by Joyce Villabroza

I’ve been sedentary most of my life. At 30, I was diagnosed with hypertension and started taking maintenance medicines. Both my parents suffered from critical illnesses; my mother had a fatal stroke while my father had colon cancer. And being an only child, I took care of my ill parents and shouldered their hospitalization expenses because they were not insured.

When my dad passed in 2016, I realized how much I needed to prepare and protect my health knowing that we have a history of life-threatening diseases. I knew I needed a change so I took it upon me to have an active lifestyle and make healthier eating habits.

The struggle is real

It was not a walk in the park to start being conscious about my health in my 30s. That’s one of the truths that I had to face. I felt like I was so late in the game but I persisted. The fear of inheriting my parents’ illnesses made me realize I had to protect my health. So I availed a critical illness insurance called Sun Fit & Well, which includes access to GoWell fitness classes and community workouts. When I first started attending the classes, I was particularly challenged by Nikki Torres’ NT Sweat Session. At first, I was really intimidated because I had zero exercise. I felt like every single cell in my body was awakened. It was such a rush! The day after my first session – I felt like my legs have died and gone to heaven. Despite all that, I knew I had to return because why not? It was what my body needed – a way to burn all those stored fat over the years.

When I was taking care of my dad, I had sleepless nights; sometimes just two to four hours of sleep and my body had gotten used to it. I also had trouble sleeping and eating right. Having a sweet tooth (a trait I shared with my dad), I constantly craved carbs and sweets that led me to gain a lot of weight. It also didn’t help that I was an emotional eater.

It was timely that GoWell partnered with Belle De Jour for the GoWell Get Fit program, which guided participants on preparing healthy meals and had fitness activities too. I met fellow fitness enthusiasts that shared the same difficulties or struggles that I had. I learned a lot from those four weeks of engaging in different wellness activities that when Nikki Torres announced the first Summer Equinox (a holistic wellness program), I knew I had to join. I was so psyched to put my training shoes and pack my workout clothes because I know it was my way of self-care.

 On making changes

All these experiences I went through propelled me to change my habits. Working out and taking care of myself became a part of my life. And the best part? Last year, when I went back to my cardiologist, all my lab results were cleared and I was advised to discontinue some of my medications. What a milestone! I was so happy. I didn’t know those little steps I took paid off. I’m super grateful that I decided to change my habits. And today, with the help of the GoWell Community and the people I’ve met along the way, I am able to continue making practical and healthier habits.

 

Joyce Villabroza is an HR Professional born and raised in Bicol. She wishes to continue sharing her wellness journey to bring positive change to others.