There are not words to express the appreciation and elation in my life right now. I never would have imagined life to be the way it is today. When I walked into Metabolic Research Center in Murfreesboro, TN on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2011 I had to do it for me – thus the title of my blog. I needed to learn to love myself. Now what I realize is that not only have I learned to love myself, but that my self-worth, self-esteem, and value have grown exponentially. More importantly my relationship with God has strengthened. He’s always been beside me, yet I haven’t always been in the right direction. When I try to be in control it doesn’t work. When I give it all to God to handle there is a peace I have that’s unexplainable.
I wanted to try to write everything down to this point so I have a record of it all. It’s still all so surreal and the most humbling experience. Now it is an honor to share my experiences with others to encourage good health.
The way things have gone to date:
30 years overweight to morbidly obese
Joined TOPS October 2005 – continued to yo-yo diet
Joined MRC February 14, 2011
Made the remark to friend after 2012 New Year’s – no resolution – “The Sky is the Limit!!” (Had NO clue how true that statement would wind up to be!)
May 2012 TOPS won TN State Division 1 (over 300 pounds) First Place – Memphis, TN
May 2012 – Found Arm Girdles!! Huge ego boost, had been girdling my stomach and legs excess skin for some time
July 2012 TOPS won International Division 1 First Place – San Diego, Ca – incredible opportunity to share my story and be an encouragement to others
Visited Hollywood Blvd with family on trip to California
October 2012 Visited a plastic surgeon – too expensive for corrective procedure – insure won’t cover
October 2012 Wrote to TOPS President Barb Cady to encourage TOPS to work with legislation for insurance to cover procedures with specific stipulations and requirements met, response after discussed at board meeting was it was too big for them to tackle
October 2012 – TOPS – received Century Award – a beautiful pendant necklace in honor of losing 100 pounds and keeping it off for 52 consecutive weeks or longer (VERY emotional – amazing honor for accomplishment)
December 2012 Submitted story to The Doctors TV show
December 2012 Contacted by The Doctors – interested in my story – supplied lots of information and pictures
December 2012 Reached weight loss goal via TOPS! Became a KOPS!!
February 2013 Was flown, alone, to Los Angeles, Ca with drivers, hotel, etc. to shoot my back story and appear on the episode SKIN: Feed It, Fix It, Tuck It – as THE guest for the Tuck It segment – was generously offered Dr. Ordon’s professional assistance to remove stomach and arm skin
Stayed at the Loew’s Hollywood – where God had allowed me to be months before so I would have the confidence to be there all by myself – even ate a few meals ALONE!! (Huge accomplishment for me) Had a free day where I saw a taping of The Price is Right and Extra – with Mario Lopez interviewing Mark Wahlburg and Sean Combs! WALKED back to hotel about 4 miles because I could, physically and mentally.
March 2013 Interviewed for the Daily News Journal at Metabolic Research Center – huge article in Business Section
March 2013 Interviewed by Tennessee State University (employer) with story published on their web page, Facebook, etc.
March 2013 Interviewed by The Murfreesboro Post – appeared on the FRONT page with great article inside
March 2013 Interviewed by The Daily Corinthian – appeared on the FRONT page with story
March 2013 Interviewed by Channel 2 News which aired several times over a couple days
March 20, 2013 The Doctors episode aired – watched with friends (Available on the website www.thedoctorstv.com – search for the title of episode above to watch 2 clips)
April 2013 – TOPS was crowned TN State Queen (Their records, lost a few pounds not recorded, 163.75 pounds) – also participated in the Before and After Parade, recognized as a Century Award recipient, graduated as KOPS, started the Circle of Light with the TOPS TN State King
May 2013 – Started a Facebook Group that turned to a Facebook page to stay accountable for everything I eat, share recipes with pictures sometimes, encourage healthy eating and self worth, trying to help and make a difference, bring awareness to healthy living www.facebook.com/heathersheatlhyhabitsdoingitforme
June 2013 – Interviewed by The Independent Appeal – appeared on the Front Page with story
July 4, 2013 – Was in TWO parades in a convertible!
July 2013 – Attended TOPS International Recognition Days in Calgary, Alberta, Canada as TN State Queen – also participated in the Before and After Parade, recognized as a Century Award recipient (cried as “The Climb” was sung to all recipients) and participated in my first International Circle of Light
July 29, 2013 – Returned to Los Angeles, California and drove with friend to Rancho Mirage
July 30, 2013 – Consultation with Dr. Drew Ordon and Dr. Ritu Chopra at The Plastic Surgery Institute
July 31, 2013 – Life changing, figure altering, corrective surgery, to remove excess skin: panniculectomy – removal of stomach tissue and correction of two hernias AND bilateral brachioplasty – removal of upper arm skin and excess under armpit and down side
Many asked me prior to the surgery about being scared or nervous. I truly had given it to God for a calm and peace through the process of filming, photos and after-care. I woke up skinny! How many times have I wished I could wake up skinny? It finally worked, after I put in a lot of work on myself. I felt like I had been in a magic show and my middle had been removed. J
August 1-13, 2013 – Recover at Rancho Las Palmas Resort, with assistance from nurse Shirley a few days and my friend Trish – not really any pain, just discomfort and mobility restriction which have lead to sleep deprivation – “It’s temporary”
Encased in compression belt over stomach and hip area and in compression vest from wrist to hip
Through discussion with others having had similar procedures the biggest complaint was the compression wear. God has prepared me through constricting the excess skin from bouncing around by girdling which also prevented rashes and back pain. The compression wear is not uncomfortable – it’s a huge hug from God.
August 14, 2013 – Return to Tn to continue to recover
August 17, 2013 – First public appearance at a local TOPS function where I was able to speak
August 21, 2013 – Check up at family doctor to be able to return to work on Monday, August 26, 2013
September – November – TOPS Speaking engagements across the state of TN at functions, maybe more at the Chapter level
Date TBD – Future return to Los Angeles, Ca – appearance for the big “Reveal” on an upcoming episode of The Doctors (until then…. I must avoid having my picture taken where my body, the results, can be seen)
Well, there you have it. There might be something I missed. It’s hard to believe the way things have all worked out just from losing weight. I couldn’t have done it without God guiding me and giving me the strength to stay focused, fight temptations and go all the way. This is it! It’s still a daily battle and I expect health and nutrition to always be my focus. When asked what was the hardest part I still will say-today. I’ve never been a “normal” sized adult. It seems to have been easier to lose the weight than it is to maintain within a few pounds. I am Doing it for ME!
What does your future hold from making continuous healthy choices for your body, losing weight if necessary? Share your story with others. It’s a great feeling to have someone tell you that You are their inspiration.