How I Fi­nally... Lost 40 Lbs.

This mom of two ran, biked, and swam her way to bet­ter health—and got her fam­ily in on it, too.

Good Housekeeping (Philippines) - - Your Body -

Ce­cille Ilus­tre’s story is one that’s fa­mil­iar to many moms. Af­ter giv­ing birth to her sec­ond son, her health took a back­seat to the de­mands of be­ing a wife, mom of two, and home­maker. She didn’t have time to play bad­minton like she used to, and the pounds crept on over the years. By De­cem­ber 2014, Ce­cille’s weight peaked at 170 lbs.

“In 2015, I had my an­nual checkup. My choles­terol had gone up. I had is­chemia, some kind of block­age sa artery. That was when I re­al­ized I had to do some­thing,” nar­rates Ce­cille, who was 39 at the time.

She started mak­ing changes in Au­gust 2015, go­ing for walks on a 1.3-kilo­me­ter loop near their place in Bu­la­can. “Strug­gle ta­laga yung 1.3 na mag-iikot ako,” she re­calls. “Baby steps ta­laga, hang­gang sa af­ter a month, nai­ikot ko na siya.” Slowly but surely, she built up her en­durance. By De­cem­ber 2015, she was con­fi­dent enough to join her first fun run.

“Then na-no-no­tice na ng mga tao ang weight loss ko,” she says. Later on, she was able to con­vince her hus­band to run with her. They even­tu­ally took up bik­ing and started join­ing duathlons, which are races that in­volve run­ning and bik­ing. Pretty soon, her hus­band started join­ing triathlons too, which in­clude swim­ming.

“I was feel­ing left out be­cause my hus­band was do­ing open-wa­ter swims pero ako hi­rap na hi­rap ako mag-swim,” Ce­cille, now 41, says with a laugh. Scrolling through Face­book in mid-2016, she came across Swim­fit Philip­pines, a swim school. “Nag-sched­ule ako ng as­sess­ment, then nag-en­roll agad ako for stroke im­prove­ment,” she says. She started her


swim train­ing around Au­gust 2016, and by Novem­ber, she was ready for her first triathlon.

Things didn’t go as planned though, as Ce­cille had a bout with in­testi­nal flu just three days be­fore the event. “Naka-iv ako, pero sabi ko, ‘Naku, I can’t miss this event kasi I’ve trained for this.’ Kaya nung me­dyo gu­ma­l­ing ako, sabi ko, ‘Fin­isher na lang, fin­isher.’ Mahi­rap, kasi yung legs ko parang walang power, pero tina­pos ko siya.”

Last month, she joined a triathlon that con­sisted of a 750-me­ter swim, 20-kilo­me­ter bike ride, and 5-kilo­me­ter run. She con­tin­ues to train for fu­ture triathlons, swim­ming three times a week, run­ning twice a week, and bik­ing at home af­ter her runs. In two years, she dropped around 40 lbs., and cur­rently weighs be­tween 127 and 130 lbs. Her goal is to even­tu­ally reach 120 lbs.

But Ce­cille says the best part about this jour­ney isn’t the weight she lost, but what she and her fam­ily have gained. “Na-en­cour­age ko yung sons ko na mag­ing ac­tive na rin.” In fact, her 20-year-old and her 15-year-old both joined the triathlon with her in Novem­ber. “And yung bond namin, mas close. Hindi ka­gaya be­fore na may sar­il­ing lakad yung el­dest ko, yung isang anak ko nasa ba­hay, nag-co-com­puter games, then kami lang dalawa ng hus­band ko ang nag­pupunta sa mga events, duathlon. Lately, sa train­ing, sama-sama kam­ing la­hat, mas close.”

Her sons have also be­come more mind­ful of their food in­take. Along with hav­ing a fit­ness reg­i­men, the fam­ily changed their diet, elim­i­nat­ing soda, cakes, and cho­co­lates. “Hindi na­man to­tally kasi min­san nagchi-cheat na­man kami,” clar­i­fies Ce­cille. “Hindi ko dine-de­prive ang sar­ili ko. Basta ku­makain ako. Enough na ’yon pag nati­tik­man ko, okay na. Min­san mas mahi­rap pa yung dine-de­prive ko to­tally ang sar­ili ko, mas nagke-crave ako.”

This life­style is not with­out its chal­lenges though. “The biggest chal­lenge, I think, is get­ting up in the morn­ing, think­ing na I have lots of things to do pa af­ter I train. I have to pick up my son, go to the gro­cery, I have to cook kasi I don’t have any house help,” she says. “Some­times, ini­isip ko pa lang pagod na ako, ayoko nang it­u­loy. Pero hindi ko ma-af­ford ma-miss ang mag-work out.”

Ce­cille feels that she is also able to set an ex­am­ple for her boys. “Ewan ko, ha, kung nag-a-as­sume ako pero parang they look up to me na. Sabi nila, ‘Mom, we can’t keep up with you, nakaka­pagod yung gi­na­gawa mo!’ ’Pag gis­ing nila sa umaga, ‘Mag-ru-run ka?’ ‘Ha­lika, run tayo!’ So napip­il­i­tan sila.”

Her ul­ti­mate goal is to join the Iron­man in Su­bic in March 2019—a 1.9-kilo­me­ter swim, 90-kilo­me­ter bike ride, and a 21-kilo­me­ter run. “And my el­dest son will join me. Sabi ko, ‘By that time, grad­u­ate ka na. Prom­ise me ha, hindi ka mau­una sa akin! We’ll both join the Iron­man to­gether.’”

Ce­cille feels some­what un­wor­thy to be fea­tured since she cur­rently has no podium fin­ishes (another goal) but her jour­ney is none­the­less an in­spi­ra­tion, es­pe­cially to fel­low moms. “Ang naisip ko, noth­ing re­ally is im­pos­si­ble. Kasi takot na takot ta­laga ako, hindi ko akalain na makaka-swim ako. Syem­pre na­gawa ko with the help of other peo­ple, pero min­san, mag-sa-start din sa ’yo ’yon eh. Da­pat may drive ka. ’Pag gusto mo, ma­g­a­gawa mo ta­laga,” she says.

Mom of two Ce­cille Ilus­tre gets up at 4:30 a.m. so she can make time for her work­outs.

(Left) Ce­cille, be­fore she changed her life­style; (below) with her hus­band and two boys at a triathlon in 2016

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