Just to speak with Joy Bauer by phone is to be energized with her enthusiasm for people and life. She is an upbeat and giving interview subject who was very responsive to Prime Women’s questions and interests. You never once got the feeling that she was watching the clock and preparing to exit our June 20, 2014 Friday afternoon session. Her smile comes through loud and clear. Here were PrimeWomen’s questions for her and I want to thank both Michelle Provenzano and Karen White for their assistance in preparing for this assignment. They make everyone at PrimeWomen look good.
PW: Joy, what set you on this path to innovate such impactful campaigns for weight loss and nutrition?
JB: I think I was born with a passion for health. I was one of 4 children and, as the oldest, I guess that I was kind of my father’s son. I was a “sports-a-holic.” I loved to push my body with softball and basketball, anything physical that you could think of. In junior high, I fell in love with gymnastics and, at the same time, became fascinated with how food might impact my performance. I was much more interested in broccoli than Barbies! I really didn’t know anything about nutrition or diet, but I loved to experiment and I would make these huge messes in my mom’s kitchen trying to figure out how foods made me feel. I also loved to dabble in foreign cuisine and by high school I was making all these exotic dinners for my families.
I earned a gymnastic scholarship to college and thought that someday I would have my own gym and would train elite athletes, but I sustained some serious injuries and was in the hospital for months undergoing multiple surgeries. My career as an athlete was over, but I became fascinated with medicine and considered entering medical school and becoming a pediatrician for a while. After transferring to the University of Maryland, I switched my major to science and graduated from there, but decided to push the pause button before taking the MCAT exam to get into medical school.
I thought it might be interesting to get a Masters Degree in Nutrition at NYU while I waited to take the MCAT, and from the very first class, it was a revelation to me. I knew that I was in the right place doing the right thing. Now I could add clinical nutrition to my passion for exercise for a complete approach to health.
PW: After your education, how did you put that combined knowledge to work?
JB: My very first job was a dream job. I was the Director of Nutrition and Fitness for the “Heart Smart Kids Program” at Mount Sinai Medical Center’s Department of Pediatric Cardiology in NYC. I got to know the faculty, the kids, and their parents. It was the first time that I realized that one person with true passion could really change people’s lives. Parents would start to come to the classes to better understand what their children were learning about how to eat better and why it was important to exercise. It was amazing to see what a difference I could make. I was hooked! I was off and running!
PW: Now you are on television, social media, in magazines. You are everywhere!
JB: I feel so blessed. Now I reach millions with my message!
PW: Anyone who has seen you on television knows that you are slender and very fit. How do you resist temptation to overeat? Do you have any “guilty pleasure” foods?
JB: Yes, ice cream, ice cream, ice cream! My 8th grader and I had an ice cream run last night and I enjoyed every calorie! My motto is 90%/10%. Feed your body healthy foods 90% of the time and your soul 10% of the time. My soul loves ice cream! Now, I don’t have it every day, but when I do I focus on it and I savor it. Yes, I do!
PW: You are so busy. Do you find time to exercise every day?
JB: I try to walk an hour a day, every day, and I find that if I aim toward 7 days a week I usually can make 5 days. I am really big on measuring devices that count your steps and calories etc. You know like Nike’s activity band, Jawbone, Misfit, etc. These gadgets help me count the 10,000 steps that I aim to get. My basement is full of equipment like treadmills, rowing machines, stair steppers, etc. and I use them. I am a big multi-tasker. I read while I exercise or catch up on programs that I should have watched for my work. I also do a twice a week strength training program that targets all the major muscle groups in the body.
PW: What advice would you give to Prime Women who are struggling with their own weight loss goals?
JB: Weight loss is 50% attitude. Make up your mind and find an enduring source of motivation like you want to live to see you children get married, or you want to feel more comfortable in your own skin, or you want to raise your self-esteem. Then try some of the following:
• Drink 2 glasses of water before each meal,
• Don’t eat carbs at dinner,
• Start each day with a protein rich breakfast to regulate your appetite and blood sugar throughout the day.
• Have the right afternoon snack 2 to 3 hours after lunch. For example, a hand full of any kind of nuts. They are full of protein and fiber and control blood sugar and appetite.
PW: You have found some incredible ways that foods can cure illnesses. Can you suggest some of the cures that you would recommend for keeping Prime Women young and healthy?
JB: The nuts we just talked about are wonderful not only are they full of fiber and control blood sugar and appetite, they are also heart healthy.
Next, open canned pumpkin and stir it into oatmeal, turkey taco meat. A great snack is nonfat vanilla yogurt with canned pumpkin stirred in with a little cinnamon shaken on it and topped with toasted walnuts. You have something out of this world for not many calories. Pumpkin is rich in potassium, which is the opposite of sodium, so it is great for you. It is wonderful for your skin as well.
Also, don’t forget spinach. It is like a bottle of vitamins that tastes delicious in your salads and marinara sauce or steamed. Also, work some into your recipe for turkey meat loaf.
PW: We saw that you are reworking your weight loss program on-line. What are some of the great ideas and advice that you are planning for us? Can you give us a teaser?
JB: Sure! Look for these improvements:
• Daily menus with a button that you can press for a new selection if you don’t like what is first presented for “breakfast,” for example. Just press the button and a new breakfast recipe pops up.
• Interactive exercises for all levels of athleticism.
• Real time webinars to be led by Joy herself on timely nutrition and exercise topics.
• Grocery lists,
• Forums for mutual support of subscribers trying to eat and exercise more effectively.
PW: Thank you, Joy, for being so generous with your time and for being so passionate about people of all ages’ health and well-being. Thank you also for taking care of the nutrition needs of the dancers at the New York City Ballet. My husband and I love them! Have a wonderful summer.
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