I like to think of myself as a bit of a health nut, with much of my free time spent reading and digging into the areas of functional medicine, holistic wellness, and the overall body/mind/spirit connection as the path to optimal health. This isn’t something that I share openly about very frequently, but it is an area that I am highly curious and passionate about. And as I’m sure you all know, when you connect with someone who shares similar passions with you, and at a similar level, there’s a little bit of magic that happens there. Enter: Jamie Ratermann.
From the very beginning of our close friendship, we would “nerd out,” as we say, about legitimately all areas of health and wellness. The issues with hormonal birth control? All over it. How our BPA-lined cans act as endocrine disruptors? Somebody stop us. How 90% of health actually happens outside of the doctor’s office? Can’t hold us back. We share books, podcasts, and plenty of IRL discussion, along with Sweetgreen salads in the park during quarantine and the occasional taco and tequila night as well.
What makes Jamie an even more fascinating resource is that she was recently certified as a health coach through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (IIN), and so her wealth of knowledge has grown massively over the past year. I’ve been on the sidelines cheering her along, and also seeking to absorb every tidbit of health knowledge that I possibly could add to my existing arsenal. Now that she has officially launched her health coach practice (run, don’t walk, people) in addition to her thriving digital marketing business, I wanted to sit down with Jamie to pick her brain about all things health and wellness, as we both think of health as something that touches every single area of our lives. From work routines to morning routines, from the way she structures her days to how she expresses gratitude, Jamie has a veritable treasure trove of tips and tricks to share with you all. Read on for the good stuff.
So I wanted to share with everyone that you recently became certified as a Health Coach with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (IIN) – YAY! For those who may be less familiar, can you share about why you chose this path, what health coaching means to you, and what health coaching looks like in practical application?
So I’ve always been a bit health-obsessed, before I even knew that’s what it was called, and it goes way, way back. When I was in 9th grade, I went so far as to clip health articles and created my own “health encyclopedia,” which was a binder of articles from Women’s Health and Shape. Over the years, I was always looking to do everything from making healthy food more tasty to finding a better way to achieve a healthier body than with all of the fad diets out there. But it really wasn’t until the last four years or so that my obsession with health became more clearly ingrained.
First, I started to pay attention to my habits and my day-to-day mental performance as an entrepreneur. Secondly, my dad passed away suddenly in March 2019 from complications related to a heart attack.. Both of these were so eye-opening to me because I realized that how you treat yourself daily is what makes the biggest impact on your overall health. This was when I decided that I wanted to become a health coach, to help others have a better relationship with their bodies and minds and to improve their quality of life and longevity.
Being a health coach means that I am a listener, facilitator, and support system for my clients in their journey to improve their lives and their health. Their goals may be weight loss, better body image, balancing their hormones, cultivating more positivity in their mindset, adding more joy into their lives, or building better relationships. Health coaches are the people who help build the systems that make your health goals easier to reach.
Any change is hard, but expert-level support makes it much easier and faster to attain in a sustainable way, and the accountability is key too. People who commit to their goals in the presence of someone else are 65% more likely to achieve them. People who set an appointment, as in a health coach setting, are 95% more likely to achieve their goals. There’s so much power in someone else being as invested in your health goals as you are!
I think that there’s a very key word to discuss in IIN and that’s “integrative.” You and I have been talking for years about a more integrative (also called functional or holistic) approach to health and wellness and medicine. What does integrative health mean to you, and why is it important for overall health?
Integrative, to me, is all about lifestyle. Did you know that 70% of deaths in the US are caused by lifestyle-related diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers? The Founder of IIN, Joshua Rosenthal, likes to say, “the body will heal itself by itself when given half a chance.” Our bodies are such a beautiful machine that we don’t even fully understand yet, and remedies most often start with what you’re eating, how much stress you have in your life and relationships, and your day-to-day routines. Medicine has its place of course, but integrative health means an emphasis on preventative lifestyle choices that cultivate health, with things like pharmaceutical products (aka conventional medicine) being the last resort.
