Alison opens up to Celebrity Baby Scoop about her “awesome kids” Ben, 8 1/2, and Megan, 4 1/2, and her best tips for picky eaters. She goes on to talk about the upcoming season of The Biggest Loser, which premieres October 8 and includes a former Olympic athlete and Ruben Studdard from American Idol.
CBS: Tell us about teaming up with Arnold/Oroweat breads to launch the ‘Feed Your Better‘ campaign. Tell us about the campaign and why you got involved. How can we share our own inspirational stories and become involved in the campaign?
AS: “It’s been super exciting, because the ‘Feed Your Better’ campaign really challenges people to figure out what their ‘better’ is and what goals they want to set and strive for. I help ask that question, because we should all give ourselves something new to dream of and work towards. I love that Arnold/Orowheat has really been encouraging that, and they even have a contest at FeedYourBetter.com and the Facebook page. They are going to give away $100,000 in prizes to encourage people to feed their ‘better’ and work towards their goals.
I get to help judge the contest. Everyone can go to the website and share their story, dreams, goals, what they want from those goals, and how the goals will improve their lives. We are going to be a part of bettering people’s lives.”
CBS: Tell us what we can expect on the upcoming season of The Biggest Loser, premiering on October 8.
AS: “Oh my gosh, it’s a great season! Once again, the contestants are wonderful people who are working so hard to get healthy. It premieres on October 8th and we’ve had some amazing contestants this season, including a former Olympic athlete and Ruben Studdard from American Idol.
The contestants are great people of all walks of life. We all got to know the contestants right from the beginning and help them get on the right track. It’s been very special.”
CBS: Tell us about the feedback you’re getting on your book, The Star Attraction. Have you been inspired to write another book? If so, what topic(s) would you like to tackle this time?
AS: “It’s been so wonderful to read everyone’s tweets and posts on my Facebook page about the book! I also love all the positive reviews I’ve gotten everywhere, from Book Review toPeople magazine. It’s been amazing to get the good feedback.
Casual, light reading is so popular, especially in the summertime, and that’s what I love to read. I work so hard and have a lot going on all the time, so it’s fun to tuck into bed at night and read a couple more pages of a book that provides a great escape. That’s what I love about Days of Our Lives and The Star Attraction, and I’m so glad people have found a great escape with my book.
I am actually just finishing my second book this week, which also features the working-in-Hollywood theme. The book is about a girl working as a script supervisor on a TV series. It’s all about girls who are everyday girls finding jobs – the characters can be you! The book tells their story in a fun way and also gives a little behind-the-scenes look on what goes on in Hollywood. The book centers on finding yourself and learning lessons about who you really are. It is also about not putting yourself in a box, dreaming big, and opening up your eyes to what else you can do.”
CBS: Tell us about your two kids. How old are they now and what are they into? Are they enjoying school so far?
AS: “My son, Ben, is 8 1/2-years old, and I also have a 4 1/2-year-old daughter named Megan. They are such awesome kids, and I have so much fun goofing around with them all of the time. One of the things I talk about a lot is how important it is for us to play together, have fun together, and be silly together. We definitely demonstrate that when we all just team up to make dinner; my husband will be working the barbeque, I’ll be making the salad, and our kids will be setting the table, and a song will come on the radio and next thing you know my daughter starts a dance break. We’ll literally all start rocking out!
We all love to sing, dance, be silly, and have fun together. I think it is a great idea to include your kids in daily activities like getting dinner on the table, but it’s also important to sometimes just let loose.
In regard to how my kids have been enjoying school, the back to school season has been great! My son has been back in school now for a little while, and it’s so crazy because it’s been so hot and it still feels like summer. It’s been a tough adjustment, but he loves school and is back at it. That’s been awesome! My son had his hair cut right before school and loves it. His hair was all shaggy and long in the summer and I said he could leave it long if he wanted to, but he opted for a cute short cut.”
CBS: What are some of your best tips for parents with picky eaters? Are you strict with your kids and the food they consume?
AS: “That is a tough one. I think it is really important for parents to remember that a lot of those vegetables that picky eaters have a tough time getting on board with are really important for them to consume. One thing I learned at my kids’ preschool is that some of the foods take getting used to. It can take up to ten tastings to decide whether or not you really like a certain food! I keep that in mind when I try to get my kids to try different vegetables. It’s important to not give up and instead keep trying.
