Kirstie Alley on Losing Weight and Loving Life
The Emmy Award-winning actress and Jenny Craig spokeswoman shares how she dropped 50 pounds
From the LifeMinute Team
January 8, 2014
She's done it again -- Kirstie Alley shows up for her interview looking fabulous and 50 pounds lighter than she was just nine months ago, thanks to the Jenny Craig program. And while weight loss is a very personal journey, Alley makes it clear that she couldn't have made this trip flying solo, telling us, "I don't think I could do it alone any more than I could be a football player without a coach."
For Alley, getting back on the program was a no-brainer and not just because she's found success with it before. "It's a perfect fit for me because I'm a foodie," she explains, "I love comfort food, and I love [having a] selection of food, and they have a bajillion selections. But most of all, I love good food and really tasty food."
And the one-on-one special treatment doesn't hurt, either. Alley explains, "You get a personal consultant, whether you walk into a center or you're online, and that's a big factor. I personally like the sitting down one-on-one with my consultant because she gives me great ideas. We plan the week in advance. ... You know, they're usually funny. I'm funny, they're funny; it's light, but they put enough order in and enough discipline and accountability and responsibility to make you interested in doing it."
But forget the broad strokes -- what's a week in the life of Kirstie Alley really like? "I travel a lot and I'm invited to a lot of events," says Alley, "And so my consultant would say, 'Well, how many events do you have this week? ... Okay so, how are we going to do this so that you don't sabotage yourself?'"
One trick that's worked for the actress while on the party circuit is eating more before. "I'll eat dinner right before I go to a party so that then I'll have AN hors d'oeuvre, not 20 hors d'oeuvres," laughs Alley, "Little, light things... But [we plan] on a week to week basis with real things that are going to happen in your life. So you have [a] real prediction that you're going to win that week. And when you come in the next week, and you weigh, with your consultant, you've lost some weight because that's the goal."
And when you have to eat out -- or just want to -- the Jenny Craig consultants have helpful hints for that, too. According to Alley, "None of us gain weight, in the United States, unless we've been eating, I would say, the American way, which if you go to a restaurant, you know, it's a portion for a family of four. So, my consultant, as an example, said 'Try sharing. Order one thing that you and your friend want to order and split it, and that comes out to be about the right calorie intake and the right portion.' So they help you with the portion control; they're there for you."
As for the program's cuisine, Alley is quick to list her favorites. "I like many, many of the Jenny Craig foods, but my absolute favorite is Chicken Fettuccine. I love the Turkey Burgers. Dessert-wise, I love the little tiny Chocolate Cakes and I love the Brownies. Breakfast-wise, I love to eat the Sunshine Sandwich, which is like a breakfast sandwich, which has an English Muffin and then egg and a little piece of turkey bacon in it, and that's very satisfying for me. I just love so many of their foods, and they have a huge selection. They have great Mexican food, for example, or Italian food, or they have something for everybody."
Alley adds, "And, believe me, I've been approached by other weight loss companies, and I've tasted their food, and I wouldn't last a week on it. And the Jenny Craig food... My friends steal, my children steal, people that don't need to lose weight steal, and so they're sort of connoisseurs about food, too. So when I have my friends over and they would prefer to eat Chicken Fettuccine or one of the Jenny Craig entrees than to go to a restaurant...you know the food is good for anybody."
Still, we had to ask what's different for Alley this time around. "I've learned a lot of things from my consultant on how to get to a weight, which is one important factor, and then how to remain that weight. And that's probably been my biggest change this time," she explains, "The Jenny Craig program suggests that you get a certain amount of exercise in, which is really good for you, but the way you exercise is up to you, so I chose riding my yellow bike and going to people's houses to visit them, or riding to the grocery store, or riding to the hair salon, whatever, and visiting people; I'd bribe people to ride bikes with me, but it's more like [the way] you would ride bikes when you were ten years old. So that was a good suggestion from the consultant."
Another lesson for the long run? It's really all about the planning. Alley says, "The other thing the consultant has done for the long term is, they really taught me, at the beginning of every week, if you take a view of the week with as much prediction as you know that you have -- you know, if I have a party or I have a dinner at Grammy's house or whatever I have, and everybody's different -- you [need to] make some decisions about that."
As far as Alley is concerned, there's no turning back now -- something she's very candid about it. "I don't want to end up like I was before. I don't want to eat willy-nilly and I don't want to, you know, make goals like, 'Well, as soon as I've lost this weight, I can eat whatever I want anytime I want,' because that's how I got fat to begin with. So I want to have...just the right amount of discipline and responsibility that I can live with. It doesn't take much effort -- and that's how I like to live my life, sort of!" She adds, with a smile, "As effortlessly as possible."