When My Big Fat Greek Wedding star Nia Vardalos decided to shed 40 pounds back in 2009, she did it for her health, not to squeeze into a smaller dress size. “I never felt well, I was constantly getting dizzy and because I already had thyroid disease I had a serious blood sugar issue. My choices were to lose weight or go on medication,” she told us when chatting earlier this week about her partnership the new health app from Life…supplemented called WannaBeWell app. Read on to see what simple steps led to Vardalos’ transformation and the tricks she uses everyday to maintain her weight and health.
Losing weight can be a daunting task. How did you get started?
After that visit with my doctor, I knew medication wasn’t an option for me. I’m not a pop a pill person, but I really wanted to find a way to start feeling better. So I started simple, just by walking. After that I cut out food high in starches and sugar and went from there. It was a slow process, but once I started it I looked better, felt better and even slept better!
What made you want to get involved with the WannaBeWell app?
For me it was a natural fit. I started taking supplements when I first started to lose weight, and I’ve kept up with it. My family makes fun of me because I take so many! So to have something to remind you when to take what, it’s really a no brainer for me.
What kind of supplements do you take?
First, every woman is different and we don’t all need the same things. So you should talk to your doctor before starting any type of supplement plan. I take fish oil, biotin and vitamins E, C and D (since I’m a writer and holed up in the dark all day!). If you don’t have time to get to a doctor but want to take something, start with a multivitamin and then discuss a plan at your next office visit.
During your weight loss journey you didn’t rely on a trainer or nutritionist. What made you go the DIY route?
I’m not really someone who likes to be yelled at in any capacity, whether it’s a director, my parents or a trainer. I work well in a group, so classes were a good fit for me. I could go to an early class, drop my daughter off at school, work and write and then be able to pick her back up. For others who don’t have a schedule as flexible as mine, the app is perfect because you get your own virtual personal wellness coach. When you hit certain milestones you get a little trophy, and yes, I’m addicted to those little things!
What tips do you have for other busy, on-the-go moms looking to lead healthier lives?
I tend to find that women are the givers of society; we take care of everyone but ourselves. So first, I make sure to make an appointment for me. That’s my time to work out and do something that will make me happier and give me more energy for the day. Second, I only shop the perimeters of the grocery store now, where all the produce, dairy and fresh fruit are. Everything in the middle is just junk! And it becomes contagious. The other day I was out with my daughter when she said she was thirsty. She said, “Mommy, we have to stop and fill our bodies with water!” The fact that she knows that and chooses water over anything else is just amazing.
Nia Vardalos is currently in the movie For a Good Time, Call…She’s also releasing a book about her adoption journey and tips to adopt titled Instant Mom, to be released in 2013.