Ali Vincent: Before She Appears in Mesa, the Biggest Loser Winner Talks About Creating Her Own Destiny
Ali Vincent has energy -- lots of it. The Mesa native lost 112 pounds to become the first female winner of The Biggest Loser, snagging the $250,000 prize. Now, she is an inspirational speaker, spokeswoman, author, and soon-to-be creator of her own charitable foundation. Chow Bella had a chance to catch up with Ali before her upcoming meet-and-greet on January 16 at Hi-Health in Mesa.
NT: For most people, New Year's resolutions tend to be about losing weight. You've clearly been there, done that. What are your resolutions for 2010?
AV: Over the years, I've made a lot of resolutions, and they weren't always successful. Now, I try to do choose events that have to do with being healthy. Like this year, I'm going to run the Boston Marathon.
NT: Wow! How does that feel?
AV: It's exciting and I'm scared to death!
NT: Will it be your first marathon?
AV: Yes, I just started training for Boston but I've done a lot of smaller runs. I used to be that girl who heard about races but was afraid to participate. I was so scared that I didn't even know what a 5K was. I thought it was five miles!
NT: What's your advice for those of us making resolutions to lose weight?
AV: It doesn't have to be New Year's Day to make that choice; it could be any day. Keep in mind that when you set a goal to have a healthier lifestyle, there are going to be times when you're going to slip up. And that's okay. You don't have to slip up the whole day. You have a new choice every moment to stay on track. Stay conscious in living your new lifestyle until it becomes natural.
NT: When was your moment of healthy living clarity?
AV: I had a realization when I was sent home from The Biggest Loser in week four: I was in a grocery store and noticed this woman who was really fit. She was wearing a bodybugg on her arm. I was given one of these on The Biggest Loser -- they help you track the calories you burn. I thought to myself, "Why is this healthy woman wearing a bodybugg? She doesn't need to lose weight." And then I looked in her cart and everything in it was really healthy. The "a-ha!" moment for me was that healthy people are healthy because they choose to be.
AV: As far as diets go, I'm one that can't live without. I've been on diets where I haven't had any carbs and was carrying around bags of bacon. Before I knew it, I wanted to dive into the bakery section of the grocery store. It's important to live a balanced life.
NT: How are weight-loss goals set, and how can we stay motivated?
AV: The thought of losing over a hundred pounds was overwhelming and sounded impossible. You need to make small goals, one step at a time. Start where you are and build from there.
When I go on a run, it doesn't matter if it's a long or short -- I always want to quit. It's starting and pushing through those parts. I'll say to myself, "I'm going to make it to that stop sign," and when I get to the stop sign I'll say, "I'm going to make it to the next one."
I don't always wake up rarin' to go, and those are the most important days to stay to your commitment because those are the days when, if you don't, you'll beat yourself up, and that's not okay.
NT: What about a support system?
AV: I rely on my friends as my support system. I might break a commitment to myself, but I won't break a commitment to my friends. I think it's human nature not to disappoint people. I try to work on having the same relationship with myself as I do with my friends. The Biggest Loser gave me more depth to my relationships. Now, I'm not afraid to talk things out and I can admit I'm not always as strong as I try to be. I need people, too.
AV: As women, we give to everybody and sometimes we forget to give to ourselves. And sometimes, giving to ourselves feels selfish. We have to learn to give to ourselves first.
For me, as long as I was giving to other people and staying busy, it became a way that I didn't have to take a look at my life. I believe our bodies are a direct relationship to how we feel. It was true for me at 234 pounds and it's true for me today. I chose to feel beautiful, strong, and confident.