HOW IT STARTED: Growing up my siblings and I were always the heavier kids in the family. Being Filipina-American was difficult because there was always pressure to lose weight. However, my siblings and I turned to food and our outgoing personalities to take us far. When I first started college I was 196 lbs and a size 18. At the end of my freshman year I had gained 47 lbs, which was due to a lot of heavy drinking, late night food runs, and lack of exercise. For the first time in my life I was over 200 lbs. However, I didn’t let my heavy weight get to me because I was popular at school and always had a boyfriend who loved me no matter what size I was.
ROCK BOTTOM: During the first couple of months of my senior year in college I wasn’t sleeping very well. In fact I was sleeping all day, only waking up to go to class and to eat. Being lethargic all the time didn’t cause me worry because I was the typical college student who slept and ate late to study and party. I didn’t worry until I fell asleep at the wheel while driving home from school and almost got into a car accident on the freeway. December 2006 I was diagnosed with sleep apnea. My doctors told me that the reason why I couldn’t breathe at night and was sleepy all that time was because of my severe obesity. I was shocked. I was given a C-PAP machine that I had to use every night to breathe. As a college student and a young woman trying to compete in the dating world a C-PAP machine was not sexy at all.
BREAKTHROUGH MOMENT: I just graduated from college May 2007. In the mail I was sent a photo proof of me receiving my diploma. I couldn’t believe my eyes at how much weight I had gained. I was so startled that I was searching the house of photos of me from the last four years for comparison. During four years away at college I had gained 124 lbs, which placed me at a final weight at 320lbs and size 28. I always was the confident, fun, fat girl, but I knew it was time to be selfish for once and focus on myself and my health.
HOW I LOST IT: The next day I signed up for a gym membership and was offered the opportunity to get a personal trainer. In the past I was intimidated by personal trainers, however I knew since I haven’t been at the gym for a very long time I needed all the help and motivation I could get. My help and motivation was my personal trainer Ronny. He didn’t treat me like a fat girl who needed to lose weight, but as a human being who wanted to create a new lifestyle change. I started training with Ronny in June 2007. Since then I have lost more than 60 lbs and can fit into size 18 jeans. I haven’t been able to fit into size 18 jeans since I was a freshman in college, five years ago! I can climb up stairs with ease, I don’t need a seat belt extender when I fly in an airplane, and I can finally ride a roller coaster ride with the harness down comfortably. At 22 years old I always had to assess my chair to see if I could even fit every time I sat down. Now at 23 years old all of those days are gone and I am happy to report that I no longer need to use my C-PAP machine at night when I sleep. My quality of life has significantly improved and it’s because of the constant support I received from Ronny. There were many times I wanted to give up and throw in the towel, but Ronny was there to light a fire underneath me to strive for more.
Originally Written: March 2008