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Iza Calzado: I am enough |

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Iza Calzado: I am enough

10 THINGS - Bianca Gonzalez - The Philippine Star
Iza Calzado: I am enough

At 35, Iza Calzado now looks and feels the best she’s ever looked and felt Photo by Anthea Buen

Valentines is Day of this year, actress Iza Calzado posted a photo of herself in a bathing suit, with the caption: “I have abused my body the past 35 years and now I just want to tell myself this — you  are enough. I will no longer make you suffer. I want to make peace with you, my beautiful and strong body.” It was the first time Iza had opened up about surgery, diet pills, and anorexia. And it was received with overwhelming support by both friends and followers.

“Grateful to have a partner who cares as much about health and fitness as I do.”

It was not an easy journey for Iza to get to this point in her life. Here are 10 moments in Iza’s journey to loving her body:

Age: 15

“My cutest photo ever,” Iza says about this
picture taken of her when she was 3rd year
high schoo

Memory: “I just remember my pants size was 42.”

Sabi ko nga, parang mas masaya pa ako ‘nun eh. I had embraced being big and there was no pressure to be anything other than that. Gigising ako sa umaga, I’d think, “I love it, kakain ako!” Hindi ko iisipin yung, “Naku, hindi ako pwede kumain ngayon,” Iza recalls.

“When you’re big, you don’t go on the weighing scale every day. We didn’t even have a weighing scale at home. I just remember, na-ospital ako ‘nun, and I had to weigh myself. Well, I was 220 pounds.”

Age: 16

Memory: “I wanted to lose weight in time for graduation, and the grad picture.”

“For vanity talaga. I remember I got chicken pox, so I wasn’t eating much. Two weeks ako hindi nakita ng tao, so when they saw me again, people would tell me, “Uy, pumayat ka! So I thought then, I just had to lessen my food intake,” Iza shares.

What started as just eating three sandwiches a day, turned into eating one sandwich a day. From eating three crackers a day, she ate just one cracker a day. “I most probably was anorexic. You only get labeled as anorexic when you’re thin tapos lalo kang pumapayat. When you’re fat and losing weight, you’re not labeled as such. But I had all the symptoms of being anorexic—I was weighing myself every day in the school clinic, I was hardly eating, on the weekend I would binge and then throw it up,” Iza reveals. “’Dun talaga nag-start yung hate. But then I loved it, too, because I was getting attention I never got before, because I was getting thinner”

Age: 17

Memory: “I had lost almost 80 pounds.”

“In one year?”

“In a school year. I wasn’t eating, I was taking diet pills, lahat.”

“But during that time, you were happy?”

“Happy! Yung dream guy ko, the guy who I had the biggest crush on in high school, naging boyfriend ko pa!”

“And I didn’t work out. Hindi talaga,” Iza adds. “Its funny because I had a friend, she was very sporty. She told me, ‘Iza, you know you have to eat better. You have to work out, because if not, your skin will sag.’ I told her, ‘Hayaan mo na, wala akong balak mag-sleeveless, wala naman akong balak mag-artista.’ I remember saying that to her! And here we are now.”

Age: 19

Memory: “My weight went up and down like a yoyo. I loved snacking, but it was also easy to lose weight because I was so young.”

S’yempre, in love, so we’d binge eat. Movie marathon kami and we’d eat junk food! I tried everything, Bangkok pills, uso yun ‘nun, Hydroxycut, lahat. But it was not good for me, even psychologically, hindi talaga.”

“I was conscious about my being on the heavy side, pero tanggap ko naman, because like I said, hindi naman ako artista. I did try doing VTRs at that time, though. Everytime I would get rejected, sumasama talaga loob ko. I’d think, ‘Hindi pa ba enough? I already lost the weight!’ I would always equate it to, ‘Hindi ako natatanggap dahil mataba ako.’ But, of course, that wasn’t the reason.”

Iza posted this collage of her as a teenager
and in her 20s, during her stint as host of
The Biggest Loser Philippines


Age: 20

Memory: “There’s nobody on TV or in movies that I’ve seen that has my body — with the amount of stretch marks and loose skin that I have.”

“I guested on a show called Click,” Iza recalls her first acting stint with GMA. “That served as my audition. Then right after, I did my first soap called Kung Mawawala Ka.”

“That time, everything was loose. I’m telling you, my skin was until here,” Iza raises her right arm, and gestures a few inches below with her left hand. “I was like a balloon that lost air. My face was slim. But if you saw me up close then, if you saw my body then, you would understand the changes I had gone through.”

Age: 21

Memory: “I had surgeries done. But it didn’t solve the problem because the problem was in my head.”

“Honestly, come to think of it, I should have said, “Thank you, but this body is not for Darna. I know it’s a big opportunity, but thank you,” Iza reveals about the time she was cast for the GMA fantaserye Darna. “Ang biggest issue ko ‘nun, there were times I would just be crying at home, I wouldn’t go out, and I would think, ‘How will I make it in this industry if my body is like this? How? How?’”

