Eat to Live for a Fuller Life with Lalie Favia

Eat to Live for a Fuller Life with Lalie Favia | This article was initially published in Philippine Daily Inquirer – 2016

“My life revolved around food.” 

Mrs. Lalie Favia jovially shares. Not surprising, Lalie came from a family of chefs. “My  mom, my sister, the whole family—we all love to cook and eat!”  

Lalie Favia is a mother of five boys. Her family spends most Sundays eating out. Lalie is a  self-confessed sweet tooth. “I always end my meals with dessert. I always needed to  having something sweet after, like ice cream or cake.”  

When the family is not out, she cooks at home for the family. “On Sundays, I cook for the family. I start cooking at 8 in the morning until the evening. I start with breakfast,  lunch, merienda and dinner.” 

Lalie also previously co-hosted the concluded AksyonTV show ‘Chef vs. Mom’. The show won the 2012 Asian TV Awards ‘Best Lifestyle Programme’. Chef vs. Mom was a comedy cooking show featuring the real-life mother and son tandem, Mommy Lalie and Chef  Jeremy Favia. 

Wake-up Call 

Mrs. Lalie Favia recalls the first time she found out she had diabetes. “I felt something really extraordinary. I felt nauseated, I feel like vomiting every time I brush my teeth, I  had cramps and itching all over—this all happened in one day.”  

At first she thought the culprit was just warm weather, but upon consulting the doctor,  the cause was something more serious. She later discovered that she has type 2 diabetes.   

While her family has previous family history of diabetes, she didn’t think much of it previously. “Every time I took blood tests it always came out on ‘boundary’—so I think, ‘I  should be fine’, and I ignore it.”  

Lalie was then unaware that she was already one among millions of Filipinos suffering from ‘pre-diabetes’ or ‘borderline’ diabetes, where blood sugars are higher than normal but not within the diabetes range.  

‘I was really terrified’ 

“The diagnosis was a wake-up call for me. Natakot talaga ako,” shares Lalie Favia. She relates that everything came out really high—my sugar levels, cholesterol and creatinine… even my first doctor said my kidneys are already affected. My endocrinologist already wanted to give her insulin at the time. I was in a state of panic.”

A Change of Perspective 

Lalie worked with a dietician and followed every step the dietician told her. Lalie cut down on sweets, sugar, and fat, everything that used to be on her daily plate. She also learned to bring her own baon, cooking, and preparing her own food. 

“We don’t go to buffets anymore.” Mrs. Favia shares. “We stopped going to restaurants regularly, and we’re now more aware of eating out in restaurants. “Don’t be afraid to  tell the chef or waiter of your condition.” Lalie advises to choose restaurants carefully— you don’t know what they put in your food.” 

One piece of advice from her dietician stuck on her mind: “You only eat to live, you don’t live to  eat.” 

Besides diet, Lalie also did more physical activity—walking and zumba at home during her spare time. 

While it’s difficult to do a complete 360-degree lifestyle change, all efforts paid off. Lalie  Favia was then 166-pounds. In two months she lost 20 pounds. “Now, I feel lighter, more  beautiful, and sexy.” Lalie said with a laugh. “People say I look much younger.” 

Lalie also shares that she used to have maintenance for blood pressure. She said she no longer needs it and all her levels are within the normal range. “Don’t eat too much—eat healthily. You only eat to live,” Lalie shares.

“We only have one  life, we have to take care of it. I have children. I still like to live a normal life.”

(interview with Mrs. Lalie Favia, How to Live with Diabetes and Take Control, Philippine Daily Inquirer 2016)

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