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How I Achieved My Pre-Pregnancy Weight

Weight management is something that I have been struggling with since I had kids. I checked out several programs such as IF and Keto but I really have not found anything I could stick with.

I was never really healthy in the past.

For those who know me, I loved fast food, Coke (one can every meal), sitting on my couch the whole day; I didn’t like vegetables, I ate loads of rice (my officemates called me Karen Carpenter – kasi karpentero kumain, LOL) and it was just pork that I mostly consume. My husband used to tell me “YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT,” but I never really took that by heart until now.

When experts repeatedly communicated that our only defense against Covid was a healthy lifestyle, I wanted to be healthier. Not only for myself but for my family.

I wanted to go back to my ideal weight so that I won’t feel too sluggish, eat healthier, and of course, have some sort of exercise at home because this whole stay-at-home situation really takes its toll on the body. Also, I wanted to continuously manage my PCOS and my repro-immune disorder because even if I could not get pregnant anymore, its manifestation may still be felt by the body.

(P.S. For moms who have PCOS, one of the things my OB advised me in the past was to lose weight, reduce my carb intake (because this is converted to sugar glucose), and live healthier so I felt that this was something that I needed to do again. When I was on my PCOS workup, I only ate lean meat, had brown rice, stuck to an exercise, etc.)

This was part of my self-overhaul where I felt the need to be aligned in all the things that I do – spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically.

So I came across The Architect PH in one of the mom groups I am in. I checked out their Instagram and was impressed by the before and after photos that I saw.  I got in touch with them to see how they can help me and just try out their services for a month.

Tim, who became my coach, got back to me and asked me if I was willing to do a free assessment.

You see, before The Architect PH can allocate a slot for an interested client, they need to assess the person for free so that they would know how they can help in the best way possible. Tim gave me an idea as to what to expect and see if I was willing to do my part as it was really me who would execute the plan.

So what was my assessment?

Coach Tim told me that my issue wasn’t exactly weight loss but a process he called body recomposition. To quote him,

“… The process would entail minimal weight changes but more emphasis in terms of body fat percentage changes which will manifest mainly in your visuals.”

That was true because while I was not that far from my ideal weight of 100 lbs, I feel that fats are all in the wrong places – my tummy (of course, because of my four pregnancies), my thighs, my arms, and tada — my face! I have been working on this for years to no avail).

We started on October 1 with my weight at 105.4 lbs.

At the start, I really struggled; daily cardio exercise was NEEEVER part of my regimen. The biggest change was eliminating rice from my diet and replacing it with quinoa (which was the biggest struggle because I LOOOOOVE rice). I was also asked to work out 3-4x a week with no equipment needed. I loved this part because my workout plan was not overwhelming at all and it was easy to stick to.

With a bit of skepticism (and a lot of self-doubts), I stuck to the program. There were days that I had some slips but Coach Tim would gently nudge me back to THE PLAN and that really helped me a lot to be consistent.

So without going too much into the details, this is the result of THE PLAN.

After just one month of sticking to my fitness and nutrition plan, I finally reached my goal. The bloat was minimized; I was able to fit into my shorts that I could not fit in in yeeaaars; and more importantly, I had more energy despite a significant decrease in the volume of my main meals. I loved that my arms and things became slimmer (and I think I just need to tone them) and my face, too! YAAAY!

This was not an easy feat because I have been working for this for years but never really found something to stick with. As I said, I tried intermittent fasting and Keto as well but I couldn’t function well so I thought it wasn’t the one for me.

I could not be happier with my results and I just wanted to share this with you as a testament to a really amazing service I received. If you are interested, you can check The Architect PH website and Instagram account, see all other testimonials (because mine might not do a lot of justice, haha).

Take care, loves!

XOXO.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aromatherapist? That’s me!

Today, we were asked to do a short video for Smart Parenting’s database and I figured out that this was also the challenge in one of the Instagram makeover challenge I joined in so might as well post what I do (like being an aromatherapist) across my digital assets 😂

Trigger question: what is your occupation???

Certified Aromatherapist

Acckk, so hard to answer because things have changed (understatement) since I left corporate. It has been four months and things have been greatly disrupted by the enhanced community quarantine but we gotta do what we gotta do!

Sooo, let me introduce myself again.

