article_ylyw-wh-aug-2010.jpgLeeanne Uy, an accountant from Quezon City, described her 2-year-old self as "super thin." "This alarmed my parents. That's why they fed me all the time until it just went out of control," she shares. She also felt too lazy to exercise. It didn’t help that her family owned a restaurant beside their house, where "food was available almost 24/7." At her heaviest, she weighed 170 lbs. "I wasn’t allowed by my parents to join out-of-town trips with my friends. They were afraid I might collapse while walking," she explains.

For a while, she thought being plump was fine, but she changed her mind in May 2009. "People would always pinch my cheeks and tell my mom that I was a cute kid, but I started to feel the discrimination when I got older. My classmates would tease me a lot. Once, in college, I was even asked to pay the fare for two persons in a tricycle," Leeanne shares. She definitely didn’t want to keep the baby fat. "My childhood friends who used to be overweight like me were already thin or sexy. I realized that being chubby wasn't cute anymore."

So Leeanne and her close friend, Claire, made a bet to reach 120-125 lbs. "We would pay a hundred bucks for every pound we gained or if we didn’t lose any weight during the week. The money we collected would go to treating ourselves to a spa," she says. Leeanne didn’t get a nutritionist, but consulted websites regarding calorie intake. She worked out for 2-3 hours six days a week, her routine a combination of weights, the treadmill, elliptical trainer, bike, and body combat classes (a combo of mixed martial arts, and capoeira), targeting 500 calories per workout session. She discovered that an hour of body combat classes burned 200-250 calories so she’d finish the remaining half of her daily goal on the machines. Even when work got hectic, she'd fit in 30-minute walks during breaks. After moving to Singapore in 2010, she achieved her goal of 125 lbs. And instead of a spa day to cap off the bet, Leeanne and Claire have decided to take a trip to Kuala Lumpur.

"I became more confident especially now that I can move better without getting tired easily," she says.

LEEANNE'S TIPS:

1. Avoid empty calories.
"Opt for the sugar-free variant."

2. Invest in a gym.
You'll be obliged to get your money's worth.

3. Do it for yourself.
What other people think of you comes last.

(First published as "I'm More Confident Now" in the Slim-Down Strategies section of Women's Health Philippines' August 2010 issue. Photos by Christian Halili and courtesy of Leeanne Uy. Adapted for use in Female Network.)

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