This Is Healthful - Cheryl

This Is Healthful - Cheryl

This Is Healthful

16-2150 Robertson Road, Ottawa ON K2H 9S1

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Interview: Nikki Gillingham, Blue Whale Communications

Photography: Marianne Rothbauer, Rothbauer Studio


Did you always know you would work in the health and fitness industry?

Yes, something always pulled me towards health and fitness from high school into post secondary and into my career. But if you would have asked me when I was 10 yrs old I wanted to own/operate a zoo. Things have changed.

What made you decide to open a ‘all-in-one’ shop for healthy living?

Being a client driven health community our team wants to eliminate barriers such as product pushing, one sided theories, lack of communication between health providers and lack of emphasis on health education. Removing these barriers will allow your health consistently to evolve. We’re all very passionate about our clients becoming self advocates of their own health and when we saw the gap we acted on it.

You have a lot of online options that are very friendly for ‘remote’ users -with live-streamed sessions and recorded presentations. Is this an important piece of the puzzle for you and This Is Healthful?

Yes, definitely- versatility is one of the things our team here at This Is Healthful is very much known for. Our online, by phone appointment capability, our video library and easy booking app are a natural fit for if you’re a busy individual, family or you just don’t want to commit to going to a facility every time for an appointment/class.


Tell us about your four pillars. The one that stood out to me is ‘Mental Hygiene’ - it’s not often talked about in the fitness world. 

Our TIH four pillars are “Physical Activity”, “Essential Eating”, “Mental Hygiene” and “Healthy Habits”.

Very true we often talk about the fact fitness or physical activity decreases stress and provides benefits by boosting our immune system but there is not enough education on the daily need of practicing our mental health strategies.

You’re the most important advocate of your own health; from the lens of each pillar you can learn your limits and needs.

Each pillar will impact us differently each day; it is only when we become aware of the differences day to day can bring within our evolving health will our health stay consistent.  

Why is prevention important, and how is that different from what we’re typically taught?

Canada is known for many world class achievements in health. We’re extremely fortunate to have the health care that we have available to us. With it even always improving it does have a limit on what it can do with the funds it has available. The numbers are shocking on how many people are living daily with chronic conditions, are in a critical stage, high risk or are predisposed to become diagnosed with a life-threatening condition. These people need help and management now. The overall health system is responding to the crucial important needs of the “now” patients.

I had an interesting conversation with a doctor from the US about how patients in hospitals ask for any integrative or preventive way to minimize or prevent their health problems because healthcare is so costly. The doctor stated she spends more time educating then prescribing. Maybe Canadian’s as a whole jump to asking for prescriptions or surgeries before working towards a better health? Maybe were offered prescriptions or surgery to soon? Maybe that conversation was only one opinion?

Other studies show people don’t respond or change until something is threatened or lost like a loved one. But again, I have also heard of a study done where a certain number of people were told they will die in five years if they don’t change the following A, B, C listed habits. Less than five percent kept up with the A, B, C changes.

I guess the question at the end of the day is what do you value most in your life?

What do you enjoy doing most?

How will that change if you don’t have your health?

How will you manage with your health being a different norm than it is right now?

Most important is it worth waiting to find out?

 If you don’t want to wait to find out, then you’re ready to focus on Preventive Healthcare.


What’s it like being an entrepreneur in Ottawa’s health industry?

The most rewarding and challenging experience of my life.

Clients and this team make it rewarding every day. The changes we have seen in peoples health have been remarkable.

Being that we’re the first and only “Educational Prevention Clinic and Health Centre” there are natural funding and outreach challenges we deal with everyday. We're growing everyday, clients results and reviews have been outstanding, we couldn't be more motivated from them. I’m thankful to be doing what I love and to be part of this amazing team.  

What’s something you’ve learned about yourself since starting your own business?

If I was completely looking at this whole experience from my personal life only the greatest gift has been experiencing how strong, patient and supportive my partner Steven has been. He has put up with long hours, many occasions where I don’t see him or our young son for days, endless conversations (I truly don’t stop talking about TIH), huge financial risks and he has physically put in many hours in on facility needs. Everyday he encourages my dreams. I've learned that it is ok to lean on or seek help from good people; people you trust.  

Our family on each side has been a huge support, we’re so very thankful. The affects a small business causes on families I heartfully understand why so many don’t survive it.

Do you plan to expand to more locations?

Yes one day we would like to expand across Ontario then across Canada.

How do you like to personally stay active and healthy?

My favorite time is being active with our son whether it is a physical activity or cooking with him. Additionally right now, I’m participating in services at This Is Healthful to help me with balancing some changes in my health and the more sedentary administrative position I’ve adopted since opening the facility. I’m being proactive not reactive!  

What’s your favourite place to get a healthy meal in Ottawa?

Our own kitchen at home, it always has exactly what I want.

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