Magazine article Working Mother

THE BIGGEST LOSER'S Alison Sweeney

Magazine article Working Mother

THE BIGGEST LOSER'S Alison Sweeney

Article excerpt

Can balancing a demanding career and children ever really be 50-50?

It's hard to strike that 50-50 mark each day, but if I look at a whole week or month, I feel that overall I get to spend a lot of time with my children. And when I'm with them, I give them my full attention. When I go to work, G give work my full attention and commitment. Everyone has doubts occasionally, but it's important to know you're doing the best you can. And if you regret a decision, make a different choice next time.

What do you do when you feel pulled in different directions?

That's a tough one, but there's no question that my kids come first. Every time there's a call from Ben's preschool, I worry that it's an emergency. Even when I get normal calls from the preschool, there's that instant that I wonder why they're calling and if everything's okay. There was one time that my husband and I were on our way to a charity event when the school called and said that Ben got a nasty scrape on his forehead. We turned the car around and met our son and his babysitter in the emergency room. I had that sick feeling in my stomach until I was there with him, holding his hand, making him laugh. Ben, on the other hand, was completely calm, asking questions about all the equipment, how the bed moves.

Does Ben ever have a hard time when you're leaving for work?

There was a period when he didn't want me to leave. At first, I made the mistake of sneaking out. But his pediatrician said I should say goodbye. He reassured me that children behave that way even if you're a stayat-home mom going to the grocery store. He told me to allow Ben to go through the separation and to see that I always come back. Now we have a routine where we blow kisses. He grabs one kiss and eats it and saves one in his pocket for later.

When did you start acting?

My mom let me do my first commercial when I was 4. 1 loved the whole process, and it came naturally to me as a kid. So growing up, I did a ton of commercials. I started on Days of Our Lives when I was 16.

What's it been like to play Sami on Days for so long?

It's been exciting from day one, 17 years ago. I love the part. It's sad and hard to see how much things have changed for soaps. But I think if you can tell good stories cheaply, you can stay on the air.

What's your schedule like these days, taping two shows?

I tape Days of Our Lives three days a week and The Biggest Loser three to four days a week. Some days I'm doing both. This Monday, for example, I was at Days from 6 a.m. until noon. Then I was at The Biggest Loser from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.

And you make time for charities?

Yes, I'm involved with Feeding America as a member of their Entertainment Council. I help promote their efforts to end hunger.

In your book All the Days of My Life (So Far), you described your own weight struggles and casting directors telling you that "you're just too fat for the part." How did you get fit and healthy?

From the time I was 12 I was overweight, and as a teen I definitely struggled with my weight. I tried very extreme diets, like the papaya diet. It was about me feeling insecure and lacking confidence. Overcoming that was a long process. It involved changing my mindset from wanting to be skinny to wanting to be healthy- and that allowed me to reach my goal. And when I fell off the wagon, it sucked, but I did better the next day. And now here I am helping other people find that confidence on The Biggest Loser.

Why do you think the show has become so popular? …

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