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My battle with the bulge

Since way, way back, I had tried to conquer the excess baggage I had been lugging.  I was above the normal weight from childhood and up to the day I got married.  Consenting aunts who were teachers (God bless their souls) during my primary days in Kalibo fed me probably with the thought that the world is nearing its end.   They do cakes and leche flan usually on weekends and since layered cakes are mostly ordered, me and my cousins would wait for the rejected sliced rounded portions which contributed to the feeding frenzy. 

I was probably topside heavy that when I went back to Cebu for the rest of my elementary years, my mother limited my rice intake, measuring it on a container slightly bigger than an espresso cup.  To the amusement of my father, I would raid the refrigerator or ask the helps to buy me some bread or chocolates less than an hour after meals.

I had been overweight but not sedentary, specially during my intermediate and high school days at Don Bosco where the Salesians (a good majority of them then were Italians) encouraged us to the point of threatening, to play.  I learned to play and understand football, enjoyed rough and tough basketball on either of the then five available courts (some sinumbagay if the Salesians are not in sight), learned a little of volleyball, softball and ping pong.  There also was the table football if we don’t fell like running around or some game of chess.

I was a “boarder” for four years.  My parents and younger siblings would drop me off at Don Bosco late Sunday afternoons and stay there with the rest of the boarders until Friday afternoon.  Early on, because I was not used to the food served, I complained to my parents.  They said it will be a good time for me to lose weight.  I then learned to sneak in some canned goods and the whole stash would be gone by Wednesday because I would also be sharing it with some of my board mates, to their delight. 

I would say I completed my days at Don Bosco a bit overweight but fit because of the on-campus activities.  Even at night after dinner, we were encouraged to play before the 8pm rosary.  Stay idle and sit and then one of the Salesians will approach you and ask, “Are you sick?  Go play.”

I know the basics but I’m not a good basketball player.  Because sometimes we sponsor uniforms, my brother and I became part of our barangay team for the town’s summer league and since I know my limitations and get less playing time, I make up on the snacks after games.

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In my late teens to early twenties, I did some bicycling and first had a road bike which we rode usually up north on weekends.  Roads then were not infested with multicabs and motorcycles.  Because I’m heavy and have lesser lung capacity I only got as far Sogod, then turn back with one or two companions then wait for the others on a roadside store selling cold beer somewhere in Carmen.  By the time they get back, we already had consumed no less than three bottles of Grande.  The whole group stays for another hour, for a few more bottles.

Later, we got mountain bikes and hit the hilly trails of Liloan and Compostela but prior, we sometimes contacted friends from the mountain barangays and ask them to prepare, for a fee of course, some native chickens, thus giving the rugged uphill climb a delicious motivation.  Indeed upon reaching our destination, we are greeted with boiled and inasal native chicken and mais binuyok.  The refreshing mountain air, the scenery and the simple mountain folks around contributes to the appetite.  And there’s the ever present golden brew, in this case, either lukewarm Gold Eagle or Manila Beer.

Because of genes from both sides of my parents, I welcomed hypertension and diabetes into my system.  Extra large was my choice of clothing and my appetite would tempt our pet dogs to migrate to other households for their daily subsistence.  While my two young children were growing vertically, I was growing horizontally.  My doctor then prescribed me with medications to control my BP and blood sugar.

Denise, my wife was insistent almost to the point of nagging, that from a high of 220 pounds I’m now hovering between 175 to 180 pounds.  Losing the excess poundage was not easy as I was on a hunger diet with camote, boiled bananas, some other fruits and vegetables as sustenance.  My system was so used to the good stuff and frequent eating that for some time, I was on sapot mode, had dizzy spells.  But what can a cranky husband do if you have a forceful and determined wife staring you down.  Bana ra gud ta. 

I still have my mountain bike but I seldom ride it because of too many vehicles on the road.  Yes, we do have our regular early morning brisk walks with some running in between.

I’m back to eating regular meals and sometimes do the camote-banana stuff if I feel like it.  Once in a while, together with the children and my brother’s family, we pig out, usually not in restos but at home, cooking whatever we fancy, with either wine or beer.

Though plus sized for the most part of my 55 years, it helped that I had been oriented with sports.  I find it easy to adjust in doing moderately strenuous exercises.  It took me more than 40 years but I think I now have the upper hand in my battle with the bulge.  I can now fit into medium sized clothes that my XLs went on ukay-ukay sale.   Losing at least five more pounds would be nice.  We can all do this guys!

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