Regina Belmonte, 32-year-old freelance writer, former magazine and newspaper editor, and partner at UNKNWN, CC:Concepts, and Futur:st.
Favorite beaches in the world?
Tao Philippines' Camp Ngey Ngey is probably my happiest place, but Coron in general gives me so much joy. Entalula Island in El Nido is gorgeous. Amanpulo's absurd stretch of white sand is stunning, but surprisingly, Boracay (Station 1!) still stands out for me.
Standard beach drink?
Water! Lots and lots of water. It's important to stay hydrated. But if it's there, I won't say no to a cold glass of freshly-squeezed dalandan juice.
What would you like to share about your own body confidence journey?
I spent too much of my life hating my body. The last time I was skinny was before puberty, and it was all pretty much downhill on the weighing scale for me from there. For someone who has always had self-esteem issues and a negative self-image, having an atypical body type — especially since I was surrounded by thin friends — was so hard. I tried all manner of things to try to look like everyone else, because I really believed that all my problems would go away if I were thin, and I would finally be happy.
The worst was in late 2015/early 2016, after I got diagnosed with clinical depression and at the height of my body dysmorphia. I barely ate. I went from my then average weight of 130lb to 112lb. Everyone kept telling me how great I looked and how skinny I was, but I can't remember actually feeling happy. Nothing had really changed except my dress size and the number on the scale. It certainly didn't change how I felt about myself; I was just tired all the time. And looking back on the photos from that time period, I looked so skeletal and ill, it's a little alarming that nobody but my family picked up on how unhealthy I actually was and tried to coax me back into a healthy lifestyle.
I managed to get my mental health back together. I gained most of the weight back, but then over time, I lost a fair bit of it again in a healthy way — some exercise, and intermittent fasting. I'll never have a flat stomach, and I'm still curvier than a lot of women, but I've come to terms with that, and I'm learning to like it.
I'd rather have my cheese and chocolate and carbs (in moderation) and a smile on my face, than be starving just to be told I'm beautiful. I don't need anybody to tell me that anyway. I know I am.
What is your favorite part of your body and why?
I have great eyes, but I also have a great rack. Haha! I've noticed that those are the two places guys tend to look.
But really, I love my hands. They're a musician's hands, although I don't play.
Who in the world inspires you to love yourself?
My mom. Greatest woman on earth.
All time favorite life motto?
I haven't really got one, but I came across this late last year and really loved it. It's from Alan Watts:
“You’re under no obligation to be the same person you were 5 minutes ago.”