By Cecily Walters 2014-06-12 09:20:49
This Month’s Guest Ali Vincent Meet Ali Vincent, the first female winner of NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” (she lost 112 pounds!), and the author of Believe It, Be It: How Being the Biggest Loser Won Me Back My Life. A featured speaker on the hard work associated with lifelong wellness at past SNA conferences, Vincent returns to the SNA stage at this year’s Annual National Conference (ANC) in Boston. On Tuesday, July 15, she will take part in the STEPS Challenge Wellness Event, 6:00-6:45 a.m.; a Meet and Greet at the Jennie-O booth in the Exhibit Hall, 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; and the STEPS Challenge Education Session, 2:15-3:15 p.m. In addition to her comments below, read more of her thoughts at www.schoolnutrition.org/snmagazinebonuscontent. What is your advice to those initially overwhelmed by starting a wellness journey? I have started thinking of changes as “small shifts,” so that I don’t feel like I need to “change,” [which can have a negative connotation in our minds]. And when you slip up, let it go and get right back on track the next day. You can fit in exercise during really small time periods; for example, you might do squats while you blow dry your hair. You can make simple substitutions in your diet. If you really don’t want to start, journal about your daily activities, your current habits and your mood. That way, you are putting it in your head, and you have already made a shift. Goals are so important, but we can only obtain them if they are specific. And be sure to look at your small goals as part of a larger time line. Your show on the Live Well Network is called “Live Big With Ali Vincent.” What does it mean to you to “live big”? It’s about living life to the fullest every day, and that can look different every day. I want to feel like I can do anything even if I choose not to, and that’s liberating. We are living big when we make conscious choices. If we never give ourselves opportunities to try things, then not allowing ourselves to try becomes something we use against ourselves rather than something that empowers us. If you take the steps to win, you can—maybe not tomorrow, but you can. You’re winning by saying you want to do something, and then you win by showing up. SNA members love you! What keeps you coming back to speak to them? I think SNA members think, “She’s like me,” and I feel like I’m like them. I’m always in awe when I hear about people doing the STEPS Challenge. With so much responsibility in their lives and working with kids, they can forget about themselves, but by participating in the STEPS Challenge or otherwise working on their health, they are taking a step to be role models and creating conversations with their students. They’re changing the world, and I love that. What’s your favorite thing that you’ve learned to cook? I’m Mexican, and I love Mexican food. I can still have it, because I can make small substitutions. I love quinoa, which I’d never heard of six years ago. Now, I make all different kinds, including with spices. It’s fun to learn about and play with spices and apply those [culinary] techniques to a healthier lifestyle. What’s your favorite form of physical activity? Do you have a least favorite—but one you do anyway for various reasons? I love swimming, but that can be inconvenient, because I don’t always have [access] to a pool. When I can swim, though, it’s a full body workout, and I can zone out [doing laps]. I love spinning and Zumba or dance classes. A class helps me stay with it, because I don’t want to leave a class or quit. Running had been my least favorite, but that’s also why I chose to make and meet my goal of doing 13 half-marathons in a year. Experiencing so many thought processes about running over the past year has changed me, and now I’ll want to go run. SNA’s STEPS Challenge emphasizes mental health, in addition to physical health. How do you cope with the stresses of your busy life and schedule? I make sure to exercise, because I notice a difference when I do work out versus when I don’t. But I also try to give myself a break. For other people with busy lives, I tell them to make sure to take time to celebrate themselves and their successes. You can’t do the past over, but you can make new choices for the future, and it’s important to acknowledge that. Ali Vincent • First Female Winner • “The Biggest Loser”
Published by School Nutrition Association. View All Articles.
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