Tuesday, April 27, 2010

FFF Diva Spotlight: How OPERATION BOOT CAMP Changed My Life

Original Operation Boot Camp Article: http://www.operationbootcamp.com/OBCBlog/tabid/469/Default.aspx

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.


When I was 320 lbs I joined a gym and hired gym trainer Ronny Varghese (OBC-San Jose Franchise Owner). In a 1 1/2 years I managed to lose almost 96 lbs. However, I was also a full-time MBA graduate student, had a full-time job, was a full-time commuter in my car at least 2 hours a day, and had many family obligations. Long story short in Spring/Summer 2009 I gained almost half of the weight I had originally lost back again and found myself back in my 280s lbs. I joined Operation Boot Camp, because I needed to drastically push my body out of its comfort zone, but in a way where I wouldn't hurt myself or be alone. OBC gives me an extra push other than the traditional setting of a gym. It's been really helpful to participate in boot camp because there is a sense of support and camaraderie in a group setting, especially when it comes to exercise.

My favorite OBC Memory:
"THE PYRAMID." The Pyramid consisted of 110 reps each of squats, push-ups, sit-ups, dips, leg-raisers, etc. with running in between. I remember I was so hot in my sweats that when I took off my hoodie hot steam was escaping from my body. UGH. It was totally intense like the circus. I think the best part about boot camp other than the professional guidance from staff and support from other participants is the fact that we always meet no matter what RAIN or SHINE.

How OBC Changed My Life: I started OBC in April 2009. This April marks my 1 year anniversary with OBC. Below are the changes by facts and figures...


I started OBC almost at 283 lbs.
PT mile time: 16 minutes and 45 seconds
PT sit-ups: 15
PT facilitated push-ups: 14
PT facilitated dips: 10


April 2010: 243 lbs.
best overall PT mile time: 12 minutes and 17 seconds
PT sit-ups: 24
PT facilitated push-ups: 24
PT facilitated dips: 23

I started running ONLY because of the running addiction I gained from Operation Boot Camp. I started running competitively in May 2009. Since my first 5K race & with the support from my friends at OBC I never looked back...

May 2009: 5K Marin Human Race
August 2009: 5K San Francisco Plate to Plate Race
September 2009: 5K Bubba Gump Co. Race at Great America
October 2009: San Jose Rock n' Roll 1/2 Marathon (13.1 miles) (w/ OBC members)
November 2009: 10K Silicon Valley Turkey Trot (w/ OBC members)
January 2010: 5K Fremont Run for the Homeless
February 2010: 10K Campbell Valentine's Day Run
March 2010: Los Angeles Marathon on my 25th birthday & met Sean Astin (26.2 miles)
April 2010: Santa Cruz 10K and 1/2 Marathon (did the 10K)
Currently training for the Nike Women's Full Marathon in San Francisco, CA

Blogging for Accountability: "I'm a Fierce Fat Filipina Diva: A Weight Loss Adventure"

I started keeping a blog for public accountability. In college I gained so much weight in 4 years and in 1 1/2 years I lost almost 75% of it and got rid of my sleep apnea, but I relapsed and plateaued and almost started at square one in almost 6 months. I needed a change. I needed support. I needed accountability. I needed motivation. That's why I started a blog. Since I started my blog in May 2009 I gained a new description from friends, family, the on-line weight loss community, and even strangers: "You are an inspiration." Inspiration is a very powerful word and people were using it left and right to describe me and my weight loss journey. Friends and family have gotten off their couches and have started taking steps to a healthier lifestyle because of my journey. I realized with every pound I lose and every mile I run, someone is always watching and will become motivated to do it for themselves. As for future goals, I am working to reach 145 lbs and 22% body fat, run an 8 minute mile, and run the Nike Women's Full Marathon in 6 1/2 hours.

Finally, I have to say though that a lot of the reasons why I broke through my plateau and weight gain was the love and support I received from my instructors and fellow campers at OBC. They are my inspiration to do MORE. In fact 4 of our instructors were former campers themselves, but through several months of camp their bodies and mindsets changed and now they motivate other campers like myself. I specifically want to also say that OBC is for every type of person (including those who have never ran a mile in years). Nobody feels like they are last. I might be the last runner coming into the finish line, but I am greeted with a crowd of my biggest supporters--my OBC family.


  1. Your story is so beautiful and I am beyond proud of you! You really are an inspiration!

  2. BAM! that's awesomeeeeee :D you go girl

  3. It's nice to find another Filipina on a weight loss journey! Congrats on your success so far...I hope I can run a marathon one day like you!!


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