Why Filipinos Find It Hard to Lose Weight
May 25, 2021

When it comes to fitness, Filipinos work out to lose weight. From over 120,000 Filipinos who signed up and shared their fitness goals with us in the last three months, 79% of them cited losing weight as their ultimate goal—a landslide priority over muscle gain and improved cardio. In addition to this, there was a 23% spike in ‘How to Lose Fat’ video views, highly likely as a result of  the Enhanced Community Quarantine Announcement.

A healthy Kinilaw Rice Bowl with locally sourced ingredients

Given this data, it seems to be no secret that Pinoys are willing to try out whatever will help them achieve their goal. So, we’ve listed the top 3 challenges Filipinos face when it comes to losing weight, and got advice from some of our in-house experts to help navigate through these problems: 

1. Local eating habits

It’s no secret that there is a preference for oily, heavily processed, and fatty foods. Some Filipino dishes like sisig, adobo, and lechon are packed with salt, sugar, and other flavorings, and may even be deep-fried in oil, too.

To add to that, a common bonding experience with loved ones is to share a good meal. Individual diets are usually taken out of the picture, which easily limits control over one’s eating habits. 

Solution: There’s no need to make drastic changes to one’s eating habits. A balanced meal, like binakol, ensaladang talong, or sinigang na isda, composed of protein, carbohydrates, fats, and fruits and vegetables can do the trick. Eating enough is also a must. A common misconception with weight loss is that the less one eats, the more likely they are to lose weight. This is not always the case, as this depends on the nutritional content of the particular food and you also need to take into account the urge to overeat or even binge later on, especially after depriving oneself of food. Just remember to eat a little of everything in moderation.

—Jo Sebastian, Nutritionist

2. Staying in one's comfort zone

People are creatures of habit and thrive through routines, discounting how doing the same things over and over again can lead to stagnancy. Whether it’s due to beginner’s fear or a lack of motivation to shake things up, Filipinos who are unsatisfied with their overall wellness do not consider fitness as a main priority, as opposed to their other responsibilities. One of the most common reasons for being hesitant to start new routines is not having enough time, particularly if one has to work the night shift.

Solution: Get rid of the all-or-nothing mindset, because fitness, health, and nutrition are never all or nothing. There is power in small, doable habits, whether that means meal prepping one’s breakfast, walking for five minutes every hour, or even doing short home workouts twice a week.

—Cass Salandanan, Fitness Instructor

3. Perceived cost

Another common misconception when starting a fitness journey is  that it can get expensive. People often think they need costly gym subscriptions or even fancy, imported ingredients such as quinoa and kale to set them up for success. 

Solution: If you’re lucky enough to have some free time right now and are looking for ways to start your fitness journey, now is the perfect time to do it, even from the comfort of your own home! There are tons of apps, live workouts, and ways to connect with experts nowadays. More and more recipes that creatively make use of locally grown and available ingredients are so accessible now too.

—Erwan Heussaff, REBEL Co-founder

Health is of the utmost importance at this time and living healthy need not be hard. A big part of it involves being resourceful, open-minded, and making a clear plan. Fitness is a journey, and the small steps Filipinos make today can become leaps in the future.

Download the REBEL App for free to start your health and fitness journey today.

REBEL is the #1 Health and Fitness App in the Philippines with a growing community of over 200,000 users. Made with Filipinos in mind, REBEL helps you reach your health goals any time and anywhere by combining the best of fitness, food, and wellness into one app for free.