(SoapOperaNetwork.com) – Alison Sweeney has been on “Days of our Lives” for nearly twenty years, debuting as Sami Brady in 1993 when she was only 16 years old. Beautiful and an instant hit with fans, the actress felt insecure by her surroundings. “I’ve been on Days since I was 16, and being surrounded by such thin, gorgeous actresses made me so insecure and self-conscious,” said Sweeney referring to her weight issues at the the time in an interview with SELF Magazine in their August issue on stands now.
It was her then boyfriend, now husband, David Sanov who helped her make strives with her continuing struggles. ”Dave, my husband, whom I was dating then, finally said, ‘Why do you complain? You’re beautiful already, but if you want to do something about it, do it. You pursue your career, but you don’t attack your weight.’ It was loving but an eye-opener. That was when I turned things around.” That thinking helped Sweeney find a new perspective. Instead of attacking her weight issues she approached it from different angle. “As soon as I made it about being healthy and shifted my focus away from the scale, the weight started to come off,” says Sweeney, who still doesn’t use a scale. “I keep track of my body by how my jeans fit—and how I feel.”
After landing the gig as host of NBC’s primetime reality weight loss program “The Biggest Loser” in 2007, Sweeney took advantage of having one of the shows star trainers and fitness coaches, Jillian Michaels, on hand for weight assistance. “On my first day of Loser, I ended up in the lunch line in front of Jillian and was like, ‘I have to pick stuff before she does?’ At that moment I realized how uneducated I was. I asked her for advice, and she rocked my world. I wasn’t eating the right kinds of calories. I didn’t know about healthy carbs such as brown rice and lentils. Now I eat small meals throughout the day: oatmeal with cinnamon to start, fruit and yogurt as a snack, and vegetables or salad with chicken or tuna, and a healthy carb, like a yam, for lunch. I avoid carbs at dinner and usually have a salad—I love lettuce. I’m a rabbit!”
Learning how to eat was not the only thing Sweeney would take advantage of from working with Jillian. “Once in a while, Jillian will train me on The Biggest Loser Ranch. One night, in the middle of my workout, the assistant director came to get me for a shot. Jillian said to him: ‘No. She has to finish 20 pull-ups; she’s only done 12. She needs this for her self-confidence.’ I did it, and she was totally right. It gives you such confidence to do something you don’t think you can do.”
Sweeney has come a long way since her early years on “Days of our Lives,” which along with “Loser” have helped transform her life and health. “It isn’t about a diet, it’s a life style change. So at the end of a diet you are not saying hey, I lost 20 pounds now I can go back to my old routine. Instead, you can be proud because your living a healthy lifestyle and that is something you can really take pride in.
Alison’s story is a true inspiration and one that many people who have been in the same position could look to, in helping to influence their a change in their own life. For more on Alison’s incredible lifestyle change you can pick up the August issue of SELF magazine in which she appears on the cover, or you can also read more from the issue on the SELF.com website.