Monthly Archives: August 2015

My Favorite Lessons from Alison Sweeney

Hearing the news about Alison Sweeney’s departure from The Biggest Loser has caused me to recall the first time I met her and how I felt about her as I got to know her.

When I auditioned to be on TBL I had no idea that she would be the host of the show. She wasn’t the host DSCN0165(B)of the previous seasons. And let’s just be honest, she was a major soap star. So to say I was star-struck was putting it mildly. And she did not disappoint. She looked the part of a star and was as beautiful in person as she was on TV. But what I think we all thought was even more impressive ASis that she is just as nice a person as you would hope she would be. She was warm, genuine and truly cared about the contestants. What you saw on TV was exactly the person she was when the cameras stopped rolling.

I will admit I’m a little sad that she’s leaving Loser, but she has so many projects in the works. I enjoy watching everything she does because as a woman and a wife and mother – she seems to be living proof that you really can “have it all.” A few years ago I wrote a blAS2og about her. I thought in light of this recent news, I would repost it. I called it “My Favorite Lessons from Alison Sweeney.” They all still apply. So here it is again.

When Ali speaks of setting and attaining your goals; you had better listen because she’s obviously doing something right. She is sort of a role model for me in many ways. So I thought this week it would be fun to share My Five Favorite Things I’ve Learned from Alison Sweeney:

  1. There’s no such thing as luck. Some people may think that Ali has experienced a lot of luck in her career. But I have learned from her that there’s really no such thing as “luck”—it’s really about when opportunity and preparation meet. She focused early on what she wanted out of life and began preparing for it. Then when the door of opportunity opened, she was ready! I love that about her. And it’s a valuable lesson for all of us. You have to be prepared to receive all the things you dream of for yourself.
  2. You have got to love what you do! If you do you will excel! She says she was born with the acting bug and it shows. The reason she has been a successful actress and host for so long is because she’s excellent at it! Find what you love to do and do it!
  3. There’s no substitute for sincerity. When my husband Mike showed up on the set of The Biggest Loser a few years back he was a little star-struck to be meeting this Hollywood personality he’d seen on TV for years. We (the contestants) were in the middle of a photo shoot for Prevention magazine and I saw Ali walk up to Mike, wrap her arm around his, call him by name and ask about our son Noah by name. Wow! Talk about first impressions.
  4. It’s not always as easy as it looks. In other words don’t assume because someone looks like being in shape is effortless that it is. Ali is a gorgeous soap star. But she’ll be the first to tell you that her weight is always something that she’s worked on. I remember when the cast of The Biggest Loser went to Jamaica together. My team woke up extra early to sneak into the gym and get a jumpstart on working out to beat out the competition. When we walked in—Alison Sweeney was already in there working out. She always looks healthy and fabulous but it doesn’t come without hard work.
  5. Balance is possible without sacrificing excellence. I don’t know many (if any) other moms that work two jobs like she does. And I went to both of her jobs in one day once. She work(ed) on the set of Days of Our Lives for hours and then sometimes in the same day had to be out until 4:00 in the morning monitoring a Biggest Loser challenge. And yet because of her strong work ethic and integrity she maintains excellence in all she does.

“To whom much is given, much is required.” That scripture comes from Luke 12:48 but I think it really applies to Ali. She’s been given so many incredible opportunities but she makes a conscientious choice to make the most of each of them. I want to live life in the same way!


So although the Biggest Loser won’t be the same without Alison Sweeney, I do love her and can wait to see the exciting things that are coming up for her next!

A Letter to My Future Self

A few days ago during a particularly trying day (towards the end of a long summer) I posted a little letter to my husband and myself on my personal Facebook page. Humor always lightens the load and I wanted to capture my thoughts and feelings at that moment. In my exasperation I thought, “It’s hard to believe there will ever be a day when we finally send our baby off to college and I will actually experience a moment of silence, an hour of time to myself and a house that stays clean for more than a Nano-second.”

Those thoughts resulted in the following entry, to the “Future Mike and Julie Hadden” as we have sent our last child off to college and are finally experiencing an empty nest. This is written in the voice of the current Mike and Julie who are living this exhausting life right now. Don’t get me wrong. I adore my children. They are among my most precious gifts from God. And I love being a mom! But if you are a parent of little ones (and/or a teenager) you may just be able to find a little truth of your own in the words of this letter.


Dear Mike and Julie,

While we appreciate the fact that your baby is going off to college and you are sad, please for the love of all that is holy, do not look back and romanticize how wonderful ‘the good old days’ were. Yes those days were fleeting in retrospect but living them seemed like an eternity (trust us). Try to put in perspective that during that time you were exhausted, ended up with at least one if not two kids in your bed almost every single night. That you never slept past 6:30 am, even the weekends. That it took 3 hours to watch a 30 minute TV show because you were constantly interrupted by bickering, bug bites, starvation, broken toys, or boo-boos that it took a magnifying glass to see. Remember that it took 30 minutes to get out the door to run a 5-minute errand and that errand would result in 29 minutes of toddler tunes, 7 minutes of fighting because someone touched someone, two stops on the side of the road to threaten to move car seats, and 10 minutes of crying because we apparently are ‘mean.’ That everyday day was spent cleaning up crumbs, folding the four loads of laundry done daily, and picking up the same “boring” toys you picked up 5 times already that same day.

Remember dear Mike and Julie, that while it is overwhelming how quiet the house is now – that you once locked yourself in the bathroom for just a moment of quiet while someone stuck their fingers under the door and asked when you would be finished “going potty.” And lastly, while you two drown your sorrows in a leisurely dinner out and talk about how you wish you could go back in time, remember us…the ones who ate half our meals crouched over the table cutting someone else’s meat, or under the table cleaning up a spill and think…maybe—just maybe—our baby heading off to college isn’t the hardest thing we’ve ever been through.

The Past Mike and Julie

PS. We’ve attach a picture of the toys we collected from all over11888006_10207284782022991_4949038643896102702_n the house (for the third time today), so when you two crybabies pull the box of the same toys out of the attic tonight to reminisce, you will keep your emotions in check.