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    Personal Best: Q&A With Alison Sweeney


    Always keep in your purse

    "I keep a notebook -- for taking notes! I get ideas for my books, and need to write them down in the moment. I also have sunglasses and a little book with my kids' pictures."

    Best advice

    "Remember that your health applies to any goal you're striving to attain. No matter what you're working for in life, it's important to remember it's about the journey. If you think happiness comes when you 'cross that line,' you're never going to be happy. You must enjoy the process and enjoy learning, experiencing, working hard, and earning it.

    "That's especially true with weight loss, for if you wait to get on that scale to be happier, to be proud, you're missing the whole point. Celebrate every push-up, every pound lost, and every meal when you make healthy choices -- don't wait or delay those feelings of success until the very end. When you weigh in, don't be frustrated with the number, but be aware you have something to learn and work on, and figure out why you didn't lose as much as you wanted. Remember the small victories and achievements along the way."

    How to lose 5 pounds

    "If I have a photo shoot and want to lose, I reassess my eating times and focus on the details. Sometimes, after I get the kids to bed, I eat dinner much too late -- last night, it was nine o'clock. If I'm pursuing a goal, I make sure I eat by six or seven. I feel it's really important to give yourself time to digest food and get it through your system before you go to sleep. You'll eat more throughout the day if you set yourself up to eat later. I also might cut out a glass of wine with dinner, and I make sure my meals contain a nutritious, satisfying protein. In between meals, I like to crunch on fruits and veggies."

    Favorite cause

    "It's Stand Up to Cancer, and I'm really proud the organization has touched so many lives and that funding actually goes to research. And I am an ambassador for City of Hope cancer center in Duarte, CA, and I'm so proud to be a part of delivering their mission statement. I believe in what they're doing because they're changing how we all care for the whole family when someone has cancer."

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