As host of “The Biggest Loser,” Alison Sweeney knows a thing or two about losing weight the right way.
The mother-of-two has maintained her 30-pound weight loss for more than a decade, slimming down from a size 12 to a 2/4 with a healthy diet and exercise plan.
toofab’s Rachel Hoffman caught up with the TV veteran to get the scoop on how she stays motivated, the one treat she can’t live without and life after “Days of Our Lives.”
“It’s all about balance,” she explains. “People get into extreme dieting plans and short-term fixes, but they only get short term results. It’s important to learn to make the right choices in every situation, whether you’re on vacation, at a Christmas party or at the beach.”
Another tip for staying slim? “Reevaluate your weight loss goals to cater to your body type and try not focus on the number on the scale. Ironic, I know. It’s more about being healthy and protecting your body for the long term.”
The 38-year-old actress also stocks her refrigerator with healthy snacks, like Greek yogurt and carrots.
“I usually add blueberries, cinnamon and agave nectar or honey to my yogurt,” she reveals. As for a healthy, light dinner option, Alison likes to prepare fish or shrimp with a spritz of lemon.
Another part of Alison’s daily routine is making sure her smile is camera-ready. “I use Arm & Hammer Truly Radiant toothpaste and spinbrush are an important part of my routine. You have to be confident with your smile.”
Even though the blonde beauty is disciplined about her diet and beauty regime, she does let herself indulge in her favorite treat: wine!
“I will absolutely indulge in a glass if it’s a good bottle of wine,” she declares. “But if it’s not a good one, it’s not worth it because of the empty calories.”
The actress, who recently gave up her starring role after 22 years on “Days of Our Lives,” is making family time a priority. “I’ve been so busy with the kids — getting homework done, taking them to school and being a part of their day-to-day more. I love it.”
While she’s enjoying more quality time with her kids, she’s still getting used to the career change. “It’s been crazy getting used to it,” she says. “I’ve always been very regimented in my career, so it’s just been really weird. It’s like I’m missing a limb!”
As fans of the hit soap opera know, Alison’s character Sami has been at the center of some shocking story lines. So, what was her favorite scene to shoot?
“Sami throwing Nick into the river,” she admits. “It was so challenging physically and fun to shoot. The set was beautiful and exciting. Having the underwater cameras there – it was a really unique day of filming for me. Something very different from what we normally do on Days.”
Sweeney has already filmed her final scene on the show, but she’s not revealing any set secrets about Sami’s exit. “I can’t give you any details, but they came up with a clever way to allow the character to have moments with all the others in Salem. For me, it was an opportunity to say goodbye and make it meaningful.”
Want to see if Alison knows her “Days” facts? Check out the clip below to see her play “30 Seconds or Else,” where she must answer ten questions about Sami in under 30 seconds… or else!
Brian Bowen Smith
If anyone knows how difficult change can be, it’s Alison Sweeney. For 13 seasons she’s had a front-row seat to watching contestants transform their bodies and lives as host of The Biggest Loser. And as a REDBOOK contributor, Ali has been refreshingly candid about her struggles to maintain a healthy weight. So when she decided to step back and reassess her career a few years ago, her schedule did not include lounging by the pool and eating bon-bons. She just finished writing her third novel, due next year, has taken on the role of star and executive producer on next month’s Hallmark Channel movie Love on the Air, signed on to act and co-executive produce seven more films for the cable network based on the best-selling Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder series and directed episodes of General Hospital. Here’s a sneak peek at what our August cover gal had to share with us:
On the lack of strong women’s roles in Hollywood:
“I worry about stuff like that more for my daughter. I feel very strongly that girls – and children, in general – are not getting a good representation of strong roles for women. I mean, Doc McStuffins shouldn’t be the only TV show in which a woman has a real job. A princess is not a job that our daughters can aspire to!”
On the differences between men and women in their approach to dieting:
“Men are very practical about it. It’s like, if they feel like they need to watch their weight, they will say, ‘I’m just going to eat green beans all week’ and that’s the end of the story. They don’t torture themselves. I wish I could be more that way!”
Why men don’t feel the same guilt women do when it comes to work and being away from family:
“I think for me, and probably a lot of women, it’s because I see myself as a person who shouldn’t need help. I hate to ask for help. I mean, I can’t stand when I can’t open the mustard jar. It’s the most ludicrous thing. My instinct is to do it myself because I don’t want to feel inadequate.”
Her best advice for kick-starting weight-loss:
“I do think that weight issues are ultimately bigger than nutrition and exercise. You have to conquer ‘the want.’ You have to decide that a healthier lifestyle is something you personally want – nobody else can do that for you.”
