It’s been ages since I last wore the clothes that I really enjoy wearing. You know, tube tops and dresses, skinny jeans and baby tees, dresses that hug you at the waist then flow nicely everywhere else, board shorts… my tankini. Ever since I started gaining weight in 2008/2009 (which coincided with–hello, hello–an office job), it’s been an uphill battle between the Self that was self-actualizing and looking for affirmation, and the Self that was self-flagellating and ashamed of what she had now become.
To make it worse, the battle was punctuated with bouts of eating binges, due partly to stress and then partly to the feeling of helplessness. I would eat junk food for dinner or on weekends because I’d be too tired to cook and too busy with my different hats to have time for anything else. I would eat chocolates to make myself feel better, then I’d also eat them to celebrate little victories. (There came a point when I was eating chocolates after every meal.) And–gasp!–I’d actually eat white rice, that little thing that I swore off around five years ago to lose weight and keep it off.
From a light and tight 100 pounds, I ballooned to a weight that I never would have thought I’d reach; from a size small/medium, I had to go for large or, in many cases, even extra-large. Dressing up stopped being fun and instead became a chore–what I dreaded the most were social get-togethers when I had to ditch my work coats and have nothing else to wear. I started getting back and knee injuries quite frequently. My family started worrying about me; friends and acquaintances would not recognize me when they saw me. It was a nightmare, and I was living it every single day.
Thanks to the Levi’s Go Forth fashion show, I got jolted to the reality that, sometimes, especially in this line of work, presenting an image is not just for show, but is part of the entire package that you’re trying to “sell” to your audience and your constituents. Being in a room full of models and beautiful people–and wearing jeans that were a horrendous size–put a large, blaring sign in front of me that said: “TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF NOW, OR ELSE!”
Enter my friends Kassy and Marga of FTW Magazine, who then introduced me to the wonderful world of Curves and Reebok EasyTone. At Curves, I had to swallow the painful facts about my health (my current weight, my BMI, my actual measurements) and also commit to a program that would help me lose weight and inches permanently. It introduced me to a nutrition program that was still in line with my own needs and lifestyle but which totally cut out all the bad stuff, and it also introduced me to one of the tools that really woke me up: the food diary.
A food diary can be a daunting little thing. It acts as a mirror of what you put inside your body–and some of the stuff I’ve been eating have been nasty–and it also makes you more aware of your eating triggers: stress, anxiety, boredom, elation, etc. It was while doing the food diary that I saw the extent of my emotional eating, and it was also while doing and reading my entries that I realized that food is not the answer to my stress. What I really needed were time to breathe, time to work out, and time to pause and reflect.
Now that I think about it, I knew all that all along; I just didn’t want to listen, and instead wanted to drown myself in the comfort of food.
And then, thanks to Reebok EasyTone, I had cool gear to complement my already-mobile lifestyle. The launch of “The Women of Reebok” campaign here in the Philippines saw me and my Writer’s Block Philippines partners, Ana Santos and Nikka Sarthou, strut down the runway in our EasyTone apparel and funky cross-trainers. I chose charcoal-gray EasyTone pants that I could wear to work and to meetings aside from to the gym, then I also chose funky “neon-red” TrainTone shoes for the gym and for running everyday errands. Now, whenever I have meetings all over Makati, I bring my Reeboks with me so I can walk to and from, and in between, meetings. I also wear my EasyTone gear underneath the work clothes, to keep my torso compact and my posture proper. Making this little lifestyle/fashion shift is probably one of the best things I’ve ever done for my health in a long time.
I will have to admit, though: I’m still a long way off from my goal, and it’s still a challenge for me to fit in workout time given my extremely busy schedule and the gym’s limited hours. But I’m doing what I can with what I have, and I feel that it’s a good start to claiming my self and my body again.
And this morning, I woke up feeling great and fished out a dress that I haven’t worn in over a year–just to test myself. I was surprised to discover that it felt great and looked just right! I was actually wearing a dress that I could wear on its own, without the obligatory coat or cardigan over it! The timing is perfect, because The Hubby and I are going to a cool party tonight, and I want to make sure that I’d look and feel the right part. After all, I am a girl with a really cool husband and a really cool job, and it would be a shame if I went back to hiding behind layers of clothes, shame, and regret. No–I have the right to feel great about myself, and I’m claiming that right now.