In my late 30s, I moved to the Philippines and have been living here ever since. I did not change my ways, just changed the place where I lived.
Just a couple years into my new life in the Philippines, though, I had a stroke, at the young age of 38. It was after that stroke that I made some changes in my lifestyle, albeit minor changes at first.
Weight and diet
Although I did not jump on any kind of special diet after my stroke, I did start eating healthier. Nothing drastic, but I cut back on things like junk food. Now, let me be clear, I did not eliminate junk food from my diet, I did not even cut it drastically, but I did cut back.
The cut that I made in junk food did have an impact, though. My weight started slowly receding.
The big change
The big change to my health, though, came probably 2 or 3 years after my stroke. When I had a stroke, we were living in General Santos City, Philippines. About 7 months later, we moved to Davao City. Davao is a much larger city than General Santos (GenSan) and has a lot more amenities to offer.
I had a close friend who was also living in Davao. My friend was also obese and wanted to lose weight as I did. One day, my friend and I were sitting around talking, probably having a snack while talking… and one of us asked the other what type of exercise would we enjoy. We came to the conclusion that we would enjoy swimming. Starting the very next day, we started swimming every day, at least 5 days per week, sometimes even 7 days per week. We each started losing weight and feeling very good. My health was improving too. We were having fun, spending productive time together and reaping the benefits for our health! It was really a no-lose situation.
We kept up this nearly daily swimming for at least 5 years and were feeling health benefits! Unfortunately, my friend moved back to the USA from the Philippines. I also moved to another part of town, and there was no pool convenient to my new house. So, the swimming came to an end.
In order to keep my health benefits, I still exercised, but not nearly as often. My exercise had shifted to walking instead of swimming. I have come to enjoy walking a lot too, although I do miss my days of regular swimming. I suspect that I will get back to swimming regularly soon. I hope I do.
I am still working
Although I have lost a lot of weight (about 150 pounds), and my health has improved a lot, I am still striving. I am still trying to be a better person, health-wise. I want to continue to lose weight, and continue to exercise as well.
Certainly, I am not in perfect shape, not even close. I am a lot closer now, though, than I was a decade ago. None of us are perfect, but it should not stop us from trying. I am going to keep plugging away. How about you?