Former Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model Kim Alexis opens up exclusively to Closer about her changing body after having children in her 20s and how “it was a trade-off” to keeping her 24 inch waist. 

The 63-year-old beauty reveals her biggest tip for leading a healthy lifestyle that goes beyond what you eat.

Closer: You’ve always had a great body, but how did it begin to change in the last 10 years? 

KA: It probably changed before that. So, it probably changed when I was 25 and I had my first child. So, I think as females, I don’t know how old you are, but our bodies change a lot. 

Closer: How has it changed?

KA:  I don’t think it honestly has changed very much. So, if I’m watching my diet and my sugars, I’m not that far off. I have a pair of pants. They’re black suede that I’ve had since I was like 22 when I was doing Sports Illustrated, and I’m close to being able to buttoning them. It’s the waistline that got thicker with children and has never gone back. So, I used to be, I think, like a 24 waist, and now I’m like a 29-30. 

Closer: When you had kids and you noticed a little bit of changes, how did you feel about that? Did it affect your confidence in any way? 

KA: Well, I think everything is an adjustment as new opportunities come. So, with children, I felt that if my body changed, it was a trade-off. And now this is what I’ve got. And how do I make the best of it?  From a young age at 18, 19, 20, which we’re talking back in the ’70s when there wasn’t a lot of information on nutrition and health and health food stores and gyms. And there just weren’t that many options back then. So, I always was seeking and looking for whatever the best options and newest things were to try. That was important to me. So, I feel like no matter where you’re at, look around, evaluate yourself, see if you can change, do any better. And if you can, work on yourself. If not, accept it and move on. 

Closer: What exercises work for you? 

KA: Well, I loved running for years and years and years. And so, in my 20s, if I felt like I was fat or if I’d eaten too many chocolate chip cookies, I’d go out and run 10 miles. No problem. And as I got older, four miles was a feat and happy. I mean, and I ran my last marathon at 46. So that was 26.2 miles. And I ran until probably not quite a year ago, and my knee was really bothering me. I had been at a dog park. We have a big dog. And some big monster dog came behind me and clipped the back of my knee where I couldn’t walk for a couple of days. So, I think he tore my meniscus. It wasn’t my dog. It was just some random dog in the dog park. So, I tore my meniscus. So, I went to the doctor, and he just said, “Your knee’s messed up. You’re close to replacement.” And I’m like, “I’m not going to ever have my knee replaced. I don’t want that.” So, he said, “Well, you can’t run anymore.” So, I just have gone into the gym. If you watch my Instagram, it’s like, “I can’t run, but I’m trying my rower or the elliptical or the spin class or something,” you know just to get my cardio and my heart rate up. So, I love that. I still lift weights. I’m even adapting with those. So, I went the other night with my husband, and I was doing dumbbells on the bench. And I felt with the dumbbells, and I only used 20 pounds. But I was doing a bench press, and I noticed it’s hurt my neck. My neck’s still sore from that. So, I think I need to now go to machines instead of using my dumbbells, which I love using. 

Closer: And how often do you work out?

KA: It depends. So, depending on energy, I would love to do doubles. Me too. But I don’t that often, two a days. I used to do a lot of two-a-days, but I would love to be able to do that. My mindset is such that I would love it if my energy levels kept up. But there’s so many other things going on right now in business and pulling me that I don’t get to the gym twice a day. So, I would love to do something every day, even if it’s just walking my dog a mile. He pretty much expects that every morning, so unless I’m super sick or whatever, which is very, very rare. So, there’s always some form of moving my body and getting out there because I feel better when I do. It makes my brain work better. I just am in a better mood. And it’s good for all sorts of stuff.

Closer:  And your new book is Cheat Eat. How would you explain the book? 

KA: That’s not my new book. It’s been around for a while. So, I’ve got 11 books. My newest one is probably Skin Within, where I’m starting to be more and more aware of the skin products, and there’s toxins in some of them and which ones to identify, which ones to look out for, what it means. So that’s my newest book. That’s so interesting. Eat is something I realized, and I kind of just made up the name and then made a couple of the other ones after that. But GET was basically my whole philosophy. So, I had three sons, and they always had friends over. And so, we’d have football teams that would come over or whatever. So, I just realized I could look in my pantry and throw a bunch of stuff together. I’m not one that ever followed a recipe from start to finish. I might look at a recipe and say, “Okay. I have that. I have that. I have that. But I don’t have this one. So, I can substitute. This is kind of close or these two things with you know adding yogurt with a little lemon juice might make buttermilk. So, I’ll try that. So, I just started substituting. Or if I wanted chocolate chip cookies and decided I didn’t want to have the flour or I didn’t want the sugar or something, I would substitute. So, I realized that a book could be made out of that, and that other people might want to learn from it. So, as I talk about in the book, it’s really a mindset that you don’t want to deny yourself. A lot of the business of modeling was denying yourself. “Oh, I can’t eat that because I don’t want to gain weight.” But that’s a tough way to live. And it’s not very healthy for your mind. So how can you make food and recipes work for you? And that’s where the book came from. 

Closer: And is there a secret to making a recipe like lower calories that you have?

