From Spreadsheets to Smoothies

Jill Chiacchia goes from corporate world to career of food, facts and fitness. The Williamsville native now runs beHealthy Institute in Hamburg

By Daniel Meyer

It wasn’t too long ago that Jill Chiacchia was the vice president of finance and human resources at a mid-sized manufacturing facility in Cheektowaga.

Having reached most of her goals in the corporate world, the mother of four always listened to a voice inside her head that was urging her to do something drastically different in her professional life.

“I gave it a lot of thought and before you knew it I decided to pursue what I believe is my true calling in health and nutrition,” says Chiacchia. “As a wife and mother of four very busy children, I understand the tremendous challenges in feeding and nourishing each of us and helping guide our entire family to live as healthy a lifestyle as possible.”

A native of Williamsville, Chiacchia is the founder and director of beHealthy Institute. Located at 40 Main St. in the heart of the village of Hamburg’s central business district, the business is owned and operated by Chiacchia, a 50-year-old certified health coach and a member of the American Association of Drugless Practictioners.

Having received her health and nutrition training at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in New York City, Chiacchia possesses the knowledge of traditional fitness and healthy living philosophies with modern concepts and strategies that cover the various dietary and lifestyle theories that exist.

“What I do is work with individuals, couples, families and groups of friends and provide guidance in what they need to do to live a healthy lifestyle,” says Chiacchia, who also worked as a licensed insurance broker before launching her current career.

“There is no perfect way of cooking or eating or exercising that works for everyone, but what I can do is get to know my clients and understand how they live and then coach and advise and mentor them to construct lifestyle choices that will help make a difference.”

Your choice to be healthy

Chiacchia has built beHealthy Institute into a destination for people interested in taking a course, sitting in on a seminar or attending a clinic that all have a focal point of living healthy.

Fitness classes include yoga for adults, expectant mothers and for children, while clinics focus on topics varying from acupuncture to mental health consulting. Among the most popular classes are healthy cooking courses taught by local chefs and restaurant owners, while “living well seminars” feature local holistic health and wellness experts lecturing about detoxification, meditation, growing herbs and parenting tips for those dealing with troubled teens.

“What we do is give our clients permission to make healthy changes in their lives,” says Chiacchia. “It is a lot of fun, not only for myself and our instructors, but for the people who come here looking for an opportunity to improve their lives in some fashion.”

While based in Hamburg, beHealthy Institute has clients from throughout Western New York, including East Aurora, Orchard Park, Eden and Evans. Getting to know each individual is one of Chiacchia’s favorite parts of her daily interactions with each client.

“I love the conversations that take place in our classes,” says Chiacchia. “This is a fabulous place because we all want to live healthier. It is incredible to hear and be a part of the exchange of information. It motivates me and inspires me to come to work.”

The beHealthy Instititute facility has 1,600 square feet of space, providing plenty of room for fitness instruction and lectures and a state-of-the-art kitchen for all cooking courses and demonstrations. There is also a lending library and private office space for one-on-one health coaching consultations.

Chiacchia has no regrets in saying farewell to corporate spreadsheets and early morning staff meetings in favor of yoga pants and fruit smoothies.

“This is where I want to be and this is what I envisioned when we opened our doors six years ago,” says Chiacchia. “I call each of our clients members of my tribe. I want others to join our tribe and find out that through proper planning, being healthy is possible if you just allow yourself to embrace making changes that will positively impact how you live your life.”