I had always been chubby. I grew up with the so called “baby fat” that eventually turned into “college weight” and transformed into what I’d call the “stubborn last five (or so) pounds” during my 20s. When I hit my early 30s, I finally gave up my dream of ever wearing a two-piece bikini at the beach and accepted the reality that I may never see my collarbone or waist ever again.

That is, until my younger sister got engaged in 2012. It sent all the girls in my family into a diet frenzy – myself included.

First, I went the gym-and-salad route, but I lost only a pound or two. Frustrated, I shelled out close to P10,000 on nutritional shakes and herbal supplements that promised to help me lose unwanted pounds. But the wedding day came, and I wasn’t anywhere near the weight I wanted.

I gave up and just resigned myself to the thought that I was destined to be fat forever.

One day, my mom suggested attending an info session for the Cohen Lifestyle Program. My ob-gynecologist had long been urging me to enroll in the program, saying it would help treat my polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which I had been dealing with for many years already and was starting to takes its toll on me financially, emotionally, and physically.

In the info session, I learned how hormones affect and control weight gain (or loss), and how a balanced diet can reprogram the body into working properly and more efficiently.

The program wasn’t cheap. However, I considered it an investment, given the many benefits it would offer. I was officially obese when I started the program at 163 pounds at 4 feet, 11 inches.

For days, weeks, and months, I cooked all my meals, stuck to the diet’s specific food prescription, and followed its guidelines as strictly as I could. It was a big adjustment and a major lifestyle change for me, a self-confessed foodie.

It wasn’t an easy journey. There were times when I caved in to the temptations and deviated. I would break down because I was sick of the diet, tired of preparing all my meals myself, and feeling deprived of what I thought were “good” food.

Seven months later, I stepped on the scale and it registered 97 pounds. I had lost 66 pounds!

And far beyond going from size XXL to XS, what amazed me about losing weight was the total change in my body and my mindset. During a trip to Palawan, I was able to enjoy activities I never thought I could do: snorkeling, kayaking, and paddle boarding (yes, in a two-piece bikini at that!). In yoga, I found the courage to try doing headstands and longer planks. I could run longer on a treadmill, and I’ve started seeing cuts on my arms.

While my body was changing, so was my lifestyle. Eating better and getting more fit gave me the energy to work, made me more productive, helped me sleep better, at allowed me to always wake up refreshed.

My good health came with a bonus on wealth: I was also spending less on doctor’s check-ups, medications, and prescriptions. In fact, I have started investing more in mutual funds and stocks, and I am currently reviewing other options on where to invest my extra income.

Despite the initial challenges, it’s truly been an awesome journey to good health (and wealth!).

Image used under Creative Commons from Brian Tucker

Sophie Avellana Sophie Avellana

Sophie Avellana

A writer by profession, Sophie Avellana is a fitness enthusiast who is passionate about sharing ways to stay healthy without breaking your budget.