To learn more about how she maintains a happy marriage (it involves an annual relationship review), her tips on instilling healthy body image in her daughter (we can all learn from it!), and the one simple trick everyone can do to lose weight, pick up your copy of REDBOOK mag on newsstands on July 21.
Brian Bowen Smith
Alison Ann Sweeney is an American actress, director, reality show host and an author born on 19 September 1976. She earned recognition and success from the NBC soap opera Days of Our Lives for which she was also nominated for Daytime Emmy Award. Her acting career began at the age of five from the Kodak advertisement and afterwards, Sweeney performed several minor roles in the television series including Tales from the Darkside and Family Man. In 1993, Alison eventually earned breakthrough from the soap opera Days of Our Lives. In addition to that, Sweeney as well hosted the show “The Biggest Loser” from 2007-2015 and earned critical acclaim. Furthermore, she is the writer of the novels The Star Attraction and Scared Scriptless. Alison won numerous awards and nomination throughout her career including Digest Award, Emmy Award, and Young Artist Award. As far as her personal life is concerned, Alison Sweeney got married to David Sanov in 2000 and the couple has two children together.
Alison Sweeney Personal Details:
- Complete Name: Alison Ann Sweeney
- Nicknames: Alison
- Date of Birth: September 19, 1976
- Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, U.S.
- Occupation: Actress, Host, Author
- Zodiac Sign: Virgo
- Eye Color: Blue
- Hair Color: Blonde
- Alison Sweeney Body Measurements Height Weight Statistics
- The Mommy Diet
- 6 Stay-Slim Tips from Alison Sweeney
- Eating Junk Food Helps Battle Stress
- Dark Chocolate is Good for You
- Oatmeal is Good for You
- Bananas Are the Best Source of Potassium
- Oranges Are the Best Source of Vitamin C
- Comfort Food Chases Away the Blues
- Peanut Butter is a Health Food
- “Multi-grain” and “wheat” Breads Are Better Than White Bread
- Wraps Are Healthier Than Regular Sandwiches
- Potatoes Are Empty Carbs
- Nutrition Bars Are Actually Nutritious
- Alison Sweeney Answers Your Burning Health Questions
Alison Sweeney Body Measurements Height Weight Statistics
Alison Sweeney Family Details:
Alison Sweeney Career Highlights:
- First Film: The Price of Life (1987)
- First TV Show: Tales from the Darkside (1985)
Alison Sweeney Body Measurements:
Given below are the complete Alison Sweeney body measurements including her weight, height, hip, bust, waist, dress, bra cup, and shoe size details.
- Height in Feet: 5′ 4″
- Height in Centimeters: 163 cm
- Weight in Kilograms: 59 kg
- Weight in Pounds: 129 pounds
- Bra Size: 36C
- Shoe Size: 8 (US)
- Body Measurements: 39-25-36
Alison Sweeney Interesting Facts:
- Tom Cruise was her first celebrity crush.
- Sweeney is a huge basketball fan.
- She is an avid reader of the Harry Potter series.
- Alison is a multi-tasker since her childhood when she used to learn piano, tennis tap dancing and ballet together.
The Mommy Diet
As a working mom who looks hotter than ever after two pregnancies, Alison Sweeney knows what it takes to look and feel great during pregnancy and how to get back in shape post-baby. (Yes, it’s possible!) In The Mommy Diet, she shares tons of straightforward tips, personal anecdotes, easy-to-follow exercises, fashion insight, nutrition advice, and even a few of her favorite quick, easy recipes.
The Mommy Diet helps moms-to-be stay fit, positive, and pampered during pregnancy and then steers new moms to a healthy recovery and body confidence after the baby is born. It’s a warm, accessible, funny guide to everything from prepregnancy through the first nine months postpartum – an especially crucial time for new moms who want to shed their baby weight safely and establish a fitness routine – and beyond.
Sweeney, who is busy taking care of two children and juggling two jobs, breaks pregnancy down trimester by trimester, addressing everything from morning sickness and food cravings to sexy maternity style, all the while reminding readers to keep up with exercise as long as their doctors approve. After the baby arrives, she details the perils and pitfalls of carrying around postpregnancy weight and how to navigate the sleep deprivation, not to mention the shell-shocked stress of all the changes to daily life.
You can eat healthfully, be physically fit, look great, and find time to take care of yourself while you learn to be a terrific new mom. The realistic, affordable, and doable advice in The Mommy Diet will show you how.
6 Stay-Slim Tips from Alison Sweeney
Don’t bother asking Alison Sweeney how much she weighs. The star of Hallmark’s sweet detective series, Murder, She Baked, hasn’t stepped on a scale in years. Instead, she uses the fit of her jeans to determine when she needs to “knuckle down” on her diet. Ever since dropping 30 pounds while hosting The Biggest Loser, Ali, 39, has been an inspiration to women everywhere who are struggling with their weight. Here, the mom of two and author of the novel Opportunity Knocks shares her rules for staying slim and healthy.
