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'The Biggest Loser' host shared what she's learned about making lasting lifestyle changes.

January 29, 2015

Between hosting The Biggest Loser, starring in new movies for the Hallmark Channel, and directing episodes of General Hospital, it may not seem like Alison Sweeney has a ton of free time. But since leaving Days of Our Lives (and her character, Sami Brady) behind after 21 years, Sweeney is happily embracing the extra space in her schedule. Her time on The Biggest Loser also means she’s a wealth of knowledge on living a healthy lifestyle.

Here are three things she's learned.

Commit to wellness

Sweeney’s been open about struggling to lose weight and keep it off, so she’s very aware of the challenges of making a lifestyle change. “It’s an evolving process,” she told Health. “You have to constantly recommit to wanting to be healthy and to make healthy choices for yourself. I think your psychology and mindset are 90% of this battle.”

Sweeney says that even if you have an army of people trying to help, you won’t see results if you yourself aren't invested. “If you are not committed to being healthy, no matter how many tips people give you it's never going to work,” she said. “You have to make that choice, it’s like having a good marriage. You have to choose every day, ‘I want this. I want this to succeed and I’m going to work for it.’ You have to want that for yourself, no one can want your health for you more than you do.”

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Expand your definition of a workout

Good news for people who can’t stand a sweaty spin studio—Sweeney says more things than hardcore cardio sessions can count as workouts. “I think fitness should be all of the above,” she said. “You should find all kinds of things you want to do, whether it's taking yourself really seriously and gunning for a prize or a ribbon or hiking a mountain you want to climb or just trying something new and being silly.”

With her new schedule, Sweeney is taking her own advice to heart. “I’m really allowing my fitness to be a way to enjoy life and just be really outdoorsy and athletic," she said. "And I love that I can be strong enough to hold up my daughter when we go ice skating together, that I can have the confidence and the strength in my own body to support her.

"So she’s two years old and she can throw herself around the ice and I’m like, 'I got you!' And that makes me feel really good and proud, and in some ways I feel like it’s all for that. All the workouts paid off in that moment.”

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Trust your instincts

As a former soap star, Sweeney certainly understands hectic schedules. So if you’re feeling burned out from your workouts, know when to take a break. “Sometimes the healthy choice for you is to actually sit down, relax, take a nap. And certainly, when I was working both jobs there were some days that the better choice for me was to get more sleep—which is such an important part of health anyway—and not work out that day.”

But beware of swapping too many bootcamp classes for Gilmore Girls marathons. “You have to be honest with yourself about how many days in a row have you done that, but it’s trusting your instinct. If you’re committed to your own health and you know that in your gut, then you can really take your instincts and follow them.”

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