Josie Bidwell, 32, of Jackson, is an assistant professor and nurse practitioner for the University of Mississippi Medical Center School of Nursing. She holds a Doctor of Nursing Practice from UMMC. Her family includes “a loving husband of 12 years who also works at UMMC, two boys, ages 3 and 6, and one daughter in heaven.”
Growing up in Carrollton, out in the country, I was very active as a child and through high school. I spent most of my days outside playing, fishing and hunting. As a teenager, I was a cheerleader for our junior high and then high school football teams, so I was always in the gym practicing and learning new dance routines. I went to Ole Miss and focused more on academics and was not a member of any regular sports team, but I still maintained physical activity as part of my routine by playing racquetball and walking.
Once I joined the full-time workforce, my physical fitness slacked off, and even more so after I had my first child. In fact, between 2002 and 2012, I put on over 50 pounds. I wasn’t being active. I just worked, came home, took care of my family and went to bed. I felt terrible, and I felt like I was setting a bad example for my kids in leading a healthy lifestyle.
This all changed when I began working with Mississippi Public Broadcasting’s “Southern Remedy” program. I was asked to help develop a physical activity program for Mississippians that was easy to understand and do. This lit a spark in me. After composing the fitness program, called Southern Remedy’s Fitness Prescription, I knew I had to get more active. Shortly after that, I found Brickhouse Cardio Club and Laurie Smith, in Flowood. Laurie’s studio specializes in Zumba, and I fell in love. She was so welcoming and encouraging to someone who hadn’t really exercised in 10 years. That first class wasn’t easy, but it was a blast. I lost 30 pounds in three months of doing Zumba and have kept it off.
I follow a balanced diet. I use the Southern Remedy Healthy Living Placemat to keep my focus and help me make healthy choices. I also keep a food journal on my phone of everything I eat and drink. This keeps me accountable and keeps me from mindlessly snacking.
I still find bread and pasta hard to resist, so I don’t resist it. I just don’t go nuts. I eat a small portion of whole wheat pasta and then fill up on non-starchy veggies. I also give myself permission to make mistakes, and I don’t let it derail my whole day. If I make a bad food choice for lunch, that doesn’t mean I have to continue making bad choices for dinner.
I also never use the word “diet.” A diet is something you go on. This means at some point you will go off the diet. That’s why they don’t work in the long term. I have made a lifestyle change, to live every day healthy, even if I slip up.
— As told to The Clarion-Ledger
I do Zumba at least four times a week. I even take my kids with me so they can see that being healthy is also fun. I was recently licensed as a Zumba instructor as well. I teach Zumba two days a week at my church. I also do 5Ks with my oldest son, something I never would have had the stamina for before I found Zumba!
The Me File
What are you reading?
I am hooked on the “The Hunger Games” books. I read them over and over.
What are you watching?
I’m also a big fan of the “The Hunger Games” movies. I don’t get to watch a lot of TV with two young kids, but try to catch “Under the Dome” and “Graceland.”
What are you listening to?
I love listening to anything on K-LOVE radio. I always have Zumba music playing in my car. I prefer the Latin rhythms.