After a month-long leadership training in 2017, I gradually gained weight. I stopped working out, and I just ate what I wanted to eat and when I wanted to eat it. I justified my actions with lack of time but in reality, it was lack of discipline. I could not see self-indulgence and laziness as problems because I did not want to acknowledge them for what they truly are — unholiness. I was eating and drinking and treating my body according to my feelings and not for the glory of God.
“A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.” – Proverbs 27:12
The gradual weight-gain then became 37 pounds. Yes, six months ago, I was 37 pounds overweight. This was the reason behind the physical exhaustion and discomfort I had been feeling for years — like irregular menstrual cycles, frequent acid reflux, grogginess, etc. For someone with a family history of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, and a metabolism of a 30-year old woman, this was alarming.
God started my weight loss journey.
Around that time (December 2019), our training for a supposed March 2020 tennis competition started. I was (kind of) obligated to play tennis again. First week of training, I could not carry myself properly. I was out of breath even with just warm-up rallies. It was obvious that I cannot compete with that kind of physical condition. I had to lose at least 30 pounds to be able to last a match. Up to this day, I believe that God used that training opportunity as a blessing.
Three weeks after I made the decision to cut my carb and sugar intake (January 2020), I enrolled in a fitness gym (Anytime Fitness) and took a separate set of boxing sessions (Alpha Fitness Club – Quirino + Elorde Boxing Gym – Vito Cruz). This was on top of the twice a week on-court training that we were already doing. Our schedules were full day-in and day-out so we really had to find time and make extra effort to be able to workout. I praise God not only for the provisions to enrol but also for the accessibility of the gyms. I also thank God that Martin, who happens to be my teammate as well, joined and encouraged me in this journey.
The “traitor” fat was my wake-up call.
Part of the fitness gym enrolment was an initial InBody Assessment. Right after that assessment, the coach told me, “Ma’am, your visceral fat level is so high. It’s alarming.” I asked him what it was and why it was dangerous and he told me that it is the fat that creeps in our internal organs such as the intestines, liver, etc. Since then, I personally called it the “Traitor Fat” because regardless if you look skinny or chubby, it can creep in your system as a consequence for not eating healthy and/or not being physically active.
I would say that that assessment result was my wake-up call. Or perhaps the final stop to the snooze button I’ve been clicking for many years.
I almost gave up… many times.
Mid-month of January, I found myself crying alone in the comfort room of the gym. I cried because the scale numbers were not progressing and I still couldn’t fit in my jeans even when I felt like I was already giving it my all. The lack of progress discouraged me.
There were many moments of failures, too. Those nights when I would munch on packs of chips, and mornings when I would eat so much fried rice because the dish was just too tasty to resist. There were weeks when I won’t even raise an arm to stretch. There were nights when I would just neglect the value of sleeping thus just letting myself be sick again for weeks. And then I would feel guilty afterwards because I knew I operated out of emotions and cravings and laziness.
I also remember the exhaustion of having to run to the gym after our office work, ministry schedules and thesis work. I also had additional piles of laundry and the constant need to bring another bag to work. The adjustment of making my body as my slave instead of my master was tough. I had to show-up even when I did not feel like it. I had to turn down my favorite milk teas, frappuccino and french fries. I had to learn to enjoy greens and more fruits. I had to learn to move past my feelings. More than anything, I had to do it by faith — knowing that it is God’s will for my life to treat my body as a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
It is not just a physical thing.
I learnt along the way that this decision of losing weight goes beyond just losing weight because at the end of the day, it’s what’s inside of me that matters more. It’s not about losing those jiggly fats or trying to fit in my jeans from 5 years ago, it’s about being healthy from within so I can serve God and others more. It’s about being physically and mentally healthy so I can be more attentive to the things that matter more. It’s about learning to take care of my body so I could encourage the young ones entrusted to me to honor God with their bodies too – just like when Paul said,
“I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.” – 1 Corinthians 9:27
But it’s not done yet.
Although I have lost 30 pounds since December, I am still a work in progress. I still have to lose about 7-9 pounds to achieve my normal body weight.. and of course, maintain it. My visceral fat has normalised but I still have to cut my subcutaneous fat. I still need more discipline in terms of how much I sleep. I still need to learn to immediately get up after waking instead of lazing around.
To be honest, I don’t think it gets easier. Sure, I get stronger but the decision to choose not to overindulge and to be physically active happens moment by moment. But I am grateful that God allowed me to go through all these and to learn from these.
When all is said and done, this body is not mine but the Lord’s. He controls every cell, every heartbeat, every blood flow. The decision to obey on the other hand is a personal choice, and I am grateful that I am only able to do these things ONLY because of Jesus who gives me and sustains me with strength.