Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.
My name is Jill Cruz. I help women over 40 that hate dieting to lose weight and feel great without being deprived, and I absolutely LOVE what I do. I live in Nyack, NY with my 2 daughters, my husband, my dog, and my 2 cats. I am a Board Certified Nutrition Specialist with an MS in Human Nutrition and many years of experience in functional medicine. My specialties are weight loss and metabolic syndrome.
Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?
I have only been to one Ellevate meeting so far and I really enjoyed it. I felt like there were a lot of strong and inspiring women in the group and that made me want to join. I also love the idea of connecting with many different professional women. I think women give each other the best kind of support.
How would you define your professional mission?
My mission is to help women lose weight and gain health without suffering or feeling deprived. This has very deep implications for me. I do not just give lip service to this. I work hard to find a way for each woman to achieve her goals in a way that is sustainable and enjoyable for her. My mantra is "Eat Nutritious, Enjoy Delicious, & Be Judicious". This underscores every aspect of my practice.
What qualities does it take for someone to be successful in your line of work?
Authenticity: you have to be yourself and be true to your values. You also have to care about people and have compassion and a genuine interest in helping them be their best.
Knowledge and skill: having a deep understanding of the science behind every aspect of health including nutrition, stress management, sleep, fitness, work/life balance, and more. It is also important to understand behavior management because eating well is mostly about mindset.
Persistence and you gotta hustle: you have to know what you want and go get it. Clients are most likely not going to just show up at your door. You have to have a deep understanding of who your target market is and where they hang out and just keep working at finding your ideal clients. Often times it is just a numbers game.
Optimistic Mindset: building a business is hard work and there are many setbacks. How you deal with this mentally is very important. You can't take yourself too seriously and you have to keep brushing yourself off and working harder.
What project have you worked on that you’re most proud of? Why?
About a year ago I phased out of working in an office doing one-off visits once or twice a year with each client. I realized that in order for me to truly help people I had to create a long-term working relationship with them.
So I created the "Optimal You" programs. These are 3, 6, or 12-month programs where I work one-on-one with clients to transform their health and to level up how they care for their bodies. We cover all aspects of health including nutrition, stress management, sleep, fitness, R&R, and more.
A major part of this process is goal-setting, planning, and slowly but surely developing new healthy habits for life. We also hash out mindset issues such as self-limiting beliefs, blocking factors, awareness around crucial moments and how to pivot your thoughts, understanding what a habit is and how to change it, and understanding how the brain works around willpower and how to minimize the need for willpower.
What is it about your job that makes you feel it’s the right fit for you?
My work entails that I work intimately with people all day and that I have compassion and understanding as well as strategic thinking. I love being around people (I am an extreme extrovert) and I find that compassion comes easily to me for women that are struggling with their weight or their eating and lifestyle habits. I also have the knowledge and experience to help my clients develop strategically effective plans for success.
What is your morning ritual?
I usually wake up around 6:30 AM. I do about 5 minutes of breathing exercises before I get up. Then I take my dog for a walk along the Hudson River near my house for about 20 minutes. Then I start working! I usually work until about 10 or 11 AM and then get to the gym or take a long walk most days.
What does success look like to you?
Success is being passionate about your work and also being able to spend lots of quality time with loved ones. I wake up every morning excited about my work. I also make sure to plan out plenty of time with my family and friends. I also think that being able to reach a lot of people with your work is part of being successful. This comes down to making a positive difference in other people's lives. This is very fulfilling and fuels my passion for what I do. But I couldn't do it without having my family and friends around me as much as possible.
Is work-life balance a problem for you? What is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?
I have to work hard on this. I am not a workaholic by any means but I am an entrepreneur so there is never any end to the work that needs to be done. I have learned the hard way that I have to abide by 2 basic rules or I start to burn out. They are: #1: stop work by 7 PM every day. #2: Have at least one day a week where I do not work. When I do this I am able to get more balance. I also make sure I get to the gym or take a hike at least 5 days a week. I also make sure my nutrition is really good.
I would say that the no-fail tactic that would probably apply to everyone is to make sure you give yourself at least 8-9 hours of sleep opportunity each night. If you are sleep-deprived you are compromised and no amount of time management, meditation, exercise, or good eating can make up for that.
What is the best career advice you ever received?
Be authentic and be true to your values. First, you have to understand what your values are. But once you have listed them it makes decision-making so much easier. Being authentic and true to your values will guide you through tough decisions and hard days, and help you develop effective strategies for every aspect of your business.
Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.
I believe that losing weight and gaining health does not have to involve suffering and deprivation. We can be at our best by slowly but surely building a pile of healthy habits. Through this gradual process, you start to WANT to have those healthy habits and it doesn't seem like work. Habits are the antidote to willpower. It breaks my heart to see so many women suffering and depriving themselves with quick-fix diets only to... Continue Reading
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