Interview: Suzanne Fowler Finds Peace with Food

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Secretum Meum Mihi Press

INTERVIEW: Suzanne Fowler Finds Peace with Food

by Kristen West McGuire

(Suzanne Fowler is the author of a Catholic bible study and weight loss program, The Light Weigh. She is the mother of seven and a popular speaker and retreat leader.)

Kristen: Did you grow up Catholic?

Suzanne: My ancestry was Irish Catholic, but my parents were atheists. By contrast, I always knew that I would marry a Catholic. That desire was God’s way of getting me to the rock I could build my life on.

When I was three or four, I saw a Loretta Young show with a statue of Our Lady of Grace. I didn’t know what the statue was, but it made a real impression on me. Years later, when I came into the church, it was a real disappointment to me because I was looking for the faith I remembered from the movies, and it wasn’t there.

Kristen: What happened to set your heart on fire for God?

Suzanne: I began watching Mother Angelica [on EWTN]. She really changed my life; I consider her to be my spiritual mother. I was 34 and I had two kids. She helped me make sense of it all.

Kristen: How did your focus on dieting and weight loss begin?

Suzanne: You know, I’ve struggled with my weight my whole life. I tried my first diet in third grade. By the time I was pregnant with my sixth child, I had been through them all: low fat, no fat, Adkins, you name it. I was asking, “Am I just going to get fatter and fatter?” I knew that the Church had to have the answers for me.

It was a faith built on people overcoming, and I needed to overcome. I started researching. At that time, I thought of it as just food, but in doing all the research about food and weight loss, I discovered what I needed was the answer to overcoming temptations.

That’s the last thing you want to think about when you’re pregnant— a program to learn to eat in moderation. I wrote it, but I waited until after I had my little girl and then I launched it at my parish. I said, “I don’t know if this is going to work, but I think it will.” I ended up building the boat that freed me.

Kristen: Tell me about the Light Weigh.

Suzanne: We don’t pursue the perfect weight or the perfect body size. To defeat temptation, you need to achieve peace with food. Food no longer controls you; you still enjoy food. We don’t label foods as “good” or “bad.” The Light Weigh is not a Catholic Weight Watchers. We don’t say, “Oh, we have to get all this food out of the house.”

God never meant dieting to be a separate religion, and never meant eating to be complicated. Dieting has become a form of religion for other people. If they adhered to the Catholic faith as they adhere to diets, the world would be a better place.

Kristen: How does this diet affect the family?

Suzanne: I don’t think that way. One of the main things that has decimated the family dinner is dieting. At the Light Weigh, we stress eating good, full flavor foods in moderation. This way, the whole family can eat together, and enjoy that family dinner together. That’s why I’m so excited about my new cookbook!

When I was doing my research on the Light Weigh, I stopped making family dinners and I saw the effect on my family. That’s why I made this cookbook. I wanted to pull all the good recipes in one place and connect them to good stories of the saints.

Kristen: What surprised you the most as you developed The Light Weigh?

Suzanne: It literally came to me in three days. The outline of the program came out of heaven into my head. I did move parts of the bible study around a little bit. Each person is a book. Within each book, the story of why someone is overweight might be different, but Jesus Christ is the answer to every story. When you allow Jesus Christ to come into your life, he will help you overcome temptation.

Kristen: Many women have painful circumstances that block their healing.

Suzanne: What I always say to women is that we have been lied to and everyone has made mistakes. Jesus Christ is the God of second, third and 253rd chances. No sin that is greater than God’s mercy!

God is so loving, but we don’t serve a god of marshmallow fluff. Jesus didn’t go through everything he went through because he doesn’t mean what he said. Once you confess it, and then continue in sin, you negate the grace he wants to send you. We have to be receptive to grace, and repent.

Kristen: When God gives a gift to be shared, He also gives you something special. What’s your gift in all this?

Suzanne: Having the courage (and you know it takes courage!) to be open to life is the most huge thing I will ever do. Nothing I ever do will compare to allowing God to use me to create seven children. Love never ends– anything you do out of love for Jesus Christ never ends. The immediate difference in me is that I struggled with food my whole life, and to be free of that is truly miraculous! I have to stop myself, and to remember what it was like to feel like food controlled me. The gift really is the relationship that I have with God. He is my best friend.

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