With the Biggest Loser season 15 finale airing tonight, host Alison Sweeney shares her favorite healthy snacks, like Greek yogurt, and fitness goals
One month into the new year, we’re holding strong to our new year's resolutions—and what better motivation is there than seeing others sweat it out and shed pounds on national television? Tonight is the season 15 finale of the Biggest Loser, and, in an exclusive Q&A, host Alison Sweeney is spilling all when it comes to her best healthy eating and goal-setting tips.
Shape: What’s the most important thing to consider when setting health goals?
Alison Sweeney: My biggest tip is that women should be realistic, both in what they want and how to go about it. People get excited and want to shoot for the moon, but then at first hint of the plan not working, they give up on the whole process. It’s important to remember to set small goals for yourself that lead toward what you really want or what you’re striving for, and to be realistic about how you go about it with a long-term plan in mind. (See what her plan looks like in Alison Sweeney’s Marathon Training Schedule.)
Shape: What are realistic smaller goals women can set?
AS: If you have a big idea, like wanting to lose weight, look at all the components: Focusing on your nutrition is one of the most important things that you can do to start. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up on flavors and tasty food—one of the biggest things I have taken away from the Biggest Loser is that people think that a weight loss diet has to be about deprivation or some sort of torture, and that if you’re not starving at some point, you’re not doing it right. That’s such a misconception. You just have to find healthy foods that you like.
Shape: What's your favorite snack?
AS: Greek yogurt, cinnamon, and agave—it’s my kids' favorite snack and it’s like dessert for them, but it’s good for you! The high-protein yogurt makes it healthy and keeps you satisfied, but it's so delicious you don’t feel like you’re missing out on anything. (Not crazy about yogurt? Try one of The 50 Best Snacks for Weight Loss.)
Shape: What’s the key to maintaining a healthy diet?
AS: Pre-planning. One of the reasons snacks like potato chips are popular is because they’re convenient. If your refrigerator is stocked with healthy foods, it’s the first thing you see and you can easily grab a handful of good-for-you stuff and walk away. And prepping the food beforehand helps. After grocery shopping, I’ll cut up my cantaloupe so it’s ready to go. It’s so simple, but it avoids you ever thinking, :Oh, I can’t cut that up right now" and then reaching for something easier like chips.
Shape: Is it better to focus on what you shouldn’t eat or what you should eat?
AS: I think those are two valid philosophies and which one works is individual to you. Personally, I’m more motivated by positive reinforcement, so focusing on the things I should eat sort of backhandedly keeps me satisfied and full so I'm not so tempted by the things I shouldn’t. But for other people, the limits are motivating. One important factor, though, is learning about what is good and bad for you. Educating yourself can help you make healthier choices.
Shape: When it comes to working out, how can women take their workout to the next level?
AS: No matter how fit you are, everyone can always reevaluate their routine. Try something different, whether it’s a new class or even a new level of intensity within that. In a lot of classes, you can just move through the motions and not really get a workout, especially if you’re new to it and are still learning the rhythm. If you put in the time to attend a few classes, you’ll stop playing catch up and start actually sweating, so keep with it! (Try one of these 5 Up-and-Coming Fitness Studios.)
Shape: How do you gauge success when it comes to sticking to a healthy eating or workout plan?
AS: I feel very strongly about being proud and happy with my hard work. For example, when I drink my blueberry smoothie after a workout, I am proud of myself and what I did, and that feeling makes the next healthy step even easier. And it’s important to reevaluate your goals and your timeline based on where you’re at in your goals.