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Days of Our Lives star Alison Sweeney Kicked a Dangerous Sugar Habit
Even without her daily diet of sodas and treats, life's plenty sweet for this busy working mom
Low Self-ImageFor 14 years, weve watched Days of Our Lives Alison Sweeney, 30, play villainous Sami Brady, a character who has done every-thing from attempting to sell her sister on the black market to cooling her heels on death row. By comparison, Alisons life seems happy and sane.
The Los Angeles-based actress is married to her teenage sweetheart, David Sanov, a California highway patrol officer, and is developing a new Internet drama called In Tune about 20-somethings who work in a record store. Shes also the mother of 2-year-old Ben. Their lives are very different, but Alison does have one experience in common with her character: a struggle with weight issues. When Sami wrestled with bulimia on-screen, Alison who has admitted that she once tried forcing herself to throw up what shed eaten, but couldnt understood her pain. I wanted to demystify bulimia to show it is not just about weight loss, but also about inner struggles with self-image, says Alison.
As a Hollywood actress who is not rail-thin, Alison has admitted that the pressure to be slimmer has taken its toll. Even though Days producers always have been happy with her weight, she admits to spending years on a roller-coaster ride of crash diets. Her lowest point: a bizarre conversation with another actress about eating worms specifically tapeworms that would settle in her stomach and keep her from gaining weight! Alison never followed through on the scheme, but it reminds her of how desperate she once was to find a diet she could live with.
Sugar HighIt took a dentist to discover Alisons biggest dieting pitfall: her sweet tooth! At only 22, Alison had a fair amount of tooth decay. Her dentist was puzzled until he asked what she ate. Turns out, she was downing foods laden with sugar, from sodas and honey-coated breakfast cereals to less obvious sources, like white bread with overly processed carbs. Working 12 hours on the Days set made Alison dependent on easy-to-grab snacks to keep her energy up. But her high-sugar diet was not only wrecking her teeth, it also was playing havoc with her metabolism.
On the advice of her dentist, Alison went cold turkey on sweets no sodas, no carbs, not even a no-cal sweet substitute in the water she began to drink all the time. I wanted to completely get the taste of sugar out of my mouth, she says. Within three months, the 5-foot-5 actress lost 30 lbs. and dropped to a size 4.
Life Is Sweeter Alison has always been honest about her weight loss. Millions of Days fans, after all, couldnt help but notice the svelter Sami! She has kept the weight off over the years by relying on a healthy diet: turkey bacon instead of sugary cereal for breakfast, salad with tuna for lunch, few carbs at night she knows that those foods make her blood sugar levels go hay-wire.
After Ben was born, Alison wanted to shed the weight she had gained during her pregnancy. But this time she knew exactly what to do, so dieting was easy. Ive come up with strategies, like bringing knitting onto the set, to keep me from eating when Im bored, she says. Still, with a toddler at home, a film project on tap and another season of Samis antics under way, shes probably not getting much knitting done.