'Biggest Loser' star says you can eat healthfully at Water Follies

By Geoff Folsom, Tri-City HeraldJuly 27, 2013 

KENNEWICK -- With options like bacon dogs, elephant ears and cream puffs along the walkway at the Water Follies, Columbia Park might seem an odd place to talk about losing weight.

That didn't faze Ali Vincent of Spokane, the first woman to win NBC's weight-loss competition show "The Biggest Loser", who made an appearance Saturday.

"I think events like the Water Follies are great because, even though they have things that are unhealthy, you can bring in healthy food," Vincent said.

Among the advantages of having the Water Follies in the Tri-Cities is easy access to fresh produce, Vincent said. She encourages attendees to bring in coolers with healthy snacks like carrots and apples -- perhaps the Pink Lady variety for which she is a spokeswoman.

But, if you can't do that, some healthy options available among the 25 food vendors at Water Follies include turkey sandwiches and chicken kabobs.

"I even got a snow cone with sugar-free syrup," said Vincent, who has become a motivational speaker and author after her 112-pound weight loss. "It was zero calories, so it was a nice refreshing snack."

Roda Wheaton of Hoang's Saigon Restaurant touts her chicken skewers, which are not only healthy, but portable.

"It's easier to eat when you don't have a fork," Wheaton said. "They can carry it around."

Vincent was at the Water Follies to film a "flash mob" dance to use on her Live Well Network reality show, Live Big With Ali Vincent.

She also offered advice on how to keep cool during a long day in the 90-plus degree temperatures.

"Stay hydrated, hydrated, hydrated," she said. "You don't want to get to the point when it's not so much fun."

Michael Nelson and Cate Goudie of Kennewick took that advice to heart. They carried a jug of water and also brought sports drinks. At the end of the day Saturday, they were ready for more races today.

Besides, Nelson wasn't going to miss the event after being away for several years in the Marine Corps, despite the heat.

"It's one of the highlights of the area," he said.

Some people played sports of their own during the sometimes-long breaks in the action. Many took dips in the river. Some brought pingpong tables or pitched washers.

Vincent had a suggestion for people who didn't bring game equipment or their swimsuit.

"Get up and dance," she said. "You're burning calories as opposed to just sitting there."

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