We love introducing you to some of your St. Charles County neighbors that you possibly have never met before. We like to brag on them and the things they have accomplished in their journey to health. We also hope that their stories help provide you with some motivation and inspiration of your own to get one step closer to a healthier version of yourself. We are thankful to Jessica White, owner of Enact Wellness and one our Community Strong partners introduced us to this month’s St. Charles County Neighbor!
With that being said, may we introduce…
Who are you, what do you do, how are you connected to Community Strong?
My name is Kristen Buckingham with Buckingham Pest Control. I have been a member of Enact Wellness for about 4 months.
How are health and wellness revealed in your life? How have you always been active?
I was very active in my 20s and 30s. When my 40s hit, my metabolism changed and I lost interest. I couldn’t lose weight like I had before and was constantly tired. Medication changes didn’t help the issue either. I spoke with my doctor who basically said I needed to eat less. I told him I was and he talked about portion control and gave me the “at your age” lecture which just depressed me even more. After meeting Jessica at Enact Wellness, I was so inspired by her story I decided to give her a try. She was starting up a 60-day program for women to “restart their diet.” I did not have high hopes but figured I had wasted money on so many other programs I would at least give hers a try. She gave us a list of the things we were “allowed” to eat but she went one step further bringing us to the grocery store and teaching us how to read labels. She pointed out different additives and chemicals that were in so-called healthy food and gave us better choices. I was shocked at how much I really didn’t know. That was in January. Since then I have lost 22 lbs. and try to workout at least three times a week to keep moving. I was able to play soccer with my granddaughter and was not completely wasted and sore after and I can pick up my 3 and 4-year old granddaughters without my back hurting after. My daughter has also joined Enact and now we will occasionally workout together.
True confessions: What is one of your vices?
Ice cream. Unfortunately as part of the 60-day process it was revealed that I have a dairy allergy. This has been the hardest for me to overcome.
What is one thing you wished the residents of St. Charles County would do to improve their health?
The true difference with my experience is a sense of community. It is probably not a good time to discuss with the onset of coronavirus and how “social distancing” is going to be the new norm for a while, however having more opportunities to come together as a community to support one another is imperative. Whether it is walking the neighborhood a few times a week with a good friend or joining a place like Enact. People are designed to be social creatures and need interaction – whether they know it or not.
What is your greatest accomplishment or barrier you have overcome with your health so far? What inspires you to keep moving?
My biggest barrier was frustration that nothing that had worked in the past was working now. Since I have found a healthier lifestyle and know what foods to avoid since my metabolism has changed, staying fit so I can keep up with my grandbabies inspires me to keep going.
What is a negative health outcome you have recently learned about that is affecting St. Charles County?
Most people do not understand labels. There is added sugar in just about everything – even products that are deemed “healthy.” I think St. Charles-ians would benefit from awareness of the foods they are eating. I learned many of the foods I thought were healthy had added chemicals and sugar that was keeping me from losing the weight I need to lose and made me feel very sluggish. Once those things were cleaned out of my system I felt so much better.
How does your purpose or calling in life help direct your health choices?
My calling is to have a positive impact on my community helping people in whatever way I can and when it’s within my ability. By staying healthy I can ensure that I will be around long as long as I can to keep making a difference. The older I get, the more I realize that my time is precious and I need to make the most of it every opportunity that I have.
What advice would you give someone who trying to live a healthier lifestyle?
Every body (literally…. every person’s body) is different and reacts differently to different foods. And while diets such as Keto, Atkins, and others will help you lose weight, these diets are not designed to stay on forever. The worst thing for you to do is deny yourself unless it is a temporary time to see how your body reacts. Then you have the tools to add in healthier choices for those things you need to cut back on. There is no one-size-fits-all plan.
What is your go to healthy recipe?
Buffalo Chicken Casserole. My grand kids loved it and so did my husband who is very picky about his food. https://tastythin.com/buffalo-chicken-casserole-whole30-paleo/
What would your life be like if you were not active and pursuing health?
My knees used to hurt terribly (and had since I was in my 20s) and I would get a pain in my side that I was told was due to inflammation that was almost debilitating but no doctor could tell me the cause. I was just prescribed muscle relaxers and painkillers when the pain would arise. Since cleaning out my system, I have not had pain in my side as often or as hard. Also my knees are not an issue anymore although I am still a little leery about that and take care not to put to much stress on my knees because I don’t want them to become a problem again. I would not have guessed that the pain I was experiencing could have been caused by the foods I was eating.
Anything else you want to share?
Not to leave men out, but women tend to take care of everyone. We take care of our children, our grandchildren, older parents, our spouse, church and community organizations… And we tend to keep our promises to everyone – except ourselves. We promise ourselves we are going to wake up earlier and walk the dog or eat healthier. We promise ourselves we are going to go to bed earlier and try to get a good night’s sleep but something always comes up that takes precedence over our needs – a spouse or child needing attention or that friend that is going through a hard time and needs someone to talk to (or it’s just that bed is soooo comfortable). I have learned through this that in order to take care of the loved ones in my life I need to take care of me. And that was very hard for me. I felt guilty depriving someone else of my time and energy, while at the same time I was depleting all of my time and energy so that I had none left for me. I have to make sure I am taking care of myself and weigh the cost against the gain. I may lose an hour of time with my husband going for a walk but my cardiovascular system will by stronger and I can decompress from the stress of working with my spouse. It’s important to ask, “What’s the trade off?” before eating that unhealthy thing, or working out with a friend, or saying yes to volunteering at your church. And it’s not a bad thing to do what is in your best interest because your health is more important to the people around you than you may think.