She Inspires: Josie is on a mission to help you find the balance between “fitness and your greedy side.” She asks - “Do you love food? Does food love you? Are your fat cells bloated or in looming danger of swelling beyond recognition?” On her website Yum Yucky, Josie takes a humorous and fun approach to taste testing foods and then writes informative and engaging reviews. She get’s her whole family in on the act as her “Taste Test Crew” and she provides a Taste Test Directory, Healthy Snack Cheat Sheet and Fast Food Cheat Sheet. Yum Yucky is clearly a labor of love. Josie has a way of reaching out to the greedy girl inside all of us and makes us feel like there can be a balance between our love of food and our desire to be healthy.
OurHealth had a chance to catch up with Josie and find out a little bit about her own personal health and fitness journey.
In her own words – An interview with Josie of Yum Yucky!
Can you tell us a little bit about your personal story?
I was a single mom of my two oldest children for 9 years. Those were tough times, but I wouldn't change what I went through. It helped shaped who I am today. And I love who I am. I obviously understand the plight of single mothers very well. I began dating my husband in 2003. He was already a long-time acquaintance and our engagement was short. After I prayerfully accepted his proposal we married three months later.
Our four children are ages 17, 14, 5, and 16 months. I call them my spawns, aka Greedy Kids. Because, uh, they're hungry for food AND the cash in my wallet. ha!
I grew up in South Jersey, but have made my home in Delaware for more than 18 years. My career background is in financial services, namely wealth management (ie. investments, trusts, estates) and it's still my day job. I love my job but I hate sitting at a desk all day. When I'm in the office I break often for a quick a stairwell climb or stretch. This keeps my bod from rusting up during work hours. Can you tell us a little about your personal health journey, have you always been interested in health and fitness?
I was on a competitive cheer squad in high school and I also ran track, but active living escaped me once I hit age 20. After my second child I got into the habit of eating a snack-sized bag of Cheetos everyday at lunch. I had no fitness or healthy eating regime and I put on 10 pounds that year. Things got worse when I used my 3rd pregnancy as a license to eat whatever I wanted - prime rib, fried shrimp, pizza, Chinese, sodas galore - and it showed. I had a difficult pregnancy and my weight ballooned to about 185 pounds post pregnancy.
I was not only tired, I was lazy. And I kept right on eating. It wasn't until I saw a picture of myself that the reality of my continued weight gain hit home. I started counting calories and walking one hour every day at lunch. I lost 30 pounds that year, but I got pregnant again and feared all my hard work would be lost. I made the decision to eat right, which helped me to avoid excessive pregnancy weight gain. Several weeks after my c-section I was back to running again. I successfully had my weight under control!
For awhile I set my mind to studying for the ACE Personal Trainer Certification, but once I started blogging it just felt like home.
What motivated you to start the site Yum Yucky?
My passion for fitness led to a lot of self-study to educate myself. Soon, I was sharing my knowledge, but not everyone took me seriously. I started Yum Yucky as a platform to be heard. The blog was supposed to have a serious educational tone, but my silly quirky-ness couldn't be contained. Yum Yucky evolved to become a lighthearted blog that is a refuge from the sometimes too-serious tone the subject of health & fitness conveys. The blog is still educational, but it doesn't come with the stress of trying to measure up 100% of the time. I'm not perfect. Sometimes I slack off on fitness or get too greedy and overeat. Yum Yucky is about finding balance. It's about enjoying the journey; not stressing over it.
My Taste Test Reviews are a prime feature on the blog, but I rarely focus on so-called diet foods. That's not realistic to me because I like real food too; the regular stuff - like ice cream, cookies, and macaroni & cheese. I don't believe in depriving myself of fun foods. This is where the art of balance comes in. The food products I feature will help you make informed decisions on whether or not you should pick it up for yourself when you spot it on the shelf.
What’s your favorite healthy food or snack?
Greek Yogurt is the ultimate! It has about double protein of regular yogurt and, with the whey removed (the liquidy part), it's so thick and luscious, it's almost sinister! Fruit is a popular add-in to make it sweet, or you can honey to the plain variety for an awesome no-guilt dessert.
What current healthy habits (diet/ exercise) do you follow?
With four children, it's sometimes difficult to maintain the same fitness routine each day. Everyday is a new adventure at my house! I wake up at about 5:15 a.m. and exercise for 30-40 minutes. But sometimes a situation beyond my control creeps up, like when Greedy Baby awakes ahead of schedule, or maybe I'm just too tired from the demands of the previous day. This is when I fit in fitness throughout the day. My morning workout might be reduced to a few push-ups or medicine ball squats before I have to stop what I'm doing to tend to my children. I sometimes do a quick-paced walk in place while dinner is cooking, or strength moves while the kids are splashing in the tub. And sometimes I need to focus on that important stretch that was cut short in the morning. These examples only take a few minutes and don't necessarily have to be scheduled. Do it on the fly.
You don't have to have a gym membership. You don't have to enlist someone to watch your kids. Even with a demanding job, fitness can be achieved if you creatively work with the time that you have.
The most creative fun, thing I've done to fit in exercise with my children is our Flashlight Dance Party. Grab a flash light or two, then shut off the lights and turn the music up. Everyone gets involved with the dancing and your cardio workout is accomplished!
Do you have a health role model?
My mother is my all-time original health role model. She set an awesome example of fitness in my time after high school when I was no longer active in athletics. She had a daily fitness routine. I followed her lead and started out with her Buns of Steel VHS tapes. My fitness journey had some low points due to pregnancy weight gain, but thanks to my mother's example, I had a good foundation to bounce back.