MY DAILY GAME PLAN: LYCA, Call Center Asst. Manager in the Philippines on Bad Habits, Challenges, Health and Wellness
Lyca, aka @lykkeve, 29, is an Assistant Manager at a Call Center in the Philippines. A job she is happy to have. But the effects of working different hours on a rotating basis, over a long period of time, took its toll on her.
In this interview, Lyca tells a riveting story of what the negative effects of her job had on her mind and body, and subsequently, how she turned her life around. Today, Lyca is happy and healthy. She continues to work at the job she landed right out of college.
HOW HAS WORKING FOR A CALL CENTER AFFECTED YOUR HEALTH?
I was active in sports and was part of a varsity team back in high school and college. When I started working in my early 20’s, my love for sports stopped. I was too excited to work. When I graduated from college, I landed a job with BPO Industry working in the call center as a “call center agent”. Due to shifting schedules on a monthly basis, I had to adjust to different sleep patterns. There were times when my mind and body didn’t know if I should be sleeping or awake. As a result of the constant change in my schedule, I became dependent on some really bad habits.
DO YOU HAVE ANY BAD HABITS?
Yes, bad habits. The only way for me to feel alive on a graveyard shift; I smoked, took a lot of energy drinks and ate a lot of sweets. Then, to get to sleep I would drink beer. Looking back, it was awful. But, I was just starting my job and being healthy was not my priority. Over a six-year period, I wasted a lot of money on cigarettes, cases of beer and lots of unhealthy food. I consider those years to be part of my “memory lane.” Looking back, I can’t believe that in my mid 20’s I could smoke two packs of cigarettes a day, drink six or more bottles of beer and wouldn’t stop until I was about to throw up. I think this is very unusual. I consider those years to be part of my “memory lane.”
WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO BE HEALTHIER?
What encouraged me to be healthier? It was a struggle. I don't know if I wanted to be healthier at that time. Stretching or cardio exercise was not something I wanted to do. I couldn’t squeeze exercise into my day. I’d rather sleep or go out with friends.
One day, I took a good look at myself in the mirror. It was horrible. Beer belly, big hips, thighs and arms. I was overweight for a five-foot lady. I checked online for a quick fix to become slim. At one point, I wanted to have liposuction because I couldn’t stand it anymore. I was desperate. I've seen transformation photos and videos online and that was my starting point. Yes, I followed numerous people online to know where to start.
After one year of serious diet and exercise, I made it. No more alcohol, no unhealthy food, no fast food, soda, but very rare, to have some sweets. Since I had anxiety attacks, and don’t do well in crowds, I do my workout at home. I downloaded “at home” exercises. I started with breathing exercise, balance and strength training. Because it had been years since I stretched, or worked out, the first week of my cardio exercise; I thought I almost died. Everything was sore. But, it's an achievement for me. Slow progress.
WHERE IS YOUR FAVORITE PLACE TO EXERCISE?
Home, on the rooftop. I have anxiety whenever I am at the gym. I don’t feel like I belong there!
WHAT IS YOUR WORKOUT ROUTINE?
My workout routine: Monday is a leg day. Wednesday for arms and abs. Friday HIIT workout and Saturday I do Pilates and Yoga. I only follow what's in You Tube videos - there are tons of helpful videos for beginners, intermediate and advanced. I do my work out before I go to work because I need a lot of energy as my work environment is stressful at times.
DO YOU HAVE ANY REGRETS?
I regret the 6 years when I neglected myself. But, then again, it was a lesson to learn. I am now in my late 20's and I have never been this strong and fit. I am proud that I can do weights. I am happy when people ask me for advice and tips on how to start a healthy lifestyle. When I hear, or receive messages telling me that I inspire people and give them hope, I am happy. It is very rare to be working in BPO Industry and maintain a work and life balance. I only know a few people in this industry where a healthy lifestyle is part of their routine and I am happy that I am part of it.
WHAT ADVICE DID YOU GET FROM YOUR MOM/DAD THAT YOU REMEMBER THE MOST?
The best advice I remember most was that from Papa - "You can be successful, but first you must work on it".
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOUR FRIENDS?
Being healthy is not a life and death situation. You just have to be determined. If you want to be fit and strong, you have to be disciplined. It is important for people in their 20's to go on an adventure - outdoor activities. Be picky of friends who will inspire you and, or, motivate you to keep you healthy. Yes, you only live once, but you have to consider having a happy healthy lifestyle.
I remember a quote from a Mathematician, Rene Descartes "I think therefore, I am". So if you think you are lazy, then you are lazy. If you think that you can do it, believe me you will.
Thank you Lyca for this honest, inspiring and soul-bearing conversation.
WHO INSPIRES YOU?
WHO INSPIRES YOU?