140 lbs and plateaued there 🙂

When I met and started dating my husband in 2007, I let go of drinking. I think he made me happy (aww), so I had no urge to drink anymore. I started to get fit again, but I wasn’t going back to the psycho fitness regimen I had before. I lost weight and stayed at 140 pounds for the longest time. I lost weight before our wedding and dropped to 128 pounds. That was the lowest weight that I have achieved since the time I started working. For the longest time, I felt comfortable with this weight. I no longer feel like I was obese. I felt good about myself even if I know that I’m a bit on the heavy side. I liked how I felt about myself. I guess that was my time to recuperate and to enjoy living.
During that time, I felt loved no matter how I looked. I accomplished a lot of things, not because I was thin and sexy, but because of ‘me’ and all of my strengths and capabilities. I hardly stepped inside gyms and only went to yoga classes, where I felt relaxed and more grounded. I developed confidence. I found myself.

Every time I would try to start writing this article before, I found it hard to finish writing about this struggle of mine, because it’s really not a good story to tell. For 2014 though, since my mission is to be a health advocate, I thought that it might be good to tell this story, so that teenage girls or other women (or even men) who are or about to be in the exact situation as I was before get to realize that they need not go through the same kind of struggle.

You are beautiful (or handsome). You are loved, just the way you are. Never think otherwise. If you look in the mirror, you will see that you are made by God to be in his image and likeness. Yes, there is no harm in trying to be healthier, but know your limits. Don’t go overboard. Do it the right way.

I am now on a quest to become healthy this 2014. Yes, weight is one of the metrics, but it is just one of the things that I will monitor. Together with this, I will monitor my muscle mass, body fat, visceral fat, bmi, body age and resting metabolic rate, so that I will truly know how my body is doing. If you want to know your metrics, too, email me so that we can meet up, we can measure and we can talk and share fitness goals.

I sincerely hope that this reaches those who are struggling to find what is beautiful in them. Here’s hoping that everyone ends their obsessions and struggles this 2014. Have a healthier year, everyone!

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Comments

  1. Hi Ginger. I can relate to your post. I was diagnosed with anorexia when I was in my mid-20s and weighed 90 lbs. My ribs showed in my back, my legs were sticks and I bought clothes from the kids department.

    I’m still fighting to stay healthy. I’m overweight now, weight I gained after my 3rd pregnancy that won’t seem to go away and there’s always a part of me that wants to employ desperate means to lose the excess pounds. People keep reminding me of how fat I’ve become and sometimes, it really affects me aside from feeling sluggish, heavy and unattractive.

    I know that ‘charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but the woman who fears the LORD is to be praised’ Prov 31:30 so I fight to be confident in the LORD and deal with my weight in a healthy manner and trust in His strength to fight the temptation to fall into an eating disorder again.

    Thanks for sharing your story. I am encouraged.

    • Hi May!

      Thank you for sharing your story with me. Losing the weight after having a baby is really hard, noh? But I’m positive that we can do it! Yes, be confident and i’m sure that you will lose that unwanted fat in no time in a healthy manner. Let me know if you need any help in anything — support, etc. I added you on facebook! 🙂 Wishing you good health this 2014!

      • Thanks Ginger. I accepted your friend request on Facebook. 🙂 I’m taking it a bit slow.Hubby and I jog with the kids at BGC at least twice a week but I’ve been sick that carried over from the holidays so we we forced to pause, but hopefully we’ll resume this week. I’ve also lessened my food intake and try not to get angry at it cause I pig out more when I’m emotional.

  2. Aaawwwww…. This post is one brave post and I love it. I guess for us, I am mom of 2 pre-teens and a 7 year old, if we want to lose weight, probably for health reasons. So that our kids will see that as well. Thank you for sharing this…. Kudos to you… And cheers to a healthy lifestyle…

    • Hi Grech! Thank you so much! 🙂 Yes, it will probably be for health reasons na talaga. It will be for Zeeka to see that we eat healthy and we are active. Thank you for reading my post today! 🙂

  3. I also struggle with weight issues but I did not exercise, I was way too lazy. But I do have low esteem because of that. I think that your post is important in girls’ struggle with how they look. I try to take care not to pintas myself, especially in front of my children. I wish we could exercise as a family because I can’t go to the gym as a SAHM.

