As of this morning, I have been doing one (on 3 rare days that I was following a program, two) NTC workout every day since April 28. That’s 300 days. I can’t believe it. The last longest streak of exercise I’ve done is the 30-Day Shred back in 2010. So, this is a pretty big deal to me.
I was never a sporty kid growing up. I didn’t like getting dirty or sweaty. We had monkey bars in our old house in Marikina, and I remember making a face when I tried to go across and it smelled like kalawang. My idea of fun was jackstones, putting on blue eye shadow, and making my dolls talk to each other. I have an album where I basically did an editorial of my Barbie and Ken. Haha!
Early last year, I had made a commitment to get back into fitness. I signed up for dance classes and actually just used up my first timers pass right before lockdown started. With my heavy thighs and protruding tummy, I tried my best to keep up and get the routine right. I went 3 times and felt elated each time I walked to the car from the studio. Tired but happy!
When this endless quarantine started in March, the studio closed and I couldn’t really bring myself to attend classes over video. So, I went back to my daily routine of staying in bed the whole day and just leaving my room to eat and take a bath. Since we were just home, I was in my pambahay most of the time. I noticed how my shorts and pajamas fit me a little too snug, my fat spilling over the waist band. I’d take them off at the end of the day, and the garter would leave deep marks on my body.
I’ve never seen myself as overweight. I always thought since my face never really got fat, I was normal-sized. But because my clothes started not fitting me, I wondered if my body had morphed into this mass I didn’t recognize anymore. I stayed away from the scale because I had gained so much after my trip to the US and I couldn’t seem to lose any of it. I even tried lessening my rice intake for a few weeks, but it didn’t make a difference.
And then one day, I just decided. Okay, let me try exercising again. In fact, I tried 2 days after the lockdown. After four random days of working out, I fell off the wagon just as expected. So, I tried again. But this time, I told myself that I had to do it every day, or else I would just keep trying to get back into the habit and that would mean going back to zero every time.
At first, I worked out in my pajamas and daster. I would do 15-minute workouts, 7-minute stretches—the bare minimum. The 4 days turned into a week, then two, then before I knew it I had completed an entire month of varying workouts. I also liked that the app would give me “badges” for hitting 7 workouts in a row. I started making sure I did all the kinds of workouts, so I could earn those badges, too.
I reinstalled My Fitness Pal, just so I could keep track of my food. I didn’t really change the way I ate. I was just more mindful about portions and tried to get more protein in and less fat. I started buying more veg and exploring more ways to change up our meals at home.
Then after months of resisting, I decided to get myself a couple of sets of proper workout clothes (to add to my lonely collection of 1 pair, haha). I shifted my workouts to first thing in the morning before work. It helped set my mood for the day. I was awake and pumped with energy. And I could just go straight to bed after work.
A couple of months ago, my friend convinced me that it was easier to workout just in my sports bra and leggings (up until then, I had still been wearing a shirt over my bra even if no one could see me in my room). I would send her a selfie on some days to show her that I had finished a workout. And before I knew it, I was taking photos of myself after a workout just to see my progress.
Here’s a photo of myself between the end of last year and yesterday. I know there are more dramatic before and after shots elsewhere, but I can see a little difference! I wish I had taken photos earlier into this but how could I—I was wearing my daster doing downward dogs, lol. The most rewarding thing though is being able to fit into clothes that hugged my thighs a little too tightly earlier in the lockdown. I even posted a photo of myself wearing a swimsuit! Haha!
Overall, I love how I choose to do this not because anyone told me but because I really do feel great after every workout. And I’m not too hard on myself either. If I just have enough energy for a 10-minute evening flow, I don’t beat myself up about it. Sure, there are times when I’m up for a challenge, but at the end of the day, my goal is just to make sure I move a few minutes each day. And after 300 days, I think I’ve achieved that.
I don’t know what will happen when I reach 365 days. I feel like I’ve been able to make exercise a part of my routine successfully that I’ll probably just stop counting the days by then. Who knows? Until then, I’ll keep at it and give myself a pat on the back each time I show up on the mat. Here’s to the next 300 days!