A New Shell

It’s been three months since I posted my old pictures when I was on the heavy side. I posted the same photo on my Instagram account just few weeks ago but this time with my “new” photo.

I lost weight. This time I lost a significant amount of weight. I actually lost fat weight and not just what I ate for few days. This is another victory for me but the battle is not yet over. The hardest part is to keep the weight off and have another goal. Build muscles.

I started with 230lbs and now down to 158lbs. My jeans were size 36 and now size 30. I never felt this light for a very long time and I honestly feel like I have a new shell. I’m still trying to get use to the face I see in the mirror and I’m getting there slowly.

The confidence is not yet back though. I thought that I’ll gain back my self esteem when I lose weight but apparently it’s not automatic. I still need to work on it and start believing on myself again.

I’m a work on progress and I’m glad that I see development regardless of the pace. I will get there and I will stay there.

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Emotional Hunger

 

“You are bored, not hungry”

 

I keep telling myself this every time I feel like I want to eat. Yes, every time I like to eat and not hungry. Eating is a fun activity for me. I view it as something to do and not for what it is meant to be, nourishment.

With my anxiety attacks, eating was an escape for me. Back in Manila, I would go out late at night and go to McDonald’s and order a double cheeseburger with fries and coffee. I used eating as an excuse to feel better but I never did. I will go home sadder than I was originally because I’m fat, spent money on food I don’t need and still feel something is missing.

I was loved as a kid. Don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t abused or anything. People sometimes call me “spoiled” because they thought that I was given everything I need. So my excessive eating is not because I wasn’t loved as a kid. I just love to eat. This is not hunger for love.

My battle with weight loss is mainly emotional. I eat when bored, I eat when sad, I eat when happy. It was maybe because our Filipino culture. We always have food on any occasion be it a happy or a sad one like a funeral. We often kill pigs and cows when we have funeral to feed the mourners. When my father died, we held the wake for 5 long nights. We feed the visitors from morning to late nights. I don’t see Americans doing it at least not when my step grandfather passed away.

I don’t want want to blame my culture or other people for why I’m fat. This is just my way of finding out why some people are healthier than I am. What did I do differently?

Now that I’m aware that I am an emotional eater, I constantly ask myself this question every time I like to eat:

“Am I physically hungry?”

“Am I bored?”

It maybe very elementary to ask these questions but my mind needs constant reminder to keep myself from grabbing a piece of cake and shoving it in my mouth. As I believe that I was trained into emotional eating, I’m now training myself to eat for nourishment.

 

The Fat Kid Inside

I have him under control. For now.

I’ve always been fat my whole life. I was the chubby kid when I was younger then I became the fat guy when I grew up. That was my role for a very long time until I started losing weight in 3 periods of my life. I dieted when I was in third year high school, got fat again after a year in college. I workout and got fitter when I was in third year college, then got fat again after two years working. The year 2006 was the best year for me since I looked better when I lost all the weight by simply watching what I eat, then life kicked in hard and in 2008, I was the fat guy once more. In 2017, I have the fat kid under control as I continue to lose weight.

I am nowhere near my end goal because at my age, losing weight is a tough battle. My slow metabolism is now slower and eating right is no longer enough to help me drop the pounds. I now workout almost 5 days a week and still watches my calorie intake. There’s no cheat day for almost 6 months now and even for my birthday last April, my calorie intake was under 1800.

I’m not writing and sharing this to inspire other people. I’m writing this because I still fear that I will lose control of the fat kid inside and gain back all the weight plus more. It happened before, it can happen again.

I’m currently in the process of changing my wardrobe. I donated some of my clothes already because I dropped from XL to medium, from waistline of 36 to 32. Then it hit me, what if I gain it all back? I will need to buy new clothes again and that will cost me. The Bruce Banner side of me said, “NO! You will do everything you can to maintain that size”. The Hulk side of me agreed. I continued to dispose/donate my larger clothes and now enjoying buying smaller ones.

I decided to keep writing so as not to lose sight of what I need to be doing. A friend told me to post my journey on my Facebook and Instagram to let people know what I’m doing and open myself for judgement. He said, it can motivate me to stay on my weight loss program. It’s an idea I welcome but I’ll leave the shirtless and gym photos for the millennials. I’ll motivate myself some other ways.

Photo May 31, 4 59 54 PM

The photo on the left is me when I went home to the Philippines for my cousin’s funeral on January 8, 2013. I weigh 230lbs and it may be my heaviest. The photo on the right was taken October 2014. I’m only 5 foot and 6 inches tall so according to the norm, I should weigh around 142 to 145 pounds to be healthy. I needed to lose 85 pounds. That is already the weight of one small asian woman. I was carrying an extra asian woman!

