Being Fit


Every time I’m with friends who haven’t seen me for a while, they always remark that I’ve lost weight and have become leaner. I quite understand because from a high of 176 lbs. three years ago I am now at 148 lbs. — achieved a year ago and practically stabilized there — and I can say that I am now physically fit.

My friends ask me why I decided to undergo the transformation and I jokingly reply that I wanted to have abs like Derek Ramsay’s, but then I tell them seriously that I was “de-risking”: removing the risks associated with health in my lifestyle.

For one, I am genetically predisposed to a host of diseases. I’ve had relatives from both sides of the family get afflicted with and sometimes die from cardiovascular diseases. My mom is diabetic and one of my uncles died of esophageal cancer.

Second, I was living an unhealthy lifestyle: unli-rice, bottomless soft drinks, chicharon and lechon kawali, drinking, and also a smoker to boot ever since early college days. I was 176 lbs. for person 5’8” in height — very much overweight.

But what really made me turn around was a visit to this rich person with a big house, nice cars — the works. But he was already in a wheelchair when I saw him, paralyzed because of a stroke — when he was supposed to be in the prime of live. It struck me that no matter how rich you are, one cannot really enjoy all of your wealth, much less live life to the full, if you aren’t healthy. Money didn’t matter here and I don’t think all the money in the world would have been able bring him back from paralysis.

Everything has a reason, of course, but it could have been better had he remained healthy and truly enjoyed life.

Health really is wealth. I didn’t want to be in such a situation — I want to enjoy my kids and my grandchildren and grow old with my wife. So I enrolled in a gym near our place, cut down my carbs and sugar intake and quit smoking.

Changing my overall lifestyle was the hardest part: some changes were abrupt but others were gradual. I had to wake up early in the morning just to go to the gym. I love rice but I gave it up, albeit slowly. From 1 ½ cups standard I took it down to one cup for the first month, then down to half a cup during the second to no rice at all on the third. I didn’t subscribe to any diet but just ate sensibly. Sugar and carbs definitely went out: no pasta, no sodas, no juices, no cakes. I took my coffee black.

Gym was thrice a week and I ran or jogged over the weekends. If ever there were occasions that necessitated eating more than the usual, I made it a point to offset the calories by not eating as much during the other meals of the day and/or jog. Of course there were cheat days when I could have my cake or sweets but the calories were again offset in other meals or through physical activity.

So from 176lbs I went down to 148 lbs. in two years — a gradual normalizing of my weight and body fat. My waistline is now at 32 — going 31 — from 36 inches previously. From XL I can now wear a size small and also get away with slim fit clothing.

But these are just collateral effects. I guess the real takeaway is being healthy and knowing that I’m at lower risk of contracting my predisposed diseases. It’s not a guarantee but at least I may have bought some more time for to enjoy life with my loved ones. No money in the world can pay for that.


Rienzie Biolena is a registered financial planner of RFP Philippines. Learn more about personal financial planning at the 67th RFP program this January 2018. To inquire, e-mail or text <name><e-mail><RFP> at 0917-9689774


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