Love The Biggest Loser? Then don’t miss these 20 Incredible Weight Loss Tips From A Biggest Loser!
How have you maintained that 30-pound loss?**
I stopped looking at nutrition and exercise as a punishment and started seeing it as a reward. Healthy food tastes delicious. You can eat a lot of variety, including unexpected flavors. Mix it up!
What’s your take on diets?
I’ve tried them all! They’re ineffective—once you stop, the weight always comes back on. A shake is a shake, not a meal replacement, and it doesn’t compare to making your own food. My best weight-loss tool was learning how to cook for myself and not relying on takeout or frozen foods.
Eat This Tip: Steer clear of these 25 Awful Ingredients Everyone Still Uses—But Shouldn’t!
What’s in your fridge and pantry at all times?
Greek yogurt for smoothies, breakfast (see her recipe below), and as a replacement for sour cream; fruit like cantaloupe, blueberries, grapes, and lemons; healthy snack options like sugar snap peas, carrots, and almonds; and I’m obsessed with quinoa. What’s interesting is what I don’t have there. No cookies, chips, or other foods that my kids will just reach for. It’s very simple: if it’s not there, they won’t eat it!
Do you have a favorite healthy meal?
On The Biggest Loser we made what we called the Everything- But-the-Kitchen-Sink Salad. I had one for lunch today with chicken, apples, three different kinds of lettuce, and beets; whatever is fresh and on hand can go in it.
What dressing do you use?
My favorite dressing hack is using a diced avocado instead of oil. With a squeeze of lemon juice and cilantro for flavor, I don’t need anything else on my salads at all.
Check out these 12 Tips to Make Healthy Salad Dressings for more, similar tips!
What are your food splurges?
My biggest indulgence is popcorn. When I want something sweet, I have my favorite ice cream in the freezer, and I’ll literally pull out a spoon and have one bite. I’d rather have one delicious bite of something than a lot of fake stuff that doesn’t satisfy me. And I love a glass of wine, but it has to be the best or why waste the calories?
RELATED: 25 Nutritionist-Approved Ways To Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth
Ali’s Decadent, Antioxidant Breakfast
It’s also great for a sweet and satisfying afternoon snack!
Makes 2 servings
1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1 cup fresh blueberries
2 oz almonds or 1/2 cup granola
1 tsp agave nectar
How to make it:
Dump the Greek yogurt into a bowl. Mix in the blueberries and almonds or granola. Drizzle agave nectar on top. Enjoy!
Plus, don’t fall for same old weight loss rules. Learn the truth behind the myths and you’ll find you can actually lose weight without all the confusion.
Eating Junk Food Helps Battle Stress
You’ve been there: Stressed out and sprawled across your sofa with one arm elbow deep in a bag of cheese puffs. In the moment, it can be comforting, but a study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry found that people who consumed the most highly processed foods were 58 percent more likely to be depressed than those who ate the least. Your move: Find a healthy stress snack. Peanut butter and Triscuits do the trick, or check out the next myth.
Dark Chocolate is Good for You
It would be great if the only thing you had to do to eat healthy was look for chocolate bars that were darker than Kristen Stewart’s mascara. Unfortunately, the secret to unlocking the health benefits of chocolate are a bit more complicated than that. Plenty of studies have shown that polyphenols—nutrients found in darkly colored plant foods like chocolate—can do everything from lowering blood pressure to raising our ability to burn fat. A 2013 study in the journal Diabetic Medicine even found that eating dark chocolate lessened the effects of high blood sugar in diabetic patients. Unfortunately, the more chocolate is processed, the more of the polyphenols are lost. Creating “Dutch” chocolate, in which an alkalizing agent is added to the cocoa to reduce acidity, destroys up to 77 percent of the nutrients in the cocoa. To get the health benefits that have been touted since the time of Montezeuma, look for a dark chocolate that says 70% cacao (or higher) on the label. The rest? It’s just candy.
Oatmeal is Good for You
Okay, oatmeal really is good for you. If it’s just oatmeal that you made from scratch, and then sweetened yourself with a little fruit. But most of what’s sold as oatmeal today is more like a package of Kool-Ade mix. Consider Instant Quaker Oatmeal Strawberries & Cream, which features delicious sounding “flavored and colored fruit pieces.” What does that mean, exactly? What they’ve done is taken dried apples and/or figs and injected them with corn syrup solids, cornstarch, and trans fats, and mixed it in something called a “creaming agent.” Or check out the Fruit & Maple Oatmeal offering at McDonald’s. It’s a breakfast cereal with 32 grams of sugar–the equivalent of nearly 13 cups of Kix cereal!
