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I am 5ft, 5inches tall. I used to be overweight at 150lbs. No joke.

I wasn’t always this way. In high school, I was a lean, mean athletic machine, keeping a consistent weight of 115-118lbs all four years. So what happened? America happened. I moved to New York for college, got a job that allowed me to afford expensive meals, became a foodie, ate all that American deep fried food, finished American portions, stress-ate, didn’t exercise, drank at least 2 venti-sized cups of coffee per day and voila! Fat Julienne. Please don’t laugh at the photos.


From May 17 2008. I am the one on the left, in black, which is supposed to be slimming but I look pregnant. On the right is my friend Tiffany.

The funny thing is, I never thought I was fat because Americans were so much bigger. Despite all this weight gain, I remained a size Small to Medium. I thought I was fine. In hindsight, some of my body problems back then were probably because of my weight. I had a slight knee thing (not a sickness, not an injury but a “thing”) from years of high impact volleyball training but this “thing” became worse when I was in New York. I would have swollen knees and would feel pain when navigating New York’s famous city streets and subways. It never occurred to me that it was because my joints were creaking under the weight. Now it makes sense though because I don’t feel that pain anymore. Now it’s just a knee “thing” again. Thankfully.


Taken at a restaurant overlooking Central Park. I can’t remember the exact date. But around August 2008.

Anyway, I moved home in August 2008 and was bombarded with “you’re fat” comments from family, friends and relatives. Filipinos really have nothing better to say sometimes but I guess they were right. Still, it hurt to hear. The worst though was shopping, I could never fit into any of the Asian sizes. The Asian Large is an American Small. It didn’t take long for me to move out of my house and into Gold’s Gym.

Fat Photo

Here I am, Dad’s birthday celebration August 26 2008. A few days after I arrived in Manila.

I know it doesn’t sound like much but coming from years of unhealthy living in America, going back into the Filipino lifestyle (portions, food, humidity, sweating, criticism, Asian sizes, etc) really helped the pounds shed off. I’m a walking example that America’s dietary system is really not good. All those huge portions and deep fried food are probably laden with additives and other unhealthy chemicals that lead to weight gain. No matter how bad our sisig is, their burgers are worse, I think. Our white rice is much healthier than their pizzas and pastas.

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3 Responses to Diet Diaries Ch1: The issue of Weight

  1. melencio says:

    i like your hair color at black, parang may something that i can’t explain, but you more look like an american when you have your brownish colored hair?

  2. rissa says:

    Hi Oyen
    I saw you when you were really young, I think in your house then at San Antonio Village. The last time I saw you was you were with your Mom as she was one of the godmothers of my eldest daughter, Erika.
    You know this entry really hit me. I also used to be thin but when I moved to Australia, I put on too much weight. I guess I was also in denial that I was fat because I was always a size 12. But the problem started when I had a hard time shopping for clothes in Manila.
    Now, I also feel something different in my left knee. I was thinking it is probably due to my curl position in bed as we are in winter. But then my husband said no, your knee is having a hard time to carry your body. It is really high time that I have to something, for my sake.
    Thank you so much for sharing about this – indeed, you are an inspiration.


    • Julienne says:

      Weight is always a touchy subject for any female. Thank you Ms. Rissa for sharing your situation as well. I went to therapy for my knee and it helped. Something to do with posture to ease the impact on my kneecaps. Perhaps you could do the same?

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