Hi, I am Balot Amechachura-Del Rosario, ABCDE 😂

• Author
• APAS Advocate
• Brand Consultant
Certified Aromatherapist
• Coach (Life and Business)
• Doting Wife & Mama
• Entrepreneur

Let’s follow each other:

Instagram

 

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STRETCHED. This is what this ECQ means to me. It is very uncomfortable, to say at the very least. Though I know my discomfort is NOTHING compared to everyone who is in the frontline, my whole being is being stretched to uncomfortable levels (lock up ENFJs, sorry @reg_panganiban, and this is what you get) and my mind and emotions are just ALL OVER THE PLACE (or Full Moon, yeah?) 🌕 The uncertainty for my business (and well, everything else) is driving me crazy. The structureless world is driving me crazy (it is Wednesday now, whuut?) 🌏 The kids are driving me crazy (yes, I am human, too, don’t bite me) Like my yoga practice, I don’t even know why I want to make the most out of this stretched situation so bad when I am so bad at it. UGH. (Why do you have to be sooo hard??? It’s just a downward dog, others would say. Most basic pose. Buuut…ughhhh! Sorry @roseanntco, hope this is a better execution.) 😂 C-R-Y But yes, all we need is TIME. Time to honor the moment because we are not just in this “stretch” for the stretch. We are in here to BREATHE. To be conscious that we should breathe in every downward dog and that it is much, much more important than the stretch itself because it (the breath) actually supports us to flow steadily and strongly. Time to practice what we are so bad at now so that one day, someday, we can be much BETTER (hopefully) – like yoga, parenting, making systems, pivoting, need I go on? And lastly, time to just BE. Be in the mat despite how lazy it can be. Be in the moment despite how your mind flies into the unknown. Be LOVE, not fear. 💕 BREATHE. BETTER. BE. Everything’s going to be alright. 🙏🏼

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If you ask me to choose among these many roles I play, it would be a tough call. I love being an aromatherapist and helping people (especially moms), learn safe and effective use of essential oils but I also love writing and marketing! Not to forget, being a mom, too!

So how about you, mommas!? What roles do you play in your life right now? Hit me up and let’s share this journey!

Martha Beck made me cry.

I was first introduced to Martha Beck when I was scouring books from Book Sale. There was this interesting title, Finding Your Own North Star.

To say that it called out to me is an understatement.

How can it not – with a subtitle of claiming the life you were meant to live, this was totally in my zone. I was on the crossroads of leaving my corporate job and books like this one just seemed to “find” me.

My soul sang reading the book.

Later on, I found out that Martha Beck is one of the first life coaches (to her words, she did not even know that life coach was what she was called) and to Oprah at that. She has a BA, MA, and PhD from Harvard University and a mom to Adam, her son with Down Syndrome.

Then I went on a Martha rabbit hole. I listened to her Steering by Starlight and Follow your North Star audiobooks. My Audible library was full of Martha Beck.

Yesterday, I have started on a new Audible, Finding Your Way in a Wild New World. I am just on Chapter 2 and my soul vibrates so wonderfully at what I am hearing.

When Martha Beck described the MENDER in Chapter 1, I literally cried.

I have been struggling to explain to myself most of all, what I was feeling.

When I resigned from my promising corporate job, my boss asked me why. I could not answer her without sounding like what a lot of people would “brand” millennials (sorry!) –

“I am looking for my real purpose in life.”

“I just know I am not happy.”

“I don’t want to believe that this is what I am meant to do in this lifetime.”

How can these statements not sound crazy??!

Truth is, there is nothing wrong with what I was doing. Many people would want it. I loved working with the people in the office who have become my close friends, family even.

But deep inside, I know that this was not what my soul was seeking.

My husband has been supportive although I am pretty sure that he has just given up understanding my “episodes” because maybe he just succumbed to the idea that this is just how writers are – lunatics (haha! I don’t take offense because I sooo love the moon.)

Truth is, I still do not know what I want. Until Martha Beck slapped it on my face (or ears)!

This is ME through and through and I know not a lot of people would understand because it is sooo OUT THERE. But as I said, I cried hearing this because every cell in my body reverberated the words I was hearing.

• A sense of having a specific mission or purpose involving a major transformation in human experience, but being unable to articulate what this change might be. Geez, Balot. Your bio on Facebook says: I dream of making a positive impact in this world. 

• A strong sense that the mission, whatever it is, is getting closer in time. – Exponentially so when I realized how short our life is after my mom’s death and Kobe’s (yes!). You just go to work and there is a possibility that you may never come back. 

• A compulsion to master certain fields, skills, or professions, not only for career advancement, but in preparation for this half-understood personal mission. – This started, I don’t know when. Maybe when I was diagnosed with APAS. Maybe when I promised Doc Gloria that I would write a book. Maybe when I took a leap to invest in an aromatherapy certification because I was appalled by so many misinformation out there that could endanger young kids. I DON’T KNOW.

• High levels of empathy; a sense of feeling what others feel. – I cry watching sad cartoons (and the husband would totally laugh at me). I take in a lot of emotions from other people. 

