Alsana Staff Spotlight: Kate Kaczor
Katherine “Kate” Kaczor is Lead Dietitian for Alsana’s Westlake location. She’s been with Alsana since July 2018 and had the opportunity to support the opening of the Westlake location and welcome the first clients. Kate helps clients repair their relationship with food, and ultimately themselves. As they work toward recovery, she helps them identify goals, challenges, and connecting with that inner confidence and body wisdom that has been forgotten. Kate is an integral team member of Alsana and we hope you’ll enjoy getting to know more about her!
Where are you from?
I grew up in Central New Jersey. After that, I moved around between South Carolina, Minnesota, Long Beach, and Seattle before settling in Thousand Oaks.
Why do you work for Alsana?
I work for Alsana to be part of the best of the best of providers who treat eating disorders. It is an honor to work with experts in medical care, nutrition therapy, movement, and relational programming. I work here to be able to provide a new level of care that sparks an opportunity for recovery that has been previously missed.
What is your role at Alsana?
I am the Lead Dietitian for the Westlake locations. I provide nutrition counseling for clients in these locations, facilitate nutrition-related groups and meal experientials and support the nutrition and culinary team in being the best they can be.
Where is your favorite place on earth?
I really, really love Jamaica. I got engaged and went on my honeymoon there. It is an incredibly beautiful island with incredible people and everything just feels better there. Perhaps Jamaica will be the next stop for Alsana International!
What three words would you use to describe treatment at Alsana?
Collaborative, thorough, and (as much as possible) fun
What advice would you give someone with an eating disorder?
There is never going to be the perfect time, place, or set of circumstances for recovery. Waiting for this will only promote prolonged suffering. You deserve to move towards recovery TODAY!
What words of hope/encouragement would you give someone with an eating disorder?
This journey is a marathon, not a sprint. It will sometimes feel unbearably long or hard and it may be difficult to see the finish line. You will experience pain and fatigue and have thoughts of wanting to quit – don’t! You are stronger than you think and are able to reach that finish line if you utilize your team, skills, and focus on your values. It will be worth it.
What would you tell your 13-year-old self?
Life is expensive – you should really save all of that money you get in Christmas cards for your future mortgage.
What were your three favorite childhood activities?
- I loved playing school. I played it to the point of ruining all of my parents’ books by writing all of my “students” information all over them.
- Going to Wawa (the convenience stop of champions) with my Pop-Pop was one of my favorite things. I loved going around and gathering everyone’s donut orders and making sure they got their favorite treat.
- I was always working on some sort of list when I was a kid. I loved making a list of all the classes I was going to take in high school, or the different options I was considering for Halloween costumes, or my various choices for birthday party themes. I think I loved making the lists more than any outcomes the lists produced.
What do you believe is the most common motivator for healing?
A common theme I hear from clients is a mere desire to have more brain space. When the mind is consumed with food, calorie, exercise, and weight thoughts as a result of the eating disorder, there is little space for anything else. Many clients come into treatment desiring to be able to think more clearly, be present in their relationships and careers or studies, and be able to simply watch a television show and follow the plotline.
Where do you see clients get stuck in recovery?
Conversely, getting more brain space can be a point of stickiness in recovery. Often the mind has been consumed with eating disorder thoughts for so long, it doesn’t really remember how to think differently. This can create a gap that feels very unpleasant. This goes away as your brain is treated but it can be very tempting in this time to return to the comfort of the eating disorder thoughts.
If you could have any pet in the world, what would it be?
I am not much of an animal person, but my husband has been really into planting cacti lately and at the cactus mart, they have the coolest metal dinosaur that I really want for my backyard!
What’s your favorite part of your job?
Getting to eat the amazing meals our chef prepares and getting to share these with equally amazing coworkers and clients.
What was your first concert?
My first job was at Six Flags: Great Adventure. One day I was asked to leave my station in the gift shop and serve as a vendor. This was extremely anxiety-producing for me and I began getting very overwhelmed and tearful. My supervisor felt sorry for me and told me I could stop vending and sent me to the Natasha Bedingfield concert that was going on in the park instead. That was my first concert.
When clients see you, what are you most likely to be doing?
I am mostly liking strategizing the next fun way to connect clients with the eating experience!
What word or phrase do you find yourself saying frequently at Alsana?
Per my clients, apparently I say “Gotcha” a lot in sessions. I think this is my way of subtly providing reassurance that I will hold the food piece for you as you navigate the recovery journey. You are safe.
What’s the best meal you’ve ever eaten?
Growing up, my Nana made the most amazing French toast. It was a very simple recipe, but I just couldn’t get enough. All of us grandkids eat this meal whenever we are together.
On a scale of 1-10, rate your artistic ability, and why you’d rate yourself that way.
Can I pick a negative number? My artistic abilities are null. In elementary school, my teachers even had me stay in from recess to work on my art as it was so bad!
“Let your light shine” is a foundational principle of Alsana’s culture. We expect employees to come as they are and bring their whole selves to work, just as we want our clients to feel comfortable bringing their whole selves—exactly as they are—to their eating disorder treatment.
Alsana’s staff spotlight series highlights the way our employees let their light shine and the unique attributes only they can add to our clients’ recovery experience.