By: Danee Liz
We all have various reasons for getting fit-to get a confidence boost to ask that girl out, to finally don those slim-fitting pants, or to stay away from health scares that come with age. For Nelson Caparas, his initial drive came from wanting to dance. This 27-year-old copywriter used to weigh 240 lbs. The product of bad eating habits, he remembers that he began gaining weight as early as 11 years old when he developed the habit of eating instant noodles, processed meat, and junk food as his go-to snacks. It didn’t help that he had too much access to his mom’s sari-sari store. The unfortunate outcome: the pounds kept piling on until his 3rd
year in college.
THE WAKE-UP CALL
Caparas realized he needed a change when, unfazed by his weight, he decided to follow his passion for dancing. He auditioned for his university’s dance group, but was out before the final leg of auditions. He blamed his lack of conditioning. “I knew it was my fault because I knew I lost my
energy even before reaching the final stages of the auditions.” He then finally decided to get serious about losing weight.
Caparas tried a series of diets, and he even got to a point where he starved himself trying the most extreme of “cleansing” diets. “The first time I tried the lemonade detox. it was dreadful. Technically, you‘re not eating anything while you’re on the program and for someone who loves food, it was very difficult.“
Realizing that fad diets weren’t the way to go, Caparas knew that he had to be more meticulous with his food choices. But as a self confessed foodie, he knew it would take a lot of will power. Still, he started cutting out chips in his diet. He also decided to go cold turkey on sodas and other sweetened drinks.
In August 2006, Caparas finally made it to his school’s cheerdancing team. With dance practice everyday and a clean diet to follow, he lost 50 lbs in less than six months. When people began noticing, it motivated him more. “From the day I lost 50 lbs, I promised myself I would never go back to how I was before.”
Caparas was determined in improve his progress. And he covered all his fitness and nutrition bases in detail. “I kept a clean diet and always made sure that I ate healthy. I also read the nutrition facts before I purchased my snacks. I exercised everyday, and didn’t just stop training.” It was a gradual process that required patience and perseverance, that’s why Caparas continued to tweak his diet until he got results that he was looking for. “I only reached a normal BMI (Body Mass Index) in 2010 when I cut rice from my diet and stuck with vegetables, fruits, and lean meat.”
Even after finishing his degree and landing a job, Caparas’ dedication didn’t waver, as he wanted to keep being healthy. To this day, he stays on the path toward his fitness goals and chooses not to be derailed. Caparas keeps the pounds at bay by frequenting the gym but fine-tunes his workouts to steer clear of plateaus. “At present, I’m focusing on compound exercises and work out three times a week,” he says.
When it comes to his meal plan, his day starts with either a healthy serving of muesli and soya bean extract or two hard-boiled eggs. Brunch is an egg sandwich on wheat bread or apples with nuts. For lunch, it’s a combo of steamed broccoli, carrots, and chicken breast or wheat pasta with pesto. Then, he goes back to muesli for dinner. “Aside from muesli, I eat oatmeal and rolled oats and just add fresh fruits for flavor.” Caparas also never forgets to “drink 15-20 glasses of water a day, and more when working out” to have a well-hydrated system.
Today, Caparas couldn’t be more pleased with what he can do, thanks to
all the sustained hard work he already put in. “Right now, I’m sticking with
what works for me. I don’t have to starve myself to lose weight but in fact,
I have to eat more to lose more. I just eat the right kind of food this time.“
Thanks to Men’s Health Philippines for featuring my story. And of course, thanks to Mr. Lamar Roque for assistance, Mr. Migs Castro for the awesome photograph, and Miss Danee Liz for a very well written article. You guys are great! :)
Don’t forget to grab a copy of Men’s Health magazine; they are celebrating their 8th year this month (Dingdong Dantes and Bea Alonzo are on the cover). ;)