While sitting around eating chips all day seems like such an enticing idea, it is not exactly doing anything to help give your body the TLC it deserves. Add that to the mind-numbing stress of the daily grind, and your body is bound to deteriorate until it eventually gives up. When it comes to switching to a healthier lifestyle, it is always easier said than done. But if you truly believe in your personal wellness—and you really should—then it is better late than never.
Architect Edward Saveron knows all about neglecting his health and wellness. As a former chain smoker for more than a decade, he knows what it’s like to seem like everything is fine on the outside when it is anything but. “With a sedentary lifestyle, I look normal, but I know that my body is weak. People close to me [would] see me go through times when my body gives in,” he shares. He used to often catch his breath from everyday tasks such as climbing stairs, and his knees used to weaken, causing him to fall from simply standing up. “I always wanted to quit smoking but it seemed impossible, just like what every smoker would say and feel.”
Changing his lifestyle was not easy, but Arch. Edward now runs four to five times each week and is healthier than ever. All it takes is a conscious decision to chuck those bad habits out the window, and you can be on your way to a healthier and happier you!
Overcoming past hurdles
The very first step in changing your lifestyle is actually to examine your past and current habits. “Back then, I was a heavy smoker, finishing half a pack of cigarettes on a normal day and more than a pack when I am out drinking. This lifestyle went on for more than 15 years,” says Arch. Edward. When you overindulge in a bad habit, it is important to take things one step at a time. You can, perhaps, set intervals between cigarettes, or have a support group that will keep you on track. For Arch. Edward, it was his personal encounter with Jesus Christ that set him towards the right direction. “Everything changed when I came to know Christ. By His grace, I surrendered my life to Him and made Him my Lord and Savior. Little did I know that He was starting to renew my life, one step at a time,” he says.
According to Rani Whitfield, M.D. from the American Heart Association, it is important to think about kicking bad habits as a replacement rather than a form of deprivation. This concept is exactly what helped Arch. Edward with his journey to physical wellness. “Having the desire to quit this bad habit, I learned that by removing one thing in your life, you need to replace it by another. So I quit smoking, and started running, all for God’s glory,” he says. “Running is also therapeutic, especially for someone who just stopped getting high with nicotine.” He explains that you can forego your smoker’s high and benefit from what is called runner’s high instead. This releases natural endorphins after every run, and will help expose you to positive feelings of euphoria. This means that you get more endorphins, effectively making you happier and more energized.
Making that turning point
The next step is to commit to whatever it is that you want to focus on to replace your bad habits. Just why is running so appealing for Arch. Edward? He believes that running is a less expensive sport compared to other ball sports out there—at least, initially. Getting started with running does not require any special equipment or a particularly intense gym membership—all it takes is your drive, and of course, some safe roads. “There really is not much excuse for anyone. It will only depend on your personal determination,” Arch. Edward says. “This also became my quiet time away from the busy world whenever I want serenity.”
And in his busy profession, serenity is indeed a rare but much-needed. Aside from owning a small construction company, he also helps in managing his family corporation that makes plaques and trophies, as well as fabricate metal products. Still, despite all of his business commitments and work priorities, he always finds the time to run, doing 8k to 10k runs several times a week. Proactively committing to this healthier lifestyle has changed his life dramatically. “Comparing it before sans the exercise, I can sleep better at night,” he says. “I [also] have a sharper memory and better endurance.”
Running towards the bright path ahead
“Next month will mark one year [since I started] running,” Arch. Edward shares. Back then, he joined his first 5k marathon run, and then did his first half marathon run with 21k seven months later. Afterwards, he ran his 32k marathon, which was just last week. He is currently training in preparation for his full marathon run, which will take place in October. “After that, I am looking into cycling and swimming so [that] I can fulfill my dream [of] joining a triathlon competition next year,” he says.
His personal goals are indeed admirable, especially coming from his drastic change in his daily habits. He also has the loyal support of his loving wife, Arch. Doryn So-Saveron. “Running is one of the few sports where it is not necessary for you to have a partner in order for you to do it, though it would be nice to run with someone every once in a while,” he shares, and yes, Arch. Doryn does run with him as well. He keeps that kind of strong support and his unwavering faith with him every time he runs. “The Proverbs say [that] you can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail. So right now, I am just enjoying every day in training, remembering how God changed my life in running, and waiting for what He has planned for me to unveil.”
So for those who have yet to make the conscious decision of switching to a healthier lifestyle, how can you develop the commitment to stick to and maintain these new healthy habits? Honestly, it’s all about your personal determination and your patience—and you need a great deal of it. According to Arch. Edward, you have to commit, set your goals, and go slow. You can start registering for short distance marathons first, opting for 3k or 5k runs. You can also join running clinics, which will be the perfect avenue for you to meet passionate individuals who will encourage you and inspire you to achieve your goals and maintain your commitments. This will be the best way to help you improve. For Arch. Edward, it was the Brooks Running Clinic that helped him.
Of course, making all these commitments comes with basic heart-healthy practices you can do at home bit by bit as well. Aside from regular exercise to boost your metabolism and keep you mentally alert, you have to watch what you eat, letting go of your junk food in favor of crisp veggies and fresh fruits. Do not overeat or binge on snacks when you are stressed, and remember to drink plenty of water (with eight glasses or two liters of water a day). Keep your calories in check, as well as your alcohol intake; drink in moderation to keep those beer bellies at bay. Finally, go out and hang with your friends! Spending happy, healthy, and quality time with your best buds actually helps keep you feeling young and alive. Studies show that there is a greater risk of heart disease for individuals who combat loneliness due to a lack of strong peer networks and family relationships, so go ahead and reach out to your pals every once in a while—and no, we do not mean on social media. Go and be with your family and friends physically. You wouldn’t want to maintain your relationships through a computer screen, would you?
With that said, the road to switching to a healthier lifestyle is definitely within reach. It is just as Arch. Edwards says, “When you say ‘lifestyle’, it is not something you do once a month or even once a week. This is something you would integrate in your everyday life. You’ve got to have a strong reason [as to] why you want to do it. You need to know what you’re getting into, so [that] you can embrace it—and better yet, love it.”
*Photos are original.