Samantha De Leon is no stranger to social media heat and body shaming, but how she used the negative energy as motivation for her weight loss journey is inspiring.
Just like the rest of us who wanted to join in on the fun on TikTok, Samantha De Leon started joining the app to share her love for BTS. 10 months later, she amassed 1.2 million followers and a blue check next to her name.
With Sammie’s popularity on TikTok, she was excited to share her abundance of official merch with her followers. Sometimes, she’ll post dancing videos and edits just as any normal person with a TikTok would do. But one of her viral TikToks was of her weight loss journey.
“I’ve worked out before, but not as heavily as I did over quarantine. I started around mid-March,” she says in an interview with NYLON Manila. “It was actually because I got a lot of hate on TikTok—people started calling me fat and a pig, so it affected me a little bit. I actually looked in the mirror and I wasn’t happy with how I looked. I also wanted to feel good about my body and the way I looked so I decided to start living a healthier lifestyle.”
While TikTok gave her a platform to share her interests, it was also an avenue for people to freely criticize her. And sometimes, it became personal. “I still had haters wherein they’d tell me to ‘breathe’ even if I was breathing in all my videos. Social media now is really toxic. It seems like everything you do isn’t enough,” she says.
Determined to feel good about herself again, Sammie worked out and tried different types of diet to lose weight. “I was 45 lbs. heavier before I started this journey, and I was being called a pig. After I lost 45 lbs., I still got hated on and people were telling me to exhale for having a flat stomach. So, I learned not to listen to anyone anymore and just did what felt right and made me happy with how I looked,” she says.
HOW SHE LOST WEIGHT
Sammie shared that her fitness journey wasn’t always a smooth-sailing one. In hopes to inspire other people to do it for themselves and not for the validation of others, she nonetheless detailed the ups and downs of her weight loss journey. “When I first started, my workout routine consisted of 100 reps of 8 different exercises, but now, I’ve been sticking to Chloe Ting videos. I try my best to stick to whatever works for me,” she shares.
“I also started to go on an unhealthy diet in the beginning. I only ate oatmeal, drank water, and had no food after 6:00 PM. I was really hard on myself. Sometimes I would eat little to no food every day, and then I’d exercise. It was really bad, but now I’m still trying to stick to nothing after 6:00 PM and trying out the calorie deficit diet.”
While most people would feel discouraged when changes in their body don’t start in an instant, Sammie kept going. “I started seeing changes after 60 days (2 months) of sticking to what I did—exercising every day, eating oatmeal only, and really restricting myself from eating sweets and anything that has a high amount of sugar.”
Admittedly, Sammie wasn’t always kind to herself, but she’s actively trying to do better. “One thing I would tell my former self would be, “It doesn’t matter if you’re 45 lbs. heavier or 45 lbs. lighter. As long as what you’re doing is for the betterment of yourself and your mental health.” She adds, “I wish you would stop listening to the judgment of other people because it’s their own insecurities talking. I wish you would learn to love yourself and what you look like because you shouldn’t change for anybody but yourself.”
Sammie also has advice for those who want to start a healthier lifestyle. She says, “Nothing good comes easy! It’s still taking me a while to get to my desired weight and the way I want my body to look. All it takes is hard work and dedication if you really want it. Also, don’t let anyone dictate how you should and shouldn’t look. Change for yourself and only yourself.”