By her self-description, Rica Peralejo-Bonifacio is a “former TV actress turned digital content creator, now married to a pastor (Joe)” with two energetic boys Philip and Manu.
“I love talking about anything and everything under the sun, but most especially things concerning marriage, motherhood and me. My ups, downs, strengths, weaknesses, silliness, seriousness. I am big on wisdom, wellness, and looking to God as the source of, and for, both,” she exclaimed in the intro of her vlog. She is active on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Rica shared with her subscribers her pandemic fitness journey. She recounted that her metabolism was on overdrive after giving birth and she was at her lightest — 110 pounds — despite indulging in constant meals. In the first six months of the pandemic, her whole family was in the United States where she unmindfully got hooked on Netflix (there was nothing to do since the world was on lockdown), snacks, and plenty of food.
“I remember eating two dinners every night and had no regard for my sugar intake,” she confessed. By the time they were back, Rica weighed 125 pounds. So she went back to her Baron diet family, which helped her get back to healthier eating habits.
She struggled to exercise, feeling heavy and lacking energy, and settled in to accepting a 119-pound range. She told herself as long as she was healthy, not being thin enough was fine. Then the couple got COVID, which knocked them out for a month.
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“We felt the mental struggle that came with it. The feeling of being useless, weak, helpless. That’s why, when my husband and I got out of it, we resolved to move. We both felt that it was the time to change and be active again. I started with yoga,” she said. She went on a 30-day online yoga program with Adriene (who has 10.8 million subscribers on YouTube).
In her vlog documenting her one-year fitness journey, she clarified that she corrected her diet in September of 2020 and started regular workouts in April 2021. “Nothing happens overnight. So your decision today might not look like anything until after a year, but you have to trust that the little decisions you make will make a big difference someday. That is the only way to get there,” she advised.
At around the same time, Rica’s husband was committed to his own exercise: jumping rope. Intrigued, she tried jumping through the rope and got hooked herself. She enjoyed it so much that she jumped every day, sometimes for 30 minutes but most often for hours, and most often not just once but many times throughout the day.
But that wasn’t enough. Rica knew that she also had to work on her strength so she got herself a virtual one-on-one coach for strength training every other day. Her customized program is based on her fitness goals.
“Contrary to many fitness programs promoting weight loss, strength really should be the goal because strength is key. It is the doorway to your right diet, right weight, and healthier body. When you are strong enough to increase your activity, you are strong enough to say no to the things that make you unhealthy,” Rica shared.
She currently weighs 111 pounds. She eats rice and doesn’t starve herself, “But I stay away from junk, because I now feel the effects of food on my body,” she continued. Rica adds that she has shifted her goal from being thin to becoming strong. She now craves workouts that make her feel strong, extend her energy, increase her patience, and make her live well and joyfully with and for her family.
While aware of the caloric deficit strategy (aka intermittent fasting), she confessed she didn’t follow anything complicated. She just reduced her portions and remained consistent in her daily workouts. It is her firm belief that your body adapts to your commitment to be healthier; it will naturally crave more intensity and more challenge and in doing so you will be more attracted to eat healthier food and avoid those that are not so good for you.