Be a Better You!
Want to start the New Year off right? The host of The Biggest Loser shares her tips. (Hint: they don’t all have to do with losing weight.)
I think I have the most inspiring job in television. As the host of the hit reality show The Biggest Loser I get to meet people every day who make amazing transformations in their lives, achieving goals that they once might not have dreamed were possible.
Through diet, exercise, hard work and dedication, they lose hundreds of pounds and reverse unhealthy habits that stretch back years. There’s one winner at the end of each season—the person who has lost the highest percentage of body weight—but all of the contestants are winners in their own way.
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I get to know them pretty well, on and off the camera, and we talk a lot. I’m not a nutritionist or personal trainer, but I’ve had my own struggles with weight. I often share with contestants what made a difference for me—not only with weight loss and developing a healthy body image, but also with becoming a successful actress (I’ve played Sami Brady on the soap opera Days of our Lives for 17 years now and guest-starred on many primetime series) and being a good mom.
Here’s what it takes to reach your goals, to make the changes you want to make to be a better you.
1. Be committed.
There was a contestant named Jesse. At his final weigh-in before he went home, he swore he’d never be over 300 pounds again. I stepped up on the scale with him. “You promise?” I asked. I looked him in the eye and made him shake my hand. I figured if he was making a pledge to someone he knew instead of a huge studio audience of mostly strangers, that would motivate him to stick to it when things got tough later and he wanted to give up. Commitment to a goal is everything.
Some people are bitten by the acting bug. I think I was born with it! My mom is a concert and studio violinist, so she understood my passion for performing. As long as I wanted to act, she was happy to take me to auditions, although she wasn’t at all a pushy stage mom. There’s a lot of waiting around, and Mom and I would play hangman or this game of telling a story sentence by sentence. She’d say something like, “The prince rode a black stallion to the castle” and I would have to come up with the next sentence. A fun way to pass the time and it really developed my imagination.
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I got my first job at age four, a TV commercial for Kodak. Bundled up in a red snowsuit, I climbed on a sled with an actor playing my dad and slid down a mountain of snow. Except the mountain was in the back lot of a Hollywood studio and the snow was rapidly melting in 103-degree sunshine. It was exhausting, spending the whole day pretending to freeze when you’re sweating to death. But I absolutely loved it!
I knew acting was what I wanted to do. That meant hard work, that meant rejection (you hear “no” a lot more often than you hear “yes” in this business), but I was committed to it. I took classes, went on countless auditions, appeared in 60 commercials. I got small parts in plays and TV shows and progressed to bigger roles. In 1993, at age 16, I joined Days as Sami—a dream role, because she’s the kind of character you can’t stop thinking about or trying to figure out.
2. Be willing to learn from your mistakes.
Change is hard, and you’re going to make mistakes, you’re going to have setbacks. The contestants on The Biggest Loser go through some grueling challenges. I’m the host but I’m also their biggest encourager, their number one fan. If they’ve had a setback, I want them to find the lesson, the silver lining in it.
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