If I talk about my transformation story (awow transfomayshaaan) the way others talked about theirs, then really—it’s not going to be anything you haven’t already heard. But if you stick around long enough, then maybe you’ll hear something new—something others missed out on. Because hopefully, when you read this, you’ll see this as more than just weight loss. Because truthfully, more than the change in the way my clothes fit me, is the change within me that hopefully won’t disappear no matter how much I weigh.

Before, during, after—that’s usually how it goes when others share their journey. But my before and during isn’t all that different from everyone else’s: I was shy, insecure, and chubby so I wanted to lose weight. It was difficult but I did it anyway. Focusing on the results and after part though, I have lost a total of 22 lbs in a span of 7 months in an effort to eat and live healthier. The feedback I’ve gotten since then has been nothing short of heartwarming. Almost overwhelming. And it’s been great, really, but (and here comes the plot twist!!!) for a while now I’ve been feeling a bit uneasy with myself. It was frustrating because I couldn’t understand why. It wasn’t until meditating (not medicating ha!) that I was able to conduct introspection and realize that my “transformation” did very little with regard to how I viewed myself. I didn’t feel any less insecure. In fact I felt more paranoid than ever, thinking “what if I gain it all back?” or “what if losing weight made me uglier instead?” Writing it down makes me feel stupid now, but thoughts like those would really loom over my head and bring me down. My feelings boggled me because, well, I’m supposed to be more confident, right? I should’ve been more proud of myself as well. Losing weight isn’t easy, but I did it. I did it healthily, too. 

So why in the world would I be unhappy with myself?

Well… I can’t really say that it hit me all of the sudden, because the answer was always right in the back of my mind. I just refused to accept it. The thing is I was looking for acknowledgement. From a specific person. But I never got it and maybe never will. And despite all the kind words from all the kind souls who supported me all throughout, it just didn’t seem enough if that person wasn’t one of them. And it’s so freaking ridiculous because I have the best support system anyone could ever ask for. I have the sweetest friends who’d compliment me, give me lots of hugs, and check up on me often. I have my dad who is always game to buy me healthy (and sometimes pricy) food, my sister who’s on this journey with me as well, and my brother who’s always there for me when it counts. I realized that nothing is keeping me from being happy except for me, and it was because I was giving value to the wrong things and to the wrong people.

I was always looking at what I didn’t have, always looking at what was lacking—and that became the center of my attention. But now, as I try to keep my eyes clearer, mind broader, heart wider—now I’m just grateful. Grateful for all the people whose presence was impactful at some point in my life—whether they came to leave or stay, I love them dearly. This shift in mindset has not only allowed me to appreciate the people that matter to me, but has also allowed me to develop self-confidence that was never there before.

So the question now is: Why focus on the “after” when those who are reading this might not have even started yet? Well, it’s because for others, it usually goes like this: “I was insecure, and then I lost weight, and now I’m a confident hot thanggg.” And while I am incredibly happy for those people, it’s just not my story. I was insecure all throughout high school, and I did lose weight, but I struggle with body positivity and self-confidence every day anyway. It’s a conscious and effortful decision every time I try to put myself out there. Until now.

BUT if you ask me if this transformation thing is worth it, I’d say yes. A thousand times yes. It’s an accomplishment that nobody can take away from you just so long as you don’t let them. I can honestly say that I may have shrunk in size but my growth throughout this process was exponential. So if you decide to embark this journey, here are some things to keep in mind:

1. Don’t let your self-worth and happiness become as volatile as your weight. There will be times wherein you’re not your best physically, and that’s okay. Don’t hate yourself. And even more, don’t punish yourself. If you want to build your self-esteem through your physique, then focus on what your body can do rather than how it looks. 

2. Do it for the right reasons. When they said “don’t do it for anyone else but yourself,” it’s not really because you’ll find yourself quitting along the way. I didn’t. But you’ll only break your own heart when you realize that you can’t control how others look at you. Having their opinion decide your success will only keep making you feel like a failure. So if you could, love yourself enough to do it for yourself. Struggle and thrive at your own pace, and then reach the goals you the way you set it.

3. I’m pretty sure you’ve already heard it before, but healthy living is more than just a 10-day/30-day program. It’s a change in lifestyle. Anything less and you’re bound to rebound. And it doesn’t mean you will never get to eat your favorite foods (I’ll down those Frankie’s buffalo wings no questions asked), but it does require you knowing your body and learning how to compensate healthily. And remember that a slight set back doesn’t mean you get to ruin everything you’ve worked hard for. Take a step back, take another 3 forward. Fall down 4 times, get back up 5. It’s not a race so you have nothing to be embarrassed about. Just keep on keeping on.

4. Let go of the thoughts that don't make you strong. None of that self-deprecating toxicity anymore please! If there’s anything I advocate for so strongly, it’s mental health. That’s why, just keep your chin up and your head held high. I used to admire the people who made things look so easy, but I can’t relate at all. I’m clumsy and scatterbrained, but you know what: there is still grace in tribulation. And if you’re struggling, it’s good to have a support system that helps you out.

5. Speaking of support systems, let me be yours! Hehe I don’t care if we’re close or not, if you have questions on how to get started, you can definitely hit me up. Other than my friends and fam, I was fortunate enough to have Enzo Bonoan andRamona Julia Sucgang as reinforcement throughout this process. I want to pay it forward and help others as well hehe