As the host of NBC’s "The Biggest Loser," Alison Sweeney encourages contestants to reach their goals and celebrates their victories. But you might not know that Alison has experienced her own ups and downs in the weight department. In her new book, The Mommy Diet, Alison shares how she lost—and kept off—over 30 pounds after the births of Ben, 6 and Megan, 3. As she kicks off her 10th year hosting The Biggest Loser, we asked Alison for her advice for making 2012 your healthiest year yet.
Spry: How has The Biggest Loser helped with your own weight loss journey?
Alison: I’ve learned to look at portion size, after finding out that most people eat 2 1/2 times as much breakfast cereal as the serving size listed on the box. I also eat slower now—I used to be the first person done eating. And I find that I eat less and stop when I’m full rather than eating everything on my plate.
Spry: What seems to be the best motivator for contestants on the show?
Alison: People can feel very alone in the weight loss process and having a support system makes a huge difference. I’ve seen how contestants motivate each other, and how important having a support system is for continuing to lose or maintaining their weight loss after they leave the ranch.
Spry: What would you say to someone who is too embarrassed to exercise, because of his or her size or age?
Alison: Some contestants have said they feel uncomfortable going to a gym. I don’t think going to a gym is mandatory to get fit. Instead, find an activity you enjoy, even if that means taking a walk with a friend or working out at home with a DVD.
Spry: Many people focus exclusively on their diet when they’re trying to lose weight. How does exercise contribute to weight loss success both physically and emotionally?
Alison: For me, exercise is a way to release stress. I can burn through negative energy in a healthy way. I see so many women who put everyone else in their family first, but if your loved ones are relying on you, you owe it to yourself and to them to stay healthy. Taking care of yourself isn’t being selfish, it’s being smart.