    • Cym! Yes, my husband always tells me not to make pintas myself in front of Zeeka. I sometimes slip, but at least i’m trying to stop doing it! 🙂 haha! Try walking lang and talking about plans while walking. That’s what we do now. 🙂

  4. Thank you so much for writing such a brave post. I’ve struggled with my weight almost my entire life. The lowest that I got was 119 lbs. That was years ago. Now, I’m much heavier than that but I’m more at peace with my weight now. I don’t get affected anymore by people when they greet me “Hoy, ang taba mo na!” This is who I am now and I’m happy with it. My main concern now is how I can become healthy. My family has a history of adult diabetes so I want to make sure that I won’t have to go through that for my daughter’s sake.

    • Yeah, me too! I hardly get affected na with those comments. Hmmm, I don’t get comments like that na kasi maybe people are used to seeing me na at this weight. Yes, I noticed that this is the concern of mommies na, noh? More on how to become healthier. Is it acquired diabetes? I heard there are different kinds.

  5. Hi Ginger! Wow! Even at a young age, you really were that determined :). I’m having problems losing weight after pregnancy too, but still trying… to live healthy and lose those bulges. I’m not really concerned about weight when I was still single, but iba pala when you’re ageing, metabolism gets soo slow and it’s hard to get rid of extra weight.

    • haha! Yeah, determined nga but for the wrong goal! 😛 haha! I laugh at it now, but this is really an evident problem among teenagers. Yes, studies have shown that when you reach 30, that’s when you start ageing (inside and out). I agree, metabolism slows down. Hirap na, but just stick to a healthy regimen and we’ll get to achieve it!

  6. Hello Ginger! Thank you for sharing your story, it’s brave of you to do this. I can’t seem to even begin to share mine. Thanks for your invitation to us to join you in this journey. I am looking for someone to be my partner in my quest to be healthy. Ang hirap kasi to find someone who can understand what I’m going through. This post encouraged me to tell my own story. At some point, I have to be honest with myself why I’ve grown so big. It’ll be good to share. Let’s encourage each other in this quest for a healthier us.

    • Thank you for reading and sharing this article, Michelle! Let’s do it together! Please do share your story. I’d love to read it, or we can just have coffee and talk about it 🙂

  7. Hi Ginger! Thank you for this brave article about the ups and downs of losing weight. I’ve also been struggling to bring back my pre-pregnancy weight. I also want to start eating and living healthy. I’ve been planning and trying to do it every start of the year, but I failed. This year, I am again planning to lose weight, but January is about to end and I haven’t started yet. I know that there should be no excuses anymore because I am now a SAHM since October. I’ve been wanting to meet fellow “overweight mommies” to learn and help each other to lose weight. I also want to meet new friends because I feel that my social life is so boring. I haven’f found/met new friends in our place since I got married. 🙁 Again, thank you for this great post. 🙂 God bless you! 🙂

    • Hi Bang! Thank you for reading this article 🙂 I would really love meet all of you and let’s share notes so that each of us can be accountable to one another. I’m setting up a meet up. I’ll update everyone who commented so that we can meet each other! 🙂

  8. While I’ve never had an eating disorder, I have struggled with my body image. Now that I have a daughter, I want to be a good role model for her by showing her the benefits of exercising (but not too much) and eating well (but not going overboard). It makes me so sad when I see really young girls dieting and exercising like crazy–they really have no clue how special they each are and how beautiful they are! Here’s to hoping that 2014 is a healthy, positive one for all of us!

  9. This is such a brave post… so many people struggle with weight issues. I have watched a best friend nearly die because she couldn’t see the beauty within herself. Best of luck as you continue a healthier outlook.

  10. You are very pretty in all of your pictures. I’m so sorry that for so long that you felt that you weren’t or that you were heavy. And I’m glad to see that you have finally come to terms with your weight and it’s not a huge issue with you anymore. I think your article is a wonderful article to read for those that really aren’t heavy but in their minds think they are.