I lost 60 pounds already and I’m not yet done.

An-xie-ty

When I was younger, I asked my mother to bring me to a psychiatrist because I believed that there’s something wrong with me. I had panic attacks and I got sick to my stomach I always wanted to skip school. It was during my first year in high school.

Every morning was like hell for me, I was wishing to get fever because that was the only reason my mother would allow me to miss school. I thought of putting garlic under my underarms to make my temperature rise because according to my mother, that’s what she did when she was younger. I chickened out and went to school every day.

I remember not being able to sleep on school nights because I was anticipating what will happen the following day in school. I knew then as a kid that it was panic attacks. I was sweating heavily, lost my appetite, and lost interest in school.

My mother reasoned with me and told me that I was just adjusting to my new school and I should give it some time. I came from a small school with only 14 of us in the graduating class and the new school had 60 students in one section. There was 5 sections total for the first year students. I believed my mother and stayed in school for 2 more weeks.

My panic attacks persisted and I already told my mother that I want to quit school or at least get me a doctor. I felt back then that the doctor can help me with my “condition”, with what I felt. She decided to move me to another school after two weeks with familiar faces. I transferred to a school near my house where I knew at least 10 people in the school.

I never talked about that “incident” with anyone ever again until few weeks ago when I opened up to my high school friend when I had another episode, another panic attack.

This is my normal. I was never diagnosed medically. My hospital here in New York has a program about depression and I would always answer questionnaires pertaining to being lonely, being depressed, or having suicidal thoughts. I always say NO to those questions. I don’t want to be labeled and I don’t want to take medications.

One thing I noticed about the health care system here in America is that they always prescribe medications in every single diagnosis. My doctor gave me 3 tablets for my blood pressure last year, if I said YES to those questions about depression, I’m sure they will give me another list of medication to take. I want none of that.

I have another episode this morning. I woke up really down for no reason at all. I felt helpless. I felt like there’s something I need to do but I have no idea what. My sadness turned to anger and I was mad at people for no apparent reason. I went to the gym to walk it off. That is what I do to make myself feel better. I walk.

Sometimes I talk. I talk with some friends that would understand. The problem with this kind of condition is that not everybody will understand. Not everybody will have the time to listen. I always find myself in that situation being an immigrant here in New York City, there’s no one to talk to. I left my closest friends in the Philippines and the 12-hour time difference doesn’t help as well.

This is why I started writing again. I feel like I have a lot of things on my chest, on my mind that I need to let out somehow. I’m not expecting a reply but knowing that I let it out in the universe eases my mind a bit.

I feel better now. Thank you for reading universe.

White T-Shirt

 

It started with a white shirt.

I wanted to look good wearing a simple white t-shirt. I still don’t but I’m working my way there, slowly but surely. April is my birth month and I just got two white t-shirts for my advance birthday gift. Yes, I don’t get a lot of gifts on my birthday and I always ask for shirts. Simple and easy but that’s for another story.

I have an ongoing battle with my weight. I was fat as far as I remember. Maybe not obese fat when I was a kid but I’m definitely bigger than my childhood friends. I was the token fat kid in my group. Every group needs one and I stepped up to take that role.

I was supposed to be editing videos I took yesterday in Central Park for the Youtube channel I want to start but since I got the gift, I decided I have to write something on what the white t-shirt represents.

It represents progress for me. I’m far from my target weight but I know I’m on my way there. I took a photo of myself wearing my white t-shirt and I actually look normal. Normal as what the world would define it, not fat and not thin. Just normal. I like to be normal for once at least when it comes to my weight.

I’m not yet satisfied with my photo and that’s the reason why I posted a picture of a man I googled and not of myself. I just like this day to be a reminder that I’m losing my weight. This is far from over and I will continue to do what I’m doing now plus more to give myself a chance to someday post a before and after photo of myself. Hopefully, from bad to good and not the other way around.

For now, I’ll continue to be the New Yorker that I am and wear my black t-shirts.

Definition

 

I used to enjoy answering slam book as a kid. Google says it’s a notebook passed around by kids containing questions.

Yes! That one.

Define love was one of the questions I used to answer and as a kid, I have no idea how to properly define it. So I went with this, “Love is love“. It sounded trivial coming from me but Lin Manuel-Miranda said it more with gusto, “Love is love is love is love is love“. I’m not sure how many times he repeated it but it stuck with me big time. I still feel a bit like crying every time I say it in my head.

Someone I know is having casual sex with someone she met online. She said she needed it and plans to continue doing it. I’m happy for her and at the same time worried because I know she has the “clingy” attitude  that will turn this from casual to an expectation game. Me, on the other hand is not getting any.

