Denise Laurel takes her health seriously.
And like many health-conscious individuals, food is one of the top indulgences that Denise has been trying to moderate.
"Being healthy is an everyday struggle because I love food. I love, love, love," the ABS-CBN actress tells PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) in an interview on November 7, 2019 after a Sweetvia endorsement event in Pasig City.
"It's my best friend because, when I'm stressed, I don't yell, I don't cry.
"I don't have any vices. I don't drink, I don't smoke, so food is really a comfort for me."
For Denise, food is her ultimate guilty pleasure.
"I don't have the luxury of really going out when I'm not working. I don't have a yaya, so food is like my joy.
"I'm not maluho, I don't like expensive things. I don't own anything branded, I don't like shopping.
"Food is really my go-to for when I'm tired, I'm mad, sad, broken hearted, happy, celebratory. You know what I mean?
"And I'm a chocoholic. I'm not a fast-food person. Since birth, I never had soda. Once lang and I didn’t like it. So, really, it’s like, chocolates, cupcakes, and cookies. And I bake."
DEALING WITH GUILT
Denise admits there are many times when she catches herself eating too much.
The celebrity mother says, "Hindi naman ako maluho, hindi naman ako nagsha-shopping. I don't buy jewelry. So, food lang talaga. It makes me happy...
"When I'm on 'Day 4' or, you know, 'I deserve this' moment or I feel like I'm so stressed out, I have a few hours to myself and I'll order all my favorite food.
"There was one time talaga nasabi ko, 'Oh my gosh, I ate all of that!' and I was amazed at myself.
"I felt really guilty after."
But Denise makes up for these indulgences by spending time at the gym.
On an emotional and mental level, Denise also makes sure she isn't too hard on herself when it comes to indulging in her guilty pleasures.
The Kapamilya star says, "One thing people have to understand is you have to be kind to yourself.
"If you give in and you lack self-control, don't kill yourself over it.
"Just think, 'What can I do to make up for it?' or 'What can I do better next time?' Lesson learned. Nangyari na, e."
Denise underlines that guilt "is a useless emotion" and does not work as motivation.
"Guilt does not make you better, guilt does not make you lose weight, guilt doesn't make you pretty. Guilt doesn't move you from your chair where you're sulking.
"In our society pa naman, it's guilt-driven. 'Lagot ka' or 'You're gonna go to hell' you know what I mean?
"So, I try to remove the guilt and I try to be constructive and logical, which is hard to do on a daily basis.
"I have to catch myself, 'Oh, I feel bad na naman I did this. I let myself down.'
"But I catch myself and say, 'How can I do better?'"
And how does Denise do it better?
She says, "Little things. Little things you add on your food, little things you add on your coffee. Conscious decisions. Napping when you can."