Trae Patton/ NBC
Alison Sweeney, "The Biggest Loser" host and author of the just-released The Mommy Diet, starts her New Year off with intentions, not resolutions. She talks to ETonline about what those healthy intentions are, the new twist on this season of "The Biggest Loser," and what it will be like to lose trainer Jillian Michaels.
ETonline: How surprised were you that so many of "The Biggest Loser" contestants were willing to go for the new trainers and four weeks immunity rather than Bob Harper?
Alison Sweeney: Obviously, there is such a reason to go for it, I totally get it. I think it is a question of really looking inside yourself and realizing as a team what is best for you. What I liked about the choice is that people had to examine themselves and realize that if [four weeks immunity] is what you need to get through, you should go for it. If you think you are going to be better off being competitive from day one and that is going to be inspiring to you, then that is what you should do. There is a pro and a con to each. I wasn't surprised that it was a mixed bag, but some of the choices caught me off guard.
ETonline: If you had to choose what would you have done?
Alison Sweeney: I probably would have done what the green team did. [Tune in tonight to find out what choice the green team made!]
ETonline: What can you tell us about the new trainers?
Alison Sweeney: I can tell you that they are definitely talented, hardworking people who are really passionate and inspired to help motivate and encourage these contestants -- just like Bob and Jillian are. They come from a very different training method. They bring their own brand of what they do on the show. It will be interesting to see how it all works out.
ETonline: When will we finally meet them?
Alison Sweeney: I am not sure what episode it is. It is either four or five. You are going to see more, though. It is not the last you have seen of them until then. You will get a hint of how they are training and how it goes.
ETonline: This is Jillian's last season. What will you miss about her and how do you think that her departure will change the show?
Alison Sweeney: I absolutely love Jillian. I think she is an inspiration. I think, obviously, she is a huge part of the show. Her passion is a driving force. I am going to miss seeing her every week on a personal level and she is someone who inspires me to stay on my game. I know that I am going to see her and Bob at the weigh-in every week and it encourages me to check into the gym. I think the show, ultimately, is about the contestants' stories and how they change their lives. As important as Jillian is to that story, I think the show will carry on. Certainly, we will miss Jillian, but people will still want to watch.
ETonline: Jillian has an edge to her that will be missing when she leaves. Will the producers look for that in her replacement?
Alison Sweeney: I don't know who they have in mind for when Jillian is not there anymore. I don't know that you would look to replace that. You need to find someone who does it their own way, like Bob does. Jillian's method is Jillian's and it is not the only way.
ETonline: What impressed you most about this season's contestants?
Alison Sweeney: We are at the beginning half of what they are accomplishing. I am impressed by some of the unique stories: Rulon Gardner, the Olympic gold medalist, who lost sight and control of his health and his fitness and is looking to get it all back and make a change. It is impressive seeing the confidence that he has built up, even in the short time that I have known him, in being the leader that he is with the group. Then you see Courtney, who at her first audition was told she was too big to be on the show, so she went home and lost over 100 pounds by herself. Then she came back and is now part of the show.. She has that confidence behind her. She knows she can do it, she did do it.
ETonline: So you are saying that even though this season we have the biggest contestant ever proportionally, you can be too heavy to do this show?
Alison Sweeney: He is bigger around than he is tall. Yes, absolutely. It is a question of a doctor's decision. We have a team of medical doctors who lend themselves to the casting process and who decide who is healthy enough to be on the show. It wasn't literally numbers that Courtney was too big, it is that she wasn't healthy enough to be on the show because of her extreme obesity. She had to lose weight and get healthy enough so we could risk having her on campus.
ETonline: Last season, the theme was "pay it forward." Is there a theme for this season?
Alison Sweeney: We are back to couples this season, so that is what is considered the theme.
ETonline: Did you make any New Year's resolutions concerning your weight?
Alison Sweeney: I blogged about this the other day. I like to call them intentions, rather than resolutions, because I think intention is something I can be positive about. If you have a bad day, or fall off the wagon, you don't quit. So many people make New Year's resolutions and on the third day it doesn't work out, so they give up. I have set intentions for myself on how healthy I want to be this year. I am going to focus more on my calorie counting, and, more importantly for me, is the intentions I set about not just appreciating the blessings, the opportunities and the amazing people that I know, but letting them know I appreciate them.
ETonline: What is your best tip for others wanting to get healthy in the New Year?
Alison Sweeney: Go out and buy my book The Mommy Diet. It is out right now in bookstores and online and use that to inspire you.
ETonline: For men, too, who aren't mommies?
Alison Sweeney: You can learn something. It is for moms with kids of any age. It has a lot of good ideas in it, but basically, the main thrust of the book is a concept, which we talk about all the time on "The Biggest Loser" is mothers are so busy giving of themselves to their loved ones and families that they don't take the time for themselves. What I hope I communicated in my book was the idea that it is so important for you to be healthy before you can give of yourself to others, and you can be a better mom and around for your kids longer and a better role model if you showcase how important your own health is to you.
"The Biggest Loser" starts its new season tonight at 8 p.m. on NBC.