For actress, writer, wife and mom-of-two Alison Sweeney, every day is a busy one – but that doesn't mean that she's lost sight of what's important to her. "I want to be healthier and I want to take care of myself better and that makes it easier to make smart choices," says the former host of The Biggest Loser, who believes in good-for-you food and regular exercise.
Healthy living is also a priority the Days of our Lives alum is instilling in her children – from cooking meals together to teaming up for regular exercise, this devoted mom is teaching her son, Ben, and daughter, Megan, how to seamlessly incorporate better choices into their regular routines. Here, the Arm & Hammer Dental spokesperson shares the tips, tricks and life-changing habits that can help us all find our happier, healthier selves.
Staying motivated to eat well and exercise regularly can be challenging. How would you describe the mindset you live by? I ultimately don’t care what I weigh, it doesn’t matter. What matters is what I feel about myself. Am I able to ski down the mountain with my kids and not be out of breath? More importantly skiing with kids, can I push my kids back up the mountain? Can I climb off my skis and go get the pole she [Megan] left halfway up the slopes? I’m certainly out of breath at the end but I can do it, and I can be that mom for my kids and that makes me really proud and I want to keep myself in shape for all of those challenges.
Clearly family is very important to you. What kinds of things do you like to do together? We travel a lot as a family, we go on hikes and walks together. Adventures all the time. We do a lot of fun stuff together. It’s important to get the kids away from electronics and excited about being outside and doing stuff together as a family.
How have your healthy living habits changed since becoming a mom? A lot of my healthy lifestyle was in response to having kids. I really wanted to be a good role model, so it became easier to make healthy choices. As much as I want those French fries, I don’t want my kid to see me eating French fries. And cooking for four people is easier than cooking for one. Exercising is the same thing. Now my son comes for runs with me so that’s really fun. And I love for him to see how fit I am and I think it’s cool that he sees his mom as athletic and that girls are athletic. I think that’s important.
What other types of exercise do you enjoy? I think it’s really important to mix it up for your body. So I run, but I also hike, I do indoor spinning, I do yoga, I do strength training.
How do you ensure that you fit regular exercise into your busy schedule? I would love to work out for an hour every day but I don’t have that kind of life – I don’t have that time. So one of the things I’ve learned over the years is just because you don’t have time for a whole class, doesn’t mean that you should do nothing.
What sort of things would you suggest? There are great apps on your phones for little shorter routines that won’t make you sweat too much but get your heart pounding or go for a walk at lunch. I always try to get something in that makes me feel accomplished.
What other healthy habits do you think are important? Sleep is really important and your nutrition is so crucial. I don’t know where I picked it up but the feeling of: "I’ll grab a power bar on the way to the gym and I’ll do the following 37 things and I’ll only get three hours of sleep but that’s okay because I’ll just keep going," – that is not good for you on any level. And it’s exhausting and you feel like it’s never enough. Being happy and being content with what you did that day and getting home in time to put your kids to bed and brush your teeth and put on a show and get a good night’s rest. It’s all part of good, overall health – mentally as well as physically.
What's one treat you like to indulge in? I’m a huge fan of popcorn. I love air popped popcorn. My husband got me a popcorn maker for Christmas one year and it’s my favourite gift. And I make it with coconut oil. So now I’m healthy and eating popcorn.
Do you have any other go-to healthy snacks? I [keep] a snack mix like a trail mix that I made at home... in my car or my purse for after a workout so I have something to refresh me. I use either raw or toasted unsalted almonds, pumpkin seeds and dried blueberries and sometimes a dark chocolate chip. The dried blueberries are awesome in it.
You've had two very successful, long-term gigs (The Biggest Loser and Days of our Lives). How did you know when it was time to move on? I always want to feel like I can’t wait to go to work, I can’t wait to do my job. I love what I do and I want to continue to be passionate about it and find things that challenge me. So that’s what I’m out there trying to do.