Since she became a single mother, Denise Laurel has made her own health top priority for the sake of her son, Alejandro.
The Kapamilya star says, "I think it's different once you know that you are responsible to care and to love for an entire human being.
"You know, like, a solid, real, holding in your arms a newborn-baby... This is real. I'm-in-charge-of-this-person-until-the-day-I-die levels.
"I have to stay healthy, and I have to be there for him no matter what."
In 2015, Denise had a cancer scare.
At that time, the ABS-CBN talent had just won the second season of the singing and impersonation competition, Your Face Sounds Familiar.
She narrates to PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) at the launch of Sweetvia on November 7, 2019, in Pasig City, "I noticed during the run of the show that something was happening with my body.
"I started the show, I was 98-100 pounds. By the time we started launching, I was 115. And I was doing another teleserye at the same time.
"I was eating right. I was working out even if I wasn't resting properly, which was a big mistake. And I just started feeling bloated, tight. Manas iyong fingers ko, iyong face ko. My thighs… I was gaining weight by the day, and I couldn't understand why.
"I was tired, I felt sickly. I mean, given I was doing two shows at the same time. 'Tapos nag-aaral pa ako ng mga characters na gagawin ko sa Your Face.
"I knew something was wrong. And so, I got a cancer scare."
Denise continues, "They found cysts in my ovaries, my breasts, my lymph nodes.
"And this was right after winning grand champion of Your Face Sounds Familiar. Hindi ko siya ma-celebrate.
"They asked me how long I can stay in Singapore after my check-up.
"I really saw life with fear for once in my life. I can't die. My son's only how old, you know?
"I have to be there for all of these things, and I'm a single mother…
"I can't let go of this life without having things set for him or having, at least, a little something for him to move on with his life comfortably or successfully, di ba?
"I did see life with fear at that point in time."
Even though the cysts were "not cancerous," the actress reveals the experience greatly affected her weight.
Denise says, "It gives me weight gain. Even if I'm ripped for one month, all of the sudden, for no reason, I'm big.
"And that's not good for business. That's what keeps my son alive and what keeps me happy as well."
DENISE ON HEALTH
Right now, Denise takes care of her health by looking after three major aspects.
She explains, "If you look at our bodies like a machine — gut health, hormone health, or pituitary functions—those are the most basic things you have to take care of in order for the whole system to go well.
"So, if your gut health is not good and if your hormones are not okay, your organs will not function properly.
"There comes in diabetes because you don't process sugar properly. There goes hormonal imbalances, cysts or PCOS like what I have. I don't process sugar well...
"What I'm saying is, it's all linked together. Diabetes, PCOS, hormonal imbalance. Weight gain, weight loss, fatigue, sleepiness, brain function, your skin, acne.
"It all starts with your body being addicted to the wrong things... It all goes hand-in-hand really."
After experiencing a cancer scare, Denise chooses to see life with a purposeful mindset than a fearful one.
The mother of one says, "I'd like to focus more on what drives me or pushing myself like, 'Oh, how can I do better than what I did last time?' That's kind of like what I try to keep in mind all the time.
"Because if not, if I try to look at things with fearful eyes, things will fall apart so quickly and I won't be able to be the mom that I am...
"I'm mom and I'm also dad and I'm also an actress.
"I have many hats, but I wanna be a hundred percent in everything I do. So, I kind of really have to run a tight ship.
"But the thing that holds that ship together is my health.
"It could be ngarag for some people, but it's all about perspective. And for me, I choose to love it and see it as something fun and exciting and learn about what I can."