Mitchell Haaseth, NBC
Now that she knows the score on nutrition, exercise and lifestyle after hosting seven cycles of TV's The Biggest Loser (a new round starts Jan. 4 on NBC), and not to mention having two kids, Alison Sweeney decided it was time to share her knowledge. In a new book, The Mommy Diet, which lands in stores Tuesday, she offers tips for mothers before, during and after pregnancy.
"So many people offer you great advice," Sweeney, 34, tells us, "but the important thing is to arm yourself with information and then do what works for you." From the set of her day job — she plays Sami Brady on the daytime soap Days of Our Lives — the Los Angeles native chatted about her New Year's resolutions, how The Biggest Loser changed her life and who her "village" is.
New Year's resolutions: Sweeney calls them "re-inspirations." On the diet front, she wants to cut back on desserts and lay off the bread. On the parenting front, she plans to focus on her kids, not her BlackBerry: "When I'm with my kids, I'm really trying to give them my full attention."
Casting call: She doesn't know if landing the Loser gig had anything to do with her own public struggles with weight. "I think they like my empathy for what the people go through, that I have a really realistic body type."
Loser lessons: "I have a much better understanding of how many calories are in everything. People always ask me, 'Oh, how much calories is in that?' I'm like, 'You really don't want me to tell you.' "
Loser's effect on her kids: (Ben turns 6 in February, and Megan is almost 2.) "I'm totally on it with the nutrition and fitness for my kids." The show "reminds me every day how important it is to grow up healthy so you don't have to face so many of the disadvantages and struggles that the contestants face."
On other people's kids: "It's really hard to see when parents are letting their kids — especially when a kid is already struggling with their weight — have sweets and processed sugar and fast food."
Reality check: So she never lets her kids have treats? "Yes, of course. For us it's all about balance. I try to provide the healthiest meals I can. And the occasional indulgence is OK, too, but we don't ever eat fast food. That's where I draw the line."
Her Mommy Diet: The book is all about the mom, Sweeney says, not the impending or new baby. "That's a big premise of the book: how important it is to allow yourself time to feel good about yourself, because that's going to make you a better mom."
Her 'village': "My whole family," including her husband of 10 years, police officer Dave Sanov, and "his awesome parents," are the support system she needs for working two jobs and raising two children. She also credits "other moms who I look to for advice. They are great moms themselves. I have a million questions."