Fitness… doing it right this time!

Ooh, yikes… another 20-something year old blogging about her “fitness journey”, giving out advice like she’s a licensed nutritionist/ personal trainer, trying to pawn out fitness shakes, vitamins, or whatever the newest fitness pyramid scheme is, captioning photos with #fitspo, and telling people that they can eat whatever they want AND lose weight by doing some light cardio and yoga for 12 minutes a day… NOPE – I know that I know nothing about anything, so I’m paying other people to make sure I do the right thing. (Thank you Matt for the workout plans and Erica for the nutrition plans!)

A BIT OF BACKGROUND | 2019

So… the last few years have been a little rough on me and I ended up taking a bit of a break from fitness, school, and a lot of things that I really enjoy! If you’re curious why, I gave a little more detail in my previous post.

I never shared this photo because I thought I looked so bad in it… YOU CAN BARELY SEE ME BECAUSE IT’S SO ZOOMED OUT. I DON’T KNOW WHAT I WAS THINKING.

The phrase “comfort food” has meaning because when life gets a bit hard, people tend to seek comfort in their food, particularly the food they grew up eating because it reminds them of comfortable times.

I did not grow up eating this, but I don’t have many photos of me eating…

Seeing as I have a Filipino mom, I particularly enjoyed food growing up so I really leaned into the comfort food when life got a bit stressful. If you are unaware of the stereotype, Filipino moms universally cook amazing food, they cook enough to feed an army regardless of how many people are eating, and they always urge you to get seconds because they know they’re damn good cooks.

love you, mom <3

Regardless of norms and my upbringing, I struggled a bit over the past few years and I’ve been doing my best to get back to where I was just before things got hard and I got heavy.

THE LAST TIME I FELT FIT | 2014-2015

The last time I was really happy with how I looked, I was working out every day and I was on a ketogenic diet. (This was back in 2014 before it became a widely available, popular diet. I know, I’m such a hipster.) I wasn’t super knowledgeable about different diets then, but I was inspired by the keto subreddits, particularly ketogains… so I did a fair amount of research, calculated my macros, and took advantage of my university dining hall. (I was a freshman at the University of Texas at Dallas. Eating in accordance with the ketogenic diet can be kind of expensive, but the dining hall made it way easier and much more affordable.)

Wow-ee, I shed that water weight fast. Paired with my very simple workouts, I actually lost a ton of weight, slimmed down very rapidly, and it was super noticeable. I still have the same workout plan note card, and it’s tucked away between my phone and its case, the same place it’s been for the past five years.

my old workout plan!

Like I said, this did wonders for me and I’ve tried to get back on the same workout + meal plan combo several times since I fell off the fitness wagon. It’s just very hard to sustain the ketogenic diet and it’s very boring to do the same workouts every other day. That workout is actually the exact workout that my husband did when he was in Air Force basic training. It gets results, but good god is it boring and repetitive.

UGHHH I JUST WANT TO BE AS FIT AS I WAS IN THESE PICTURES!

THE GRADUAL DECLINE | 2016-2017

Yeahhhh…. so here’s where you could see my stress and my waist size grow. Over the course of just a couple of years, I gained 40 pounds. I went from a petite size 0 at 120 lbs, all the way up to a very uncomfortable size 10 at 160 lbs. I’m not saying that anyone at that weight should feel bad or uncomfortable. I’m just saying how I felt at the time and given my height of 5 feet, 160 lbs is heavily overweight… It didn’t help that I got into a phase where I aggressively baked treats for Aaron, myself, friends, and family. Still not sure what was all about, but I kind of miss how the apartment always smelled like something warm and tasty.

I hated taking pictures of myself because I felt so ashamed that I let myself go. Most of the pictures I can find are group photos with friends, pictures from outings with my mom, or just me goofing off. (Vape naysh, y’all!)

To make things even worse… at one point when I dropped out of school, I started working at a donut shop! I loved my coworkers, and I enjoyed the job itself, but I definitely continued putting on the pounds…

After the donut shop, I started working at IBM! I’m not sure why, but for a while there I would snap a picture of myself at my desk or in the bathroom every few days. I never sent these to anyone because I really disliked how I looked, which is why I’m not quite sure why I even took these pictures. I was working the overnight shift, so perhaps it made me feel like I was in touch with reality… regardless, you can probably tell from the pictures that I was overall unhappy with how I felt at the time.

I will note that I look a little more trim in some of the pictures above… At the time, I realised that if I didn’t smile and if I took the picture the right way, my face looked more slender. Not sure why I went for the good ‘ol dead and expressionless look, but working the overnight shift really messes with your mental state.

SLIMMING DOWN IN AN UNHEALTHY WAY | 2017

At that point, I was so dissatisfied with how I looked. I wanted to make a change, but every time I tried to get back into my old workout routine – the one on the little blue note card – I felt like I wasn’t seeing results as quickly as I did back in 2014.

hello monotony, my old friend…

I knew I was eating unhealthy food and too much of it, but I was also struggling to make ends meet, so I felt like I didn’t have much of an option when it came to my diet. Healthy food can be expensive…

I feel like I need to stress that what I did was VERY UNHEALTHY and that people SHOULD NOT DO THIS, especially because I actually had favourable results… but I heavily restricted how much food I bought and ate. This was partially due to the tiny budget I had for food, partially due to my loss of appetite from working odd hours (23:00-07:30), and partially because I knew it would result in weight loss. To give a point of reference, I once went a month, spending somewhere between $20 and $50 on food, eating between 500-1000 calories in a day. I lived off of the free granola bars in my company’s break room, ramen noodles and other cheap foods, along with tea to subdue my appetite. I was intermittent fasting, without really trying to do so, as I was only eating between the hours of 01:00 and 05:00 while I was at work.