Bananas Are the Best Source of Potassium
Your body uses potassium to keep your nerves and muscles firing efficiently, and an adequate intake can blunt sodium’s effect on blood pressure. One 2009 study found that a 2:1 ratio of potassium to sodium could halve your risk of heart disease, and since the average American consumes about 3,400 milligrams of sodium each day, your goal should be 6,800 milligrams of daily potassium. You’re extremely unlikely to ever reach that mark—and never with bananas alone. One medium banana has 422 milligrams and 105 calories. Here are the sources that earn you roughly the same amount of potassium in fewer calories:
- Potato, half a medium spud, 80 calories
- Apricots, 5 whole fruit, 80 calories
- Cantaloupe, 1 cup cubes, 55 calories
- Broccoli, 1 full stalk, 50 calories
- Sun-dried tomatoes, a quarter cup, 35 calories
Oranges Are the Best Source of Vitamin C
Far more than a simple immune booster, vitamin C is an antioxidant that plays a host of important roles in your body. It strengthens skin by helping to build collagen, improves mood by increasing the flow of norepinephrine, and bolsters metabolic efficiency by helping transport fat cells into the body’s energy-burning mitochondria. But since your body can neither store nor create the wonder vitamin, you need to provide a constant supply. An orange is the most famous vitamin-C food, and although it’s a good source, it’s by no means the best. For 70 calories, one orange gives you about 70 micrograms of vitamin C. Here are five sources with just as much vitamin C and even fewer calories:
- Papaya, ¾ cup, 50 calories
- Brussel’s sprouts, 1 cup, 40 calories
- Strawberries, 7 large fruit, 40 calories
- Broccoli, ½ stalk, 25 calories
- Red Bell Pepper, ½ medium pepper, 20 calories
Comfort Food Chases Away the Blues
A bowl of tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich on a cold winter’s day. A big spoonful of mac & cheese when you’re down on your luck. Comfort food just makes you feel better, doesn’t it?
Actually, it doesn’t. In a 2014 study in the journal Health Psychology, aptly titled “The Myth of Comfort Food,” researchers showed participants depressing films to “induce a negative effect.” Then they gave them either comfort food, foods that weren’t considered comfort foods, or no food at all. Result: The subjects got over their bad moods in equal time, regardless of whether or not they ate. Is feeling bad a good excuse for eating bad? Turns out, it’s not. Cheer up—and start slimming down.
Peanut Butter is a Health Food
In its best form, peanut butter actually is a health food. That’s because peanuts are packed with monounsaturated fats, the heart-healthy fat that actually helps you lose weight. Here’s what the ingredients of a healthy jar of peanut butter should read:
But most peanut butter doesn’t look like that. Here’s what the label of Jif Reduced Fat Creamy Peanut Butter Spread reads like:
Peanuts, corn syrup solids, sugar, pea protein, salt, fully hydrogenated vegetable oils, mono and diglycerides, molasses, magnesium oxide, niacinamide, ferric orthophosphate, zinc oxide, copper sulfate, folic acid, pyridoxine hydrochloride.
Now, I know your kids constantly beg you for seconds of pyridoxine hydrochloride, but is that something they need? Most peanut butters are highly processed and loaded with sugars and trans-fatty oils, and contain less of the healthy monounsaturated fats that you truly need. “Peanut butter spread” is even worse. The word “spread” indicates that it’s at least 10 percent additives. Look for “natural” peanut butter (Smucker’s and Justin’s both make great versions) and don’t be fooled by any low-fat promises.
“Multi-grain” and “wheat” Breads Are Better Than White Bread
Wait a minute—isn’t “multi-grain” one of the biggest buzzwords in nutrition? And haven’t we been trained to pick the wheat bread over the white at every turn? Yes, but unfortunately those labels are about as credible as your local congressman’s campaign promises. “Wheat bread” is generally white bread with caramel or molasses added to make it look dark and healthy. “Multi-grain” just means that different kinds of junky refined grains may have been used. Always look for the words “100% whole wheat” or “100% whole grain” on the package.
Wraps Are Healthier Than Regular Sandwiches
Those skinny little wraps are so flimsy, so delicate, so fusion-cuisine friendly. How can they not be better than the average lump of bread? Well, consider Subway’s wrap, for one. It packs 310 calories—before you even add the first whiff of meat or sauce. The reason is that, in order for the tortilla to wrap around like that, it needs added fat, often in the form of soybean oil and hydrogenated oils. (In fact, when ordering Mexican food, you’re usually better off with a hard taco than a soft, for the same reason.)
