They say that things happen for a reason, but for Christine Trainer, the move to Hinsdale from metro New York was a sheer leap of faith. Her life until that point had not been easy. So, she told herself and her large, close-knit family back east that it was just for two years. Nine years later, she reflects on the life-changing events that gave her the courage to “pause” from the nonstop, workaholic life that was literally making her sick and to stay in the place she now calls home.
“When I was diagnosed with Lupus at 34 years old, it stopped me in my tracks,” says the author and entrepreneur. “I thought I was healthy. I ran five miles every morning at 5 a.m., worked 12 hours a day, and ate plenty of salads and all of the foods marketed as healthy, fat free, low calorie, etc.”
By this time, Trainer had become a successful advertising and marketing executive, fueling her fast pace with four Starbucks venti white mochas per day, and feeding her low energy with candy out of her desk drawer. She had already been diagnosed with several other auto-immune diseases and had kept going after the birth of her first son.
But something definitely had to give.
Born the youngest of 10 children, Trainer grew up in a busy family that was always on the go. She attributes her competitive nature to her upbringing. Little did she realize that her innate Type-A personality—combined with some life-altering and tragic events in her twenties—would contribute to the development of inexplicable autoimmune diseases in her young adult life.
“My boyfriend of eight years was stabbed to death when I was 22. Shortly after, I was diagnosed with Raynauds, my first autoimmune disease,” she recalls. “Then, at 30 years old, when I was pregnant with my first son, I lost my brother and both my parents in the span of 20 months.”
Losing her boyfriend and three family members only fueled her need to work—to cope and to push away the grief. Trainer threw herself into her work and pushed herself to keep up with the ultra-fast pace of her work in Manhattan—only now as a wife to husband John and a working mom.
“I was a workaholic,” she says. “After my first child, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.”
Still, she kept working full time, which she now calls “my addiction along with sugar.” She and John had their second child and she continued traveling for business managing to keep it together with the help of a nanny. But the Lupus diagnosis was a wake-up call. That’s when Trainer decided to do something that went completely against her nature.
The signs were all there. It was time to pause.
Her husband had been offered a job in Chicago, giving Trainer an opportunity to move, focus on her family, take a career break, and figure out why she was getting sick.
Life in Hinsdale cleared the slate and cleared Trainer’s life for some clarity and reflection.
“I was home with my boys for the first time,” she says. “Coming to Hinsdale was healing for everyone in our family. It gave us the opportunity to step out of the picture and look back into it to see where we were at and where we wanted to be. I learned that being there for my boys meant being there for myself first.”
Trainer completely changed her family’s lifestyle, from convenient foods to organic whole foods. She started gardening for the first time. And she went back to school at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition to try and understand the root causes of her illnesses. As she slowly began to heal from her autoimmune conditions and get off medications, she realized she had found her new passion.
She began writing her first book, aptly named Pause, got board certified as a holistic, integrative health coach, and established her business RED Integrative Health—all with the intention of inspiring and helping others facing similar challenges. Feeling the best she ever had overall—in mind, body, and soul—she wanted to share that with others.
“RED stands for Reflect, Evolve, Design” she explains. “RED Integrative Health helps people do just that with their own lifestyles and lives. I walk with my clients on their journey, share my healing experiences, and find the best balance for each individual person. The more they feel better, the more they want to continue on that journey, realizing they can feel and be their best selves.”
At RED, Trainer offers individual and group coaching sessions. She also holds educational workshops at various locations including the Hinsdale Public Library every quarter, and lunch-and-learn sessions at area businesses and organizations. Most of her clients (from as far away as Florida and Seattle, to Boston and New York, as well as locally) commit to either a three or six month program.
“The more I help people, the more I know that I am doing what I am meant to be doing.” she says. “It inspires me and motivates me to learn and do more to help others. ” Trainer is currently in a training program to become a certified meditation instructor and looking forward to adding that to the services offered at RED Integrative Health.
In the meantime, two years turned into nine. Trainer and her family fell in love with the community of Hinsdale and made it home. She gives of her time to Hinsdale Auxiliary of Infant Welfare of Chicago, Hepzhibah Home in Oak Park, her sons’ schools, Hinsdale Family Services, and others. She stills loves to run, finishing two Chicago marathons so far, and also enjoys yoga.
Most of all, Trainer says she’s proud to be a part of a community that helps one another the way that we do in Hinsdale.
“It’s a pretty town,” she says, “but it’s the people who make it beautiful.”