You might know her best from Saturday Night Live or Suburgatory — and so did we, until the hilarious Ana Gasteyer started tweeting at us, wondering how many extra PointsPlus® values she’d earn by putting a mattress topper on her bed. Naturally, we had some answers for her, and since then she’s slimmed down despite a punishing, bi-coastal commute and being surrounded by cheese and pasta. Ladies and gentlemen: Meet Ana Gasteyer.
Q: So what prompted you to sign up for Weight Watchers Online?
A: I’ve always been sort of a small person, but after having my kids and turning 40, I’d gained some weight and spent a lot of effort to try to keep the extra pounds at bay. Then last year, my husband and I came back from our summer vacation, super sad and fat, and my next-door neighbor — who’d just had a baby — looked incredible. We asked her, “What’s going on?!” and she held up her little Weight Watchers app and said, “It’s amazing!” I started playing with it and got obsessed, and that was it. It’s not really like a diet at all. It’s a lifestyle management tool, a food relationship tool.
Q: So your husband started the program with you?
A: My husband is very private about his weight, but he’d been looking for a program so we kind of ended up doing it together and it became really fun for us. It’s always great to have someone you love and who loves you who you can call up and say, “Listen I’m bringing home two 3 PointsPlus value beers and we’re going to kick it up tonight!” We do all these dorky things. We take our own popcorn to the movies. I turn to him and say, “Next move is the fanny pack with waters.”
Q: So what made you go public, on Twitter?
A: I started tweeting about my Weight Watchers experience because I think it’s funny. Weight is an awful subject; it’s uncomfortable, it’s human and tweeting is a natural creative outlet for my insane inner monologue. It’s those very, very private moments that we get to reveal ourselves. I mean literally, I flipped a mattress last summer and I had to lie on the floor and hold my chest for about 15 minutes afterwards. We had a lice outbreak and I had to keep taking sheets to the washer, and it just made me laugh to think there was an online plan out there that would qualify my hideous life struggles into weight loss.
Q: What’s your biggest challenge?
A: It’s a huge struggle as a working mom. Besides the fact that your body just changes after you have babies, you are constantly up against this sea of cheese and pasta, everywhere you turn. Or it’s Halloween, or Valentine’s Day. It's this onslaught of crap that you can’t eat unless you have PMS and then you go on a rabid frenzy. It’s hard not to eat off your kids’ plates, especially when you’re exhausted.
Q: So how do you deal with that?
A: We got a lot more involved in food planning. Every Sunday I cut up vegetables for crudités to keep in the refrigerator because you are just more inclined to eat it if it’s cut, there and ready. My mom is very judgmental about pre-washed lettuce in bags. She thinks it’s not thrifty. I’ve finally given in and buy a lot of pre-washed salad, pre-washed spinach and things you can microwave quickly. Soup or beans help you hold on when you’re standing next to a box of mac ‘n’ cheese.
Q: How do you fit activity in?
A: Activity is another thing you need to make plans for in advance. I put it on the calendar. In New York it’s really different — we’re so active! I’ve clocked it and it’s three quarters of a mile uphill to drop my kids off at school. Back and forth every morning, before I know it I’ve walked three miles, and I’m often late so it’s fast. In LA it’s very challenging. I just sit around with a big ol’ car butt and drive about town snacking. I have to find ways to work activity in — like making time for cardio 2 to 3 times a week. There are also a lot of videos on demand; you can do Tae-Bo one day and Jane Fonda the next and make yourself laugh with your massive ‘80s retro exercise fad.
Q: We hear you’re big on dinner parties. How do you handle those now?
A: There are two approaches to a dinner party: LET IT RIP, let’s all hang out and sit in the fondue pot together, and then there’s sort of integrating it in to your life. I really want to have close, connected meals with my friends and so I integrate more how we’re eating into what I’m cooking instead of going full-tilt boogie with the crème fraiche. There are a lot of ways to entertain and still pack a lot of punch — whole-wheat couscous, bulgur, farro, fish. I also do butterflied lamb chops, which are really small, but fantastic. You can all sit around sucking on them and staring at each other and still have a lovely dinner.
For more on Ana, pick up the May/June issue of Weight Watchers Magazine.