  11. I am glad you have come to the point that you are seeing yourself in a better light. IT is a hard thing to do – to struggle with your desire to be thin like others – I do understand that. I struggle too just like everyone else. Keep up with telling yourself you are loved as you are. We all need that.

  12. You were brave to share your story and I wish you the best in your quest for a healthy lifestyle. I find that eating more natural foods especially fats goes a long way to improved nutrition. I try to use real butter (not the fake margarine stuff), coconut oil, or olive oil in cooking and baking. I also prepare most of our meals so that they are healthier and I know what is in the food.
    Blessings.
    Faith

  13. I am so glad to hear that you have come to terms with yourself. That it is the only thing that matters. And I am glad to hear that you are going to be a health advocate; promoting healthly living instead of indulging in the extreme.

  14. Very moving post. I am a thin girl and have always been. but I hate it when people feel like they can comment on my weight. It’s not nice, no matter what size you are, for anyone to comment on your weight. I stay away from the weight issue by refusing to weigh myself (except obviously at the doctor’s!).

  15. I admire your courage to tell this story and share your journey. It is inspiring and encouraging. I wish you the best as you set out with health focused and other goals in 2014. I look forward to following your blog. 🙂

  16. I have struggled with my weight for most of my life,so I totally understand. I have recently decided to focus on health and let weight loss be a positive result of my efforts.

  17. I am sorry to hear about the self-image issues you had as a child, and your struggles with weight and self-confidence. I am so glad that your story has a happy ending, and now you are at peace with yourself and have found the self-confidence you needed. Your story is not so different from mine.
    Around the age I hit puberty, I got quite chubby (not obese, but certainly plump). I didn’t think much of it, until my family, including my grandfather, were constantly nagging me about my weight. It destroyed my confidence, and I became very self-conscious about my weight for the first time in my life. I wrote down every calorie I consumed (and I skipped most meals), and at my worst I was working out 4 hours a day at the gym (2 hours in the morning, home for a few hours, then right back to the gym for a few more hours). I was quite thin, and still I was teased and nagged by my family (except for my mother, who encouraged me to just be healthy, and was always concerned when she saw me skip meals). One morning, I realized I had had enough. Nothing was ever going to be good enough, and I had to stop living my life to please others. I cut back to going to the gym once a day, and started eating very well again. I found a confidence within myself, and I have never gone back, or even thought of going back, since.
    Thank you for sharing your experience. I hope some that currently are concerned about their weight or self-image read this and find strength in it for their situations.

  18. Thank you for sharing your story! I hope it helps many people who are struggling with their self image. I was on the opposite side; chronically underweight, not very curvy, always wanting to gain weight. I have only begun to accept myself the way God made me, in the last few years.

  19. Believe it or not, as a girl that has always been relatively thin, I always wanted curves. I would over eat in an attempt to gain weight. However, the weight that I did gain was not at all curvy or sexy because my body frame did not support the weight. It took me a long time to understand that we are all different and we need to embrace the body that God gave us. Thank you so much for your honesty and your great post!

  20. Great post, Ginger. I’m so inspired that you’ve decided to “be healthy” and not “diet”. It really is a life style change and not found in some pill or shake. I think that the word “diet” has so many negative connotations to pass on to the next generation. It really is about daily living and choices that we make. And working with what we have. Some have more challenges due to other health issues, metabolism, etc. Good for you for sharing your story and be in a positive influence!

  21. It’s really easy to get caught up in the cycle of exercise and “getting thinner,” but so much more important to be healthy and feel good in your skin and your life – that is what counts, not a number on the scale. Kudos to you for realizing that and working towards a healthy lifestyle!

  22. I’m trying to lose weight this year too. It’s a struggle, but know you are not alone. I’m glad you decided to share your story. I’m sure you inspired others with it. We all just need to remember to do it the healthy way. Moderation is the key!
    Have a great rest of the week!
    -Stacey

  23. Congratulations! It sounds like you’re off on the right foot, which is with a healthy mindset and balanced approach. Best of luck to you!

    Sarah’s Fare recently posted → Eggs in a Nest

  24. It’s brave of you to share your story. Body and image issues are such a huge thing for many people.

  25. Very brave of you to share your story! Stopping by from Blogelina Commentathon

  26. It is amazing what we go through from childhood to adulthood. I never had issues as a kid but I did as an adult. For a few years, I really didn’t know what to do or how to stop the overeating. But the love of my children and husband made me realize, I needed to be healthy. It made a world of difference. I hope you continue to share and help others.

