Birthday, Book & “Baywang” (Why We Need to Watch our Waistline)

Birthday, Book & “Baywang” (Why We Need to Watch our Waistline)

Sep 07, 2016

Birthday and Book

I just had one amazing birthday. It was not a milestone one with fanfare but it was a wonderful celebration of me!

Last week I decided to check in at Taal Vista Hotel for four nights to fast track the writing of my next book. After the third night I started missing my boys but the exercise of writing every single day with minimum distractions proved very helpful. Moreover, chunks of alone time also make you reflect and get to know yourself more. If there’s anyone we need to really know very well, that should be ourselves, so I recommend a good amount of alone time at least once a year.

The plan was for the boys and my siblings and in-laws with their families to come have birthday lunch with me in Tagaytay on Sunday. But on the eve of my birthday at around 6:30 pm, my husband Marvin arrived ahead with a bouquet of flowers and a surprise gift. Now that was lovely!

Writing my next book with Taal as my view; Surprise treat on the eve of my birthday; My sisters and I; Fausto & Fres families at Marcia Adams, Tagaytay

My oldest son Martin was the one who invited and arranged the lunch in a quaint place called Marcia Adams, a taste of Tuscany in Tagaytay, complete with theme for our outfit.

On our return home we heard mass at our parish. In our parish, the priest would call the celebrators for special blessings – usually on the first Sunday for birthday, and on the third Sunday for wedding anniversary. It’s interesting to note that in August when the wedding anniversary celebrators were called, there were only a few of us who came forward. On the other hand, last Sunday I was joined by a lot of September babies. While August may be an unpopular month to start anything because it’s perceived as the ghost month, December seems to be a preferred time to conceive babies. I was pleased to have the canonization of Mother Teresa fall on my birthday. She’s probably the only one who had been called a saint even before her canonization. For us born before September 5, 1997, we witnessed how she lived her life and earned the title The Living Saint.

On the following day, a group of friends arranged a lunch to sawa birthday celebration for me. I’ve been regularly seeing this group of moms for the last 14 years, since my youngest son Anton was in Prep. We’ve seen each other through thick and thin, quarterly exams, graduations, ACET, UPCAT, etc. We’ve shared hundreds of stories about our children, husbands, careers, challenges, and many more.

When I say through thick and thin, I also mean that literally. We’ve seen some get pregnant, gain and lose weight, then gain and lose it again. At the end of our long lunch, we “signed a pact” to do something about it. We made it more exciting by agreeing on an end date. Our group’s movie enthusiast who cries even while watching comedy but can also manage to laugh at the most stressful times of life, Bebet, is turning gold in six months. We convinced her to have a Bollywood-themed party and here’s the big project: To lose inches around the waistline in time for the event!

Of course the initial reaction was “No! I can’t do that, etc.” but in the end we agreed to just do it! Just like love, “It’s better to have tried and failed than not to have tried at all.”

A birthday lunch arranged by my Ateneo mom friends; Awesome orchid cake that looks so real; 5Bs pact with my friends in time for Bollywood party
A birthday lunch arranged by my Ateneo mom friends; Awesome orchid cake that looks so real; 5Bs pact with my friends in time for Bollywood party

Why Baywang?

I have always been a believer in simplifying things in order to make it more sustainable. Some use the weighing scale. Some use the BMI (Body Mass Index), which is computed as weight in kilograms divided by your height in meters squared.

For me, I just watch one measurement – waistline. Here are some of the reasons why.

1. At first, it was all about vanity. You have limited outfit choices when your waistline is equal to or bigger than your hips (and chest).

2. The waistline is the single best marker of high-risk internal fat. The BMI does not give you a measurement of fat nor does it give you information about the distribution of fat in your body.

3. A big waistline signals too much visceral fat, the fat around our abdominal cavity where important organs    such as liver, pancreas and intestines are located. This fat plays a dangerous role affecting how our hormones function.

4. We all need some amount of visceral fat but according to numerous health studies, too much of it increases our risks for the following:

a. Type 2 diabetes
b. Heart disease
c. Breast cancer
d. Colorectal cancer
e. Alzheimer’s disease
f. Musculoskeletal disorders

5. Watching your weight is not very effective to me because sometimes I gain weight just because I’ve been drinking too much. On the other hand, a few pounds less registered on your weighing scale might just mean you’re dehydrated. Besides, muscle weighs more than fat.

