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Kat Neal, 21, chose in November 2013 to beat alcohol and prescription drug addiction through healthy lifestyle and diet changes. Now, she coaches others looking to make their own transformations. (Photo supplied)
Elkhart woman finds community, health at Nutrition Station

Posted on July 14, 2014 at 11:53 a.m.

This isn’t your typical transformation story. It’s not simply about pounds dropped, inches lost or a chiseled six-pack. For 21-year-old Kat Neal, it’s a new life.

That new life began about seven months ago for the young Elkhart native when she walked into Nutrition Station. After being addicted to alcohol and the prescription drug Adderall for six years, Neal decided last November to make a change.

Nutrition Station, as owner Bob White explains, is a “healthy hangout” or healthy community where nutritional shakes, teas and other supplements are served. In fact, White himself works with first-timers when they come in to Nutrition Station.

Neal was once one of those first-timers, and it wasn’t long after she began making regular visits to Nutrition Station that she felt ready to make a full commitment to change her life.

“I’ve made so many mistakes, lost so many friends and loved ones,” she said. “I knew if I didn’t change, I would be going down this path my whole life.”

Neal said the support she felt at Nutrition Station, along with healthy nutritional changes she made in her diet, gave her the strength to match her determination.

“Bob saw something in me. Every time I went, I had so many questions,” she said.

But with some patience and faith, Neal slowly began giving up her old habits and focusing more on improving her health. In November, she had her last alcoholic beverage and hasn’t looked back.

Neal recently competed in the 2014 Northern Indiana Body Building Figure, Bikini and Physique Championships at the Century Center in South Bend and finished fifth in the Bikini A division. She also now works as a wellness coach at Nutrition Station, and participates in the group’s Saturday morning activities at Ox Bow Park.

“People come in because of her,” White said. “When you get started, it’s about you. Then it becomes about having an impact on other people’s lives.”

As Neal continues to thrive, she always remembers where she started so that she can some day help others, whether they were on the same destructive path she has experienced or simply want to make general or specific improvements in their lives.

“She’s seen things in life she never knew was possible,” White said. “And it’s exciting to watch her engage people.”

Neal said she’d like to be a trainer, helping people both on the nutrition side of a transformation and the physical side.

“Don’t be scared. We’re all human. You only live once, and you want to live it right and happy and healthy,” she said. “Regulars just come to chat and hang out. We just want everyone to be healthy and happy. It’s just a good environment.”

Nutrition Station is located at 207 S. Main St. in Elkhart and is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Saturday hours vary.