Cavendish Town School
Kata Welch, the Cavendish town librarian and Cavendish school wellness leader, is a force to be reckoned with. Her determination to become healthier in body, mind and spirit combined with her husband’s support empowered Welch to succeed in making momentous lifestyle changes over the past five years. “In 2011, motivated to earn the full number of PATHpoints, I contacted an INVEST EAP counselor, thinking that it would be a quick way to pick up some extra points,” she shared. At that time, Welch weighed 290 pounds. “I told the counselor I had no problems. The counselor questioned why I was there and we began talking about how I could add more vegetables to my plate on a daily basis.”
This conversation sparked Welch to re-examine her eating habits and introduce fitness into her life. She began using the My Fitness Pal app, walking to the gym, working with a trainer and participating in CrossFit. Over time she has lost 140 pounds. Last year she competed in Killington’s Dirty Girl and Spartan race events. “I was stunned that losing weight was possible,” said Welch. “I had watched my mother and sister repeatedly lose and gain weight and I didn’t think this could really work.”
To maintain her weight loss takes incredible dedication. “I have to prioritize myself,” she said. “I spend a significant number of hours preparing, cooking and eating healthier foods, including lots of proteins and some fats, logging everything and attending Weight Watchers classes. Additionally I work out six or seven days a week.” She engages in surfboarding exercise classes, bar Pilates, spinning and several six or seven mile walks. “Losing the weight was like going through puberty,” said Welch. “At first I was overwhelmed by all of the clothing choices now available to me. I had no idea what I might really like.” Victoria’s Secret attire has become one of her new best friends. “Every time I put something on I purchased at Victoria’s Secret, it’s a victory,” she said. As Cavendish’s wellness leader, Welch is gathering a whole new set of tools and recognizing the value of focusing on multiple dimensions of wellness. “The VEHI PATH program is like a pink sparkly box — it can help you but if you don’t use it, it will gather dust. It is however, always there when you need it,” she said.
According to her colleague, Lisa Merrill, Welch constantly encourages all of the employees not only to maintain a fit lifestyle but to track, celebrate and share our successes. She organizes and hosts a variety of wellness activities including: yoga, exercise DVD workouts, painting and jewelry making. Last year Welch coordinated the school- wide Iron Chef competition, a 30 day challenge, the annual walk at lunch day, weekly step challenges and prizes. She shares healthy treats with everyone in the staff room, providing the recipes and nutritional information. This year, Welch has introduced a hydration challenge.