Kat H.
Tour Guide

Updated Story 12/2021

“I love my new life. I can be me. I can be a grandma and pick up the grandkids. I can get out there and still go with them. That is the icing on the cake,” says proud grandma and tour guide driver, Kat, regarding her progress on the New Directions Diet Plan. “I want to be able to have a good quality of life while I’m here with my grandkids.”

Kat has always loved Denali National Park and her job there. Previously, she didn’t feel that she could keep up and maintain the energy level that would be required to advance in her position. “Since my progress on the plan, I am happy to report that as a tour guide driver, I now have energy all day to keep up with my guests,” explains Kat. In fact, she can even do overnight guided tours at the park.

Kat follows the same routine five days a week with her morning, noon, and evening meals. She likes the simplicity of the meal plan. If she’s hungry, she doesn’t have to think about what to eat. She just pulls out what she needs and goes on about her day. A big motivator for Kat has been the difference she feels in her uniform. “A lot of the tourists want to take a picture by the park sign with me. These pictures are real motivators as they track my progress,” Kat shares. Her coworkers are so happy for her and comment on how great she looks. “They have more respect for me because I am taking care of myself.”

“I lost a part of myself when I couldn’t horseback ride anymore. It was such a thrill when I got to go riding again with three of my friends. I’ve seen the results and it is working for me,” states Kat excitedly. Kat now goes grocery shopping, shopping at malls, tries on clothes, walks, hikes, and plays with her grandkids; things that were once difficult to do and left her out of breath. “I used to pay someone to come and clean for me. I can do my own cleaning now, even on a day when I’ve done other errands and chores. My sleep apnea is also now nonexistent!”

Kat’s progress has resulted in others noticing the difference and her being an inspiration to them as they have also started the program. “It makes me feel good. People wonder what you are doing and I get so many compliments,” says Kat. Even her husband has now joined her on the plan. Kat’s story isn’t over as she continues on her weight loss journey. Kat admits it’s not easy to stick with something this long. She does, however, represent determination and hard work to meet one’s desired goals.

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Story 5/2018

At 367 pounds, Kat, a mother and grandmother, could barely make it through the day. The joint pain and fatigue from carrying around that much weight was really taking its toll, and Kat knew she needed to make a change in order to survive.

“A simple trip to the grocery store would wear me out,” laments Kat. “After I got back home my knees would hurt so badly that I would have to lie down. But the real kicker was the day I had to carry around my nine-month old granddaughter and I was not able to do it. That’s when I found Anchorage Bariatrics and began the New Directions diet plan guided by clinical dietitian, Erika Van Calcar.”

Kat’s struggle with her weight has been a lifelong issue. As an overweight child, her mother was constantly putting her on diets but never explained healthy eating habits and nutrition. “My mom has been 110 pounds her entire life and never understood my weight issues. As a result, I became a stress eater and it has followed me ever since. I tried Weight Watchers numerous times, beginning in high school, but would always put the weight back on. After I gained 80 pounds with my first pregnancy, I was never able to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight. Then, raising small kids, I would just eat whatever they didn’t finish, which would wind up being a lot of extra food at the end of the day. I thought I understood what healthy portion sizes were, but I almost always overestimated my calorie needs,” says Kat.

A few years ago, Kat got her dream job as a tour guide in Denali National Park during the summers. A long-time bus driver, she always wanted to work in the park and enjoy the natural beauty. But the sedentary driving job was not conducive to exercise and the odd hours made meal times a challenge, too. Enter the New Directions meal plan and a change for the better. “Now I have my shakes and bars with me and eat at regular times throughout the day. These foods have been a blessing! They taste great and are filling, not to mention so convenient!”

Kat had tried many, many diet plans in the past and found most of them to be confusing. “I love how the food is pre-portioned and I have a set eating schedule, usually every two to three hours. It takes all the guesswork out of it. I don’t feel neglected and I have learned how to incorporate restaurant foods into my diet as well. Now my husband and I go out for dinner occasionally and we share a dessert and I’m satisfied.”

Kat has enjoyed so much success with New Directions that she recently had to get her gown altered three times before her wedding! “Being successful feels so good! I’m doing things I haven’t done in over a decade and I feel 30 years younger!” exclaims Kat. “I can reach places on my body that I haven’t been able to reach, I can finally get back on a horse and ride, which has always been one of my passions, and it is so nice to be able to walk instead of waddle.”

Kat’s weight loss journey isn’t done yet. She is about halfway to her goal and is just as motivated as she was on day one. “The support I get from Anchorage Bariatrics is phenomenal! Having support is important to keep you going when the going gets tough. I love working with Erika, but I’m also independent and this plan lets me do what I want. I can do my own research and discuss it with Erika. You have to find what works for you – for me, getting started with the controlled food and learning how to work other food into my lifestyle is working. I realized it was going to be a long road, but I’m determined. I don’t always have the greatest days, but most of time if I want something that’s not on the program, I’ll just tell myself I’m doing this now and its working. Overindulging isn’t necessary for me any longer because I don’t have hard limits, instead I have a good balance,” shares Kat. “Check in with me next year and I’ll bet you I will have reached my goal!”

*Results May Vary

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