Alison Sweeney: Fit and Fabulous
Alison Sweeney stars on not one but two hit TV shows – "Days of Our Lives" and "The Biggest Loser"; she's also a mother of two. To say that she's busy is definitely an understatement; yet Alison still manages to stay fit, eat healthy and look amazing. Her new book, The Mommy Diet, is packed with useful info to help women look and feel great while juggling the daily chaos that is motherhood. We caught up with Alison, who gave us some great insights into how every busy woman can maintain a fit and fabulous lifestyle in 2011 and beyond!
What have you learned from hosting "The Biggest Loser"?
There are so many important lessons I've learned at "The Biggest Loser" that have helped me in my everyday life. I've learned the calorie count of so many things. And all that information helps me decide not only what I eat but also what to serve my family and my guests. Also, "The Biggest Loser's" mind-set has totally helped me focus my routine. "The Biggest Loser" is all about balance, and that's the best lesson.
How did The Biggest Loser help inspire The Mommy Diet?
The premise of my book The Mommy Diet is to focus on an entire lifestyle. It's a helpful guide to living a happy, healthy and fit life all the while being the best mom you can be. I provide a lot of specific advice and suggestions for weight loss that apply to just after having a baby but can also be useful to anyone wanting to get back in shape. I also added recipes that I use, as well as fashion, beauty and relationship tips. I think it's unique because its focus is on the mom, and her health - physically and mentally! So many books you'll read while pregnant are about how to take care of your baby. This one is about how to take care of YOU. Also, I think it's for all moms out there and anyone who needs a little encouragement to focus on themselves in their busy lives, taking care of others.
You look great and are so dedicated to a healthy lifestyle. Do you ever give into cravings?
In life, there are going to be 'cheat days' or cravings or special circumstances that take you off your diet plan. I talk about it a lot in my book. It's important to be honest with yourself about what you're eating. If you're having a high-calorie 'treat' at least really be aware of how many calories you are eating. Also, I'm the kind of person who can have a bite of my favorite ice cream but not eat the whole thing. See if you can adopt some portion control on mom's homemade pie. If you can't, then minimize your exposure to the things you indulge in too much. You're working too hard to get carried away with dessert all the time - or whatever your weakness is.
When you do indulge, what is your treat of choice?
I love popcorn, that's something I treat myself to - especially when it's homemade. But, I always ask myself, with anything, a homemade cookie or even a glass of wine: is it worth it? If the wine isn't one I enjoy, I'm not going to waste the calories drinking it. Same is true with desserts. If you're going to indulge, know what you're getting yourself into, and then decide accordingly.
How do you keep negative thoughts from sabotaging your diet plan?
I know that I have a plan and I work hard to keep that plan in place, no matter how busy I get or what excuses I could make that day.
What incentives to sticking to your weight loss goals have been most helpful to you?
[Like] most actresses, events can be a good incentive - a red carpet, a wedding, a photo shoot, bathing suit season. Whatever it is that can give you a deadline, and a reasonable goal to achieve, can really set you up to succeed.
How do you motivate yourself to workout on days when you just don't feel like it?
Well, I've made a deal with myself about the gym. I go every day that I can. There are so many days that production or photo shoots prevent me from finding time to work out, that when I can go, I do. No matter what.
What are your tips for staying fashionable while you're losing weight and getting in shape?
You have to accentuate your best features! It's hard to generalize because everyone carries weight so different. Empire waists can really help. Accentuate the body part that's looking the best - your clavicle with a boat neck top, or lean calves and ankles can be shown off in Capri pants and skirts.
What tips can you offer new moms who are trying to get back to their pre-baby weight?
Obviously the most important thing is making the time. I totally get it - I didn't get to work out today. But you know what, I don't feel bad about it, because I busted my butt to make it work yesterday and the day before that, and I know I'll get time this weekend too. So, if I miss a day I'm not going to beat myself up about it. Because my deal with myself is that if it's feasible, I'll make it happen. I usually carry my gym bag with me to minimize 'excuses'. And it requires a lot of planning ahead for the coming day. But all in all, it's worth every minute because I feel better for it, and I know I'm able to commit better to my kids because I've made time for my body and my health.
How do you recommend new moms get in some "me time" and why is that so important?
It all comes down to priorities. I completely sympathize with busy moms who feel like there just aren't enough hours in the day... for anything. And of course it isn't easy to find the time, but it definitely comes down to priorities. You just have to take a stand - with yourself - and decide that it's worth it; your health and mental health are worth the effort to find a time. Find a way.
What types of eating habits are you trying to pass on to your children?
We mostly cook at home. I think that's great for a lot of reasons. It's certainly healthier because you have more control over the ingredients, but also it's a great way to gather the family together - we all help put dinner on the table! I am firm about a lot of aspects of their diet - they eat their veggies, I serve them well balanced meals, and they don't have dessert every night. But they do get treats from time to time, and they enjoy spaghetti and pizza once in a while - just like other kids. But they almost never have fast food.
How has being a mom changed your dieting and fitness approach?
I do think, even though it is kind of shocking to me, that I am in better shape than I was before having kids. After having my daughter, Megan, and with all the information I've learned since being with "The Biggest Loser," I was really prepared in a different way to really commit to getting into shape. And instead of setting a goal of getting 'back' to what I was 'before' I focused on being in the best shape that I can be 'now'. That completely freed me of expectations, in a way that ended up helping me exceed them.