Archives for January 2014

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!

The WAHM Life and the WAHM Time

I am panting! I have done so many things today and yet why do I still have tons to do. I practically have more than half of a bond paper with all of my to do’s still uncrossed. I actually wanted to skip posting in my blog today, but since I have made a resolution to achieve all of my goals, I did not want to skip posting this article. In my action plans list, I have blogging at least twice a week as an entry.

I sometimes forget to do that so pictures and ideas pile up as files in my phone and laptop, but I don’t get to update any of my blogs. Why am I so busy? I think I’m even busier now that I’m not employed. When you meet my friends, they will say that it’s typical for me to be ‘always busy’, but I shun whatever they say since I think i’m not that busy. But today, alas! I myself am convinced that I am a ROBOT!

I have three planners all with list of things that I need to do. For those of you wondering, yes, I have three. One for my blogs, the other for my schedule and the other for my household checklist of to do’s. Aside from that, I have a desk calendar (as if three planners were not enough to remind me of where I should be or what to do at a particular moment) that tells me of all of my appointments. Also, to add to all of these things, I have my Google calendar reminding me through my phone and my email.

As work-at-home-moms and mompreneurs, people think that we handle our own time so we’re not that busy. I agree in the handling our own time part, but as for us not being busy, try juggling between breastfeeding a baby, to getting to a meeting on time, to blogging regularly, to handling inquiries in the website you own, to shipping orders, to inventory checking, to going to the bank, to running to the grocery, to giving the pay to the maids, to worrying about that aircon that needs to be cleaned, to worrying about the baby’s next doctor’s appointment, etc. I practically breeze through lunch and taking a shower. Sometimes, I don’t even want to get up just to go to the toilet.

But working at home made me closer to my baby and that was really the plan. I love being around her. When I need a break, all I do is go to the other room and play with her. I get to hear her say ‘bo’ (ball) or ‘bird’ (bi) or ‘mama’ often. I get to hug her every time she nurses and that’s at least 6 times a day.

My life isn’t perfect. There are times when I am so stressed because I feel like I don’t get things done, but the thought or being with my family and the thought that all of these things I am doing is for them, I am happy and contented. Although, at times, I know that I would need some tips on how to handle things more efficiently. I know that you would want some tips, too. The beauty of being in a community of women (WAHMderful Life sisterhood) who are almost in the exact situation as you are in is that you get to share best practices and tips with each other.

So for the start of the year, we’d like to invite you to the WAHMderful Year Starter Workshop 2014, where you will get so many useful tips on how to start your year right as a WAHM. We get so many inquiries on time management, so for this run, most of the day will be set aside for managing your time.

WAHMderful Workshops YEAR STARTER

This workshop is brought to you by Manila Workshops, the WAHMderful Life Sisterhood and Insular Life! Thank you Insular Life for being our sponsor.

You have until Friday to avail of the Early bird rate, but even if you don’t the regular rate is really worth it.

The speakers for this WAHM workshop will be Martine De Luna and Teresa Gumap-as Dumadag. Sign up now and I really hope to see you in this workshop!

Adjustment in SSS and Philhealth Contributions

Have you heard about this, guys, especially those who are giving voluntary contributions to SSS and Philhealth? There is an increase of what we need to pay for our contributions.

We all now have to pay 11% (from 10.4%) of our income and this ruling is effective January 2014. For those who are employed, the employee pays for the 3.63% and the employer shoulders the 7.37%.

SSS Contributions table 2014

Image from SSS website

Image from SSS website

The maximum salary credit will also increase to P16,000/month.

For our kasambahays, mommies, those with a salary of Php 2500 will have to contribute Php 275. The whole amount of Php 275 will be shouldered by us, their employers. Those with kasambahays who are paid higher than Php 5000 will have to pay accordingly based on the table above and follow the employee/employer share. 🙂

So what does this mean for our benefits? Well, SSS says that the sickness, maternity and other benefits will also  increase as the average daily salary credit will also go up. SSS also mentioned that pension and salary loans may also go up with the increase in contribution but it will still have to go through board approval.

For more information, check this link: http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/business/10/09/13/what-higher-sss-contribution-rate-means-members

Aside from SSS, Philhealth also increased their rates. Here is a table from http://anc.yahoo.com/news/pinoys-to-face-higher-philhealth-contributions-this-month-084125793.html

Philhealth 2014 rates

So there you go, readers! Do adjust your budget for these already 🙂

A Drop Dead Healthy Lady

I’m reading this book entitled Drop Dead Healthy by A.J. Jacobs. The book is about the quest of the author to become as healthy as man can ever be. It tells of his escapades on trying different diets, exercise regimen, etc. It is just so hilarious! I have just started reading it last week and I can’t put it down. The author reminded me so much of my husband, EJ (they even have rhyming names).

