Marion woman makes healthy changes to diet
Tears flooded Cathy Smith’s eyes as she stared at the five gallons of ice cream in her freezer.
“I’m addicted to junk food,” the 42-year-old Marion resident said. “It’s hard thing to admit. I think it’s almost worse than being hooked on cocaine or weed, because it’s everywhere. You can’t hide from it.”
Smith is just one of the thousands of Americans who are classified as overweight or obese. With a BMI over 43, she is working with her doctor to get her weight down to normal range. She knows her health is at risk and she is determined to lose 100 pounds in the next 12 to 15 months. But she knows it will never happen if she doesn’t make some significant lifestyle changes.
Inspired by the documentary, “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead” by Joe Cross, Smith is on the second week of a 30-day juice fast. She said it’s been a tough journey, but that she is dedicated to getting fit.
“For the first 10 days, I didn’t even want to get out of my bed,” she said. “I didn’t want to see people. I didn’t want to watch television. Everything reminded me that I was going without all the good things I usually indulged in. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I didn’t want to live without my favorite foods.”
But then, she said, God changed her thought patterns.
“I finally realized that I was craving food more than I was craving God,” she said. “God showed me that my life was out of balance. Whenever something happened, whether good or bad, I would run to my freezer. Somehow chocolate sundaes always helped, but it didn’t fill the void in my life. It didn’t give me what I really needed — God.”
Now, Smith said she has her priorities straight. She reads her Bible first thing in the morning, follows that with a 30-minute walk, and then drinks a green juice.
“At first I used the recipe from the documentary, but then I started improvising,” she said. “I have my own juicer and it’s fun to concoct my own blends. I like a lot of kale and garlic in my juice. If I do it right, there’s just enough sweetness and tang to balance out the strong taste of the green veggies. If I do it wrong it tastes pretty nasty, like swallowing liquid grass.”
Smith replaces each meal with a juice and, after a few days on the diet, finds it curbs her hunger.
“I love how I feel when I drink green juice,” she said. “Who would have thought that eating green vegetables could actually work? I’ve tried every diet imaginable, and they have all failed. But, I am actually feeling good on the inside — and, eventually, I know it will be reflected on my outward appearance.”
Smith said she knows the diet isn’t for everyone. She is constantly monitored by her doctors, who deemed her healthy enough to do the fast.
She said she won’t drink green juices forever. Once the 30 days are up, she’ll start introducing solid foods into her diet. She said while it’s not healthy to have a plate of meat and potatoes the first day back, she does hope to have a meal of spicy hummus with sesame crackers.
While she knows she is well on her way to success, she does have one nemesis: shopping.
“It’s hard to walk by all the ice cream, candy, and bread products and not put it all in your cart,” she said. “I just keep in mind that I eat to feel well, not to keep my emotional health in balance.”
She admitted that the diet is not easy — and sometimes she messes up.
“I’ve gotten all the way home with a gallon of ice cream,” she said. “But, luckily, I have a great support system at home. Whenever my husband sees that I’ve bought something on my bad list, he just puts it in a bag and brings it back to the store. It hurts for a moment, but I’m grateful that he wants what is best for me.”
So far, Smith has lost 25 pounds on the diet. In her opinion, the diet is successful because she is using a holistic approach.
“If my relationship with God wasn’t right, I couldn’t do any of this,” she said. “He makes everything in my life work in harmony with each other. I’m so grateful for His goodness.”
Looking ahead, Smith said she hopes to lose 50 pounds over the summer, so she can get on the floor to play with her grandchildren when they come to visit in September.
“It’s always good to have a goal when you want to lose weight,” she said. “It keeps you going in the tough times.”