Actress, TV host, author, and mom of two, Alison Sweeney, isn't shy about sharing her own stories to inspire others. Her book "The Mommy Diet" gives great advice about how new moms can get their body back in a healthy way so they feel fabulous and confident. We checked in with Sweeney, who is gearing up for Season 12 of "The Biggest Loser" to talk about the confidence that comes from having a healthy smile. Sweeney is partnering with Crest and Oral-B to get the word out about the "Life Opens Up" online video contest. Anyone who submits a two-minute video about how their smile played a role in changing their life has a chance to visit the "Rachael Ray Show" in New York City and to win $25,000. Of course, we also had to ask Sweeney what she'd spend it on!
You're a big proponent of fitness, and your book "The Mommy Diet" had a lot of helpful tips about how new moms can take care of themselves. How does taking care of your smile fit into the picture?
First of all it's a confidence builder. Just like with a workout or eating right. When you binge or when you do something that's unhealthy, you always kind of have that buyer's-remorse feeling. But when you make the healthy choice, you get the opposite and it totally builds on itself. Good oral care really has a lot of benefits to your whole body, and it does actually help you be healthier and lead a healthier life. If you're more confident, people are going to see that confidence and it's going to affect how they feel about you when they meet you. It really does have an impact on all the parts of your life.
In other words, small steps lead to big change.
Absolutely. A lot of the things that we talk about seem so overwhelming. It seems so "big picture." How do I overcome this monumental task ahead of me? A lot of times it breaks down into a lot of little steps. Just one-timing it. Making it a ritual, making it a habit, and not dismissing stuff. Those kinds of things add up. Finding a way to just, every single morning, brush your teeth. It becomes a habit, and the next thing you know people notice.
I love the idea of this contest, and I hear you submitted your own video. What's yours about?
I want people to go to the website and see it, so I'm just going to tease it. I had a crazy experience that happened to me during a finale of "The Biggest Loser," and it was one of the toughest, most challenging moments of my entire career. It felt like the entire world zeroed in on me but I rose to the occasion. And that obviously came from the confidence that I have in myself, and part of the confidence comes from having a healthy mouth.
You are an amazing multitasker, but you haven't let your style go by the wayside. How would you describe your look?
I really try to mix things up. Some days I wear a flannel shirt and jeans. Some days I wear a super pretty dress. I like to try lots of different hairstyles and lots of different lip colors. Sometimes I wear a lot of makeup, and sometimes I wear no makeup. I just really like to do the unexpected.
Let's say your video makes the cut. Where would you go to shop?
Right now I'm really into Karen Millen, a British designer. She makes dresses that are cut for girls with curves at a pretty reasonable price.
Do you bargain shop?
Who doesn't shop at H&M?
Good point. What's the last thing you bought-- bargain or not-- that you were excited about?
A black knit dress from Catherine Malandrino. It's not the kind of thing I'd normally wear but it's really figure flattering and comfortable.
What's on your shopping list for fall?
In L.A. we don't do a lot of seasonal shopping, but I like layering up. I love a little pea coat. I love the collared shirt with a sweater look. I'm a bit of a preppy girl!