No Affliction Syndrome

By Ray Evangelista as told to Excel V. Dyquiangco

I was overweight and obese all my life. The highest weight that I tipped the scales with was at 298 pounds. Because of this, I was under a lot of negative emotions – depression, shame, self-pity, fear, and embarrassment. I didn’t want to talk with people.

As if that wasn’t enough, I and my brother had contracted a hereditary disease known as hypokalaemia which means that the concentration of potassium in our blood is low. The symptoms were evident and obvious: muscular weaknesses, muscle cramps, and constipation. Each time I exerted effort, I became weak and suffered paralysis for days. When I had wanted to go to the bathroom, I couldn’t get up because I couldn’t move. My dad had to carry me. Imagine, carrying a 298- pound man to the bathroom! That wasn’t the worse part though – my dad wasn’t there all the time. When I needed to go to the bathroom in the wee hours of the morning, I had to scream so someone could help me. Unfortunately, no one did. I just cried and cried.

It seemed like I was both a hopeless and a basket case at that time – since I couldn’t even fend for myself anymore. I was too fat, and this discouraged me all the more. But I knew I had to do something.

No Quitter

When my dad retired from work a couple of years back, I had to get a job even with this kind of physical ailment. I applied in some companies and finally landed in one of the call centers in Ortigas. There, I was called by a lot of names – baboy, taba and that I was smelly since I perspired a lot. But this didn’t get me down. Instead, it got me thinking. I had to lose some weight – even just a little! My motivation at that time was just to impress a coworker. I wasn’t interested in any sports like basketball or swimming so I just bought some gym equipment and I started exercising.

At the start, I walked to and fro because, well, I didn’t have any money to spend my fare on. For instance, I strode for thirty minutes to get to the nearest mall or accompany my friends to get to their houses. But since I was really fat, I had to rest for a couple of minutes before moving on again. This I did for at least once to thrice a week. When I got the hang of it, I then tried to jog – very early in the morning so that no one would see me. It was doubly hard, bearing in mind that I was close to 300 pounds. But I did it one step at a time. I never did once think of giving up because I believed that giving up is for quitters, and I am not a quitter. I knew deep down inside me that there was a Ray who was willing to fight for what he believes in, and that is to be the best that he can be.

My diet also changed – I started to eat more vegetables and fish. It was also during this phase when my sickness mysteriously disappeared. Not really sure what happened but I think exercising had something to do with it. I had noticed that my muscles wouldn’t fail me when I walked, and that I could still move.

When I realized this, it actually inspired me more to do my best. I continued to walk every day, and continued to jog more and more instead of riding jeepneys or buses – even if it took me a long time to get to my destination. It took months and months before I finally noticed that I started losing pounds – inch by inch. Instead of being blotted, my face started getting thinner. The flab on my arms started to shrink and I got those stretch marks.

But that wasn’t the only thing that losing weight did to me. It started to develop my whole and inner personality. My confidence in talking with people also climbed up a notch. People started to compliment me on how I look and I found myself initiating conversations. Because of these gradual changes, not only physically but socially, I vowed that I would continue with what I have started.

My coworker whom I was trying to impress also noticed the huge difference. We didn’t become an item but we became friends.

All in all, I lost 80 pounds – equal to one person!

Huge Plans for Weight Loss

Because of all the pounds I have lost, I had to change my wardrobe. But it wasn’t quite simple since my budget was indeed tight. But I think God showed me a sign that I had to do it. A couple of years ago, due to some faulty wiring, our house burned down. I lost almost everything – including my clothes – and I was devastated. I wasn’t able to salvage anything. I had to stay with my brother who resided in Laguna back then.

I was still working at the call industry at that time, and I think because of my perseverance and my hard work, I get to close many deals. This paved the way for me to earn more and slowly, I get to buy new stuffs for myself. My superiors also noticed that I have been doing an awesome work, and this paid off. They have promoted me, and I know that there was always that challenge to always be better than yesterday.

To this day, I still continue to run; now, at least an hour. I have joined different marathons organized by various companies. In the near future, I plan on running uphill on mountains. I also plan on joining an Ironman event – with the practice and the inclusion of two more disciplines: swimming and biking.

I believe that from the start, God has already ordained everything that has happened to me so that I may be able to trust in Him more, knowing that He has my best interests at heart. He knew what pain and trouble I had to go through with my unwanted pounds and my sickness, but it was God’s way of building my character and discipline. Had I been ordinary or average-built, I wouldn’t know the joy and the excitement that would come from losing pounds and pounds of weight! That is God’s plan from the start – and I couldn’t agree with Him more.

MY MONEY LESSONS

Raising Hope

Just like Ray’s there are many stories of afflictions today. But what set him apart from the rest are these three hopes.

  1. Keep pushing.

    Never give up and be persistent. So even when you are beset with problems in relationships, money or family, always keep on pushing. It may not be easy but you will see the end result when you don’t become a quitter.

  2. Be creative.

    If you want to lose weight and you are not interested in swimming or basketball, be creative. You can exercise right in your own home by using the available materials such as chairs or tables.

  3. Have faith in God.

    God has reasons for everything. So whenever these problems come up, don’t focus on these problems. Instead, focus your attention on God.

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