She found love, left sugar and lost weight

Story highlights

  • At night, Cady Stanton would eat ice cream in secret to cope with her anxiety
  • Growing up, her family didn't eat healthy meals
  • Stanton stopped weighing herself at 265 pounds; she now weighs 142 pounds
Cady Stanton used to find solace in the sweet taste of ice cream.
Growing up, she would sneak downstairs after her family had gone to sleep and numb her anxiety by digging into a half-gallon container. She would eat until she was sick, knowing this was something she had to do in secret.
As the oldest child of a struggling Jehovah's Witness family, Stanton shouldered a lot of responsibilities at a young age. Her mother suffered from a number of health issues, and her father worked three jobs just to put food on the table.
The family's financial struggles had a huge impact on Stanton's diet. Nearly all Stanton's family was overweight, as they had neither the resources nor the knowledge to prepare healthy meals regularly.
They ate a lot of ground beef, spaghetti and the occasional treat of a take-and-bake pizza. They would wait in line for government-issued cheese and foodstuffs like powdered eggs and milk.
"Healthy eating requires money and time, something financially stressed families have little of," she said. "We ate what was quick and cheap and familiar."
Stanton knew she was overweight in the first grade when she looked down and saw her feet swelling out of her Mary Janes. But it wasn't until her freshman year of high school that she made the connection between what she was eating and her body size.
One day she found herself staring into the vending machine of the gym locker room. She was 5-feet-5-inches and 200 pounds.
"At that moment it finally struck me that what I ate made me overweight," she said. "You'd think I would know that. I was an honors student."
Stanton changed her diet and started exercising regularly. In two years she went from 200 to 150 pounds. But there was one change she was still unable to make: sneaking food at night to comfort herself.
Consuming large quantities of ice cream had a calming effect. She had no other way to cope with her anxiety, so she was unable to keep the weight off.
She married in 1996 and moved to Washington. She stopped running and her weight climbed. She grew depressed when she realized the church she had joined wasn't as welcoming as the one in her hometown of Portland, whic