  27. Good for you for realizing you are wonderfully made! I had a bit of a self destructive episode myself in my 20’s. I had become so thin, I was a skeleton. I would eat a carrot and then go ride my bike for 5 miles for fear of gaiing a pound.. It’s a bad place to be and I’m very glad you are living a healthy lifestyle now. I am too!

  28. Thanks for sharing! I have weight issues also. I need to lose about 30-40 lbs but I want to do it the right way. My main goal is to be healthy.

  29. It’s not easy to write and share posts like this, but there are so many people who struggle with this issue of weight and there is so much that can be learned from the experiences of others. Thank you for sharing your story! I hope it helps many!

  30. Thank you for sharing your story and your photos. Wishing you all the best!

  31. Yes, thank you for sharing your story–I am currently in one of my heaviest phases after a lot of similarities as you–however, I never got to see a nutritionist, and a health problem made me get sick a lot…
    You are so brave, and I really appreciate this being your post for the link up.

  32. Wow! You’ve come a long way. Thank you for sharing your story. This world, with it’s quick fixes, doesn’t make it easy to lose weight in a healthy manner. Kudos to you for doing it!

  33. Thank you for sharing your story. I understand when you said that it was hard for you to start writing it. Weight has always been an issue for me. I am only 5′ 0″ tall, I won’t say what I weigh right now. It is much too easy to gain and extremely difficult to lose. My weight defines my self perception on a daily basis and yet is still very difficult to address in a positive manner. I think it is great that you found when you met your husband, there was happiness to be found outside of focusing on self. Your journey has given you wisdom. Thank you for sharing that with us.

  34. Weight is something I struggled with when I was younger. Thanks for sharing your story!

  35. I’m glad you are doing better and are healthy. Thank you for reminding us that we are made in the image of God and we are beautiful just the way we are.

  36. I’ve been yo-yoing a bit on my weight too, especially as I get older. It’s amazing how quickly the pounds pack on even after just one heavy meal…and how hard it is to later take that weight gain off.

  37. This must have been a hard story to write but you are so brave to share it! So m any women struggle with weight but few talk about it so openly! You are amazing! Thanks for sharing

  38. This post really hit home with me because I’ve been through it. I have always struggled with my weight and have always fought with whether or not I was “small” enough. Thank you for sharing this.

  39. Thanks for sharing. I am very much overweight right now and I struggle a lot with food, always have. I hate eating and that added with medication caused me to gain weight because my metabolism has gone into this ‘save everything’ mode. Very frustrating and I understand completely those feelings of not being happy in your own skin. It’s unfortunate that your hospital scare never helped you at the time but the fact that you mention it now shows that it did impact you. I am happy you are doing it the right way this time. You look great in all of the pictures you posted. Focus on being happy, not on the numbers.

  40. This is such a struggle for so many. Thank you for writing about it.

  41. That had to have been a very difficult post to write. The media and society glorify being skinny that it’s hard for girls to have a healthy self image.

  42. Talk about a rollercoaster ride. So glad that you have a positive outlook on things now. Thank you for sharing your story. Visiting from Commentathon.

  43. Yes this kind of post really does need to be written because there are so many girls especially who struggle with it. Our cultures gives so much negative feedback in this whole area. Good for you to share.

  44. I love this post. It is so encouraging to hear about someone who is concerned about their weight. In this decade I don’t feel like people are as focused on health and weight as they used to be.

  45. As someone whom has struggled with weight for many years (hormone birth control and a very low-activity job are currently my issues), I can understand and appreciate how hard this is to write.
    Thank you.

Trackbacks

  1. […] I also have body image issues. I always think I’m fat. It got better when I got married, probably because I didn’t care that much anymore. I wrote about my problem in this article: A Woman’s Struggle […]

  2. […] I also have body image issues. I always think I’m fat. It got better when I got married, probably because I didn’t care that much anymore. I wrote about my problem in this article: A Woman’s Struggle […]

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