📅20 November 2012
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By Jesse Pinkston

Cheryl Lobaton has turned her life around, losing more than 50 pounds – and keeping it off. Friends (L) Hazel Mallarca and (R) Aaron Agsalud are two of her fitness partners. (courtesy photo)

If fitness was easy, everyone would do it.  What sets others apart from the normalcy of life?  There are few people in this world who rise to the occasion of success and stare at it right in the face. Cheryl Lobaton is one of those people. She has overcome adversities such as diabetes, weight loss and poor eating habits. Get ready to be inspired.

A 33-year-old accountant from Yigo, Lobaton lived her life without much worry.

She ate what she wanted with minimal exercise. By the time she was 28, her doctor diagnosed her with Type II Diabetes.

“It still took me two years to finally accept my condition. My dad was diagnosed with Type II diabetes when he was 65-years-old and here I was being diagnosed at 28. I thought you only get [diabetes] when you get older. Boy was I wrong.  Also, my family doctor would constantly remind me to take my meds or my body will breakdown in the long run and I could possibly get dialysis, amputation, and/or lose my eyesight. Now, who wouldn’t want to change their lifestyle after hearing all that?”

Fitness Fads

Lobaton tried all the ‘fad’ diets such as Atkins and South Beach, but just like any fad, that faded away and the weight stayed.

“Looking back, I had low self-esteem and was constantly depressed. Food definitely filled the voids in my life. Not only did I have to change physically, but mentally as well.”

She avoided the gym because she felt she wasn’t “fit” enough to go. “I would tell myself that once I get ‘fit’ I’ll join a gym.  Obviously, my mental state needed an extreme make-over. Since, I was a sucker for infomercials, I purchased Tae Bo to P90X.  These videos/DVD’s still didn’t work for me, because after a week or two I was so bored. Also, I purchased a treadmill and an elliptical, again I got bored and now they’re being utilized as towel racks.”

An unhealthy 190 pounds and 35% body fat, Cheryl reached her breaking point. She needed to change her diet, or lack thereof.

“I thought that as long as I worked out that day, I deserved to eat what I wanted. I finally have nutritional meal plans that I could follow which help me to maintain my current weight and I would have to thank the Tony Morrison Program for that. Since I never committed to a diet plan before, integrating nutritional meal plans was and still is the most challenging aspect of my lifestyle change. I’ve learned that I could never go back to how and what I was eating before if I want to maintain my goal weight.”

Her progress is astounding. She is currently 135 pounds with 20% body fat – very impressive for the female body and considering where she came from.

She now exercises six days out of the week: doing lb.20/30 (circuit training) four times a week, lb. Suspend (suspension bands by TRX) once a week, lb. Explosive (Rip Trainer by TRX) once a week, and runs about twice a week. Cheryl’s instructor at The Pound, Founder Luis Blanco, has been a huge inspiration to her.

Going from being a diabetic to a marathon runner, Lobaton is a shining example of what fitness can do to improve a person’s lifestyle. (courtesy photo)

‘very driven’

“She’s a very driven person,” Blanco said. “She realized what her goals were and what she needed to do for herself to reach that healthy lifestyle. Til this day, for the last three years, she has perfect attendance for all my classes.

“Even though my classes are tough, she never made any kind of excuses, no matter what.”

“Luis Blanco (LB) pushes me to my limits and helps me to step out of my comfort zone.  Every class is different every time, so boredom is not even a thought.  Nothing is ever EASY in these classes.”  Her workout friends have also inspired her in her fitness journey, helping her become more social.

“She’s evolved from a shy girl into a very confident person,” Blanco added.

“I’ve discovered that I am a social workout person and I need to be in a setting where people are suffering or being challenged as much as I am.” Her family has been there through literally the thick and thin. “My family inspired me with their kind and sometimes not-so kind words.  Your family gives you the ugly truth whether you want to hear it or not. They just love you so much that they’ll say anything to motivate you.”

Lobaton, like many others in the fitness world has given up much of her social life and free time, but to her, it’s all worth it.

“I wouldn’t change any of it, because I’m healthier, happier, and stronger.”  Talk about stronger; Cheryl is currently training with friends to compete in the 40th Honolulu Marathon in December.

Blanco, who has seen Lobaton run her first 5K, 10K, half marathon and full marathon, said, “you see the progression and confidence that’s been instilled in her.”

It wasn’t an easy change for Cheryl, but she was committed and ready.

Lobaton peaked at 190 lbs before she made a drastic change in life. (courtesy photo)

If you are motivated and ready to give up your old lifestyle, she suggests, “try to surround yourself with positive and motivating people. Seek professional advice (fitness & nutrition). It is very important, especially if you have an existing health condition.  You don’t find the time to exercise; you MAKE the time to exercise. Lastly, do not ever SETTLE.  If you want to reach a specific goal, then go for it. Don’t let the comments of others deter you for what you want to achieve.”

It’s not easy doing what she’s doing, but it all starts with two things – work ethic and the right mind set. Anyone can do it!

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