I abide by the notion that our minds, bodies, and spirits are fully connected, and not distinct entities. How do you approach your daily life from the perspective of overall, integrated wellness for all three? How does that influence your habits, routines, and mindset?
It wasn’t until I started IIN that did a deep dive into my spirituality. At the time, the word “spirituality” meant “religion” to me, and I don’t have a particular denomination that feels right for me. But, interestingly enough, spirituality is one of the top four areas that IIN highlights for good health, even putting it on their “plate” for good health alongside proteins, fats, vegetables, and whole grains. Spirituality has become more about what I give to myself each day and how the faith in my abilities translates to all other aspects of my life. Achieving spirituality takes work on my mindset, which includes meditation, breathwork, journaling, positive affirmations, and strong community.
As for my own routine, each day I start my morning with what I call “morning pages” in my journal, meditation, reading, and a game that tests my brain’s memory, problem solving, and math skills. My daily habits are focused on how I can best use my brain power, so hydration, workouts, frequent breaks, and my midday gratitude practice have become essential. Body is something I like to keep in touch with by being intuitive about how I feel, my energy levels, and how active I have been. All of these are supported by the people I interact with, how much sleep I get, and of course, how much time I spend away from my computer and phone.
As an entrepreneur myself, I know that “work” and “life” can very easily bleed into one other. How do you approach work practices from an integrated health perspective, and how do you establish healthy practices particularly while working from home?
Entrepreneurship has actually allowed me the space and time to be more health-focused. While I do have set work hours, I also know that an hour-long workout midday helps me get through a rut and allows me to be more creative and have more focus. I eat low glycemic index during the workday to reduce fatigue from blood sugar swings. I schedule my day around optimizing my energy: in the mornings I’m more creative, whereas the afternoons are best for meetings with my clients.
I also try to balance out those periods where I may have more work on my plate. I’ll set a boundary that I may need to work longer hours until next Thursday, and then I’ll schedule the afternoon off to take time to recharge before I get back into more normal work hours.
People often believe that “health” and “wellness” require sweeping changes that may not always be fun to make (read: no dessert and 5 days a week at the <virtual> gym). But in truth, I believe that there are so many little tweaks that we can easily add into our routines that have a major impact. What are three things that readers can do today to improve their overall health?
Meditate: Try for 5-20 minutes per day. Most research shows that the brain changes just after 6 weeks of consistent meditation each day. I love the Headspace app for daily meditation.
Hydrate: Start each morning with 16 oz of water and keep a water bottle you love near you all day. It’s quite easy to get through it when your water bottle is fun and appealing. My blue Swell bottle is with me just as much as my phone is.
Assign purpose to your goals: Stop with the “drop 10 pounds,” and instead focus on your why and your how. You create a high probability of achieving your goals when you assign the how and the why to them. “Drop 10 pounds” becomes “be active each day before 12PM so that I can keep up with my kids or I can bring my A game into my workday.” You create a more conducive environment for change by working with how your mind functions when you set goals in this way.
You and I both read every health book and listen to every health podcast we can get our hands (and ears) on. What are three favorite resources (that can be a pod, a book, a person, an IG account…) for up-to-date and factual information on health and wellness that you’d like to share?
PODCAST: The Doctor’s Farmacy by Dr. Mark Hyman
Dr. Hyman is a doctor who is trying to make functional care more accessible and puts it into terms that are easy to relate to. His guests are always experts, and he eliminates guilt and fear-based methods of getting people to work towards health.
BOOK: Genius Foods by Max Lugavere
Max’s first book is about all the things we have in our environments that can cause a reduction in brain function and chronic disease such as Alzheimer’s later in life. It’s such a comprehensive resource for understanding how our brain health works, and that it should be our top priority because it affects all other aspects of our bodies.
IG: Jeannette Ogden @ShuttheKaleUp
I always love to reference her because she is such a role model of how to be healthy without overdoing it. We all can obsess over our health choices, but she shares enough of her life to show that you can be healthy and still bring pleasure into your life whether it’s through your relationships, foods, or simply being grateful for a sunny day.
Sign up for a free Health Assessment with Jamie HERE.
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