I sort of made it a policy that my kids have to eat their vegetables. We’re very firm in our house about stuff like that, and I’ve also found vegetables that they like. I am not going to make them eat Brussels sprouts if they don’t like them, however, I think they are crazy because I love Brussels sprouts [laughs]. My kids do enjoy eating peas and broccoli and dipping them in sauce. Find something that the kid might like and don’t give up. Keep trying with the vegetables!”
CBS: What are your best tips for busy moms who say they don’t have time to exercise?
AS: “I think working moms are so wound up and have so much going on. Of course, it is also exhausting just being a taxi service for your family, trying to get everything done, and organizing it all. I can totally sympathize with how it seems like there is not enough time in the day to do everything. I recommend planning ahead, as it’s been a great tip for me. I think about tomorrow and figure out if there is a break in the day, because then I know if I can bring my gym bag with me or pack up my shoes and get in a run during that time.
If I dropped my kid off at school and then went home and put on my gym clothes, I would never actually go. On the other hand, if I put on my gym clothes first, then I would go straight to the gym after I dropped off my child. Those kinds of things sound so simple, but they really do help get it done.
If you are really finding that you’re not able to get in a workout during the day with your kids, it doesn’t have to be an all or nothing thing. If you can’t get in the 45 minutes at the gym, don’t just do nothing. Instead, do squats while watching your kid so his homework and do lunges while making dinner. You can also do jumping jacks during the commercial breaks of your TV show or your kid’s TV show. There are a lot of little things you can do to get your heart rate going, which will put you on the right path and in the right direction. It is a lot better than doing nothing.”
CBS: How do you prioritize your health (body, mind and spirit)? Do you think it’s important for moms to prioritize their health?
AS: “It’s a balancing act, just like everything else. I think it is really important to take care of all of the different parts of your life. I know that the President put out the ‘Know Your Plate’ education system for nutrition in schools, and the idea is figuring out the portions that should make up your plate. If you look at your plate, you should know every element that should be on it, such as proteins, carbs, grains, and vegetables, and also know what the portions should be.
I think that taking care of your spirit, your mind, your health, your wellness, your family, and your business are all things that should be a part of your own ‘plate.’ You should give all of these elements the attention that they need.
For me, I’ll go really heavy on work one day, then I’ll go heavier on being with the family the next day. Then, for two nights in a row, I might need to just sit at home and catch up on episodes ofBreaking Bad [laughs]. Sometimes you just need to veg out a little bit, but I try to make sure I get everything covered. I am not going to hold myself to it in a 24-hour period; I instead ask myself, ‘What did I do this week? Did I get it all done? What can I do better next week and pay more attention to?’”
CBS: Please give us your own tips to Feed Your Better.
AS: “Feel your best with better food. Find meals that go the distance, like a well-built sandwich. Sandwiches make it easy to get the nutritional benefits that will help you feel great. Try Arnold®/Brownberry®/Oroweat® 100% Whole Wheat Bread topped with lean protein and veggies to help boost your performance during a workout.
Find ways to stay active in your everyday life. Some weeks, I exercise daily and others, I work out as many days as I can! During these busy times, I try to find ways to incorporate physical activity into my schedule, like running around outside with my kids or going for a family hike. Spending quality time with friends and family while staying active allows you to feed your better in more than one way.
Find a motivation mentor. Whether it’s a friend, family member or co-worker, find someone who is also striving for positive improvements in life. Having a partner can be so inspiring, and it truly gives you the mutual motivation and energy to push you towards your goal.
Focus on the end goal of what being healthy means to you. Making healthy choices isn’t just a one-time decision – it’s a lifestyle that will allow you to become an entirely better you. That’s why I love the Feed Your Better Campaign – it acknowledges that everyone has their own particular “better” that can lead to a lifetime of change. Whether it’s having more energy to keep up with your kids, getting your blood pressure in-check, or completing that 5K race, look at the long-term picture. Keep in mind the wonderful benefits you’ll reap once you start living well!
Prepare and plan. It’s easy to skip a workout or opt for an unhealthy meal when you’re unprepared or in a crunch. Sandwiches made on Arnold®/ Brownberry®/Oroweat® whole grain breads are a perfect on-the-go option that never gets boring, and allows you to create something different every day. Or, cut up your favorite fruits and vegetables at night so the next morning, you can grab a snack that holds you accountable to healthy habits and keeps you on-track – no excuses!”