How I Lost 105 Pounds in 12 Months: From Fat Nerd to Buff Nerd

[HUGE Disclaimer: This blog post was meant to tell MY story of how I lost weight and in no way is it a form of recommendation as to what you should be doing. Get an expert/ coach to help you with your fitness goals for next year. OH and MAJOR SPOILERS ahead for those who haven’t watched The Last Jedi – I tend to use some of the lessons I’ve got in the movie for some of the points in this here blog post.]

I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately involving my “weight-loss” journey and how I did it, like I was some sort of expert in the matter. In response, I’d answer those questions with just a broken-toothed grin and say, “diet and regular work out routines” and people would nod and ask for me to elaborate.

They’d ask what workout routines I follow, what kind of diet do I have, etc etc, like there was some sort of magic formula that can magically bring you to a more slender constitution. To be honest, much like the answers to many of society’s most complicated problems, my actual answer would be simple: Just follow a diet and workout routine – just do it.

But just as history has shown, not many people will get that and, even if they did, I doubt they’d even do it. After all, it’s simple but definitely difficult (but definitely worth it if it aligns with your life goals). So here’s a list of things I did over the past year that helped me transition from a fat nerd that no other girl outside of his family would love to a (relatively) buff nerd no other girl outside of his family (or his multisports team) would love.

Have Goals

In a nutshell, I made goals for myself. I’m not just talking about a checklist of things I ought to do, I mean specific, measurable, action-based, relevant and time-bound (SMART) goals.

I guess it helped for me to have some semblance of direction, a target to hit, this past year. After all, goals help define your strategy, which, in turn define your milestones and action points. In this case, my goal was to be 165 pounds at the end of the year. How that played out? Read on.

Diet (Obviously)

Truth be told, I think adjusting my diet a little bit made the most difference in my weight loss journey. It sure as hell wasn’t easy, but it was worth trying it out anyway. Here’s a little break down of what I did (and the tiny little failures I had in between).

Q1 [First half, anyway] was when I just took in small portions of everything. What used to be 5 cups of rice gets reduced to one and after finding out that I had high cholesterol content in my blood (not a doctor, sorry), I cut down on pork and other fatty food consumption. It was one helluva task, one that I, admittedly, had trouble being consistent with. I did lose some semblance of weight (roughly 15 pounds from 285) and then shifted to a new one.

In the second half of the first quarter (up to the end of the 2nd quarter), I decided to change things up a bit because I stopped losing weight. I went on a Kamote (sweet potato) diet and resolved to have nothing other than the delicious root crop steamed. Of course, I ate fish and other vegetables to sustain the rest of my nutritional needs but ultimately, my base food would be sweet potato. My mindset at the time was, “Hell, since I’m putting myself through all this might as well go full HAM”. Lost 20 pounds from 270 and then I plateau’d again.

Near the end of Q3, I decided to revise my diet strategy again. Every single day, I would eat one chicken breast with a side of vegetables (beans, cabbage/ lettuce, tomatoes) for breakfast and then have a fruit or vegetable snack every 2 hours. Come dinner time (which is roughly 6PM, end of my work shift), I have either an apple or a banana and a nice glass of milk and then I go to sleep. Rinse, repeat.

At this point, everyone was noticing the change. Everyone wanted to know what was going on, what diet I’ve been taking and how the hell did I manage. It was a maddening experience starting out but once you’ve gotten some semblance of control, it gets easier.

Looking back, I probably should have consulted a dietitian so I can properly lose weight. But overall, if this whole diet thing has taught me anything, it’s that I have to be super honest to myself. Otherwise, all that cheating and secret snack sessions would eventually mess up all that hard work.

Next year, I’ll definitely have a schedule a session with a dietitian.


Long story short, I started swimming two years ago and while it didn’t necessarily make me lose the most weight, it did the most in terms of rehabilitating my mind. Other than that, for someone as heavy as me, swimming was my option for developing cardio-vascular endurance since it was a low-impact sport. In any case, here’s that story:

Two years ago, I was afraid and getting over some emotional turmoil (actually, this stands true up to now lol) so I said, why not? I’ll try it out. A friend from work had me enrolled at the Bert Lozada Swim School and, from there, my whole life changed (for the better).


