The slim­mer and health­ier ver­sion

Smith sheds 100kg – and he’s not fin­ished

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - By RHI­AN­NON MCCON­NELL

Last year Pe­tra­noff Smith ate 16 slices of bread, 16 eggs, a packet of ba­con and a heavy smat­ter­ing of cheese for break­fast. Now, 100 kilo­grams lighter, he eats three Weet-Bix and is plan­ning a fivek­ilo­me­tre walk.

Ev­ery­where Smith goes he car­ries a folder of pho­tos, as a re­minder of how far he has come and the peo­ple who have helped.

‘‘I was so em­bar­rassed,’’ he said. ‘‘ I stayed in my car mainly be­cause I was too em­bar­rassed to show my face in pub­lic. ‘‘To­day I walk stand­ing tall.’’ A year on from be­gin­ning his dra­matic weight loss regime, he is plan­ning a 5km walk on Novem­ber 15 to hon­our his brother, who died from can­cer last year.

It’s a far cry from the day ev­ery­thing changed, when Smith stood out­side his home and at­tempted to walk 150 me­tres.

‘‘I started to do some­thing about it. Once I got home I col­lapsed, but from then on it didn’t stop me. I kept on walk­ing the same dis­tance. Ev­ery time I took one step for­ward I’d be back on my butt and take 10 steps back.’’

At the time, Smith weighed more than 280kg, had leg braces, re­lied on crutches and was fac­ing hav­ing to have his left leg am­pu­tated.

‘‘It didn’t bother me if I lost my leg. I wanted the pain to stop.’’

The 48-year-old’s bat­tle with weight be­gan in his early 30s, when he was in­jured play­ing rugby for Porirua’s Norths team.

Though he suf­fered many sports in­juries, his worst one was his left achilles heel.

‘‘I love my sports. I think I had the men­tal­ity that it would come right, but it didn’t.’’

He was di­ag­nosed with type 2 di­a­betes and ul­cers, and his weight sky­rock­eted.

‘‘I was eat­ing the wrong food and not train­ing. I was hurt­ing ev­ery day and food was my com­fort.’’

A Ti­tahi Bay boy at heart and brother of Henry Smith, he moved to Palmer­ston North, afraid of dy­ing in Porirua.

The ul­cers meant he had to wear spe­cial shoes and all his clothes were spe­cially made.

Smith said that when he looked back over his life, he was amazed he was still alive.

‘‘To­day I can see I’m not ready to go and I can ex­pand my life­span.’’

But it was not easy. It took eight months just to get the goa­head to en­ter a pool.

‘‘You have got to learn to crawl be­fore you can walk. From there on the magic started to hap­pen. I blocked ev­ery­thing out.’’

Smith cred­its his suc­cess to a Massey Univer­sity pro­gramme, U- Ki­net­ics, and to cut­ting out junk food.

Now 188kg, he still has 40 to lose to reach his weight goal, but the braces and crutches are gone and he no longer suf­fers from ul­cers.

After 15 years off the field, he wants to play one more game of rugby next year for Norths’ presi- dents team.

He would like to even­tu­ally get back to work too, hope­fully as a mo­ti­va­tional speaker.

Smith’s walk will take him around Porirua. He will raise money for Mary Pot­ter Hospice and the Child Can­cer Foun­da­tion.

Photo: RHI­AN­NON McCON­NELL

Big feed: Pe­tra­noff Smith used to wade into a moun­tain of food for break­fast ev­ery morn­ing.

Heavy­weight: Pe­tra­noff Smith at his heav­i­est.

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