Potatoes Are Empty Carbs
Once the proud spud stud of the American dinner plate, potatoes have been downgraded in recent years to a status not seen since the Irish blight. But unlike the commentators on cable news, the common taters in your kitchen actually have something worth chewing on. A USDA study of potatoes recently found levels of phytochemicals such as flavonoids and kukoamines that rival the amounts found in broccoli, spinach and Brussels sprouts. Kukoamines? You haven’t heard of them because they were previously believed to exist only in Chinese medicinal plants, but they have been shown to lower blood pressure by decreasing free-radical damage and inflammation. If you crave French fries, check out Elevation Burger: Their fries are just potatoes, oil and salt, and they’re fried in olive oil.
Nutrition Bars Are Actually Nutritious
In a world where we really called it as it is, nutrition bars would be known by another name: calorie bars. Most of them are so polluted with additives that their ingredients list looks like Charlie Sheen’s blood test results. For example, PowerBar Vanilla Crisp touts itself as “fuel for optimum performance,” but unless you’re talking about a performance by The Chemical Brothers, we’re not sure exactly what they mean. With four different types of sugar, it packs more of the white stuff than an adult woman should eat in an entire day. If you like the idea of a snackable bar that packs in the nutrition, read the ingredients carefully: Brands like KIND, Larabar, and Clif have plenty of smart offerings. But most of what’s out there is just candy.
Get the New Book!
Want to lose 10, 20, even 30 pounds—all without dieting?! Get your copy of Eat This, Not That: The Best (& Worst) Foods in America!, and learn how to indulge smarter and lose weight fast!
Alison Sweeney Answers Your Burning Health Questions
From Biggest Loser to biggest helper: Alison Sweeney has answered your health and fitness questions! Nearly 150 of you submitted inquiries on everything from exercise and snacking to post-baby bodies and belly bulge, and Sweeney was more than happy to help you out.
Check out her answers to a selection of your questions below, and be sure to pick up her new novel, The Star Attraction, on amazon.com now!
How do you stay motivated and focused on your diet and exercise? –Rachel
For me it’s really important to keep up my cardio. I do have a trainer, but I don’t see him all the time. I work out on my own a lot: I run, ride my bike (both outside) and I take spin class. I try to get a good cardio workout in at least four times a week. In addition, at least once a week, I do a day of circuit training with weights. It helps me maintain muscle tone. My schedule is so busy all the time, so I can’t hold myself to specific times or a firm schedule, but these are my goals and I do the best I can. With my diet, I do try to think ahead – if I know I’ll be somewhere only unhealthy foods are available, I try to prep snacks to bring (like on an airplane I bring my own fruit & veggies to munch on). But I also don’t beat myself up for a few ‘cheats’ once in a while.
I am a 40-year-old mother of three, and I feel as though I’ve hit that ‘plateau’ that everyone talks about when getting older. I eat right, I exercise moderately, but I see no results. What can you recommend to mix things up? –Carmen
I know all about hitting plateaus and how frustrating they can be. For me, once I started to count every calorie, I realized how much I was eating that I didn’t account for. Keep a food journal and make sure to eat as healthy as possible and have a good breakfast. Change up your cardio to push your body in different ways too. Good luck!
What does your diet/exercise plan look like on an average day? –Anonymous
Usually I wake up really early for work on Days of Our Lives. I eat oatmeal with blueberries almost every day for breakfast. Then, after I shoot my scenes, I get a chance to fit in a workout. Either a run outside, or I meet up with my trainer for some strength training.
I work the night shift. What could I bring to eat that I won’t gain weight? –Taryn
I suggest cutting bell peppers, cucumbers and also taking cantaloupe or a cup of blueberries with you. A cup of blueberries only has 80 calories plus it gives you fiber and vitamin C. And make sure to drink plenty of water.
Any suggestions of hard, short workouts for someone always on the go? –Maryjane
I’ve learned that I get a good intense, short workout by running sprints on the treadmill. It’s not always about distance – a workout is about the intensity you put into it. So when I don’t have a lot of time, I really focus energy and go really hardcore – run 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off for several minutes. Then I do a similar intensity doing burpees (pushup, jump to your feet, and then jump in the air, then back down to pushup). Hope it works for you, too. I would love to eat healthier on a budget, but with myself, my husband, and four boys, it’s beyond tough. Do you have any suggestions on how to eat healthier for weight loss – without breaking the bank? –Kenisha
Here’s the thing: I totally understand what you’re saying, but inexpensive food also means you have to eat a lot more of it to fill up. So even though a loaf of whole wheat bread is more expensive, one piece is much more satisfying and nutritious than its all-white counterpart. Does that make sense? Potatoes even get a good rap in this instance – they’re a way better, inexpensive option than, say, potato chips or French fries. Also, save money on drinks; sodas aren’t a great way to spend money, and are nothing but sugar. Plus, drinking your calories is never a good idea.
