Jezelle Alcantara used the Instagram star’s workouts to get fit and healthy.
Before I began this journey, I never understood the meaning of a “healthy lifestyle.” I was only worried about losing weight when I felt the pressure to look good, like for a vacation or an important event.
And when that event got close, I’d go on crash diets by eating a crazy-low amount of calories or going to the gym to make myself feel better. My workouts were never consistent.
After I’d lost some weight, I’d go back to my normal eating, gain weight, and crash diet again when another special occasion popped up. It was just a vicious cycle.
After my fiancé and I went on a seven-week trip to Southeast Asia, I returned home weighing 152 pounds. It was my highest weight ever. I was shocked because I was considered “overweight” on the BMI scale.
Even though I know not to focus on numbers, the feeling of being considered “overweight” was extremely disheartening, especially since my wedding was coming up. In January 2016, I decided it was time to make a lifestyle change by learning how to eat properly and consistently exercising.
I started doing Kayla Itsines’ workouts right after I decided to make a healthy change. Her program consists of three resistance workouts and three to four days of cardio each week. There were a lot of squats, burpees, and intense abs exercises.
Outside of the program, I loved to do hot yoga on my stretch/rest days. I also followed a running guide to improve my half-marathon time and took cycling and rowing classes to help with leg strength.
I started the Whole30 program in March 2016. During this elimination program, you remove added sugar, grains, dairy, and alcohol from your diet for 30 days. After that, you reintroduce them slowly so you can learn how certain foods affect your body. It taught me how to increase my vegetable intake and spruce up my salads for variety.
As a Filipino/Asian, I love white rice, but I had to learn how to limit my carb intake. I try to have grains twice a week and pair my protein with lots of salad. I used to eat a bowl of ice cream a day, but taking a break from that for the Whole30 program helped me control my sugar addiction.
Now that I’ve finished one round of Whole30, I try to incorporate what I’ve learned into my daily meals: more vegetables, and less added sugar, dairy, and grains. I’ve found that those last two foods trigger my migraines.
FINDING A COMMUNITY
I started my Instagram account because I didn’t want to tell any of my family or friends that I was trying to lose weight. I didn’t want pressure from anyone but myself. My Instagram account helped me find girls who were like me and held me accountable.
I also scrolled through other girls’ accounts to see how far they’ve come and get inspired by their healthy routines. I told myself that if they can do it, so can I. I just have to give myself time and patience to get there.
STICKING WITH IT
I work 12-hour shifts as a pediatric nurse, and it was incredibly hard to force myself to wake up at five a.m. and go to the gym, especially in the winter. But lots of self talk got me there.
I was highly motivated to find out how it feels to wear a bikini and not be self-conscious in it. I never wanted to suck my tummy in to look good in photos ever again!
Four months after setting out to live a healthier lifestyle, I’d lost 26 pounds.
When other girls tell me that I’ve inspired them, I can’t help but feel grateful. I never pictured myself as a fitness inspiration; I just wanted to make myself feel better.
I also recently beat my personal best half-marathon time by 32 minutes. That was an amazing accomplishment because I never pictured myself as a runner. Now I’m inspiring people to run!
MY NUMBER ONE TIP
Please do not focus on “losing weight.” When I zoned in on a number on the scale, that’s when I found myself depending on quick fixes that never worked. The pressure to lose weight by a certain deadline threw me into a vicious cycle of gaining and losing weight.
By focusing on living a healthy lifestyle, learning how food affects my body, and exercising consistently, the weight came off. Sometimes you have to be patient, but you’ll surprise yourself with what you can achieve over time.