Healthy Living: Meet Josie Bidwell

By healthmultiplex, October 15, 2014

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

My Workout

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.

What do you think?

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