It seems like running is the choice exercise to slim down, but so many people, including myself, abhor it! Is there any other cardio that is as effective as running to help shed the pounds? –Kelly
If you hate running then it’s not going to help you lose weight because you’re not going to do it. The trick for me was to find cardio that I enjoy – a spin class where they play loud music to distract you, or hiking outside, or a class like kick boxing or something that might challenge you physically. There are a ton of options out there! Find one that works and keeps you coming back.
I literally eat more candy than anyone I know, and going on a diet that doesn’t allow for at least a little candy every day is simply not realistic. Any words of advice for sugar addicts like myself? –Guest
When I was pregnant my doctor recommended that when my sweet tooth cravings acted up, that I should eat fruit. I know it’s not what your brain thinks you’re craving, but give it a shot. Eating a whole cantaloupe or blueberries is a way better alternative than candy. And, even if it satisfies you a little, and you have one piece of candy instead of seven, well, that’s something, isn’t it?
I’m a 33-year-old mom of three that at one point lost 80 pounds. Unfortunately, I have put on 10 due to poor food choices and lack of exercise. I’ve gotten the healthy eating back but as for the exercising, it’s due to the little time I have. I work a full-time job and go to school. I’m lucky to fit in six or seven hours of sleep – and I’ve read that sleep is one of the most important factors in weight loss and weight maintenance. I really want to get back to exercising but I don’t know where to fit it in. –Jeg3494
I’m the same way. If I get 6 hours of sleep, I’m grateful. It’s a tough call, because sleep is important. I think you’re right – maybe once Monday to Thursday try to get a workout in, and then Friday, Saturday and Sunday, really take advantage of your time off to work out. Also since you do work so much, really keeping focused on your nutrition will help a lot. Spend time cooking your meals at home and packing them so that you can make sure to have healthy choices available to you all day. I recently injured my knee and can’t do my normal running or Jillian Michaels DVD. I have a desk job so I sit all day. Can you recommend a good exercise routine while my knee heals? –Babs
You really need to talk with your doctor and physical therapist about what activities are best for you to do until your injury heels. Contestants on The Biggest Loser tend to spend more time in the pool and on the rowing machines but don’t do anything without first checking with doctors. Get well soon!
I’m a new runner, and I know you’ve been in my shoes! One day I can run two miles without stopping, and the next I can barely get through half a mile. How can I push through and build consistency? –Gina
A lot of that has to do with nutrition, hydration and rest. When I started to run long-term, I needed to evaluate what I ate before each work out. Make sure you are constantly hydrating yourself a day before the run as well as after and be sure to sleep before trying for a longer run.
As a mom of three, I would love to get some tips to lose the baby bulge. It seems that as I lose weight in other areas, my stomach becomes more obvious. I’m ready to lose this baby souvenir! –Carmen
I remember trying to do a sit-up after I had Ben and falling back and laughing. You’re literally recovering from an injury and you need to build those muscles back. Make sure you’re eating healthy (mainly proteins, fruits and veggies) and working out those core muscles. That’s what The Biggest Loser trainers taught me and it worked!
I recently lost 40 pounds. I want to stay active to help maintain my weight loss but I never seem to have any energy. Any advice? –Jleigh
Have you been working out? Often people drop pounds by cutting back calories. It’s important to make sure you’re getting enough nutrition if you’re working out and to get through your day. Also getting enough sleep is important, too! Eating enough calories doesn’t mean putting the weight back on – just make sure you are eating the right things!
I get up at 4:30 a.m. to work out then straight to work. I get home around 6:30 p.m. I have to go to bed by 8 p.m. to be able to get back up and start again. My problem is evening dinners. I can’t sleep hungry but I know I shouldn’t really eat that close to bedtime. Any suggestions? –Lori
Eating at night is always tricky. I’ve found that it’s better to stick to lighter things before bed, but it’s also when we’re the most tempted to cheat. You sound like you have quite an intense schedule. So try eating lighter fare, like veggies and a little protein. If you need a carb, try quinoa or another lentil that isn’t as heavy as pasta or rice.
Do you prefer to eat healthy ever day or do you allow yourself a cheat day once a week? –Angela
I don’t beat myself up if I have a treat but I try to have a bite of a cookie rather than a pack and to make a conscious effort to work out that day or the next one.
How do I keep from snacking so much? –Paula
I’m a fan of snacking, so I make sure I have plenty of healthy snacks wherever I go. That way I’m not starving at meals and eat a little bit throughout the day.
Image zoom Courtesy Hyperion Books
Why did you decide to break away from fitness/lifestyle and write a novel? –Kate
The Star Attraction is an inside look at Hollywood; the main character is Sophie, a publicist. It’s her story, dealing with the ins and outs of Hollywood, trying to balance a relationship and work … trying to figure out what she wants out of life! The inspiration came from how many years I’ve spent at Days of our Lives as an actress, telling other people’s stories. I love my job, but sometimes it’s frustrating to act out the stories of others when it’s not how I want it to go! So I started writing this character to just fulfill my own creative instincts. Now it’s crazy and thrilling to know other people will be reading it!