Drop Dead Healthy

My husband is a funny guy and his witty remarks and geeky appearance (I even met him when he had braces) are his charm. He’s 5’10” and 187 pounds. He actually has thin limbs which makes him look just right, but like most men in the Philippines, he has a big belly. I have always wanted him to be more conscious about his weight and I also have always wanted him to be more active, but again, like most men in our country, the calling of digital devices (games, etc.) is just too hard to resist. He’d rather just lie on the couch and read than go on the treadmill with me.

It was then quite a surprise that he agreed to take on the challenge of being healthier with me this 2014 (take note, I didn’t say thinner). Yes, both of us want to be healthier. We want to live healthy lives so that we could live longer to see our grand kids in the future. Both of us agreed to achieve the following:

A. Be more active – I have a goal of going on the treadmill at least three times a week. Ej has his own goal to walk around more when time permits. I realize that I can’t expect the same thing from him since we’re individually used to different things, so any effort on his part to ‘move more’ is greatly appreciated.

B. Eat healthier – We vow to eat healthier. Nope, we won’t go on any special type of diet. We just agreed to eat a balanced meal everytime and to avoid the food that we need to avoid. We plan to follow the recommended food portions with lots of vegetables and fruits (sources of fiber), carbohydrates and protein sources in one meal. We plan to avoid junk food (chocolate, chips, pastries, fast food, etc.) and avoid food that is deep fried. We plan to drink at least 8 glasses of water. The diet that we follow is really simple when you think about it. I’ll tell you more about it on my next posts.

C. Take vitamins and supplements – Humans cannot actually take all the needed vitamins by our body through food intake. This is the reason why we need vitamins. I just religiously started taking vitamins and supplements again and I am taking this.

LifePak

it’s called LifePak and I like it because I feel more energetic and I think it increased my metabolism. The other thing I noticed was that I don’t lose as much hair anymore. I’m still breastfeeding so I have lots and lots of falling hair. Aside from this multi-vitamins, we are also taking supplements that assist us in maintaining our healthy regimen (food intake) and helps hasten metabolism. Just email me at ginger(at)mommyginger(dot)com if you want to learn more about these vitamins.

Ej started his journey even before Christmas. I started with my journey to a drop dead healthy body just yesterday. I actually can’t wait to lose 20 pounds and to feel healthier. My goal is really to achieve the body and the fitness level that I had when I was still in College. Impossible? I don’t believe so. I believe that everything is possible!

I weighed myself yesterday using a Karada scanner and these were my stats:

Ginger's Stats Pre-Diet

My goal is basically to lose 10 kg within the first quarter of this year (from 64.9 kg to 54.9 kg). How about you? What are your fitness goals for 2014? Let’s journey together!

 

 

 

Wishing You a Successful and Healthy 2014!

Hurray! I had time to squeeze writing my year-ender post for 2013. Looking back on this past year, I have so many things that I am thankful for.

– To top my list (obviously), I am thankful for the birth of my first born (Zeeka) earlier this year. We have waited for this blessing and we are truly grateful for having her in our lives.

The love of my life, Zeeka

The love of my life, Zeeka

– I am thankful for good health. Even if I had dengue and Zeeka had hand-foot-mouth disease early September this year, we all overcame these diseases and viruses. The best part is that our HMO covered all of the hospital expenses for my dengue. I’m glad that nothing serious happened to any of us!

– I am thankful for all business opportunities. In 2013, the Manila Workshops team got to pull through and implement 33 workshops (which was more than I expected!). Also, I got to launch two businesses, Kooky Loopy, a clothing brand for children and Memory Crafters, an event planning business for Children’s parties (which will undergo a lot of changes in 2014…so watch out for these). I am grateful also for new ‘sidelines’ that I will be pursuing this 2014 (all in line with my dream of helping others start their own businesses and helping them achieve a healthier lifestyle).

– I am thankful for the chance to meet a lot of new people this year and the chance to help a lot of mompreneurs this year. I am grateful to have built great friendships along the way.

– I am thankful for the success of this blog despite just being launched January 2013. I was actually surprised at the number of visitors that this blog gets. Thank you to my loyal readers and I promise that I won’t disappoint you. Looking forward to more great articles that I want to share with you all in 2014.

– I am thankful for all the beautiful memories, 2013!

I am very much excited for 2014! There are so many great things that I want for myself, for my family and for others. This 2014, most of the things that I will be doing will revolve around helping others achieve maximum health and achieve dreams of starting their own businesses. Why concentrate on these two areas? Because I, myself, will be concentrating on improving and working on these two aspects of my life.

For example, for Manila Workshops this year, we will be launching the Entrepreneurship Series. The workshops under these series will definitely help entrepreneurs and mompreneurs start and run their own businesses. Another project that I’m working on with a bunch of friends is a fitness application that we hope to launch this 2014. For this blog, I will continue to discover new mompreneurs and help them promote their businesses so please feel free to email or send me a message through this blog. Feel free to comment as often as you want!

These are just some samples of what I’ll be doing this 2014 in line with the two aspects that I want to concentrate on!

Happy New Year!

So from my family to yours, have a successful and healthy 2014!