Just four weeks after giving birth to her daughter, Jessica Simpson has already lost more than 40 pounds! So, we asked another actress-turned-TV-show-host, Alison Sweeney, to spill the beans on what it really takes to lose the post-baby pounds in La-La Land.
HLN: In Hollywood, does it really take a village to lose the baby pounds?
Alison Sweeney: Well, it certainly helps! Of course, having access to celebrity trainers and nutritionists and chefs helps — a lot. But ultimately, every mom has to do the work herself — eating right, exercising, making time to take care of herself. The village that really matters is your personal support network. Does your partner understand your goals and help you reach them? Do you have relatives, friends, or babysitters who can watch the kids for a while so you get a break? It's hard for any mom, in Hollywood or not, to be healthy without that support.
HLN: What was it like for you to lose the baby weight? You’re a mom of two: Did you have a personal trainer, a chef, a nutritionist, and/or a nanny?
AS: From working on “The Biggest Loser,” I do have access to a personal trainer, nutritionist and stylist. And yes, I do have a nanny who takes care of my kids while I am working. But I can't stress enough that losing weight comes down to one thing — you have to want it, you have to fight for it. For me, it came down mostly to what I did on my own: The exercise DVDs and Wii workouts I did while the kids were napping, the weekend mornings when my husband watched the kids so I could walk or hike and the simple, healthy meals I cooked for our family instead of grabbing takeout. And today, because I'm so into running, I do most of my workouts solo!
HLN: How much harder would it have been to lose the weight without your support network?
AS: I think it would have been impossible for me to lose the baby weight without the help and support of my husband. He's the one who watched the kids so I could take a spin class or go for a run. He also embraced the healthy regime I installed in our pantry. I had to really crack down on my nutrition so I could get my calories back under control. The information you need to get healthy is out there — having a trainer or nutritionist is awesome but not necessary to succeed. It's all online — or just watch “The Biggest Loser!” But I think if you try to lose weight all alone, without a friend or your partner in on it to support you, it’s a way harder road.
HLN: What tips and tricks have you learned from hosting “The Biggest Loser?”
AS: The harsh realities about calorie counts. Things like cupcakes and cookies have crazy calories! You have to acknowledge how many calories they have — pretending it's not true doesn't help the quest to lose weight. And knowing what the real calorie counts are is a good reminder that you simply cannot eat them all the time — or even very often. And if you do eat them, you have to account for those calories and make up for it with a combination of lighter eating later and exercise. Also, a great tip is to consider fitness a lifestyle — even when you see your goal weight on the scale, you're still going to get up and work out the next day. It is meant to become part of your daily activity forever, so enjoy the journey!
HLN: What motivates you to keep eating healthy and keep exercising in order to stay in shape?
AS: The biggest motivating factor for me isn't being on TV — it's my kids. I want to show them what a healthy lifestyle looks like — as a parent, it's one of my top priorities to help them be healthy physically and to encourage them to grow up having a balanced relationship with food and their body image. While they're young, I realized the best way I can do that is by setting a good example. And secondly, I want to be able to keep up with them! But it is a positive cycle: Once you get going on the healthy kick and you start to see positive results, you feel good about yourself and it becomes easier to maintain. I love how much better I feel when I am eating well and exercising.
HLN: As someone who is constantly in the public eye, do you feel more pressure to lose weight after giving birth than a regular mom might feel?
AS: I probably felt a little more pressure to lose the weight fairly quickly, because baby weight isn’t part of my storylines on “Days of Our Lives” and because I want to be a healthy role model on “The Biggest Loser.” But the fact is that it takes time to lose the weight, whether or not you're on television. And I think all moms feel the pressure to some extent: We want to feel good, to fit into clothes we like, and to feel like ourselves again.
HLN: What’s your best advice to new moms trying to get back in shape after having a baby?
AS: Be patient with yourself. No matter how much work you do, it takes time. Stick with a fitness plan, follow a healthy diet, and the weight really will come off. Just not all at once. Sorry.
HLN: What’s the worst advice you’ve been given about getting in shape?
AS: I did a lot of bad “fad” diets back in the day. So I've learned a lot about what not to do just from experience. I'm never a fan of anything that makes me feel deprived or hungry. Or anything that seems like a quick fix — it doesn't work like that. If a trainer or a diet plan promises miracle results, I would steer clear. It took nine months to put the baby weight on — don't be surprised if it takes that or more to lose it!