6. It is easier to carry around your measuring tape compared to a weighing scale.

7. The waistline increase is not easily observable by the people around you, especially when you know how to choose your outfits. It takes a while before your arms, legs, face and chin start adding fat that others can notice. By that time, it means you’ve increased your waistline significantly and you might need Cohen or other sorts of programs to rescue you. So watch the waistline and you will nip in the bud unwanted weight gain.

Stick to one measurement for easy recall: WAISTLINE
Stick to one measurement for easy recall: WAISTLINE

My project with my mommy group is called 5Bs – Balik Bewang para sa Bollywood Birthday ni Bebet. We agreed to do the following:

*Take current waistline minus desired waistline by March divided by 5 (instead of 6 to make room for Christmas and other challenges)

*The result is the reduction in waistline that we should achieve per month. Example: 31 – 26 = 5 / 5 = 1 inch per month.

To achieve this, we will fix our diet (not an abrupt one but a doable one as some of us still want our rice!) and incorporate exercise. Note that 80% of the result will come from diet and only 20% from exercise.

It’s also a society problem

Do you know that obesity is a growing problem all over the world? In the US more than 2 out of 3 adults are considered overweight and obese according to the National Health & Nutrition Survey done in 2009-2010.

The Philippines is not far behind. Oftentimes, on Sundays I have this queer habit of observing people who receive communion in church. I count with my fingers how many have protruding abdomens. My estimate for the last three years of this unscientific survey is that around 30% of Filipinos are abdominally obese.

Check this out. According to the National Nutrition Survey of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) their 2013 survey results state that 3 out of 10 Filipinos are obese! This was a big jump from the 16.6% in 1993. When I saw this, I was happy and marveled at my survey skills! But on second thoughts, I was also sad to realize this phenomenon.

Why so?

The reason for this rise is the change in lifestyle. Our diet has become too processed, salty, high in carbs and sugar, and not taken at proper time. This is coupled with lack of exercise and sleep. And I think we also have to point out this social factor. We have tiptoed around hurting health-challenged people. See, even I refused to just say the word. At least I didn’t say “healthy” (or malusog) which is absolutely the wrong term to use! Okay let me say it: FAT! Yes, we have become too cautious in saying fat and come up with all sorts of euphemisms. Nobody can dare say, “Uy ang taba mo na?” without the risk of losing that friend. Nobody says, “I think you have to stop eating now.” even as we see someone eating as if he were in an eating contest. But we can easily say, “Stop smoking! That’s bad for your health!” “Don’t drink too much, take care of your liver!”

So what do we do with this? I think we can start by choosing from among our family and dear friends. Choose the ones you really love and would understand that you’re reminding them not to insult them but to help them care for themselves. It’s not an easy task but showing love always takes risk.

Guidelines for Your Preferred Waistline

I heard from Dr. Oz a long time ago that our waistline should never go beyond twice our height. So it goes like this. If you are 5’3” (or 63 inches) in height, your waistline should never go beyond 31.5. However, this is the maximum and should not be the goal.

For women like me who have given birth a number of times the task is even greater to go back to the original waistline. Aside from the normal weight gain that goes with aging, there’s also what a gym instructress once told me, “It’s extra skin due to pregnancy!” Nonetheless, we can either look for excuses or work to achieve a realistic goal.

First let’s take our Waist-to-Height Ratio (WHR).

WHR = Waistline divided by Height
Example: If your waistline is 26.5 inches and your height is 5’3” it will be 26.5 divided by 63 = 0.4206 times 100 = 42.06%

Below is a table that shows you reference points to help you set your your waistline goals.


So take your pick and commit to it. Add some fun by asking family and friends to join you and set a deadline, hopefully a happy event. I hope I have convinced you to watch your waistline not just for vanity but for health reasons. Let’s break up with our love handles and say hello to our healthier and sexier selves!



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Rose Fres Fausto is a speaker and author of bestselling books Raising Pinoy Boys and The Retelling of The Richest Man in Babylon (English and Filipino versions). Click this link to read samples – Books of FQ Mom Rose Fres Fausto. She is a Behavioral Economist, Certified Gallup Strengths Coach and the grand prize winner of the first Sinag Financial Literacy Digital Journalism Awards. Follow her on Facebook and You Tube as FQ Mom, and Twitter & Instagram as theFQMom.

ATTRIBUTIONS: Photos from the author, her friends,,,,,,,,, put together to deliver the message of the article.

Karen’s Sweet Kitchen sample cakes found in her FB page or you can order through cellphone 0918-9215038. Information on waistline and obesity from, Diabetes.Co.UK.