Fitspiration: Jessie Severino, Yogi, Bird Watcher, and Vegetarian

30 June 2014
Category Fitspirations
30 June 2014, Comments 0

Ever heard the saying “age is but a number”. It sounds nice, the notion of beating father time and staying as fit as possible for as long as possible. For some the task seems so daunting that they quit even before they try. Some unfortunate ones had to wait for a lifestyle disease before they started thinking about their health and fitness. For Jessie Severino, his body was talking to him already, even shouting, but it took some time for him to listen.

Looking at him now, it would be hard to see how he use to be a sickly man. But as it usually happens to most young men and women, we are driven by success that we forget about the more important things in life like our health and longevity. We get sucked into the routine of countless work hours leaving us with little time to take care of ourselves. We settle for quick fixes for food since there isn’t enough time to eat, let alone prepare healthy food.

Jessie knew that he had to change his habits. His body was telling him to. Once he started listening to it, he began to change his lifestyle and transform into the man we see today, a yogi, strict vegetarian and someone who is in love with nature. Here’s how he found fitness.

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1. What was the moment when you realized that you had to start working out or being physically active? What was your weight then and health state?

During my early school years. I played basketball. I joined basketball tournaments. But an early surgery put an end to my love of basketball. I turned to yoga, studied through books and shifted to a plant-based diet. However, when I started on a corporate job, my life took a turn towards a less active lifestyle. The frequent dine-outs, led me back to eating fat-rich, high calorie foods. After some years of such lifestyle, my weight went for the worse.  I became overweight (78 kilos), risk parameters like fasting blood sugar, uric acid and cholesterol levels went beyond normal values.

Because of the frequent attacks of gout (elevated uric acid levels), I started to engage into an exercise regimen. I went into tennis, did stationary bike and only then, with the significant weight loss, did my gout attacks started to subside. But despite the exercise regimen, the risk parameters like fasting blood sugar, cholesterol were still in their high levels. So I switched back to plant-based diet (but increasing the intake of more raw vegetables) and did more intensive yoga practice.
After just 3 months of this new healthy lifestyle, my stubbornly high uric acid, moderately high fasting blood sugar and persistently high cholesterol levels dropped to normal values.

2. Describe the first few days and weeks of your exercise and/or diet programming. Did you have a hard time adjusting or was it easy? If it was hard, how did you get through it?

The initial few days of shifting to a plant-based diet was never easy.

To sustain my new diet regimen, I had to learn how to prepare and cook my own food.
My passion for the sport of tennis helped me sustain my exercise regimen. To improve on my game, I read a lot on the sport, watched tournaments, and played regularly.

3. Describe your current diet or eating habits and/or exercise program. Is it difficult to maintain?

My current diet regimen is basically plant-based (preferably raw). I reduced the intake of dairy, eggs, sweets, and oil.
Plant-based diets are more accessible these days than several years ago.
Currently, I basically do asanas (Yoga postures) using the Iyengar methodology.  I do a daily 1 hour home practice  and I attend 3x a week classes at the Iyengar Yoga studio.  Intermittently, I do pranayama (breath control exercises).
The passion for Yoga led me to do teacher training courses.  And teaching yoga helped me sustain and improve my practice

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4. What’s your current weight now? How do you feel about your physical fitness and health now compare to before?

My current weight is 70 kilos.  At 55 years of age, I feel more physically fit than ever before. Getting sick has become a rare occurrence since.

5. What’s the best thing about being fit and healthy?

The best thing about being fit and healthy is I feel better, having more energy and a positive disposition.

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6. Do you have any tips for people who are about to start exercising or fixing their eating habits?

Good health is a balanced combination of diet and exercise.
When starting on an exercise regimen, find an exercise that suits your lifestyle, something you can be passionate about.  Practice consistently and have fun.
Work with the best teachers or trainers for they can provide the right motivation and guidance.
Go plant-based in your diet! However, if you are not yet ready to go plant-based, increase significantly your consumption of vegetables and fruits.
Most of all, listen more to what your body tells you.

Got any Fitspiration stories that you want to share with us? Email us at coach@chappycallanta.com and we just might feature it here in the site.

Disclaimer: This feature is not meant to promote any product, diet, or exercise program. It is to promote healthy and active living as well as healthy choices. All products mentioned are the choices made by the people featured and do not necessarily reflect the views of this blog.

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