THE CO-HOST OF ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT TALKS ABOUT BALANCING LIFE AS WORKING MOM, MAKING THE MOST OF EARLY MORNINGS, AND HOW SHE MAINTAINS THOSE AMAZINGLY TONED ABS.
Nancy O’Dell has a mile long to-do list and it’s not even 9:00 a.m. yet. “I have a list that’s at number 72 of things to do – I kid you not,” says the Entertainment Tonight co-anchor, wife and mom of three. “Actually the list is a way for me to have peace of mind that I won’t forget something I need to do.”
Balancing her co-hosting duties with her family responsibilities – soccer games, tennis lessons, getting dinner on the table – doesn’t leave O’Dell with much time to relax. Luckily she thrives on the chaos. “Friends tease me that I wouldn’t know what to do if I didn’t feel I was busy, busy, busy all the time – and that’s pretty much true,” says O’Dell.
“I’ve always pushed myself,” reflects the South Carolina native who was a straight-A student throughout school. However the busy working mom has learned how to slow down a little and pamper herself along the way. “I’ve learned to go to bed on my daughter’s schedule, but she needs more sleep than I do so I get up at 4:30 a.m. and that’s my `me time.’ O’Dell relishes her 45-minute early morning treadmill runs and quick time to catch up on work. “Then I’ll have my morning cup of coffee with my husband and we catch up on things. At 6:30 a.m. I’m in the shower getting ready for work.”
PUTTING HEALTH FIRST
High cholesterol runs in O’Dell’s family. The 48-year-old works to keep her levels in check by eating early-morning oatmeal, exercising and taking supplements such as red yeast rice, flaxseed, fish oil, pre-natal vitamins (even though her youngest Ashby is six), and fibre supplements.
Growing up on southern fried foods O’Dell admits she still indulges in the occasional French fry and fried chicken. She also cheats a little in an attempt to get fried taste with a healthy twist. “I’ll dip chicken in egg whites and then coat it in corn flakes to re-create fried chicken,” she says. “I also found that if you take olive oil and sear chicken breasts in it they taste pretty good.”
When it comes to snacking her favourite healthy treats include: almonds, sliced peeled apples, avocadoes and Usana bars. “Fortunately I’m not a big sweet eater,” says O’Dell.
IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT
To keep her toned tummy flat, O’Dell fits in extra fitness whenever she can. “The other day I’m on the floor playing board games with the family. I found myself lying with my head back and thought: `Well, it’s not my turn, why not do some crunches?’” It’s the extra little efforts that pay off in a major way.
“I accidentally left my heart-rate monitor on after doing some running and my daughter wanted to play outside. So we went outside and I actually burned more calories playing tag with her than working out with my trainer.” Kids and an active life keep you fit.
Ultimately, O’Dell says that balancing career and family help empower her as a woman. “Somehow I manage. It’s crazy difficult and I struggle sometimes with that. However I have to say I’m a very content, loving and one happy woman.” VM