Why Pinoys find it hard to lose weight

Posted at 01/15/13 1:21 PM

MANILA, Philippines – It’s hard to stay slim in the Philippines, admitted fitness coach Chappy Callanta, as he noted Filipinos’ love for high-calorie dishes.

Callanta, who is the owner of 360 Fitness Club in Makati and the personal trainer of Kris Aquino’s eldest son Josh, shared that this is one of the reasons most Filipinos find it hard to lose weight, citing his experience with friends and clients.

Josh lost more than 90 pounds in less than a year with the help of Callanta’s specialized program, which involves weight lifting, suspension training, push-ups and pull-ups, and a balanced diet.


Here are Callanta’s top five, as mentioned in an episode of Aquino’s morning talk show on ABS-CBN, “Kris TV”, which was aired recently:

1. Eating habits

Callanta said Filipinos like eating dishes that are not only packed with calories, but also with sugar and salt. These range from fast food to native fare such as chicharon and lechon, different types of sweet drinks and sticky rice cakes.

And the worst part is Filipinos tend to skip meals then binge a lot afterwards, which greatly affects their metabolism, he said.

“When that happens, your metabolism goes haywire,” he explained.

While it is hard to cut calories, Callanta said it is possible.

“What’s better to do is lessen ‘yung hidden calories, ‘yung mga iniinom natin na mga instant juice, iced tea, softdrinks. Nakatago kasi ‘yung mga sugars doon eh. Better to just drink natural, like water or fruit juices,” he said.

2. Fear of exercise

Most Filipinos are dissatisfied about their weight and appearance, but they usually do not do something about it, said Callanta, who noted how they are “afraid” to go to the gym or try a new exercise routine.

“Feeling nila hindi nila kaya,” he said. “Kasi mga Filipinos, ‘ayoko niyan, tinatamad ako’ or ‘ayoko ‘yan, ‘di ko ‘yan kaya.’”

Aside from being embarrassed to go to the gym, some Filipinos are afraid to get hurt while exercising, noted Callanta.

“‘Yung iba, natatakot din masaktan,” he said.

To counter this, Callanta advised Filipinos to focus on what a workout program can do for them.

“Think about kung anong pwedeng maibigay niya sa iyo na advantage if you exercise. You get to lose weight, you get to be stronger,” he said.

Others, meanwhile, are not determined enough to fit exercise into their schedule.

3. Refusal to step out of comfort zone

While some Filipinos are afraid to try a new exercise program because they think they could not do it, others are just too lazy to step out of their comfort zone, Callanta said.

“[Sasabihin nila] ‘Sanay ako ng 9 to 5 nagtatrabaho and then movie agad, ayaw nilang mag-add ng something different,” he said.

Callanta added: “[‘Yung iba sasabihin] ‘Ang init na nga sa Pilipinas mage-exercise ka pa.’”

Just like fear, laziness can be countered by sheer determination to lose weight and stay healthy, he said.

“Again, it’s more of a choice,” Callanta said.

4. Money issues

Callanta said Filipinos who are neither afraid nor lazy to exercise may fit in this category – those who do not want to spend money on fitness.

He stressed the importance of investing on exercise as this will increase one’s life expectancy, among others.

“[Sasabihin nila] ‘Mahal ‘yung gym, gusto ko na lang kumain, gusto ko na lang magbulakbol.’ It’s an investment. You increase your life expectancy, tatagal ka sa mundong ito,” he explained.

Callanta added that one does not need to go to the gym, saying that buying a pair of running shoes can already be considered an investment.

“You can actually do small things that you don’t have to go to the gym anymore,” he said.

5. Lack of knowledge

Others, meanwhile, simply do not know the importance of becoming fit and healthy, Callanta said.

“Walang alam, walang information. You should educate yourself,” he said, adding that one can start with reading articles online.

But this came with a warning: “If you are going to read online, be careful because most of the stuff online came from the US. Ang problema sa US, they’re bigger than us, so iba ang requirements nila from the Filipinos.”

The safest bet, he said, would be to get tips from a good fitness trainer.