PH in the Pink of Health » Manila Bulletin Lifestyle


How to lose one million pounds as a nation


By Cheshire Que, RND, RN, RD

Fit Filipinos Coaches Jim and Toni Saret with the Philippine National Police supporting the nationwide movement

A healthy individual makes a better citizen. Collectively, healthy citizens make a greater nation. This year, wellness and lifestyle coaches Jim and Toni Saret, spearheaded the biggest on-ground and online fitness campaign in the country—The Fit Filipino (FitFil) One Million Lbs. National Weight Loss Challenge.

“We want Filipinos to see that getting fit and healthy can be easy and fun when you have the whole nation rallying together for this cause,” said Coach Jim Saret.

We live in an obesogenic society that favors us Filipinos to be overweight and obese. Both conditions are associated with increased risk of developing lifestyle-related illnesses such as heart diseases, diabetes, and cancer. When a family member is afflicted with a serious medical condition, it affects their socio-economic background.

According to the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) director Mario V. Capanzana, “Three in 10 Filipinos are overweight or obese. Of these three, one overweight adult can be found in the National Capital Region.”

Losing weight has never been as easy as a walk in the park. You may have tried countless strategies, which were futile. Quit complicating things. Don’t get into restrictive fad diets or strenuous workouts that overly exhaust you. Go for something that is realistic and sustainable.

“Wellness starts with the little changes in our lifestyle choices. We can start with better eating habits or a simple four-minute workout daily,” said Coach Toni Saret.

The Philippine Heart Association, one of the first organizations that pledged support to the FitFil Movement, emphasizes that prevention is still the best step to be in tip top shape. PHA president Dr. Raul Lapitan shared PHA’s 52100 Health Lifestyle:

Five daily servings of fruits and vegetables

Two hours of screen time

One hour of exercise daily

Zero sugary sweets

Zero smoking

For most individuals, making little dietary changes is easier than incorporating exercise into their lifestyle. Reasons may range from lack of time to not knowing the first thing on how to begin an exercise program.

Let me share some of the tips I have applied in my own wellness journey. I used to be a couch potato until I had no choice but to get physically active because of genetic predisposition and of course aging is inevitable.

  1. Never compare your progress to anyone but yourself. Aim for progression and not perfection,
  2. Start slowly and gradually increase the intensity, frequency, and duration as you build more strength and stamina.
  3. Schedule your exercise and stick to it like you would to an important meeting. It is your “me” time.
  4. Be mindful about your movement. Incorporate physical activities into your schedule throughout the day. Take the stairs, carry grocery bags, walk in place while watching TV or after eating.
  5. Break your exercise routine into 10 to 15-minute intervals, three times a day on your busiest days. That includes taking a 10-minute walk before or after meals.

The possibilities are endless. You just have to be determined and creative in exercising.

The Philippine Medical Association (PMA) president Dr. Irineo Bernardo III encourages everyone to join the Fit Filipino Movement. “Obesity needs to be addressed. Proper nutrition and fitness can reverse that,” said Dr. Bernardo.

It is the movement’s vision to have one million fit Filipinos by 2020. In order to achieve that, the first step is to challenge the Filipinos to “donate” and pledge to lose one million lbs. as a nation in six months. Program will start on June 5 and runs until Dec. 5. Registration is free. If you wish to be part of the biggest national weight loss challenge in the country, visit or inquire at select Robinsons Supermarket outlets.;;Instagram@cheshirequerdn

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