What was the novel-writing process like; how did you make time for it in your busy life? –Sarah
Well, my best friend definitely gave me insight into the life and work of a publicist. In fact I have several close friends who work in publicity, so many of the stories came from them. I took those and used my imagination for the romantic part and it all came together.
Robert Trachtenberg Sorry, Linda Carter. The Biggest Loser host and Days of Our Lives actress Alison Sweeney is Wonder Woman in my book. She holds not one, but two demanding jobs, is a devoted parent to two young children, and writes novels in her spare time. I had the chance to sit down and chat with her recently to get her take on losing weight — and keeping it off, finding time to work out, and staying balanced mentally and physically.
How’d you teach yourself to cook healthy foods?
I learned to cook but not in a healthy way. As much as I love my friend Emeril Lagasse, healthy cooking isn’t his area of expertise. When I started losing weight, it was out of necessity that I had to figure it out. What I learned from Emeril is the idea that you don’t have to be so married to a recipe. Love garlic? Throw it in! Don’t love it? Leave it out. I saw this delicious recipe for a really rich pasta dish and homemade tomato sauce, so I made a stew out of the sauce instead of making the pasta dish. From that point on I realized it’s my kitchen, my palate, and I can make what I want.
What are some of your biggest challenges with maintaining your weight loss?
It’s as hard as dieting! Your body is accustomed to more calories, so you have to teach yourself to get used to smaller portions and healthier food choices. You have to cleanse your palate of sugar and salt, and it’s an ongoing thing, because you don’t want to slide back to what you were doing before. Don’t find yourself having one more sliver of cake or one more little brownie. It’s a slippery slope. It’s important to stay clean in your nutrition.
RELATED: The Biggest Winner: An Interview with Alison Sweeney
What do you think about celebrities who claim to be thin without working at it? We’ve all heard the one about the model who eats cupcakes all day…
Even if that’s true, it isn’t healthy. Being healthy means eating the right foods and getting exercise.
Speaking of exercise, what’s your advice for working parents who think they don’t have time for it?
Exercise seems like it isn’t a priority when you have so much to do. Women feel like it’s selfish. I encourage women to see themselves as role models for their children. At a time when statistics for childhood obesity are scary, we need to set a good precedent and demonstrate how important it is to be active, physically fit, and healthy. It teaches kids that it’s important to take time for their health.
What’s your least favorite exercise and how do you make yourself do it?
For the most part, I find exercise that I like to do. I set goals for myself instead of torturing myself to see how many calories I’m burning. It’s about the achievement and thinking about it as an accomplishment. I’m grateful and appreciative of my strength. I have so much more confidence, and that carries over to other parts of my life. I didn’t always love working out. I used to go on vacation and think, “I’m on vacation. I don’t have to work out.” But changing my mind about that made all the difference. If you can think about it like, “I have time off, so I can take a yoga class! I can take a 90-minute stretching class! I can sleep in and still work out!” then it becomes a treat and a privilege.
Do you have a sweet tooth?
Of course! And I have kids, and I want to have fun and splurge. But for the most part, I find things I love that are also healthy, like cocoa and coconut roasted almonds, which are a great way to satisfy that craving and make you feel like you’re not deprived. It’s really important to live a lifestyle where you don’t feel deprived. Otherwise, you’ll resent it. Another thing I love: Greek yogurt with almonds, blueberries, agave, and cinnamon. It tastes very decadent.
Do you still eat carbs?
Absolutely! I eat oatmeal almost every day. Yes, bagels and pizza are foods you can avoid, but there are lentils, quinoa, and lots of other fantastic carbs. Carbs are a great part of a healthy diet, and balance is important to me.
RELATED: 8 Pasta Recipes That Won’t Destroy Your Diet
What do you say to people who think healthy food doesn’t taste good?
You should take every opportunity to make your food taste delicious — like adding cheese to it. Dieters tend to give cheese a bad rap since it has so many calories. Obviously you don’t want to eat a pound of it, but Bob Harper told me that cheese is in a lot of things where you don’t even realize or appreciate it. Once I became aware of that, I started putting cheese on top of my food so it’s something I can taste and enjoy without immersing my food in it. Also, herbs are freebies!
Any other good diet tips?
Put your fork down. Have a conversation when you’re eating. Then you will eat less. Hey, your food will still be there!
Do you still weigh yourself?
I don’t. I go by my jeans and how I feel. But I try to be okay with it if I miss a workout or splurge a little.
Read more about Alison Sweeney’s inspiring journey in our cover story from March 2013. Her book The Star Attraction is in stores now, and her next novel Scared Scriptless will be released in June.