• An urgent desire to lessen or prevent suffering for humans, animals, or even plants. – The Foundation that is still somewhere out there. And even if I am not totally fond of cats, I want to cry when I see one killed on the road. 

• Loneliness stemming from a sense of difference, despite generally high levels of social activity. One woman summed up this feeling perfectly when she said, “Everybody likes me, but nobody’s like me.” – Sigh. I don’t really think that somebody would understand me. I don’t even understand myself! LOL

• High creativity; passion for music, poetry, performance, or visual arts. – Yeah?

• An intense love of animals, sometimes a desire to communicate with them. – I had mice, rabbits, a monkey named Bor, dogs, cats, fishes, chickens, pigeons and lovebirds when I was growing up. And yes, maybe I have talked to them, too. 

• Difficult early life, often with a history of abuse or childhood trauma – Not so much because I had a pretty good childhood but if it is trauma in general, maybe my APAS journey?

• Intense connection to certain types of natural environment, such as the ocean, mountains, or forest. – Oceans, mountains, forest. Anything.

• Resistance to orthodox religiosity, paradoxically accompanied by a strong sense of either spiritual purpose or spiritual yearning. – Well, well, well. Here we are.

• Love of plants and gardening, to the point of feeling empty or depressed without the chance to be among green things and/or help them grow. – It is a good thing that the husband shares the love for greenery. But yes, we love our plants. 

• Very high emotional sensitivity, often leading to predilections for anxiety, addiction, or eating disorders. – Oh yes, yes, and yes!

• Sense of intense connection with certain cultures, languages, or geographic regions. – Mystified and yearning to know more about people from different cultures.

• Disability, often brain-centered (dyslexia, retardation, autism), in oneself or a loved one. – Maybe I am a little bit in the spectrum, too! I don’t know… 

• Fascination with people who have intellectual disabilities or mental illness. – I am drawn to them, yes. I remember in high school (or was that college), I kept on researching about multiple personality disorders and all these mental illnesses. The human psyche is pretty interesting. 

• Apparently gregarious personality contrasting with deep need for periods of solitude; a sense of being drained by social contact and withdrawing to “power up” again. – I “grok” well, a friend said. But I like my solitude, too. 

• Persistent or recurring physical illness, often severe, with symptoms that fluctuated inexplicably – Does my autoimmune disorder count? Recurrent migraine?

• Daydreams (or night dreams) about healing damaged people, creatures, or places. – Yes, yes, and yes!

So you see, Martha just pulled the trigger on this one. Made me even resurrect this blog with this post but I think I am on to something here and what’s more fascinating about it is that –

I am excited beyond measure. Beyond reason. That even if I don’t know the road ahead, I know I am meant to be here. And this is where He wants me to be.

 

Fringes

fringes (noun): the outer, marginal, or extreme part of an area, group, or sphere of activity.

This word just packs in so much punch for me. But this word also effs my mind up.

You know why?

Because I feel guilty that my children are just at the fringes when they should be at the center of my life.

Because I feel frustrated that the things that are important are just at the fringes as well. For some reason, i feel the need to conform to what other people expect me to do, or behave how society wants me to behave or simply because of survival. Or comfort. Or whatever.

Because I feel desolate that I am just at the fringes of everything and that actually feels like… nothing.

One question was posted in a mommy group I am in — asking how many hours do you spend on your children in a day.

And when one counts… like really, really account for everything, most of us full-time working moms get to spend only around 3 hours with our children on weekdays. 12% of a 24-hour weekday.

And how much time do we give to our marriage, our relationship? I bet it is even smaller than the percentage I cited above.

It is a sad story. It is a shitty, sad story.

It’s sad because at times like this, when confronted by an introspection that makes you question every single thing happening in your life, you feel alone.

You are alone. Fucked up in your thoughts.

Not even people who are closest to you can understand. In many cases, they would just think you are seeing the world in rose-colored glasses and can’t see the reality that fringes are normal and we just have to effin’ deal with it. Adulting, that’s just simply how it is..

Maybe. Maybe not.

At this moment, they are the most important things to me. Like spending time with my children. Like doing things that actually matter. Like wanting to be wanted and understood the way I want to be wanted and understood.

The fringes of my life. Someday, I would have the courage to turn them around.

Someday. One day…

Adios, 2018!

We now close this year and all I can say is… WOOOOOW! Days flew by like crazy and the 365th day is soon to be over.

2018 is a rollercoaster ride but it has definitely been a big improvement from 2017 when we were plagued with challenges that almost broke my spirit.

Another great blessing greeted us this year and that is the birth of my little light, Lucia Gabrielle. Her arrival completes our little family and I could not ask for anything more.