There is a reason I don’t want to open this blog to people I know because I have topics that I want to discuss that will raise some eyebrows. You see, I grew up in a family where love was never a topic. If love is a taboo then more so sex. We don’t talk about it at all. Anything that resembles a sex discussion merits some giggle and potentially some judgement.

I miss it. Haven’t done it for a while and I might have forgotten how to. Doing it casually crossed my mind too but I’m not like that. I did that when I was younger but not anymore in my age. I really thought moving here in New York will give me balls to be more daring (pun intended) but I guess it wasn’t really in me to begin with.

Sex is good and I had a great one back in the past. It’s more the conversation after the sex that I enjoy more and the one leading to it. Did I do well? What else can we try next time? Conversations like that and not the dressing up immediately after one of us comes.

I heard it once before that sex is the connection of the mind more than the body. I dig that. I like the body connection too but the mind connection is what I miss more right now. Self love exists and I’m pretty good at it. The mind connection though is terribly missed.

This is really what I wanted to say. I miss having conversations. The real, good, long conversations. The one that will make you think of yourself and the person you are connecting with. I’m not having any of those lately and I miss it more than the sex. I talk with family members and friends a lot but somehow I’m not aroused by it.

Yes! I used the word arouse to describe a good conversation. I want to get excited again and have my brain restarted. I envy my friend having casual sex because she sounds excited all the time now after their first encounter. Not horny but something in her came alive after the sex. She is now more determined to get in better shape and look good because of the sex. Something in her came alive and I want that too. Not the sex but the arousal of the brain cells.

Black heart.

I was thinking about the image I should use for this post and I initially chose the LOVE sign in 56th Street. It says LOVE in all capital letters, all bold and red.  The black heart represented me more now, hence the picture. It’s black not because of hatred but because I’m dead inside. I don’t feel anything. Numb.

What is love? Let me define it today with this current mood and state of mind. Love is.

I still can’t.

Calm

May, 2009. Mahabang Buhangin, Camarines Norte, Philippines

 

I want to get away right now and be some place peaceful!

My heart is beating so fast I want to throw up. I just had an argument with my downstairs neighbor about noises, both intentional and unintentional. Words were thrown out at one another. Accusations were said and ill intentions abound.

I wasn’t raised to be like this. The funny thing is, my mother was with me the whole time. It was actually her who was arguing first then I followed. We were never like this as far as my memories could tell. We were a bunch of diplomatic people. We choose to be quiet rather than engage in arguments like these.

Barbaric is the best word to describe what happened. Maybe uneducated and crass but never the classy people we thought we were. I don’t want to be like this. And I don’t want my mother to do such thing.

The building landlord gave me an advice earlier and told me to just ignore my neighbor. Try my best not to engage in any conversation both civil and argumentative. I will take that advice. I will go back to how it was once. Peaceful and diplomatic.

I looked for pictures in my computer looking for a time in my past that will give me comfort and this picture got my attention. This was taken on my 30th birthday celebration in 2009. Life was simpler then and I say very enjoyable. The waves were aggressive back then but not destructive.

What happened today was the opposite. Both sides were aggressive and from what I feel right now, it proves to be destructive as well. This is probably the reason why we were raised not engaging on arguments like what happened earlier. Nothing comes out good from it. However, should I allow people to be just like waves and push me around or should I stand my ground and fight back regardless if I seem uneducated?

I will fight back but I will be more diplomatic next time. I will choose my words and will not raise my voice. It is more challenging to send a sharp message across without using sharp words and tone. I will take that challenge and be better.

The Beginning

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I moved to New York City almost five years ago by October this year. It was a decision I made because the opportunity presented itself. Also, I felt like I needed something new five years ago.

Living in New York City was a dream for a long time, however, I made no plans of what I’m going to do once I’m here. Up to this point of my life, I’m still nowhere close of knowing what exactly it is that I need to be doing. Should I have a career, passion, or both? I want to have both. But where to start?

I seriously thought that New York will give me a better understanding of myself but boy I was wrong. I’m no way closer to knowing myself than I was five years ago. I’m lost and nobody else seems to notice.

“Knowing is half the battle”, said the G.I. Joe cartoon during the 80s. Knowing that I’m lost is a good thing. Now I can start finding myself again and rev up the engine.

Blogging will keep me motivated and my mind working again. Since I don’t have anyone to talk to as of the moment, let this blog be my outlet for my rants (I promise not too much) and everything my mind can conceive.

Please don’t mind the blog title. This will be everything about me or how I react to everything. Gone are the days that everything is about everything but Paul.