MANILA -- Back in April 2016, Cyril Morales tipped the scales at 440 pounds. His waistline was at 60 inches, and his body fat percentage was over 60%.
At just 17 years old, “Bboy” already suffered from sleep apnea and had scary bouts of light headedness. He also needed to roll over every morning just to get out of bed.
Two years later, he has lost half of that weight and has gone from obese to a gym "beast."
In this two-part series, we explore his journey in hopes to inspire those battling the same to create their own success stories.
FROM OBESE TO A GYM BEAST
In a now viral Facebook post, Morales detailed how, as a child, people loved him for being on the heavy side. Apart from having been constantly praised as cute for his chubby cheeks, he was also often fed with anything he liked.
But things turned sour when he got bigger and older. He would get teased for being stout. His daily life activities became limited because of his size. He even needed special chairs in school.
Finally, he decided he needed to make a change. Today, at 220 pounds, Morales says he is still a work in progress. And the 6-foot teen admits that he will always be. But even so, his tremendous weight loss is already a cause for celebration and a source of inspiration.
I asked him 10 questions to find out more about his transformation from being obese to a “gym beast.”
1. What was your typical meal before you started your fitness journey?
"Oh boy, before I started my fitness journey? You could name it all. I'd eat all sorts of stuff but for sure, carbohydrates and sugar were always present. I would eat so many weird combinations, i.e. pasta with rice, bread and so much meat. I can eat a ton of fries in one sitting, three of the biggest servings from a popular brand. I would eat fast food almost every day. There was really no control."
2. What is your typical meal now?
"Today, my typical meal involves meat, fat, and lots of vegetables or fiber. I don't count calories as long as I'm eating the 'right' or food. I avoid processed food, and sugar in all forms as much as possible. I also drink black coffee which I drink with almost all my meals. I also take apple cider vinegar which aids my digestion. But I also did intermittent fasting, which for me, has really been effective.
3. What's the most difficult part of your fitness journey?
"The most difficult part of my fitness journey was starting and trusting the process. To be honest, I didn't know what I 'signed up' for when my mom and I met with my coach for the first time. Even though I really wanted to finally lose weight, I didn't really want to start. It was very difficult to trust that everything will lead to who and what I am now. But I just gave everything a shot and did what I was told to. After that, everything followed. I kept reaching my goals and sobrang sarap sa pakiramdam noon. I suddenly fell in love with fitness. I then became committed to get healthier and stronger."
4. When did you realize you really need to make a change?
"Right before college. I knew that I was already becoming an adult. 'Di na ako puwedeng i-baby ng school or ng kahit sino man. I had to grow up, learn, and deal with the reality that I was morbidly obese and I had to do something about it."
5. Who or what was your biggest motivation for your weight loss?
"My biggest motivation to lose weight really was just to fit in chairs in college. I was really scared. I'm an adult now and I can't expect the environment around me to keep adjusting to me. Everything was in my hands."
6. Name your favorite exercise or workout.
"One of my favorite memories in the gym was me doing that exercise on the machine leg press. I remember when I was just starting out, I was able to leg press over 400 pounds plus the weight of my coach. He climbed up the weights to see if I could press more than the maximum weight of the machine and I did. So I was able to leg press a total of 580 pounds."
7. Do you think fat-shaming motivates people to exercise?
"In my opinion, it doesn't. In my case, fat-shaming affected me in a way that I got hurt and I just ended up stress eating. I thought to myself, 'It's my life and I'll do whatever I want.' However, if one shows concern to a fat person in a proper or respectable manner, it could motivate him or her to exercise. The way one speaks really matters."
8. Odds are stacked against people who were obese in terms of sustaining their weight loss. What's your plan to keep the pounds off?
"My plan is to just keep going to the gym; keep surrounding myself with people that has helped me and has the same views and goals as me. In all honesty, for me, I'm really confident I could sustain my weight loss. I don't want to come out as mayabang and all, but I've truly learned. I won't ever go back."
9. What's the best part about losing weight?
"The best part is in knowing that I'll have a chance to live longer. Also, I could now experience the things I couldn't before. And I know I'd be able to experience even more things in the future."
10. Any advice for people trying to lose weight?
"Trust the process and be patient. The journey won't always be full of rainbows and butterflies, but promise, everything you'll experience – whether good or bad – will teach you.
"Also, find that one reason that will make you start and keep that in mind always. From there, it could lead to you wanting to do more, like how it did for me. Once I saw I could fit in chairs, I realized I could end up doing so much more.
"Finally, don't focus on weight loss. Focus on trying to be healthier and stronger. Focus on having a lifestyle change to sustain everything. Trying to be healthier and stronger has no end. Patuloy lang lahat."