“And even after the surgery, hindi naman matatanggal yung stretch marks mo, and you also get scars. During my audition for Darna, galit na galit ako. Naka-body stockings ako nung nag-audition ako. Naka-two piece ako, pero naka-full body stockings. Ang liit liit ng tingin ko sa sarili ko ‘nun,” Iza reveals.

“For the longest time, I hated myself for making these stupid decisions. But when that happened, my motivation became, ‘Excuse me, I’m going to prove to myself and to all of you that I’m going to make it. Gagalingan ko maging artista, I’ll take workshops, I’ll do my best, I’ll put my heart into it.’ And that’s what happened.”

Age: 23

Memory: “I would be trying all these different diets.”

 “It was a blessing in disguise because that audition got me my role in Encantadia. When I was doing Encantadia, I was on a Weightlifter’s Diet. I was only eating tuna, kamote, chicken breast and suha, all with no salt. And I was doing that Monday to Friday. By the time I’d reach Saturday, nangangamote na talaga ako as in I felt ang bobo ko. And at the time I was hosting this lifestyle magazine show called 3R, and hindi ko talaga masabi yung lines ko, ang bobo talaga ng pakiramdam ko ‘nun.”

“I was so young then, still conscious, still insecure, but I was already working out around two times a week.”

Age: 26

Memory: “This is when I discovered running, and that empowered me a lot.”

“When I was in high school, when I would run, feeling ko dumadagundong yung buong mundo,” Iza recalls. “By this time, I started running 5K, ganun. Then I would also go to the slimming salon around three times a week for two to three hours. Halos nakatira ako ‘dun! It was also a very difficult time because I felt like I was just trying to please the guy I was dating. It wasn’t good for me because it was like I was doing it for someone else and not for myself.”

“One time, I was working out doing crunches, tapos umiyak ako. Breakdown na iyak. Hindi ko na kinaya yung pressure sa utak ko. I was thinking, ‘Bakit ganun, kahit anong gawin ko, hindi ko naman makukuha yung katawan ng ibang mga artista?’ I had that frustration.”

Age: 32

Iza’s viral post that she captioned with: “I
have abused my body the past 35 years and
now I just want to tell myself this—YOU ARE

Memory: “I asked, ‘Is it okay if I don’t put body makeup and wear sleeveless?’”

“Honestly, it doesn’t feel good having to wear body make up all the time,” Iza recalls the time she hosted The Biggest Loser on ABS-CBN, and she had to wear body makeup to cover her stretch marks. “Naiintindihan ko kung bakit hindi pwedeng wala, because its still TV, but at the same time, masakit ‘yun. I felt, ‘Ganun ba talaga ka-pangit? Siguro nga, ganun ka-pangit.’”

“I remember a couple of times that I braved going to events wearing gowns without putting on body makeup, and I’d see comments online like, ‘Ano ba ‘yan, kita yung stretch marks!’ or ‘Diba, as an artista she has to make sure that she looks polished and perfect?’ And I would think, ‘Ganun ba talaga?’”

Age: 35

Memory: Ben tells me, “You know, it’s getting tiring. Nobody cares.”

Last December 2017, for the first time in her life, Iza went on a beach holiday to Phuket with her fiancé, businessman Ben Wintle, and his family. “Malakas loob ko to wear bathing suits and bikinis kasi wala naman nakakakilala sa akin ‘dun. But every girl we’d see, I’d really look at their body. Every day I’d tell Ben, ‘Oh, my gosh, I love her thighs,’ or ‘Oh, my gosh, she’s got great abs!’ Other days I’d say, ‘I wish I had her arms,’ or ‘I wish I had her butt!’ Then on the fifth day of the trip, Ben tells me, ‘You keep pointing out other women’s bodies. It’s getting tiring.’”

“Para akong binuhusan ng malamig na tubig. And he didn’t say it in a mean way. I realized, I became so self-absorbed, na feeling ko lahat nakatingin sa akin, pinupuna ako, which has always been my problem.”

“Ben and I have had a lot of fights about me being too obsessed with my weight and other women’s bodies and my body. One time, we had an argument and he told me, ‘You know how hard it is to be in my position? I don’t want you to have to seek my validation about your body, because you are more than that, Iza.’” She cried tears of joy, of love, right there and then in front of Ben.

The soon-to-be Mr. and Mrs. Ben Wintle

* * *

At 35, Iza Calzado now looks and feels the best she’s ever looked and felt. She uses the hashtag #thebodyloverevolution, and she has inspired many others to share their stories of insecurity and acceptance. Whatever shape or size, we ALL have something we are insecure about. Even those we perceive to be perfect.  Iza ends with this: “I now understand that it takes more than just wanting to do the work or putting in the work, there are so many factors that come into play when it comes to our weight and our bodies. We shouldn’t be judging others, and we should be kinder to ourselves.”

* * * 

Be part of #TheBodyLoveRevolution: Learn more on @shetalksasia or sign up for the March 10 event on

 Message the author @iamsuperbianca

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