This Woman's Weight Loss Journey Inspires Us To Be The Best Version Of Ourselves
Going on a diet or embarking on a new fitness program are some of the most daunting tasks a person could go through in life—so much time is spent obsessing over wanting to cut the fat and finally get fit and healthy, but as life continues to happen, sadly, a lot of us end up giving up way before we start seeing results.
But while majority of the population often fall into the yo-yo dieting and workout trap, here's a woman who pushed through and made sure she emerged successful in her goal of overall wellness. This 26-year-old is Marga Banaga, a former employee at a media advertising agency who now focuses on creating content for her Youtube channel and practicing personal training, as she recently earned her ACE certification for personal training in Singapore. Apart from her passion for fitness through working out (she loves CrossFit, boxing, yoga, and pilates) and leading a healthy lifestyle, she loves traveling, cooking, and creating healthy recipes. We talked to her about her inspiring weight loss journey so you, our reader, can get the dose of inspiration you need to embark on your own as well.
What led you to this fitness and weight loss journey? What was the crucial turning point in your life that made you decide to finally "cut the fat"?
Growing up, I was always overweight. My life was a constant battle of yo-yo dieting. Some months throughout the year I would be really light and then after a couple of months I would gain the weight back and even more. I was also always sick and on antibiotics. My weight was affecting my mood, my relationship with my family and friends and even with work. I reached my heaviest weight EVER last 2018 and I just snapped and knew I had to do something about it.
I was planning to start my journey on January 1 as my New Year’s resolution but my family planned a trip to Korea from January 6-13 so I decided to just start my fitness journey on January 15. But even prior to starting my journey, I started planning already. I planned all my meals (constantly searching on Pinterest for healthy recipes), I planned what kind of workouts I would be doing on my own and I even mentally prepared by listening to motivational podcasts. I was ready for that change and I really wanted it.
What are the 3 major hindrances or challenges you encountered in the beginning, and middle of the process? How did you get through them?
Starting is the hardest part. I’ve actually mentioned this in my vlog, being that “big girl” in the gym on your first day you feel some sort of judgement by the people there/you feel like you are being laughed at when this is not true at all! It’s all in our heads. Also, the first few days of changing up your diet is the hardest. But once you stick it out it gets easier!
I told myself to be selfish for 100 days. To do this for myself and so I missed social gatherings and birthdays. My friends were very understanding and supportive. I know life is about balance and you should have fun but I know myself very well that once I start indulging and drinking, I won’t stop. The 100 days went by quickly and I gained the self-control and good eating habits I needed. Eventually when I started going out again, I had the self-control and I enjoyed things in moderation. :)
On Day 67 of my 100 day journey, my brother, Mj, suddenly passed away. I honestly wanted to give up, eat all the junk food and drink all the alcohol in the world but I told myself that I’m better off improving my life rather than making myself feel more miserable. My first day back at the gym was the hardest. I sat on the bike and cried. I literally stared for half an hour but then I told myself to just move. I told myself got this and that my brother would want me to push through with this. So I did!
Tell us about your workout and diet plan. Did you employ a professional trainer or nutritionist for this?
I did not hire a nutritionist or a professional trainer (but it’s always good to seek professional help before trying something new!) Throughout the years, I’ve tried every fad diet you could think of. And because of all the trial and error, I figured out which types of food my body can tolerate and digest well. With that, I personally planned my own meals according to a pescatarian diet. I removed chicken, beef and pork from my diet and this made it so much easier to avoid eating in fast food joints. Also, most restaurants that served fish or seafood options seemed much healthier than the meat options.
I spent Sundays meal prepping my food for the next five days. My meals were usually chickpea spinach burgers, salmon, tanigue and shrimp for protein, black rice, quinoa or adlai for carbs and roasted or air fried broccoli for my veggies.
With regards to my workout, even if I researched workout programs for my first few days in the gym I felt that my form wasn’t correct. To avoid injury, I joined group classes in Sparta using body weight only. I was overweight and I knew that I wanted to focus on proper form first prior to lifting heavy. Also the class setting was more enjoyable for me. After a few months I got stronger and I noticed a plateau in my weight so I decided to change things up. That’s when I started doing CrossFit and I LOVED it. I loved getting stronger, lifting heavier and seeing more muscle definition.
