Health is indeed wealth.
Three years ago, I was at 176 pounds (lbs). My pants were at size 36” and my clothes were extra large. I was smoking and drinking heavily, without physical activity. Meals were at least 1 ½ cups of rice, finishing off with large softdrinks and of course, dessert.
I had always wanted to go back to the gym like when I was still single. But family, career and social life always had a bite of my time, so going to the gym often got pushed over.
Believe it or not, I started off with size 28” pants before getting married. It seems I have been adding up two inches to my waistline every year until I reached the career high of 36”.
But one fateful day. I was doing the rounds as a lay minister giving holy communion to homebound persons when I saw a neighbor of ours.
They had one of the largest houses in our village with so many cars. But when I saw him, he was just in a wheel chair, paralyzed because of a stroke he had. He could hardly open his mouth and move his body.
Then it hit me. Here is a very rich and successful person, but in a wheelchair, paralyzed for the rest of his life. His money, all of it, can’t take back what he has lost. Actually, no money in the world can. So the luxury cars, the big house, all the money and everything did not matter at all. He can’t live his life to the full– enjoying the fruits of his labor, enjoying his family, enjoying his grandchildren and enjoying his life.
It hit me hard. No money can ever replace a healthy body and the life fully lived with it. I am at risk of cardiovascular diseases, cancer and diabetes due to family genetics. I want to enjoy life, my kids as they grow up and my grandchildren actively in a body that can move and play with them. But I don’t want them while in a wheel chair, paralyzed.
So I went around our to look for a gym and check out the best package. When I found one, I enrolled. I eased out the bad habits and eased in the good ones: I worked out regularly, cut lowly on high-sugar food like rice, cakes and pasta. I went for lean meats and complex carbohydrates. I did active weekend activities such as hiking, Spartan races and swimming.
After 3 years of no crash or fad diets or whatever, I lost 40 lbs slowly but surely. I’m now at a stable 148 lbs. My pants’ size is now 29”. I can now say that I’m at the peak of my health even at age 37.
I have been in banking and asset management for more than a decade. We have stressed the importance of building and protecting wealth. But our bodies, too, are a primary tool to achieving that. Losing it in the process is expensive, if not deadly.
Health is indeed wealth. Ask around how much would a heart bypass or a life-long dialysis cost. I want my life to be lived fully and enjoy it to the full. That is why I made the decision to be physically fit. I hope that you, too, can enjoy it and live it to the full.
Rienzie Biolena is a Registered Financial Planner of RFP Philippines. He is a Senior Financial Advisor at asset management company, and Columnist of The Manila Times.
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