I started entertaining the idea of dieting and fixing my schedule to accommodate my swim sessions. I met new people, I got new and better hobbies and, most of all, I garnered the courage to look fear in the eyes and casually flip it off. I was scared of swimming, even more so, I was scared of the open water. Enrolling in this school and joining open water races (the first one I joined was 4k lol I’m an idiot) was me being brave and accepting of the things I have to do to meet my goal.

Do Something Physical That I Love (Bike)

In a triathlon, my favorite part is definitely the bike leg. The same is true in training – I love to bike. I guess a good metric that you can base that on is that it doesn’t matter what kind of bike you put me on and how fast or how painful that ride would be – I’d still smile like a giddy little kid afterwards. If it has a pair of wheels, a group set and pedals, I’ll ride that thing to oblivion!

A year ago today, I crashed against dirt and concrete in an attempt to outpedal a (stupid) motorcycle. A part of me died in that crash – hubris, a speed demon that influences young (stupid) people like me, burned in the fiery remains of my folly (I’d like to imagine myself as an overweight meteor sometimes). I rose again, broken, scarred but ultimately wiser (debatable) and more cautious than before. Perhaps so I can teach other young people like myself to be more careful, or what is the price to pay for such misplaced pride. Whatever the reason is, I’m thankful I’m still alive and as I find what other lessons I must teach others (purpose), I am happy I have people around me to teach me. 📷 by @benfrancia #TriathlonGoals #KutisKahoy #TibayKamagong #BLSSMultisports #Cycling #StiffRingPH #BuffBois

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In training, I’ve literally just had two  instances of a bad biking experience: the first being the fabled crash of December 24, 2016 when I crashed into the dirt and ruined my right Ultegra STI and the second involved me being really immature (and it’s not even because of the biking itself; it had a more emotional root). The rest of them were GREAT! Even that one time when we went to Tagaytay via Amadeo and I was on a folding bike – it still put a (tired) smile on my face unlike the many instances I ran.

Maybe it’s a reflection of my being mentally still a kid or just my fixation of riding with the Rohirrim of Tolkien lore but when I’m on a bike, I feel free. And this is what helped me lose weight – doing the (physical) thing I love most.

I’m ALWAYS eager for the next bike ride and training session, always looking forward to biking with friends from my multisports team and from other groups, always on the lookout for the opportunity to fly like an ancient red dragon unencumbered by the stresses of mundane life. When I love doing something, it doesn’t feel like a chore and I tend to be more consistent with it. Read more

My Top 10 Video Game Villains and Bosses

Video Game Bosses

A video game protagonist is just as good as the antagonist he/she fights against. Whether it’s a power-hungry tyrant who wants dominion over an entire nation or a demented super soldier bent on bringing on calamity and destruction upon the world, villains fascinate us not only because of their cunning wit or overwhelming power, but also because of the motivations that drive them.

We also like them because of the way they made us feel after defeating them (especially if it’s from effing Dark Souls aarrgghh). In any case, in no particular order, here’s my top 10 video game bosses and villains:

Vaas Montenegro (Far Cry 3)

I’ll be honest: what hooked me into getting Far Cry 3 was its promotional material that starred Michael Mando. His flawless performance of an insane, bloodthirsty pirate made me immediately want to experience the character he plays and, true enough, I thoroughly enjoyed it!

In a nutshell, Vaas was a native Rakyat born in the Rook Islands. He eventually joined a slaver and drug trafficer named Hoyst Volker and, almost immediately, became the latter’s right-hand man. Might’ve been because of Vaas’ potential for murder and other acts of volatile, drug-induced violence.

“Did I ever tell you what the definition of insanity is? Insanity is doing the exact… same fucking thing… over and over again, expecting… shit to change.”

Spoiler alert: You get to kill him in the first act as Jason Brody after getting it on with Rakyat Warrior Leader and Princess, Citra (who happens to be Vaas’ sister). After getting through a few upgrades and going through some side quests, you finally get to infiltrate his Pirate headquarters and, in a drug-induced(?) surge of rave-like

Overall, what I loved about Vaas’ story is his fall from grace – he was supposedly going to be the Rakyat’s strongest warrior. Granted, Vaas didn’t like where that was going (clue: Citra and Jason Brody), but what lead to his ultimate downfall was his addiction to drugs and a series of bad choices afterwards (joining Hoyt, killing some of Jason’s friends, etc).

This begs the question though: Is he really dead? You did stab him a couple of times BUT in a bad drug trip. So was it for real?

