Lisa Hannam
Lisa Hannam
@lisahannam

Three life-changing things Alison Sweeney taught me

Dressed in my airplane clothes, hair flung back in a ponytail and no makeup after a luggage mix-up on my flight to Vancouver, I met actor and Biggest Loser host Alison Sweeney. Her perfect hair, pretty blouse and gorgeous smile should have been intimidating for someone in my situation, but she’s just so likeable. I was instantly at ease. Sure, we had the obligatory chat about her partnership with Arm & Hammer Truly Radiant oral care products, but I was really impressed with her take on a few things:

1. Stop apologizing.
“Women are the first to announce their shortcomings. Certainly, I do it too, but we need to flip the script and celebrate who we are. Men are very proud of who they are, and it’s not egotistical, it just comes across as, ‘Yeah, I worked hard at this and I’m going to celebrate it.’ Women need to borrow from that and own it.”

I do this all the time. I’ll start by saying “I’m sorry, but…” when I state my opinion. I do it because I think I’m being polite. But deep down inside I know it’s weakening my argument. And if someone compliments me, I’ll tack on reasons why I don’t deserve their praises, whether it’s saying that I got my jeans on sale or I had a few obstacles in writing a story. Being conscious of it is tough. It comes out naturally. But I think of it like any habit-breaking goal, and just keep it top of mind.

2. Find comfort in something other than food.
“People say it like it’s nothing: ‘comfort food.’ And if you break down that expression, it’s not good. You shouldn’t be eating for comfort; you should be eating because you’re hungry. And the idea that people console themselves with food, and obviously psychologists and psychiatrists would say you’re basically just eating to disguise your emotions. That’s not a great life plan.”

Fried chicken is my bad mood weakness. From PMS to a plain old bad day are all solved with a crunchy batter. But it’s so bad for me. Just last night, I was feeling exhausted, and I reasoned to myself that I was too tired to cook. Instead I talked myself into a sandwich for dinner.

allison-sweeney

3. Picture happiness.
“Actually think of something that makes you happy. I always think about someone who is making me happy or making me smile or my kids. If I’m at a photo-shoot or in a situation where it’s not, you know, some days it’s not as easy as others, I just try to think about the things that make me happy: my kids make me happy, a funny photo that they sent me makes me happy and smiling or laughing through it.”

Hmmm…a picture that makes me happy? I’ll have to research through the thousands of photos I have on my phone. In the meantime, I think of a joke. It’s really stupid, and I’m much too embarrassed to say what it is. I just tell myself the joke in my head before I head into a stressful meeting or situation to calm myself. It works!

Thanks Alison!