And what about health for those of us who are already grown up?
Positive thinking is a big part of good health. I've been working on a book about staying younger longer — if you have an expectation that you're going to get old and creaky and stop working out and start expecting things to go wrong, it will become a self-fulfilling prophesy. And yet if you expect to be vibrant and have a very healthy life in your '60s and '70s, then you will.
You have to make that investment in your future now — getting all the proper tests and making sure that you eat healthfully and that you not only exercise to keep your weight under control but also so you keep your flexibility. If you want to be able to bend down and get your shoes on when you're 85, then you better get some training now.
You recently spoke at a mother-daughter role modeling event about instilling strong values in your girls. What advice can you give to other parents on body image?
It doesn't make any difference what you tell your daughter if you speak in terms of 'I'm fat. I don't like myself. I was bad today because I ate too much.' You think you're saying the right things to them, and you think you're even giving them the right foods, but if you're not demonstrating the healthy eating habits yourself and if you are speaking about self-loathing and unhappiness with body image, that is invariably what will shape the way your daughters will think as a young teen. That's why we now have preteens in this country developing anorexia or some form of restricted eating. The best thing we can do for our children is to set good examples.
With a larger age difference between your older kids and your four little ones, what were the challenges — and perks — of essentially starting over as a parent?
People kept saying, "Oh my God, you're going to do this again?" — as though I should be more stressed out about doing it in my '50s as opposed to in my '30s. The second time around, I was actually much less daunted about motherhood. Maybe it's because I already went through it, so I take everything with a grain of salt. During my first three children's young years, I was doing Good Morning America and God knows how many other things, I look back on it and think: "How did I do that? How did I get up at every day at 3:30 in the morning and go to work and do five other projects at the same time and raise three other children while I was on the air?" So, when people ask, "Is it going to be more tiring now?" I say, "What? More tiring than that? You've got to be kidding me!"
I had a party here at the house when the second set of twins were born. My friends were coming in the front door saying, "I don't know about this, Joanie, I think this is going to be pretty exhausting." And then, through the back door, all the caterers were coming in, and they were all French women. They looked at these little babies and said, "Oh, you will never get old." What an interesting contrast. One set of eyes was looking at the situation, saying, "This is going to be so exhausting," and the other set of eyes looked at the same situation and said, "This is going to be exhilarating." I am exhilarated. I'm at the playground. I'm at the top of the slide.
It's all about how you approach something, and I consider raising children to be one of the most interesting, fascinating and challenging things that I've ever done in my life, and I've had a pretty challenging, fascinating life, if I may say so myself.