Bowser (Mario Bros)

Bowser is a notable boss in this list mostly because he’s one of the first bosses I’ve ever encountered as a kid. Given, the Mario games (old platform games in general) are hard and an unresponsive NES controller didn’t help my chances of beating the game, but seeing that dragon-turtle thingy in a lava pit over what seems to be a steel bridge for the first time gave me a sense of fulfillment. Yes, just seeing him!

Beating him, however, was another matter entirely. My dad told me back in the day that he did beat Bowser once and from that day on, I’ve sought to do the same. And while my love for Nintendo and Mario has waned (which also explains why this spot’s so briefly described; I’m not really aware of Bowser’s story also because I’m not really into Wii stuff because #PCMasterRace), Bowser and his Italian Plumber archrival will stay because they’ve played a valuable role in my life.

Sephiroth (Final Fantasy VII)

Long white hair, fair skin, out-of-this world powers, an angelic face and out-of-this world powers makes Sephiroth one of the most popular video game villains of our generation. Who would’ve thought that this “one-winged angel” would seek death and destruction upon all of Midgar? Essentially, Sephiroth was a highly-successful product of Shinra Electric Power Company’s SOLDIER project.

Son to Professor Hojo and Lucrecia Crescent, Sephiroth was injected with Jenova cells, in an attempt to resurrect the “Cetra” (an ancient race that’s able to talk with the planet). Fast forward to his rise to legend and rise to SOLDIER first class, the genesis war and several events that happened that made him question his existence and loyalties, we see Sephiroth, Zack and a young Cloud Strife in the town of Nibelhei for a mission.

In said mission, he sees his creatures in pods alongside his “mother” Jenova. He freaks the eff out after realizing that he was created in the same way that the other creatures in the pods he sees were created.

The rest, as they say, is history and this fall from grace ends up with Sephiroth burning down all of Nibelheim.

It’s never okay to set an entire village, city or nation on fire but considering how Sephiroth found out who his “parents” were and how he was created, you can understand why he felt that way. Having to live a lie your entire life isn’t necessarily cool after all.

But, for me, there’s only one f*cking reason this a*shole f*cker is in this list. And that’s best exemplified here.

Did you know how many hours were spent levelling up Aerith?! Did you know the level of emotional attachment I had with this character you white-haired a*shole?! I swear by all that is holy I will never stop feeling satisfied beating you over and over again!

“Tell me what you cherish most. Give me the pleasure of taking it away.” 

But minus the rage, this is Sephiroth’s appeal to me (and perhaps, to many others): Being one of those villains who made me feel an immense amount of loss over a video game character. You can think of him as that hot man your friend (that girl you really secretly like but don’t have the capacity to court because reasons) likes who gets to date her but end up stabbing her in the process (the rage really doesn’t go away, I noticed).

For the record, his theme is definitely something I’d have if I were some sort of angelic monster being sent to destroy all of humanity. Read more

Hello World! This is

BACKSTORY: I’ve had several blogs before and have been known to create content about social media marketing, geekery and video games and volunteering.

Thing is,  after a few unfortunate circumstances (taking too many business risks, not being wise to people’s tricks, losing some major clients because of not being wise enough, etc), I lost funding for all these websites and my original hosting provider and have now only been able to salvage this. This is all that is left and I’m grateful to still own it.

I’ve come to believe that, after hitting rock bottom, the only way to go is up. True enough, I’ve been getting business leads left and right (as a freelancer), been losing some weight and, for once in my life, have been getting some sense of direction in terms of where my life was going and what I really want out of it.

I am now writing this blog to chronicle my different experiences as a REAL person – an entrepreneur, freelancer, social media expert, newbie triathlete, and geek – because I felt like the first few ones were very much concerned with reputation and looking good in the search engines. I’ve come to accept this website as my own little place to share what I’ve learned and what I’ve experienced without the fluff and “swagger” of what were once my online places. It’s also my way of practicing how to write intelligibly because I want to write a book someday.

Think of this as some sort of rising up from the ashes of what once was a very young and aggressive me who always wanted to prove something. This is really more of a mature “Carlo Angelo Gonzales” who really just wants to laugh and hang out with friends, have a healthy and active lifestyle and rolling dice to find out if I avoid magical attacks.

So if you’re into the things I’m into (Digital marketing, Triathlons and Dungeons and Dragons), GREAT! We’ll have a great time getting to know each other! If not, well, stay awhile and listen because I might be able to help out in one way or another.