I am succeeding on my own terms
Tunes for Tuesday: Unbelievers, by Vampire Weekend

Motivation Monday: Having a moment with Ali Vincent

I'm totally a "Biggest Loser" fangirl. I've been watching since season 1, episode 1. I have all the books and cookbooks, tried all the workout DVDs, weigh my food on a Biggest Loser food scale (which is fantastic, by the way). I've interviewed Bob Harper a few times, as well as Jillian Michaels, Dolvett Quince, chef Devin Alexander, host Alison Sweeney, dietitian Cheryl Forberg and lots and lots of contestants and winners. 

I have a Team Bob T-shirt and a Jillian Michaels T-shirt (that I wore to a Bob Harper workout for funsies). I took part in two Biggest Loser Run/Walks -- last year and this year (they're great for beginners and seasoned runners alike).

OK, you get it, total fangirl.

So when I heard that "Biggest Loser" season 5 winner Ali Vincent would be at the Broward Mall this past Saturday, I had to go. Ever since she became the first female winner of "The Biggest Loser," she has been on a mission to share her healthy message. 

I stuck a copy of her book "Believe It, Be It" in my purse and headed to the mall. She was there to talk about her show, "Live Big With Ali" on the LivingWell Network. After she addressed the crowd, I walked over to her, book in hand. 

Talk about a fangirl moment -- Ali told me that she reads my "Biggest Loser" recaps on Examiner every week and gave me a hug. (I've been doing weekly recaps since 2007 and wrote about Ali's season at my old newspaper blog.)

But what really struck me was how passionate Ali is about healthy living. She told me she was dashing out to catch a flight to California and I commented that she has pretty much been on the road ever since winning "Biggest Loser" in 2008. But she smiled and said that's what has kept her on the right path -- sharing her story with people and being a role model. 

She admits, she was at her 122-pound goal weight for "about 2 minutes," she said with a laugh but she then worked at building muscle and athletic prowess, eventually running half marathons, marathons and even an Ironman triathlon. 

Ali bandShe signed my book and took a photo with me and then told me she had something for me. She asked me which hand was my "grab hand" and I held out my left arm. She put a hot pink (her "Biggest Loser" team color) "Live Big With Ali" rubber bracelet on it and told me to look at that "grab band" every time I wanted to grab something that might not be the best choice for weight loss.

I'm still wearing the grab band next to my Fitbit Force (yes, I know it was recalled, but I don't have a rash so I'm keeping it because I love it). 

And Ali wrote in my book:


Thank you for all your support and for helping share and stay in the conversation of wellness.

  Ali and gail 2014