I recently had the opportunity to sit down over coffee with Jackie Rainford Corcoran, author of the Explore Big Sky health column, “From Jackie, With Love”. Jackie is a colleague in the profession of health enhancement, and I am pleased to share with you some of her valuable insights. Whether one’s title is health coach, health consultant, health engineer, health promoter, health educator (ok…I’ll stop), professionals get into this field because we really want to learn, grow, share, and help people to achieve ultimate health, success, and happiness in life. That’s true for me and it’s certainly true for Jackie as well.
JZ: Welcome to the TLB Newsfeed, and thanks so much for sharing with us. Would you tell us a little about what you do in the health/fitness/wellness field currently?
JRC: This industry is an important part of my life. It relates to how I slice up the pie of life. One part is my art (Jackie is a talented artist in several disciplines). Another is what I call my mastermind practices of development and growth. Of course there is my marriage. And my health and well-being constitutes another part. Right now I am focused on preparing for my upcoming presentation at TedX Bozeman entitled “How America Can Become the #1 Healthiest Country in the World by 2040.” I’m concentrating on how to best utilize social media to get life-changing information to people, and this often keeps me up at night. In my private health-coaching business, I work with my clients on making adaptive change, and we collaborate on progressing forward with health and life goals. I’m also actively involved in Toastmasters, as I feel it is incredibly important to practice public speaking when trying to effectively deliver a message of change and hope.
JZ: What has been your prior life and work experience?
JRC: I’ve been heavily involved in dance since my youth. In high school, I taught aerobics to get an “A” in gym class, and that led to my start as an instructor. As a high school kid in New Jersey, I taught aerobics as a part-time gig, and it evolved into the way I was able to support my art habit. I really enjoyed working as a trainer and building not just working relationships with my clients, but meaningful friendships. However, I found the business model of fitness training somewhat challenging, in that people were usually required to come to a gym and that didn’t always make economic or practical sense for each situation. I studied at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and have morphed into a health coach so that I can be very holistic in my work and steer people toward the direction in health that is best for them.
JZ: Could you describe your philosophy on wellness?
JRC: Health and wellness starts in the mind. It is reflected in our perspectives, our beliefs, and our stories. I’m not claiming to be a psychologist, but I always try to ask the “right” questions. I don’t need to have all the answers but I want to work with my clients as an “excavator” to get results. I’ve come to notice that the biggest problem we face in health is the easily recognizable statement: “But that’s the way I’ve always done it!” I also believe that as a coach I need to be an example, and I always wake up and start my day by saying aloud “It’s going to be a great day!”
JZ: What are your preferred activities?
JRC: I prioritize spending time with my husband. I like cooking, walking my dog, writing, speaking, painting, and drawing. In the exercise realm, I prefer a mix of running, Nordic skiing, and indoor exercise, particularly using my TRX. I walk every day and my dog, who has been my walking partner for 13 years, is getting older and slower, so I have found myself doing more indoor exercise lately. That way I don’t have to leave him at home.
JZ: Can you share a few of your favorite foods?
JRC: I like the words of Michael Pollan who said “If it comes from a plant, eat it…if it is made in a plant, don’t!” I’m primarily a vegetarian but I do include eggs and fish in my diet. In the morning I’ll either have some type of veggie scramble or perhaps a green smoothie. Lunch is usually made from leftovers from the previous dinner, often added to a big salad. Yesterday I had some home-made cole slaw and tuna salad for lunch. For dinner, I really like roasted vegetables and maybe some fish for a protein source. I try to stay away from foods that are nutritionally devoid, just don’t see a place for that in a healthy life. That’s the biggest challenge we are facing as a culture – the prevalence of convenient, processed foods that are highly palatable and cheap. We need to emphasize a culture of health with our eating, as opposed to one of convenience. My hope is that we can make the time and find ways to eat healthy.
JZ: What advice do you have for others that can help them achieve their health goals?
JRC: Go big but start small! Figure out what optimal health looks like for you. Is it getting better sleep, improved nutrition, more exercise, etc? Pick one and start there. Sometimes a ten-minute walk is going to be what you can get in, as opposed to an hour in the gym. And that’s OK!
JZ: Jackie, thanks so much for sharing and inspiring us. (You can catch Jackie’s column in Explore Big Sky and also be sure to join her at TedX Bozeman April 8th).