Meet Hannah Grewach <br> (Know Your Neighbor)

Meet Hannah Grewach
(Know Your Neighbor)

Know your neighbor is a monthly feature at Community Strong to hightlight some great people working to make a difference in St Charles County.  And now meet Hannah.

Who are you, what do you do, how are you connected to Community Strong?  I’m Hannah Grewach, a Human Resources Business Partner with BJC Healthcare working at the two St. Charles County hospitals.  Barnes-Jewish St. Peters and Progress West Hospital.

The introduction to Community Strong is through my organization.  BJC Healthcare is one of their community partners.  Carissa Figgins, Community Strong’s Executive Director, is an active member of the community that I’ve had the pleasure with interacting with in a variety of different venues.

How are health and wellness revealed in your life? How you always been active?
Health and wellness have only been a focus for me these last nine months.  After three babies, I had put on quite a bit of weight. I had various health issues that were compiling; taking multiple medications per day, napping and feeling sluggish were regulars on my daily agenda!  In January, I started on my health journey by first focusing on my diet and defining my two main goals: lose at least 50 pounds and run a 5k (and run the whole time). A few weeks ago I finished my 5k with a few accountability friends and hit my 50 pound weight loss goal. Because of COVID-19, there were no in-person runs but we didn’t let that stop our fun; we made some shirts, borrowed a few of my son’s hockey medals and headed to 370 Lakeside Park! I decided I don’t want to stop.  We had such a good time on our 5k that now we are starting a monthly 5k club exploring different locations.

 True confessions: what is one of your vices?

Not sure if this is Community Strong Newsletter appropriate, but wine… a nice healthy amount of wine on my back patio.

What is one thing you wished the residents of St. Charles County would do to improve their health?

When I started on my journey to complete a 5k, I only ran in my neighborhood. I was self-conscious about my form and worried that I wasn’t a “real runner” so I shouldn’t adventure out to trails in our community. About 5 weeks in, I gave up on that and decided to venture out. What I found is that St. Charles County has a variety of amazing trails to explore that can make your running, biking and hiking goals even more exciting! Some of my favorites are the Dardenne Greenways, 370 Lakeside Park and the Park at New Melle Lakes.

Name your greatest accomplishment or barrier you have overcome with your health so far?

Working for a hospital during a pandemic while trying to lose a significant amount of weight. Enough said. The community came out in droves to support us and the free food everywhere was overwhelming. Old Hannah would have said “free food – calories don’t count”… but I changed my perspective and stuck to my plan to accomplish my goals.

What is a negative health outcome you have recently learned about that is affecting St. Charles County?

By working for a healthcare system, I’m surrounded by information about negative health outcomes. With COVID-19 being a topic of conversation nearly everywhere you turn, I am always interested in understanding underlying medical conditions and their impact on the severity of COVID-19. As soon as my husband read that obesity was included on the list published by the CDC that leads to a more severe impact, he got in gear too and started making healthy choices!

How does your purpose or calling in life help direct your health choices?

Since I’ve been on my health journey while in quarantine, not many people have seen me. I decided to post a before and after picture (similar to the one included here) on social media. The amount of responses I received was overwhelming! I had countless people reach out asking for support, help and motivation; my best friends say that they are even getting questions about me from their network. You never know when your story can inspire someone else to make that first step to change.

What advice would you give someone who trying to live a healthier lifestyle?

Define your goals. If your goals are simply to live a healthier lifestyle, than small changes can add up. Get those walks in, skip the dessert. If your goals are big (like my original goal), then set a plan and stick with it. Have discipline and know that in the end, it will pay off. Educate yourself on the science behind health, surround yourself with people that have similar goals, and know that “We can do hard things.” (for all my Untamed, by Glennon Doyle fans)

What is your go to healthy recipe?

I don’t cook. Secret is out. But my lovely husband cooks all sorts of fabulous dishes to support my goals. My current favorite is fried cauliflower rice.

What would your life be like if you were not active and pursuing health?

I’m a better mother and wife because I’m active now. I wouldn’t be playing catch in the yard, or spending the day adventuring in the creek in the creek with my kids.

Anything else you want to share?

Probably have shared more than enough!

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