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Chantal Umali

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The more confident you are, the more assertive, outgoing you become, the more you’ll be able to do stuff.

 

For those well-versed in Filipino pop culture, the image of Chantal Umali as a love-struck little girl in a famous hotdog commercial is well-known, to say nothing of her current occupation as a fully fledged yoga instructor.  But what many may not be aware of are the hardships she faced along the way to helping herself find her inner peace. As with many paths to self-discovery, Chantal’s story is one of bumps, battles, and more than one detour into depression.

Perhaps the most significant of these came in 2011, when Chantal was a stay-at-home mom struggling with postpartum depression, with each passing day serving as a reminder that she basically no longer had a career. With chunky arms, heavy thighs, and a wrinkly tummy, her depression has taken a toll on her body.

“I was about 185 lbs. — a lot of weight to be carrying at 5 feet tall,” says Chantal. “I was severely overweight, like, morbidly obese, and I was depressed.”

Looking for a way to cope, she turned to a place known for its answers – Google.

With one of her problems being the uncontrollable cramping that came with being overweight, Chantal’s online research pointed her towards yoga, but it was a solution she was reluctant to try: “I didn’t want to go to a yoga studio because I was very big, and I didn’t know how to do yoga.”

So she created an environment for herself where she could practice in private, with the end result being an unwieldy combination of YouTube yoga videos, carpet burns and keeping an eye on her napping baby. But the more that she tried yoga, the more Chantal found that she enjoyed it, with positions she originally found difficult gradually becoming easier the more she did them. Soon, Chantal was adding minutes to her daily routine, until her initial 21-day program of 8-minute sessions turned into a hundred-day commitment of 40-minute sessions.

“What I liked about it was that I was now doing something for myself. I was doing it on my own, and I was learning something new. The weight loss was just a side effect – it was an afterthought.”

After the 100-day challenge, Chantal found that she’d lost 47 lbs., but now she had to deal with the after effects of her former weight, as formerly stretched skin began sagging along her arms and tummy.

But she had come too far to give up now; having conquered her insecurities and depression, the next step was working towards a body she could be proud of. And that’s where Marie France came into Chantal’s story.

“It was an easy decision,” says the former child star. “I’m raising a daughter [now], and by example, I want her to think and feel that if you spend time trying to make yourself better, then it’s not a bad thing.”

Armed with newfound confidence borne of holistic wellness, Chantal continues to prove that the first step to doing something is finding the will to take it.

 

To date, Chantal is undergoing Vara Pulse for legs and arms, TriPollar for arms, legs and tummy, Endermologie +, and FMS Elite. She has lost 2 inches off her waist and 3 inches off her tummy in her first 2 months with Marie France. Check back here or follow us on https://www.facebook.com/mariefranceph for regular updates on how her Marie France journey turns out.