GOTTA THROW OUT THERE – THAT’S A FAKE TATTOO. I THOUGHT I LOOKED COOL.

In addition to cutting out a TON of food, I biked or ran the 5 miles to and from work some days (whenever Aaron’s Jeep wasn’t working, he would take my car because he had to drive all the way out to UNT) and I would spend my lunch breaks running or working out. I saw results that I was VERY happy with, but at what expense? I was tired all of the time. I felt completely drained by the time I got home from work. I would feel dizzy and get horrible headaches, and I bruised very easily. My periods were SUPER heavy and irregular, and I went several days without bowel movements. It was definitely not the right way to go about weight loss and fitness.

a well-stocked break room and a nice little fitness center!

STARTING TO DO THINGS RIGHT! | 2018

At this point, I got a membership at a rock climbing gym, I started eating healthier food because I could afford it and I was sufficiently happy with how I looked, so I didn’t feel like there was any big rush to slim down. Not that there ever was or is a rush to slim down. I was just impatient and I wanted to see results!

The pictures I took at work actually showed a happier person and when I went to my aunt’s wedding in LA last August, I felt like I could let loose and enjoy myself.

the work photos

the photos from LA

I was cooking well-balanced meals. Protein, noodles or rice, and some veggies for most meals! My workouts consisted of rock climbing, calisthenics, and running.

It was a great start, and I continued that into 2019 while I was in Okinawa with Aaron. I ran 5 kilometres from our hotel to the seawall where I would study most days for about a month and a half. Other days, I lifted weights at the gym for about an hour, following some workout I found on bodybuilding.com. I also found a training program for sprinting/ running that I closely followed for my last month there. Since I didn’t have many responsibilities while we were in Okinawa, I had ample time to work out.

Coincidentally in April after I started working out and decided I wanted to slim down and train for a fitness competition, Mykie of Glam & Gore, a YouTube channel I frequently watched, announced that she would be taking a break from YouTube to train for a bikini competition! I was SO excited because I felt like I wasn’t alone in taking on this rigorous training with the goal of a competition. My progress is slower than hers, but my body and my goals are different, and I haven’t been quite as strict as I presume she has been with her fitness plan.

I really related to her fitness journey, especially how she mentioned a major goal of “having a healthy relationship with food”. Like I mentioned at the start of this post, I frequently used comfort food as a crutch when life got stressful, and I just wanted to get out of that habit. It’s been really neat to track her progress and see how I’ve been struggling with a lot of the same things as her while embarking on this journey of my own. A side note to this digression – she just returned to YouTube after taking a break to train and focus on her health and fitness! Check it out if you feel so inclined!

TRAINING PROGRAM AND NEW GOALS | 2019

WHOO! Finally done with that stroll down memory lane. So now I’m back home in Texas, working, going to school, and training as much as I can in between.

running during my lunch break at work!

Before I came back to the US, I came up with the idea of training for a fitness competition. Previously, my health goals were centered around “looking better” but there wasn’t really a definitive goal there. By giving myself the goal of training for a fitness competition, the previously undefined goal of “looking better” became a SMART goal.

S – SPECIFIC – the fitness competition specifically outlines how competitors’ bodies should look. M – MEASUREABLE – I am keeping track of my progress, which can be defined by my weight, waist size, progress photos, and how much I’m capable of lifting. A – ATTAINABLE – whether or not I place in this competition (if I even compete) , I will achieve other goals – capability of making healthy choices when it comes to food, confidence lifting weights in the gym, and having a slim figure that I can be pleased with. R – RELEVANT – health and fitness has been something I’ve struggled with for years. T – TIME-BOUND – the competition is on October 12th, 2019.

The competition is the Alamo Showdown Classic, a bodybuilding competition hosted in San Antonio. My goal is to compete in the athletic division, which is not as strict as the bikini or physique divisions, but more focused on having an “athletic build” based around the competitor’s athletic personality/ background.

I would love to compete in a bikini competition someday, but I don’t think it’s a 2019 goal for me. Perhaps next year, once I’m more established in my routine of work, school, and fitness. I’m just starting out and I have already had some difficulty with balancing it all, though I’m doing my best and I’m not beating myself up if I miss a workout or skip a meal due to a busy schedule.

Well, now for the fun part of watching anyone on any sort of a fitness journey… PROGRESS PICTURES!

WEEK 1

WEEK 2

WEEK 3

WEEK 4

WEEK 5

WEEK 6

WEEK 7

WEEK 8

Aaron and I were downtown for our anniversary/ his homecoming from deployment, so I didn’t get a chance to take the progress pics for week 8!

WEEK 9

WEEK 10

It’s all a balancing act, and I’m trying my best! I’m finally starting to feel comfortable in my own skin again and I’ve got healthy eating habits. If I’m short on time and I didn’t have time to prep a meal, I’ll go for something healthy, rather than leaning towards a trip to Whataburger or ordering pizza. That’s all I’ve wanted from the get-go. A healthier relationship with food and a more positive outlook on my fitness and body image.

From here, I intend on posting updates with progress pictures, a summary of my workouts, and a recap of the nutrition for the week. I’m starting to treat my blog as a journal of my studies, what I’ve been up to, and now it will be a fitness log of sorts! Just a way for me to keep track of my work and my life, in a way that it’s easily accessible for me in the future. (It’s already been nice to just go on my blog to review my physical chemistry notes, rather than pulling out my notebook.) So on that note, I’ll wrap up this ultra-long post and leave something to post about next time!

I’m feeling smaller and stronger, and I’m so excited for what’s to come!

#health #bodyimage #fitnessjourney #progress #fitness #nutrition

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