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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Francine Prieto winning battle with the bulge

It took Francine Prieto more than a year to shed excess poundage.

“It was probably the biggest battle of my life,” admitted Francine, the face of Ever Bilena Silver Collection this past two years, without revealing how (very) heavy she had become. “But I’m happy to be back to my old shape. Well, konti na lang and I’m almost there.”

The culprit was stress.

“It was the first time that I was hit by stress that hard,” continued Francine. “In my kind of job, hindi maiwasan na ma-stress, di ba? To make things worse, I also happen to be a worrier. I am the family’s breadwinner (her mom and three siblings), so when I lost my (GMA show) Bahay Mo Ba’to last year, I started worrying. I have only one show left then, Bubble Gang, at wala pa akong ibang raket so I got really stressed out. And I started eating and eating.”

She used to take diet pills and deliberately skipped meals until she started suffering from acidic attacks (she’s hyper-acidic) and dizzy spells.

“That was bad, very bad.”

So last year, she began gorging on food but even when she was exercising (mostly jogging) and playing tennis at the same time, she noticed that she was hardly losing any weight.

“I stand 5’10” but my weight last year was too much. My ideal weight is 153 lbs. Ayoko nang pakinggan kung ano ang timbang ko. Basta, talagang mabigat. When they measured my waistline, I would say, ‘Ano ba ‘yan?’ Kadiri! My objective is to get back to my old figure, 36-26-36. Soon!”

Did love also have anything to do with her stress-induced depression?

“That’s the least of my concern. I have other more important things to attend to. Work lang talaga. I think kahit naman sino would feel the same way if she found herself in the same situation.”

What’s her current diet?

“No more starvation diet. I take three square meals a day, with snacks pa, but I have learned to take small meals. I’m choosy when it comes to food; I don’t eat vegetables and meat. Luckily, I’m not fond of sweets. I make it a point now to stop eating even before I fill up my tummy.”

Thrice a week, she does vigorous workout, guided by an exercise expert.

“I don’t have any problem with sleep. I get enough every night, not less than seven hours.”

Besides Bubble Gang, Francine is now busy with the new GMA soap Ang Babaing Hinugot sa Aking Tadyang (topbilled by Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera) in which she and Paolo Contis play kontrabida.

“It’s a welcome role,” said Francine. “In Asero (the GMA soap starring Richard Gutierrez), light ang role ko. This time, I’m doing heavy drama. It’s my first time to be directed by Bb. Joyce Bernal and I’m excited. In Bubble Gang, televiewers laugh along with me and the cast (Michael V. and Ogie Alcasid among them). In Tadyang, I’d be happy if televiewers will hate me because it will mean that I’m effective in my portrayal as a kontrabida.”

One-time Bb. Pilipinas semi-finalist, Francine has classic features perfect for an Ever Bilena woman. The Silver Collection Limited Edition she’s endorsing is a cosmetic set that includes four shades of silky face powder, four vibrant blush-on colors, 12 sheer lipstick shades and one volumizing maskara.

“I’ve been using the product,” said Francine. “The owner of Ever Bilena, Kristine Sy, has been my good friend even before I joined showbiz.”

This year, Francine might branch out to recording.

“Raimund (Marasigan, member of the disbanded Eraserheads) is my friend and I asked him to help me prepare a demo-tape. Bahala na what will happen.”

Her love life is on hold.

Aren’t men intimidated by her size (height, I mean)?

“Well, when people see me for the first time, they think na mataray ako. But when they get to really know me, they realize na mabait naman pala ako. If ever I fall in love, I will use both my head and my heart para balanced.”

Incidentally, for the information of Francine and Funfare readers, here are some health tips from Reader’s Digest (latest edition with Jet Li on the cover as Asian of the Year 2009):

• Take 10,000 steps a day.

• Eat breakfast without fail.

• Never skip meals.

• Savour each bite/don’t eat while doing something else.

• Stop eating before you are full.

• Eat slowly/put your fork down between bites.

• Enjoy your favorite foods in moderation.

• Avoid shopping on an empty stomach.

• Target easy wins — e.g., have a diet soft drink instead of a regular one.

• Keep to a shopping list.

• Have five small healthy meals a day instead of three large ones.

• Keep a sense of humor.

• Always leave something on your plate.

• Eat with cutlery, not your fingers.

• Get most of your calories before noon.




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