Healthy Changes with Ali Sweeney

She's busy acting, writing, and parenting. How does Ali Sweeney fit in fitness?

Ali Sweeney - small, healthy changes
Courtesy of Ali Sweeney

Ali Sweeney is an actress, author, fitness advocate, and mom to Ben and Megan. I spoke with her regarding family fitness, New Year's resolutions, and setting family goals. Her big goal is to make lots of little ones—small, healthy changes that add up to a better life.

Catherine Holecko: I love the idea of making little changes for New Year's, and of making changes with your family. What are some changes your family has made in the past, and might want to make this year?

Ali Sweeney: The idea is to make lots of little changes together. Something as simple as parking farther away from the store, doing a few jumping jacks or sit-ups on commercial breaks and keeping a bowl of fruit on the table—all of these little things add to up a healthier you. This year we’re going to try new recipes using fruits and vegetables to find family favorites that we can have throughout the year. By making the dishes and trying them together, it gives us a chance to be creative and have fun together in the kitchen.

CH: What's your advice for involving kids in the process of making healthy changes?

AS: My kids have always been part of the cooking process—they understand how food is made and the ingredients that my husband and I use, as well as participating in the prep work. When Ben and Megan help prep their own snacks or meals, they become much more interested in what they’re eating and as a result are more willing to try new foods.

Another great way is to put down the remote and play around with the family. We’ll go on hikes, play tag, and enjoy time together outside before curling up to watch our favorite TV shows or a movie.

CH: How about spouses? I think some moms may have trouble getting dads to buy in, or vice versa!

AS: I’m lucky in that [my husband] Dave understands the importance of him getting in his workout and me getting in mine and we work together to make meals for our family.

I think the key is to find what each other is good at and enjoys and to focus on those aspects. For example, my husband loves to grill so he’s coming up with new combinations and recipes that he can grill outside while I’m doing the same inside the kitchen.

CH: I'd like to hear more about the "little changes" concept. Why is it a helpful approach?

AS: How many times have you kept a New Year’s resolution and stuck with it all year long? 92% of us never keep them. That’s because deciding to make a huge lifestyle change just isn’t something we can keep up with. Little changes along with your friends, family, kids and even pets will add up over time for a healthier lifestyle. You know, it’s so much easier to commit to taking the stairs each day or subbing in fruit instead of dessert, than it is to commit to working out at the gym every day. And having that extra layer of motivation from your social networks inspires you to keep it up all year.

CH: What's your workout routine these days? What are your favorite ways to exercise? And how about your family?

AS: I’m one of those people that just can’t sit still, I love being active. Whether it’s taking some me time at the gym, trying a new yoga class or grabbing the family for an afternoon walk, I just need to be on the move.

I was so lucky in my upbringing my parents introduced my brothers and I to all sorts of exciting activities like skiing and horseback riding. I want to have those fun memories with my kids and continue encouraging activities that will excite them about living a healthy lifestyle.

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