You know the saying: If you want something done, ask someone who’s busy. In other words, talk to Alison Sweeney. She hosts NBC’s The Biggest Loser, just released her second novel, Scared Scriptless, is wrapping up her last year on Days of Our Lives—and she juggles life as the mother of Ben, 9, and Megan, 5, and the wife of California Highway Patrol officer David. The one thing that keeps everything else afloat? Her commitment to staying well.
But that wasn’t always so. Alison struggled with weight fluctuations in her 20s and experimented with crash diets that left her exhausted and overweight, because during that time her motivation was just to be thin.
Then, in 2007, at the beginning of her Biggest Loser host gig, she discovered a simple secret that enabled her to drop and keep off 30 pounds: Think about health instead of the number on the scale. Spending time with the show’s participants initiated this mental shift. She watched them overcome struggles to not only lose weight but to improve their energy levels and lower their risk of disease as well. “I realized that getting in shape was about so much more than fitting into a certain size.”
So, Alison changed her thinking from “I wish I were thin” to “I want to be healthy.” Once she adopted that mantra, she stopped judging herself against an arbitrary rule about being skinny and was so much happier. “At that point, things just fell into place,” she says. “I wanted to cook healthy meals and I was excited to be able to go for a 30-minute walk or jog.”
Now, filling her body with wholesome food and squeezing in daily activity is at the top of her to-do list. “I love to walk because it gives me a chance to be outdoors and to explore the world around me,” says Alison, who walks alone or with her family three times a week. “Walking is a form of meditation for me—I’m able to take deep breaths and enjoy the moment.”
Alison also uses fitness to fuel her creativity. “Exercise was key to me while I was writing my second novel,” she says. “I’d step away from the keyboard and go for a walk to work through ideas and think about plot twists in new ways.” In other words, she tapped into more than the physical benefits of fitness.
And with her mental and physical life in order, Alison can focus on the things she loves most: her work and her family. Read on for her easy secrets that can help you make lasting changes.
Hair by David Keough/Celestine Agency for John Frieda; Makeup by Corina Duran for Exclusive Artists; Wardrobe styling by Amy Berlin; Manicure by Joanie Moscatello for Covergirl; Prop styling by Scott Horne for Big Leo.
Alison Sweeney is exiting The Biggest Loser. And although the reality TV competition that promises heavyweights big money for shedding major pounds will start filming for a new season in September, Alison has decided to end her run as host, reported MSN.
Sweeney’s departure from The Biggest Loser was confirmed by the show’s producers. She’s been famed as the host for years.
In 2007, Alison replaced Caroline Rhea as host. Sweeney’s calm manner amid the sometimes chaotic, frenzied environment then made her on a winner on The Biggest Loser since Season 4.
Alison recently left the soap opera Days Of Our Lives, which she portrayed Sami Brady. But although Sweeney won’t return to The Biggest Loser, she will make a comeback to mark the 50th anniversary of Days of Our Lives in November.
And Alison isn’t giving up her acting career. She successful sold Love On The Air to the Hallmark Channel and will also executive produce and star in the film. In addition, Murder She Baked will have a third film.
Sweeney has been candid in revealing that The Biggest Loser helped her overcome her life-long battle with her weight. And when Alison was 16 and beginning her soap opera career, she felt especially self-conscious about her weight, she told the Daily Mail.
Although Sweeney wouldn’t have been a candidate for The Biggest Loser (she says at her heaviest weight, she wore a size 12), she still struggled with slimming down for the figure-conscious entertainment industry.
“Being surrounded by such thin, gorgeous actresses made me so insecure and self-conscious,” admitted Alison.
Sweeney’s turning point came when she hosted The Biggest Loser.
In particular, Alison credits trainer Jillian Michaels for influencing her. Sweeney says that Jillian, who also exited The Biggest Loser, made her realize how much she could learn about the right diet.
“I asked her for advice, and she rocked my world. I wasn’t eating the right kinds of calories. I didn’t know about healthy carbs such as brown rice and lentils. Now I eat small meals throughout the day: oatmeal with cinnamon to start, fruit and yogurt as a snack, and vegetables or salad with chicken or tuna, and a healthy carb, like a yam, for lunch.”
In addition, Alison skips carbs at dinner and nibbles on a salad. Sweeney also follows The Biggest Loser guidelines to exercise regularly.
“I maintain by going to Spin four or five days a week. I love that I can get a solid butt-kicking in 40 minutes. I also strength train two or three times a week. And I do yoga, which I now enjoy so much, when I can. I look forward to it.”
As the Inquisitr reported, Jillian subsequently revealed that she felt forced to leave The Biggest Loser when she and the producers clashed on weight loss transformation guidelines.