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Interview With Kathy Novak

Name Kathy Novak
Location St. Augustine, Florida (I attend and coach at The Academy - member 4.5 years, coach for 2.5)
Goal When I first filled out my profile for WAG, I told Kate (Hart - my awesome coach :)) I wanted to lean out and maintain/gain strength.
Weight lost/gained to date If you compare the number where I started to where I am now, 230 pounds. If you were to add and subtract the times I gained 20 pounds, then lost it...then gained it again...probably close to 300 pounds lost.
Sport (if applicable) CrossFit. I am also a high school varsity girl’s lacrosse coach.

Q: Why did you decide to join Team WAG?

A: I have been battling with keeping weight off/losing weight for about 12 years now. It started with my mom asking me to see the nutritionist on base, because she didn't want to lose me before the age of 20. Not to mention, I am named after her sister who was killed, and the thought of my mom losing another 'Kathy' was unbearable. So I started with that, started eating from the list I was given, working out, and continuing to stay with this up until I hit my first weight loss goal of 50#, right before my 20th birthday. So I kept going - my best guy friend, Daniel, would come to the gym with me everyday, my friends were incredibly supportive and are still my close friends to this day, and, most importantly, my family supported and was excited about every second of it. My mom even cleared a shelf in the fridge for the food she helped me prepare every week. From there, moved to Florida for college (Flagler College) and continued to fight my weight loss battle, amidst a full course load and working multiple jobs - I was taking 8 classes and working 4 jobs my final semester. After college, I continued to train myself, then found CrossFit through my friend Alan, and never looked back. After multiple paleo challenges and CrossFit 6 days a week, sometimes twice a day because I couldn't get enough, I started to plateau. I had lost weight, gained muscle, but I knew I could go further. An Olympic lifting coach whom had come to our gym several times for clinics, Jessica Lucero, posted about WAG. I have admired and followed Jess' lifting career from the day I met her, almost 4 years ago. She was so inspiring and is, as you all know, incredible. So I figured why not?? I had been trying everything else for 4 years, why not switch it up?


Q: Was there anything about the program that surprised you?

A: Initially, the numbers provided to me. I was doing paleo, so fats were never really an issue. I was mindful, and didn't do the "bacon only" diet - I love my veggies. But, I was definitely more lenient with the consumption of them. After Kate gave me my numbers, I was so worried. I met my fats and proteins...and stayed about 50 grams shy of my carbs for the first week. Until Kate gave me some great coaching and told me I needed to meet my numbers if I wanted this to work. So I did, and when I lost weight and gained a ton of energy, while consuming the amount of carbs provided - I was excited (really because of the foods I was eating, like Ezekiel bread, black rice, and Irish butter...) and shocked.


Q: How have you managed to stay on track while balancing all of your commitments day to day?

A: In the beginning, it was really difficult. I was just coming off of lacrosse season, and had been working 7 days a week for, at the time, the 7th month. I then went down to 2 jobs (I work full time for DoD, coach at the gym, the high school, and was working at a local coffee shop). Really, I made a promise to myself. I was going to commit. I was on a wait list for however long that was, and my efforts/outcome were not just on my time, but my coach's time. I needed to give this a full effort. To put the work in, like I had at the gym, and with the previous challenges. Meal prepping on Sundays, for the whole week, changed my life. I had to travel a bit this summer for work, but I didn't let that stop me. We stayed at hotels that had a kitchen, I brought my food scale and scale with me. Working out was never a struggle if I had to go out of town, or go home for the holidays. I was raised in a very active family - all 3 of us were in sports from the time our parents could get us involved in some sort of recreational league. We are also a military family, so health was and is important and we were raised eating very healthy. (How did I gain my weight, then, right? I had just deviated from those behaviors due to a combination of working for the Government since I was 16 - aka a desk job, taking night classes, and an undertone of unhappiness that only food could calm, or so I thought.) Not to mention a support system made up of family, friends back home/here, co-workers, and our Academy family. I couldn't have done it without them.

Working out was non-negotiable...it essentially became an extension of my workday. Not to mention, having the nutritional portion of my life already figured out for me was a luxury! One less decision to have to make, and the organization/discipline and planning trickled into other areas of my life that I had wanted for a long time.


Q: What has been the biggest change you've made in your lifestyle since joining?

A: Biggest change in my lifestyle - I would say implementing an overall discipline into all facets of my day. I recently obtained a new position at my office, which was going to present challenges (something I was honestly so excited about), had come out of a lacrosse season at the high school which was going to challenge me to grow and own the type of coach and person I knew I was, which also crossed into me finally growing out of second guessing or feeling the need to explain myself. One of the biggest things was also the time I was going to have to put into preparation – which really changed how I looked at what it was I was doing with my time. Made me appreciate time. This program allowed for me to grow out of things that I was wasting that time on, and focus it back into me in a way I never had. I used to cater to people, because I wanted to ensure everyone around me was happy - which I absolutely still do, except now I care about myself the same way I've always cared about those around me and I stopped worrying about overcompensating in the wrong areas; an increase and development of self-care. This has been invaluable. I reversed that energy back into the people who loved me and cared for my well-being - from the beginning. Being a part of this program has allowed for me to key into growing as a better woman, daughter, sister, friend, employee, coach, and just human being. Essentially - I have grown more in the direction of the person I've always wanted to be. Progress in the process:)


Q: What advice do you have for other people considering hiring a nutrition coach?

A: Do it. Simple. Stop making excuses for why you shouldn't or why you don't need it. I am someone who has to be accountable to myself for a multitude of things - I think we all are. That can only go so far when it comes to taking full responsibility for your life and owning the areas that you need self-improvement. You need someone unbiased, who isn't going to agree with everything you say and who can care in a different way about being super honest and blunt about committing to this. I'll be honest, in the beginning this was uncomfortable - which was when I knew this was for me. One of the biggest things I tell my high schoolers is if you're uncomfortable, there's growth there. Commit. Finish what you started. Kate Hart, and I am sure the other nutrition coaches on the WAG staff, is a great reinforcement of life changing behaviors.