 

 

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To have one rainbow baby was already a dream come true for me and Edzel. After battling my repro-immune disorder, I never thought that I could still conceive again but as they say, at the act of our surrender and when we least expect it, God gives us unexpected blessings along the way.

That first half of the year was a blur of breastfeeding, nappy changes, and just Santiago and Lucia all the way. Motherhood never felt so raw and real and the ups and downs that came with it were all worth it.

In May, I was given the opportunity to share my story in the Philippine Daily Inquirer for their Mother’s Day Special. This was very important to me because it has been my personal advocacy to spread awareness about APAS and repro-immune disorders to hopefully save more mothers from suffering a potential heartwrenching loss.

 

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In August, with zero budget to work with and only the will and heart of several APAS ladies, we were able to hold the 1st Lay Forum on Repro-Immune Disorders. This was attended by around 180 men and women who wanted to know more about the condition and graced by five known immunologists from the Philippine Society of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology and of course, my ever-dearest perinatologist, Dr. Valerie Guinto. Early intervention and continuous efforts to spread awareness for this disorder are the things that I believe can help couples overcome this very challenging situation.

 

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My heart overflows. The 1st RID lay forum was a success. Bawi lahat ng pagod. ❣ #GetRidofRID

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At the last quarter of the year, things just really “happened” for me when it comes to the things that are really close to my heart.

Sometime around October, just before my anniversary with Young Living, I was exposed to so many things in the groups that I was part of that I did not agree with. As a naturally empathetic person, I could not sit and watch. This pushed me to educate myself further and I went down the rabbit hole so swiftly, my mind could not keep up with my heart.

I took the plunge and invested in myself to take a certification course in aromatherapy to deep-dive into the world of essential oils in an educated, scientific, and accurate approach. This happened when I was looking for a certified aromatherapist in one popular mommy group on Facebook. I was looking for someone to help me understand how to apply essential oils safely on my kids because I saw with my own two eyes, how a supposedly safely diluted blend sensitized my little sister’s skin to the point that she was crying. I could not risk that same thing to happen with my kids so I ventured out – unfortunately, I did not find any. I thought to myself, for sure I could not be the only one.

And I was not.

And so I launched my Facebook support group, Lana Lane, where I try (so desperately in my free time) to educate about the safe use of essential oils regardless of the brand that they are using. Don’t get me wrong. I loved my Young Living oils, I still do – however, I could not justify the price that I was paying for it knowing now how to choose essential oils based not on the brand but on their therapeutic benefits. But more than that, it really was the haphazard information being thrown in the group (neat application, ingestion, among others) that really turned me off. Essential oils are powerful and without the social responsibility to promote its safe use, I just could not be part of that anymore. There is a time for neat application and ingestion, yes I agree with that but it really is not for everyday use.

At around the same time, I opened my online shop again, Lana Lane PH and I was taking orders from moms who just want to test out the essential oils first or those who really do not have the time to create their own blends for their families. I am not actively promoting yet but there are big things that I am planning for this in 2019 so pleeeaasse, pray for me. 🙂

At almost this same time, I also attended a writing workshop by Kerygma and this rekindled my calling to write a book about overcoming APAS.

I promised this book to God.

I told him that I will be a testament of His immense grace when I will successfully deliver my rainbow baby.

 

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“If you take away the writing in me, then I am not me.” What a productive day. 💙

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Two babies after, I am still here.

The call has been incessant, keeping me awake at night so I finally took another plunge.  Hopefully, the book will be finished in 2019, God willing!

There are so many people God is sending my way for my dreams to finally come true.

I have met Russell Lorenzo, the owner of Casa De Lorenzo, one of the main producers of Castile soaps in the Philippines and also local essential oil distiller and he gave me that clarity that I was on the right track.

Andrea Butje, founder of Aromahead, who had been very supportive of her students. Without her school, it would not be possible for me to have a proper venue of arming myself with the right knowledge.

Karren Renz Seña, my writing coach who has been nothing but a source of courage – from the moment that she walked into the room during the Kerygma writing workshop, I knew that God sent her my way (despite not knowing what it was at that time).

Just yesterday, I also met Charm, the owner of The Cool Moms PH, a very successful online seller and Shopee pioneer who shared with me many wonderful things to make my little dreams come true.

I also had a chance to talk to Brother Arun Gogna, builder of The Feast Bellevue and a successful author and he has given me tips on how I can have a grip on the book that I am writing.

And finally, Edzel, whose silent yet unbelievably rocksteady support grounds the ever-fickle and volatile me.

I have no doubt that 2019 is my year. It has not yet started yet the optimism that the New Year brings to my heart is overflowing.

APAS Mommy for 2019

May yours be filled with everything your heart desires, too!

 

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