To what does Gil Perez credit this change? No sugar and bad carbs, a lot of commitment, and a little self-love

By Eric Nicole Salta | Photos courtesy of Gil Perez

It must be difficult for someone like Gil Christian Perez, 25, to always watch what he eats. After all, when your family business involves serving Filipino and Chinese food, appreciating as much flavors as you can is imperative. Not that working in the food industry automatically means gaining weight eventually. But that was the unfortunate case for Perez who not only felt the effects of sugar and bad carbs on his body, but also on his skin. Thankfully, a “never settle for less” attitude has helped this Baguio-based restaurant manager confront his fears, drop down from 171 lbs to 138 lbs, and turn into a beach club #fitspo everyone can look up to.

Tell us about your weight and body image struggles. When did it become a problem?

After graduating at the University of Baguio, I started gaining weight and breaking out on my face and body. I felt ugly and fat to the point that my friends and relatives noticed my negative change. It became a problem when I started losing my self-esteem and confidence, which made me depressed and sad.

What was it like the first time you attempted to become fitter?

My first attempt to be fitter was a complete 360-degree change; it was very difficult because you need three things to become fit. First is commitment. You need to adjust your schedule to have time for exercise; second is discipline, especially with your food intake and lastly, self-determination, which is the most important.

What was the biggest struggle: food, exercise or temptation? What has been the greatest obstacle?

For me the biggest struggle is food because my family is bonded by the love of food. I was raised to eat delicious food. And working in our restaurant and bakeshop opens me to a lot of temptation and cravings. Moreover, it’s difficult to maintain your diet when your traveling. The greatest obstacle for me is avoiding and giving up the food I like, which are sugary products and bad carbs.

What is your workout regimen like?

I do my workout at home every other day. After a warm-up, I do a 15- to 20-minute run then light weightlifting, crunches, ab exercises and finally some cool-down stretches.

Now that you’ve achieved quite a lot, how do you plan to maintain it? What are your next goals?

I plan to maintain it by allotting time for exercise, eating healthy, and resting well. My next goals are to inspire and influence others to have a healthy lifestyle and to have my own restaurant that serves healthy and organic food.

You said there were moments when you felt down. What kept you motivated?

Yes, being bullied for being fat and having a lot of acne made me sad and depressed. There was a time that I didn’t even want to attend social gatherings anymore because I was embarrassed of my appearance and was afraid to be teased by my friends. What motivated me is, truthfully, myself. For me, the greatest motivation comes within you; this is the drive to make yourself better.

Aside from your exercise routine, what specific changes to your lifestyle have you made that works for you?

Sleeping early and getting at least eight hours of it, preparing my food and planning meals., investing in food supplements, and time management

What’s the biggest misconception about people wanting to lose weight or build muscle?

Fasting and not eating well. Our body needs fuel. If you deprive it, the body will go into survival mode and will burn calories slower, slowing down your metabolism. This will result in weight gain. If you want to lose weight, consume healthy food and always eat at the right time. Lastly, the biggest misconception when we want to build muscle is when we exercise every day. Our body needs rest and recovery to repair the muscle and avoid muscle catabolism.