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

What’s Your Favorite Fight Song?

Whether it’s getting myself to feel the gravity of an encounter in a Dungeons and Dragons campaign or getting myself to dig deeper during training under the scorching heat of the sun, I always believe that there’s a fitting fight song for any situation. Read more