KA:  Well, yeah. I mean, you can just cut down on fat if you want. It’s one thing or the natural sugars. I’m not sure what the caloric content of like a monk fruit, which is a healthy sugar substitute, would be compared to a regular cup of sugar. I don’t look as much about calories. I look more at what the food can do for you, beneficial, nutrient-dense superfoods. I’m not a calorie counter. So, I like healthy fats. I like even some foods that are high fat. I love like a cheese omelet. I feel great from a cheese omelet. It might have a bunch of fat in there, but it’s healthy fat, and it keeps me satisfied for hours. Which is important. And I may add vegetables in with that, but I love you know eggs, and I love cheese, and I love omelets and vegetables. And so, I’m not opposed to high-fat meals if they’re healthy. So, it’s not a Big Mac cheeseburger. Instead, it might be stir-fry with olive oil and even fresh avocados and even nuts because those are high in fat and calories. And then putting vegetables in. So again, it’s not so much me counting the calories, but what type of calories?

Closer: Do you have a favorite recipe that’s in your book that we could share?

KA:  In Cheat Eat, I think that there’s a couple recipes in there. I’m not sure. I’d have to look back in it. Okay. Maybe I could reach to your rep and see if she could send us one just in case, they want to share one of them. Well, I mean, I have a ton of recipes that I use. I mean, I did a circuit. I was talking about black bean brownies where there was no gluten in there, and it was made with black beans. And people couldn’t tell the difference. Wow I mean, and there’s sweet potato brownies, and I make sweet potato bread. And I just made it in the oven now. I’ve got to wait for it to come out. Sweet potato muffins because we’re jumping on the road tomorrow to drive up to Vegas. So, I wanted something for my husband. So, I made them hard-boiled eggs. I’m going to bring some cheese sticks that I’ve cut up and cubed. And then these sweet potato muffins. And I added flax meal in there. I just kind of snuck a bunch of stuff. I used some old box of cereal, and I soaked it in oat milk. So, I just made my own recipe. I do that quite a bit. 

Closer: And you know we were talking about your other book where you were giving tips for what you put on the skin. Can you give us some of those?

KA:  So, there’s thousands and thousands and thousands of products. There are thousands of chemicals. So be aware of a couple of things. Bad things are that our FDA here in the United States really only bans about 10 to 11. The number changes, depending on which website I read, chemicals from going into certain products. And one of them is skincare. In Europe, they ban and this number changes also between 9,000 and like 13,000 chemical ingredients that are not allowed in their products or their foods. So, we have to, as Americans, police our own brands. So, on the good front, there are now apps and websites that are dedicated and different companies, these smaller business companies that are coming out with their own clean, pure products. Some are verified, non-toxic to people, non-cancerous, not bad for the aquatic life, you know not animal tested, all that stuff, not allergic. So, there are different web apps that I use, and I think there’s more coming out every day. I just found something Panda. But I use EWG, which stands for Environmental Working Group. And then there’s Sink Dirty. And in theirs, they’ve got over 2 million products that they’ve tested. So, some I’m finding, like even at my grocery store, even how there’s cleaner sections or organic sections at grocery stores. And I’ll scan something, and it’s not in their web based. So sometimes I will scan the front, back, and the ingredients and stuff for them, and you could submit it, and then they review it.

So, I love these companies that are starting to do kind of the dirty work for us. They’re looking for those bad ingredients. And then they rate them either as verified, which means it’s 100% pure clean product that they would recommend, or up to a 10, which could be a super bad rating. And then another company rates A plus, I think, through E or F. And so, some of these products that you think are great and don’t quote me on the name, but you’ve heard of Mrs. Myers, right? Yeah. She’s like a 5. You wouldn’t even know. I’ve used this stuff forever. I always thought it was natural and it was fine.” And I think soft soap is really bad. And you find that in a lot of people’s bathrooms. But if we’re not aware and if we’re not taking care of our health, who’s going to do it for us? I don’t know if it’s still out there, but I remember seeing an ad years ago, and it was for Reynolds Wrap, and they have their tinfoil, right? Their regular tinfoil. Now, meanwhile, if you put tinfoil on hot food, what is in the tinfoil is going to transfer to the food? So, they were making a claim, “Oh, there’s this new tinfoil, and it’s guaranteed not to stick to your food.” Well, what are they putting on that tinfoil, so it doesn’t stick to your food? Yeah, so it might be a good claim of something that makes your life easier, but it might not be something that makes your life healthier. So, my thought process is always what a product does to you, not for you. 

Closer: What do you know now about health and fitness and wellness that you wish you knew earlier? 

KA: Probably more of being aware of reading labels and what those labels meant. But the thing is, is that, as I said, we didn’t have a lot of options before. So even if something wasn’t that good for us. But I probably wouldn’t have cooked with like Teflon pans over the years. And as they started going bad or if I’d used a metal utensil and there were pieces coming off of it and I was eating them in my food by mistake. I don’t think I would want to do that right now.

Closer: What is your number one tip to look and feel healthier and better energized at any age?

KA: To pour all good things into your body versus toxic. And that includes music. That includes TV shows. That includes what you read. So, what you put into your eye gate, what you put into your ears, what you put into your body, what you put on your body. So, try to find the purest things out there, things that are good for you instead of not good for you. So, in environments, in friendships, you don’t want toxic friendships. You don’t want that stress. And so how can you just stay as clean and good as possible?