A quick conversation with Most Valuable Motivator and TODAY show nutritionist Joy Bauer.
Spry: As a TODAY show contributor, I imagine you work some pretty odd hours. What does a typical day look like for you?
Joy Bauer: Not so much ODD, just LONG. Fortunately, I truly love what I do… which makes every exhausting day enjoyable. I describe myself as a workaholic and “momaholic”—I'm sure a lot of parents can relate.
On a typical weekday, I’m out the door by 6 am. I’ll usually grab a Greek yogurt and fruit to eat on the way. I finish up at the show around 11:00, and the rest of my afternoons are booked with shoots, meetings, lectures, future segment research and writing assignments (articles or book deadlines).
I make it a huge priority to be home when my kids are back from their after-school activities. I love to cook, and eating dinner together as a family is important to me, so most nights of the week you'll find me whipping up some sort of a healthy concoction in my kitchen. After dinner I hang out with the kids—we love watching Modern Family, The Middle, The Voice and America's Got Talent—and after the kids go to bed, I'm back on the computer finishing up my work or prepping for the next morning’s segment.
Spry: Between appearances on the TODAY show, working as the exclusive nutritionist for the NYC Ballet and caring for three children, how do you find the time to exercise and eat right?
JB: When it comes to food, I have a go-to list of simple, fast, healthy meals that I know I can prepare in a flash. Some of my dinner standards include turkey burgers with frozen vegetables, grilled chicken Parmesan, turkey tacos and whole-wheat pasta with ground turkey meat sauce. For breakfast, I love making overstuffed (spicy!) omelets when I have extra time—or I'll grab a yogurt and fruit when I'm rushed and on the go. Lunch is typically a salad with the works from a local restaurant.
When it comes to working out, I’m a huge multi-tasker! Because exercise is a top priority for me, I find ways to combine my workout with other things on my to-do list. Most days of the week, I hop on the treadmill for at least an hour, and I read new nutrition research articles or take conference calls while I walk (I’m also capable of iPad-ing through an entire workout!).
Spry: Your popular “Joy Fit Club” series showcases individuals who have lost 100+ pounds by eating and exercise alone. What inspired you to start the “Joy Fit Club” series?
JB: We started the series about four years ago. My fabulous producers and I were looking for a powerful way to inspire viewers and show them lasting weight loss IS possible. Every other week, we induct a new member into the club—someone who has lost at least 100 pounds with diet and exercise alone (no pills, potions, fasting, or surgeries). We decided on the number “100” because it was such a huge, dramatic milestone. If these individuals can accomplish such a significant transformation, it’s definitely possible for anyone to follow in their footsteps, whether they have 10 pounds to lose or hundreds. The series is all about HOPE.
Spry: Tell us a little bit more about your new weight loss book, theJoy Fit Club Diet Plan. What makes it more effective than other diet plans out there?
JB: In order to lose the weight and keep it off, you have to make permanent changes to your lifestyle and eating habits—and that’s exactly what all of the Joy Fit Club members that are featured in the book did. With that in mind, I went out of my way to make sure the diet plan and strategies in this book are realistic, effective and based on the latest science. It’s not a quick fix, restrictive plan that’s impossible to stick with for the long-term, leaves you feeling cranky and deprived and ultimately backfires, so the weight comes yo-yoing back on.
Spry: For many people who succeed on diets, the biggest struggle is trying to keep the weight off. What advice would you have for somebody who has lost a substantial amount of weight and wants to keep it off for good?
JB: To be successful in the long-term, you must learn to overcome temporary setbacks. You can’t let one binge or one “off day” turn into a full week, or month, of splurging. Instead of dwelling on your mistakes, shake it off and get right back on track at your very next meal, or the very next day.
Remember, nobody gains back weight from one rich meal or a single slice of cake. The real trouble starts when you allow that one “splurge” to snowball into an all-out eating frenzy.
Spry: How would you describe your diet?
JB: I follow a pretty consistent routine during the week—egg white omelets for breakfast, salads for lunch, etc. On the weekends, I tend to loosen the reigns a bit. I may splurge on pizza with the kids (thin crust & vegetable toppings, of course!) or enjoy a decadent restaurant meal if I’m out with my husband. And if I’m celebrating a special occasion or holiday, I sometimes let myself completely enjoy the meal without worrying about the calories, fat or sugar. I just make sure to hit the gym the next morning!
Spry: Your book Joy Bauer’s Food Cures shows readers how everything from common health concerns to life-threatening diseases can be treated by the foods you eat. Why do you think it’s so important to manage conditions through food rather than medications?
JB: I think there’s a real demand for more natural, holistic solutions to health problems. There’s certainly nothing wrong with medications—they help save millions of lives and are often a necessary part of a treatment plan. But with or without medicine, I firmly believe you should do everything you can to improve your health by making smart food choices. There is absolutely no downside and the healing power of everyday foods can be dramatic.