“As if on cue, the proverbial gym rat scurried to the scene and bit me. And I need not be recuperated anytime soon.”


Self Portraits at Canggu, Bali | Indonesia

The curtains in my room perfectly shielded me from chronological distress. I woke up before noon, sprawled across my bed with a notebook and pen still in hand. Unfortunately, I fell asleep planning out my itinerary for the week in yet another solo adventure in a foreign land.

Groggily, I stood up and slowly adjusted myself to the blinding light and that nauseous guilt of waking up late. It didn’t help that a Hindi couple in the heat of a third party argument was also blasting from around the corner. I forgot to turn off the television. A funny childhood habit I realized to fend off night monster as if the latter’s afraid of white noise and flickering lights.

Anyway, rather than wallowing in a pit of anxiety over an unfinished itinerary. I forcibly chose to focus on the positive and more relaxed side of travel. So I went out, grabbed lunch from the villa’s restaurant, and decided to spend a good part of the day by the pool area in a cutesy suit.

Perhaps intoxicated by a bowl of assorted fruits and the tropical heat, I shot a couple of self-timed portraits to pass the time on my second day in Bali. My tan from weeks of lame attempt in acing my swimming lessons at an army gym definitely scored a smile from me. Not to mention, these photos subjected me to a much-sought self-reflection then.

See, I was happy but covertly unsatisfied with the effort (or lack thereof) that I’m exerting in taking care of my body. I primarily relied on food and cardio, which were often misdirected holy compass of what’s good or not. I avoided junk food and soda like the plague. But that left a gaping hole. Because I knew my body hasn’t been pushed and challenged yet to its wondrous strength and limits.

And I knew my body hasn’t been pushed and challenged yet to its wondrous strength and limits.

So, gradually, as if guided by some meddling deity, those badminton and swimming lessons suddenly led me to my first rock climbing experience. Outdoor, no less. And it has been a positive trajectory from there as I begin to pursue that leisure activity weekly with Alex. Weekly or as much as we can, as life gets in the way. Or we need to break the monotony of our routine.

I was physically weak. Our early wall climbing and bouldering days proved that. Hilariously weak as we would throw into fits of laughter with my inability to solve even some of the lowest graded problems then. Though he’s way ahead in strength and stamina, Alex was extremely patient with me as a struggling belay partner. But there’s indeed a need to keep up. Because climbing is about showing trust in each other’s strength.

As if on cue, the proverbial gym rat scurried to the scene and bit me. And I need not be recuperated anytime soon.

Only a year went by. And the rest of my body wellness journey, I should say is still a beautiful story unfolding with constant tales of frustration, gratification, and personal development.

And oh I am undeniably happy with the process.



Either on the streets or top of the mountains. Jil is a hodophile and a storyteller in pursuit of colors.


  1. Love your writing, you have a talent for storytelling doll! You look gorg! But kudos on making the change and trying to be healthier than you are now. I’ve recently taken up a workout routine as well! I figured it was about time to get off the couch lol. I still would like to make the transition with my diet as well, but I’m a stubborn gal and sometimes a soda kind of hits that ‘refreshing’ spot. I’d love to know how you’ve curbed your cravings! Thanks for sharing with us doll!

    Des | https://www.itsbetterinheels.com

    • Jil Diamante Reply

      Aw. Thank you for your warm comment. I appreciate it dearly. Regarding diet, it’s no easy feat indeed! It helped a lot to surround myself with like-minded individuals who value healthy lifestyle as well. We would have this sort of quarter or year long pact of good eating/drinking habits. Say for fast food, we do it on a quarterly basis; with junk food, we only binge during January then refrain from any chips for the rest of the year. With soda, I haven’t had any since 3 or 4 years ago I think. It’s a little rigid but once you get the momentum going and the fear of your accountability buddies lashing out on you, it’s pretty positive reinforcement from there.

      It’s perfectly normal to fall off the wagon but just make sure to pull yourself back up and thrive on sustainability. Good luck on your journey!

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