THEN:
Mary Grace Cabangon, Gracie to friends and family, didn’t really have a problem with her weight until 2009, when she took on a job which required late hours. “My ‘normal’ breakfast time was 10 A.M., lunch at 3 P.M., and dinner at 9 P.M.,” she says. “To keep me up at night, I drank lots of coffee or soft drinks. I craved junk food,” she adds. It wasn’t long before she tipped the scales at 220 lbs., considered heavy for her height of 5’9”.

Gracie felt sluggish, and her self-esteem eroded. “I found it hard to breathe just walking short distances, or going up and down stairs. I was disappointed not being able to buy the clothes that I liked and having to go to the plus-sized section.”

HOW:
Gracie tried gym, boxing, and badminton. She’d lose a few pounds but regained them when there was no supervision from a personal trainer. She tried a no-rice diet and shed weight, but felt weak; she couldn’t do without her carb staple.

Gracie’s supportive mom, Cherry, who worried about her health because of the family history of high blood pressure and diabetes, urged Gracie to sign up in June last year for a weight-loss program at St. Luke’s Global City’s Weight Management Center. That was when she started seeing longer-lasting results.

“I was able to lose 20 lbs. in two months, then my weight plateaued. My trainer lowered my calorie count from 1,400 to 1,200 per day. I mixed up weight training with cardio. In a year since I joined to program, I lost a total of 44 lbs.,” says Gracie.

NOW:
Gracie works out four times a week. “I do aerobics, a mix of interval running, circuit training, functional and mobility exercises with kettlebells, and plank variations on the Bosu ball. These are challenging and not monotonous,” she says.

Her family adopted her diet which balanced carbohydrates, proteins, fruits, and vegetables each day for a total calorie count of 1,200. “I love the weight that I have right now,” she says. But she’s pushing herself to reach 165 lbs. “It will take twice my dedication I had on the first day that I started my diet and fitness program. I need to make sure to stick to my diet and exercise.”

GRACIE'S TIPS:

1. Give your all.
“When I finally enrolled in the weight management program, I gave 100 percent commitment to following my daily meal plan and at least three times a week of exercises.”

2. Get inspired.
“I used to envy other weight-loss success stories I read about. But these stories inspired me. I told myself that one day I’ll be able to share my own success story with others.”

3. Do it now.
“Don’t work out or diet only when you feel that something’s wrong.”

Learn how to get your fittest body ever by grabbing a copy of the October 2013 issue of Women's Health, out on stands now! You can also subscribe to the magazine's digital edition.

Also in this issue:
The Food Lover's Diet
5 Celebs with Fab Figures Share Their Fitness Secrets
Get What You Want in Bed

(Photo by Christian Halili)

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