Who are your top 3 fitspirations and why? Do you have a body goal? If so, who?
@SimplyMander - She does crossfit and I actually learned how to count my macros through watching her vlogs!
@sophieaustin93 – She documents her daily progress and when I watch her IG stories it motivates me to work harder everyday!
@abby – Her youtube videos are very informative as she explains the science behind it but she does it in a fun way so it doesn’t get you bored!
My journey is always progressing and I’m currently trying to lower my body fat! I do want to get more toned and develop my abs in the next few months! I love the body of @fitgurlmel as she is both toned and strong!
If there are only 3 things you learned throughout this journey, what are they?
To love yourself in every phase of you journey; to be patient - progress will take time, when I got injured I was frustrated and impatient with my journey but maybe my body was telling me I needed to rest as well. Trust the process; and never compare yourself to other people, all our bodies are different.
What would you tell someone who's overweight and uninspired to live their healthiest, fittest life?
If an overweight person were to ask me how to live a healthier life, I would explain to them that it is possible. For it to be successful, you have to do it for yourself. Ignore mainstream advice and quick fixes and find something that works for you and your schedule. Find a workout you enjoy doing be it dancing in your room, swimming, etc. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring as well! There are tons of healthier alternatives now available in the market that taste just as good! Think of food as fuel, as something to nourish the body. Moving more can also help burn those extra calories! You also have to be patient, take it day by day and to trust the process. I’m living proof that it is possible! <3
Have you debunked any fitness and diet myths while you were on your journey? What are they?
Keto, Paleo, Whatever diet you choose works because it all boils down to being in a calorie deficit. It’s better to find something sustainable that you can do long term. Something that I’m still trying to learn is to find that balance. It’s okay to have a treat once in a while. I’m an all or nothing kinda girl so when I eat clean I eat clean all the way and when I eat junk I end up binging. For your lifestyle to be sustainable you need to be able to eat clean 80% of the time and have treats from time to time ( 20%). It’s okay to have that cookie, it’s okay to have some ice cream just make sure that you eat nourishing foods more often than junk.
Also finding a workout you enjoy doing will keep you going! I was wondering why throughout the years I never was consistent and it’s because I did not enjoy just doing cardio on the treadmill. Trial and error until you find what works for you!
How do you plan to continue on this path?
I’m actually doing another challenge but this time it will be 30 days not as a quick fix but to help keep me accountable and to help me get back on track right before my 27th birthday hehe! Currently on Day 5! It’s quite a struggle but I will keep going!
Any last words? What can we look forward to from you in the coming year?
If I can do it, you can definitely do it too! All it takes is consistency, effort and patience! It’s a bit of work but it’s definitely worth it. Since I just got my certification in Personal Training, I plan to accept clients in the upcoming months! I will also be posting more meal prep and workout content on my Youtube channel!
Hello to my new followers ?? I would like to take the time to thank @ladbible @dailymail @powerofpositivity and other various online news sites for sharing my journey with a combined following of over 100 MILLION people on facebook. ?????????? #shooketh I never expected my journey to reach this many people but I am so grateful. I decided to document my 100 day weightloss challenge as I tried researching online for a realistic and healthy 100 day journey but I couldn’t find one that documented and showed their daily struggles. Most were just sitdown videos explaining how they lost the weight and since I am a visual person, I decided to film my own. . . I am overwhelmed with all the love and support I’ve been receiving lately! Rewatching these videos made me realize how much I’ve grown in the past year ???? If you have questions for me comment them down below and I’ll film a vlog answering your questions on YouTube. ?? . . To my old followers, Not too sure if you guys noticed that I haven’t been as active on here. My mental health has not been very good lately and so I’ve been trying to focus on overcoming my anxiety, depression and other things. I promise to post more fitness and health related content soon. I know it is important to take care of our body but it also as important to take care of our minds. ?? love you guys mucho!!!!!