Taking care of yourself

Taking care of one’s self on the road to a fit and healthy life is no small step, temporary stage or anything short-term. One must be in it for the long haul. It may mean changing one’s lifestyle, doing more physical activities, and intentionally having a mindset that eating responsibly is a commitment and results will come—just wait and see.

This is a familiar path to Adam Walsh.

“I started this fitness journey in 2010 at the age of 24. I was 205 lbs due to my job as a telemarketer and a five-year engagement that went south.

“I was taking prescription medications for acid reflux, high blood pressure, cholesterol, and depression.

“Moving to Saipan was the first step to changing my health and lifestyle,” he said.

“It took me about one year to lose 55 lbs. The hardest thing was changing my eating habits. When I was overweight, I trained religiously, but paid no attention to my food intake. Once I started counting calories, I found out I was eating around 6,000 calories a day.

“I changed my diet to 2,500 calories per day and the excess weight just melted away. To keep myself on track, I tracked my workouts, meals, and calories in a workout journal,” he added.

The road to fitness may put up challenges along the way. But motivation, focus and a strong will set these monkey wrenches aside.

“So far, I haven’t relapsed. I have gained weight and lost it again because of vacationing, travel, visiting family…

“The biggest hurdle for me is diet. I have always been physically active and dedicate one hour or more a day to fitness [but] for me, diet is more important than exercise… These things [vacationing, travel, visiting family] complicate my diet and exercise routines but I haven’t exceeded 170 lbs since 2010,” Walsh said.

“To stay disciplined and motivated, I keep a workout and eating journal. I also changed my workouts every three months. I started on all the Beachbody workouts like P90X, P90X2, Insanity, etc. I’ve since changed to resistance bands and have a year’s worth of weight training workouts to keep me busy,” he added.

Walsh is currently a teacher at the Northern Marianas College, a father of two toddlers and a husband and he does not take anything for granted especially when it come to taking care of his health.

“Currently, I range from 150 to 170 lbs depending on the time of year. I’m an educator by trade and have some significant time off. During the winter, I visit family in Japan and summers are spent in Idaho with family,” he said.

“I gain 10 to 15 lbs when I am off island. When I get back to Saipan, it takes about three to four months to get back down to my desired weight of 150-155 lbs…

“To reiterate, focus on a healthy balanced diet. Don’t starve yourself or spending a ton of money on a fad diet,” he added. “We all should find time to exercise. That may be the most difficult thing to do. Diet is more important and an easier thing to alter since it won’t require a time-commitment. Focus on eating right before taking on an exercise regime.”

Walsh recounts reading somewhere that one lengthens one’s lifespan by two hours for every hour one exercises. “That’s the only fact I need to continue my journey to be the fitness me I can be,” he added.

Roldan Pelagio, who won the Lose Big, Win Big in the CNMI in 2017, did not have plans to enter a weight loss challenge. He only realized that he had to do something to lose even just a little weight when he noted that his clothes wouldn’t fit him anymore. He joined the weight loss challenge with a partner, Bryan Belenton.

“The struggles I faced when trying to lose weight was my addiction to food, especially at the beginning of the training program, because the fitness program that you want to embark on is the hardest to start. Food is our satisfaction and sometimes we call it a stress reliever but we forget that we tend to eat more calories than we need every day. Alcohol consumption also a big factor in gaining weight.”

In embarking on his fitness journey, change had to be done. “I focused my diet on 100 percent plant-based way of eating. This means no meat, dairy, eggs, milk, and no oil,” he said. “This helped me a lot in melting all the fats.

“My exercises involved running, skipping rope, calisthenics and some weight lifting. Just moving my body regularly meant a lot. Rest is also important and I always have a rest day after a workout day.”

Pelagio said that losing weight can be automatic, as long as you eat the right amount of calories at the right time. “No overeating and being consistent with the fitness program that you started with are the most important factors to have in mind all the time. Being disciplined means you want to achieve a goal.”

“My goal during that time was to win and see the best version of myself. The prize money would be the last of the motivation. It is easy to gain all of the weight back but for me, I stayed on my plant-based way of eating and it help me not gain any weight,” he added.

In retrospect, Pelagio believes that starting his fitness journey was worth it. “I learned a lot about my body, the importance of food and an active lifestyle. I started learning more about plant-based eating and there are actually a lot of varieties and vegan options. Nobody can take care of ourselves but ourselves only and we cannot rely on others to tell us what to do because it should start from one’s self,” he said.

“Changing your lifestyle means changing your outlook about your health and the experiences that you will have in a lifetime…move your body more, walk longer, get sunshine, live a stress- free life. I also share my experiences with my family, friends and coworkers and seeing others improve and start their own fitness journey makes me really happy,” he added.

Bea Cabrera
Bea Cabrera, who holds a law degree, also has a bachelor's degree in mass communications. She has been exposed to multiple aspects of mass media, doing sales, marketing, copywriting, and photography.

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