"I'm a creature of habit," says Alison Sweeney, laughing, as she orders her favorite chopped salad (with tuna and extra cucumbers) for lunch—again.
It's a habit that's obviously working for her because Alison, beaming in a bright white tee and hot-pink bouclé blazer, looks the picture of happy health today. Not only has this host of The Biggest Loser shed the baby weight twice (she has two kids—Ben, 7, and Megan, 3—with her husband, Dave), but she also ran the Los Angeles Marathon in March and is training for the Malibu Triathlon this month.
Her secret for getting into enviable shape? Making positive choices every single day.
"Each time you make a healthy choice, it's easier to make the next one," says Alison, who's 35. It's not about achieving a perfect body, she adds, but "being the best you you can be today." Trust us: Adopt her clever ideas—one a day, every day this month—and your best will look pretty darn good.
1. Eat like a kid all day today
"Kids don't eat fast. They take their time; they talk and laugh. Sometimes it's really annoying, because you're like, 'Come on, it's bedtime!' But try it: You'll fill up before you know it, because it takes 20 minutes for your brain to know your stomach is full."
2. Pack your own snacks this a.m.
"When I started eating healthy for my first bathing suit photo shoot [after giving birth to my daughter], I carried around a plastic bag of red and yellow bell pepper slices, cut up like carrot sticks, along with cucumbers and cantaloupe. Anytime I was hungry between meals, I'd snack on them."
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3. Wear fitted workout wear at the gym
"The reason there are mirrors is because you should look at yourself, evaluate how you're standing, and make sure you're doing [each exercise] right! So wearing close-fitting clothes is a way to set a good mental tone of, 'OK, I'm here to do business and I'm going to get it done.'"
4. Scrap everything that smacks of unrealistic expectations
"I'm not a fan of having a supermodel on your refrigerator, because you see the picture and you're like, 'That's not me—and I'd have to stay away from the refrigerator to look like that.' Which, by the way, is such a ridiculous goal anyway! Nobody is going to all of a sudden, at 40, look like an 18-year-old model. Set your goals to positive things. Instead of thinking, 'I need to work out because I want to lose weight,' I'm thinking, 'I have to run a 26.2-mile race, so I have to run. Today. Now.'"
5. Include your favorite fresh herbs in your lunch salad
"In any given bite, you might have a leaf of cilantro, a little mint or basil, or rosemary. It spices up your tongue and adds a kick to your salad so you don't need a lot of dressing."
6. Add one move to your workout that makes you feel like a dancer
"With the Plié Jump, it's really hard going from a squat up to a jump. And the jump is so good for your calves, but you're not really thinking about that—you're thinking, 'Oh my God, I want this to end!' But when I do it, I also feel very ballerina, like my daughter in her ballet class."
7. Use an olive oil spray to cook dinner
"If you're going to sauté something, lightly spray olive oil in the pan or on veggies before you serve them. It adds a nice flavor. We grill a lot, so I'll use a little on my corn or my shrimp."