Doing It All In Good Health

Years after setting a record in early morning television, Joan Lunden is still one of today's hardest working women

“I had my first three daughters while I was on Good Morning America. Well, I didn’t actually deliver on the air, but almost!”

Such is the life of Joan Lunden, whose personal and professional worlds have been continuously intertwined throughout her extensive career as a journalist, author, and the longest-running host ever in early morning TV. Lunden is also a mom of seven and caregiver for her mother, and she continues to be a health and wellness advocate through her books, TV specials, and even a line of non-stick cookware that has no plastic synthetics. Lunden’s dedication to health began in her youth, when she had planned not to be on television but in the operating room.

“My father was a doctor and I always thought I’d grow up to be a doctor too,” Lunden recalls. “But when I went to work at a hospital just before college, I learned that I wasn’t really cut out for stitches and scalpels. However, I've always felt that my chosen profession is one that often holds hands with the medical profession, disseminating information to help people make good decisions about their health.”

Early in her broadcasting career, Lunden found that female journalists were usually assigned with family and health stories as opposed to political news.

“As it turned out, I found that those were really the stories that most people talked about at work the next day, the stories that really mattered to their lives,” Lunden says. She communicated her passion for healthy living throughout her nearly two-decade stint on ABC’s Good Morning America, during which she also covered four U.S. presidents and five Olympic Games. After stepping down from the show in 1997, Lunden continued to bring health issues to the public.

“I remember the day I launched my website,” Lunden says. “It wasn't even a question that ‘Healthy Living’ would be part of its name. I also get the opportunity to work alongside many important organizations, such as the American Heart Association, and travel all over the country trying to get the word out about women’s health.”

Six years ago, Lunden created a wellness getaway specifically for women called Camp Reveille.

“In addition to fitness classes and camp activities like jewelry and archery, we also try to help women take control of their own life, wellness, and health,” Lunden says. “Women need to take time out for themselves and I try to give them that opportunity.”

Lunden is also the co-author of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Family Caregivers. The book is yet another example of Lunden’s public work being impacted directly by her personal life. Lunden is part of what she calls the “sandwich generation.”

“Forty-six million Americans are caregivers, and many are part of the sandwich generation, which means they take care of a parent or loved one while also raising children,” Lunden says. “In my case, I am taking care of my 93 year-old mom while I am raising my two sets of twins, ages 7 and 9, and planning two weddings for twenty-something daughters.”

Lunden’s ability to excel in her career, health, and family life may seem superhuman to young women who are beginning their adult lives. But she believes that every woman can find the right balance.

“We all know that it's a real juggling act,” Lunden says. “It’s important to establish your priorities and try not to feel too guilty about those things you're not able to do. Not every woman can be in the daily pick-up line after school!”

“Your children will remember that you were there for the important moments in their life,” Lunden adds. “And you will be able to know that you are keeping a balance that makes you happy, too.”
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