As much as I hate to admit it, I spend a lot of time on the internet. Much more time than I will ever admit to myself. So, as a frequent e-roamer, it always brings a smile to my face when I can find a new, fun website to add to my daily rotation. Enter Yum Yucky and the picture that started it all:
After seeing this awesome photo of food domination, my interest was piqued – I had to find out more! Luckily for you, I’ve decided to open the vault and share the interview that I did with Josie Maurer of Yum Yucky fame. Prepare to be rocked.
Rog Law: So Josie, could you tell my readers a little bit about yourself, what got you so interested in food, and how you got to where you are today?
Josie Maurer: Ahhh, my lovely food. I’m eating a sammich right now as I type this. I’ve always been a hungry woman. I used to eat whole pizzas by myself back in Junior High, but it never mattered until I started eating that daily bag of Cheetoes from the snack shop when I was 27. I packed on about 10 pounds that year and rose to 145 pounds.
From there on out the pounds just kept packing, especially after the 3rd child. I used pregnancy as a free pass to grub on whatever – fried shrimp, 16 ounce steaks, endless Chinese food, sodas (ick!) – all great famous crap. It was fun, but it turned me lazy and lethargic. I felt real ugly too.
So I started exercising (my highest weight was 182), but I still didn’t change my eating habits too much. I loved food and consider it my reward for working out, yet food intimidated me at the same time. It tried to boss me around and insist I couldn’t say “no” to it.
Then I got tired of the bossing. I’m not quite sure how it happened, but I decided to take control with a lighthearted approach to food. Joking about food and being silly. Teasing myself about being greedy – it took the fear out of it.
I don’t know if this really makes any sense, but that’s how it went for me.
As for Yum Yucky. It took the same turn. It started out as a serious blog back in January 2009 that was supposed to help educate people about food and fitness through what I learned, but my ridiculous side came out and now the blog is silly fun too. Much better that way.
As for that sammich I just ate. It was nasty. But I ate the whole thing anyway. Why? I have no idea. So you see, I still have issues. And I tend to make them public on the blog and not pretend to be perfect.
The Yum Yucky motto is, “Find Balance Between Fitness and Your Greedy Side”. I’ll never have perfect balance (will any of us?), but I’ll always keep improving.
RL: That’s an interesting way of attacking the situation, and it highlights a great point that a lot of people miss: you don’t have to be perfect to have a dope body and a healthy relationship with food. Was there a “defining moment” that made you turn things around?
JM: My “defining moment” was paving by me looking in the mirror, knowing I’m pushing the next size up, but convincing myself I didn’t look that bad. My family white-lied to me and said I looked great, but after I lost all the weight, they admitted to patronizing me.
Then the moment came with a few cruel pics of me on Memorial Day in 2006. Horrific (to me anyway). Fat hanging over pants. Face bloated. Thighs thickened. (and my hair was a hot mess too).
Pictures tell a more accurate story than looking in the mirror.
RL: Despite having to wear the different hats of a mom, wife and entrepreneur, it looks like you do a good job of balancing between fitness and your greedy side. Do you have any tips for those who swear up and down that they just don’t have time to get started?
JM: I am a big believer in:
1) Staying Organized. It’s so important with my wacky house of 4 kids and a goofy husband. If I’m not organized, everything is out of whack, including laundry, dinner, a clean home, and my “me time” suffers. If I’m trying to do damage control due to lack of organization, there’s no time for exercise and I’m stressed. It’s a downward spiral, so I do my best to avoid lack of organization. It requires diligence and the surgical removal of the lazy bone.
2) You have to want it. There’s nothing worse than being wishy-washy. I used to be that way, but I got to a point where I was sick and tired of a squishy body, large clothes, stomach hanging over my pants, lack of energy, inability to run and play with my kids. It was a whole laundry list. I lived like that before I had that defining moment I spoke of.
3) Don’t blame others. Namely, my husband. There was a lot of eye rolling going on (on my part) because he supposedly was not helping me create an easy atmosphere for getting in shape. But that’s a bunch of crap. Which goes back to #2. When you want it, you find a way. There are no obstacles.
I don’t blame lack of time, because I get up earlier.
I don’t blame my job, because I workout during lunch.
I don’t blame my kids, because I incorporate them into the workouts if they’re bothering me. (yes, my kids get on my nerves sometimes. that’s the truth)
I don’t blame not having a gym membership because I get creative, like going outdoors and running hills, jumping rope, using free weights, plyometrics.
Lately my time has been severely crunched. I admit my workouts have been a bit sporadic, but I make it up by eating right 90% of the time. But this is just a cycle. The workouts will amp up again and become more frequent. I just don’t freak out when they’re not. It’s counterproductive and causes me to stress, which leads to a disorganized mind. And then I’d have to revisit point #1 again!
RL: How does the Yum Yucky clan feel about your website madness? How do you get them involved with everything (I.E. the food & exercise)?
JM: When I first decided on the blog, I went ’round the house saying, “YumYucky.com! YuckyYucky.com!” like all day long. I got weird looks. They thought I was insane. They thought the name was stupid. But I went on and launched it anyway.
The family has been involved from the very beginning and still are today as the Taste Test Crew. But cooperation is semi-forced when I’m testing out healthy foods.
My 16-year-old (Greedy Kid #1) is also the Grocery Girl food model, but she started complaining about posing with food at the store (even though I pay her to do it). She barely comes shopping with me anymore. I do wonder if store security will ever try to stop me from taking pictures in the aisle.
As for exercise. It’s pretty much solo. Unless I’m using Baby as a human weight. I tend to do that.
RL: Alright, now that we got all these joke questions out of the way, its time to get down to some serious bidness. When I say these words, tell me the first think you think of.
Hyperbolic Time Chamber:
JM: Banana: ….nut muffins, with no nuts.
Gumby: Slanted brain
Pancake: …with sausage.
Chuck-E-Cheese: never EVER again…
Diapers: Poopermint Patties.
Hyperbolic Time Chamber: Huh?
Cake: Extra large slices….
Hedgehog: Scary dirt digger
Cinnabon: Cheap thrill
RL: And there you have it, folks! Any final chicken nuggets of wisdom that you would like to pass on to billions of potential readers out there?
JM: “Chicken nuggets” and “wisdom” in the same sentence is illegal in all 75 states. It just doesn’t go together.
AND this: I don’t strive for perfection. That’s way too much pressure. I do what works for me, which may be totally opposite or a minor spin on the experts say I should do. I listen to my body and take it’s cues.
For example, the standard recommended 8 cups of water per day (64 ounces) doesn’t work for me. It’s too dang much. I tried it do this. Many, many times. It interfered with my life. You get the picture? So I listened to my body and adjusted.
I don’t want to be a slave to health and fitness. I tried that too and it was a boring chore. My goal is to find ways to live healthy and fit (and be a little greedy) in a way that’s fun. This still takes discipline, but if I’m having fun by eating foods that I enjoy and exercising in a way thats right for me instead of taking a cookie cutter approach, I’m more apt to succeed. And I am.