#WorkoutWednesday: How this former (chubby) child actress became a hot momma!
Barry Viloria on Aug 10, 2016 09:02 PM
She’s now being looked up to for being fit and fab! (Photos taken from Mercado's Instagram account: @chantalmercado)
All of you 90s kids may remember her as the adorable girl featured in a hotdog commercial who would eventually end up in a teenybopper series. But it’s a lame introduction Chantal Umali, who’s now married and a Mercado, may have become tired of hearing.
Fast forward to now that she’s 32, Mercado’s story now revolves around losing all that baby weight and becoming her healthiest through the help of yoga. It’s a journey she wishes to inspire everyone else especially now that she’s become a yoga teacher herself.
“I don't work out at the gym,” she is proud to say in our catch-up conversation. “I only practice yoga. I ran across an article that recommended yoga for muscle cramps, which I used to have all the time. I started my practice with YouTube videos.”
When motherhood plus stress contributed to her unnecessary fat buildup, Mercado saw her heaviest self at 182 lbs. Practicing Ashtanga Yoga at least four times a week for about an hour and a half long a session gradually reversed all that. She would grow to be self-taught in yoga and has been practicing on her own in recent years now.
“It's great because yoga takes care of your body, your head, and your heart all in one practice,” she says about her newfound passion. “Yoga also encourages more awareness of the self, more mindfulness, not just in the way we move but in the way we are with other people.”
Because of yoga, Mercado doesn’t need to follow a strict diet or to undergo any kind of treatment to stay in shape. She eats “everything I want to eat. But mindfully… On a daily basis, it's the typical Filipino meal that's on our table: rice, a meat dish, and vegetables.” Of cosmetic surgery helping in her transformation, she is quick to say “No.”
“I now have an appreciation for all the amazing things the human body can do. I've proven to myself that wellness is achievable for anyone willing to put in the work!”
On a normal day, Mercado is at the studio by 7 a.m. to practice yoga with her teacher. She gets home to get dressed for work—running her brother-in-law’s architecture and design firm. She dedicates her afternoon and early evening for emails, correspondences, and family time. She’s back at the yoga studio by 7:30 p.m. to teach the evening class until 9.
We don't wake up in the morning and say "i don't think i wanna brush my teeth today." We do it because we know we have to or our breath will smell and our teeth will rot. The yoga practice is the same. We commit to it to cleanse the mind, open the heart and make space in the body. We dont need to wait for disease and pain to come before we practice. Tapas. Happy Sunday! #yoga #health #heart #fitness #exercise #ashtangi #mat #feeltheyogahigh #pose #practice #asana #play #fun #stretch #balance #om #namaste #homepractice #love #workout #strength #core #igyogis #supersoldier
Mercado still finds every day a challenge. It isn’t a coincidence that her Instagram is filled with posts of her yoga poses, next to each is an inspirational quote. She looks up to fellow yogi Kathryn Budig who’s “vocal about stereotyping yogis. To her, a yoga body is any body that practices yoga.”
And if you think her now-fitter self is something that’s new and different for Mercado, it isn’t. No cheesy statements that her fitness journey brought her to a “new me.”
Instead, she says, “I'm more inclined to believe that yoga got me in touch with the real me. A version of myself that was there all along—a healthier version.”