I was talking to a friend the other day about having met some amazing and interesting people through my experiences, including myself. Wow! That is pretty deep even for me. Who was I all those years before? Actually who am I now? People have always and will continue to come in and out of our lives. I never really thought about coming in and out of my own life. I suppose it all is based on environment, experiences and our response to such that lead us to be the person we were, are or will become.
I feel healthier and better about being in my own body than I have ever felt-ever! I have lived 4 1/2 decades yet am more physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually able and capable of living and appreciating even the smallest of things. God has a plan and I’m riding it out. I don’t know what each day holds, much less any further than that.
Every day I wake up I am anxious to see what blessings I will receive, be a part of, or witness. I try to not take anything for granted. We are only here for a blink of an eye in the scope of eternity. I have to be the best “me” I can be while I’m here. I never cared before but God did. He’s cared all along. I have given up on “me” countless times. He has carried me through things many times. I am now aware and try to acknowledge that I would not be here if He did not have a plan for me.
I have to go forward, without looking back. It does no good to dwell on could’ve, would’ve or should’ve. Life has happened the way it has for a reason. Today I am here completely through the grace and love of God. I am very fortunate to have survived through being morbidly obese and with the health conditions related to being that way. I probably should have died along the way. He knew I wanted to many times and he knew when I prayed fervently not to die in my sleep. I am blessed beyond my wildest imagination to be able to live now in a physical body better suited to glorify God.
I like the me I have become and am still growing into being. The person I used to be has “died” in a way and I feel like I have been born again-given a second chance. I am outgoing. I am confident. I am proud to be me for what I have done, losing a lot of weight and learning to keep it off, regardless of what anyone says, regardless of support or lack thereof, regardless of who I used to be or who I am now, if people like me or not. It’s not for me to be concerned about. I will continue going ahead full force. If people can be inspired by my story then I am honored and humbled for God to use me in this way.
Soon I will be “revealed” to the world following the surgical removal of excess skin by Dr. Ordon, from The Doctors. How will it effect me? Will I change and grow even more?! Will I be able to encourage others to treat their body as the temple God intended us to do? Will someone learn about this God of whom I speak and want to know Him too? He can bring peace like no other. Give your worries and troubles to God.
I like me. No regrets. Lessons learned. Moving forward with God guiding me through calm and troubled waters.
I am doing it for Me!
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I thought I’d go ahead and share this with you. As I went across the state of Tn speaking as the reigning state queen! the theme for the Fall tallies was Under the Sea. I put my life in perspective and related it to that topic. This is what I wrote about a week out of surgery one morning when I was too uncomfortable to sleep. Please enjoy and hopefully be inspired.
Under the sea
For many years of my life I felt as though I were drowning.
Maybe some of you had similar dreams.
I kept trying to swim to the top but could never get there.
I had this humongous weight, this pressure, that built and built surrounding me yet keeping me still as life passed me by, compared to that sunken treasure chest under the weight and through the murkiness of the water.
Roughly thirty years passed where I was that wreckage at the bottom of the ocean waiting to be found, sitting on the couch waiting for the excess weight to magically disappear.
How I got there?
Well, generally I never wanted to be there, but somehow allowed myself through life circumstances to be buried alive.
Poor choices, made often, repeatedly didn’t help matters, or literally, my matter, my weight, at all.
Like many things that are lost at sea, the value and worth will vary depending on who finds it, who values it, the condition in which it is found, the history and sometimes even where the treasure is found.
Many years passed where I stayed stagnant, swaying ever so slightly with the current trend, the various waves of diet plans, methods and variety of hope for that magic trick to make me lose weight and have that “normal” body.
At times the water that covered me, as that sunken treasure, I would watch life go by through activities of others and most sadly through the lives of my daughters.
I could watch through that murky water but couldn’t do anything with them and seemingly nothing to be rescued from my condition. How many of you are the official photographer of your family? At gatherings etc. because you don’t want to be in that picture, much less be the background.
I made my own treasure map!
After allowing so many years to pass me by I figured out that somehow, some way, that the only way that I was going to find myself, my value, my worth,was to follow a treasure map planned and laid out for me and only me.
As a member of TOPS for several years, and having experienced losses and gains over decades of “dieting” I now declare that I have earned my title as Heather Gum, P.D. (Professional Dieter).
I knew all the reasons, methods, tricks, and yes the cheats, of attempting to lose excess pounds.
Had that gotten me anywhere successfully?
On that treasure map there were many places I circled, and circled, and yep, circled again, until stumbling into a new pathway of hope which all would lead me back to where I started, unfortunately.
Most of these paths weren’t wasted entirely because that was where experience and life lessons were learned.
Maybe that’s why when I returned to point “A”, or “You are here” on the map, oftentimes I was even heavier than where I began-I was weighed down with more knowledge.
All that circling around eventually lead me in the right direction.
Did I want to give up?
For sure I did.
The trigger for me, as my children were growing was my obvious inability to participate with them.
One plan was a trip to Europe through Girl Scouts. Me on a plane? Yeah right? NOT! That was not going to happen.
My job, I would stand in front of children daily reciting the 4-H Pledge …pledging my health to better living…. Whoaaa, who was I kidding? Myself!
Opportunities came and went due to my physical limitations, which lead to my emotional and mental restrictions as well.
I didn’t want to be the obstacle of attention, the brunt of jokes, and the ultimate worse, the end of that sweet little precious pointing finger of innocent children which would curiously, and comically, point at me in disbelief or humor.
My treasure map lead me in a path to learn to eat healthy through a nutritional program outside of TOPS.
I was taught what to feed my body, with food combinations and through weighting my portions for my body to generally melt away the excess weight.
Nutritionally I got the guidance I needed and accountability with one-on-one consultation bi-weekly, on top of attending my weekly TOPS meeting for yet more accountability.
I needed to have the camaraderie of others struggling with weight issues as well.
So as you can see my treasure map has many years of wear and tear on it.
The edges are rough and the permanent.
The best thing about it all….. Once I finally unfolded my map and started following the right path…. Is that I finally followed the right directions for my body and found my treasure. ME!
I am the treasure.
After decades of searching, I finally found the most valuable treasure, the most irreplaceable treasure in finding ME!
I am no longer hidden in that murky water on the sidelines watching life, but I am on land, with my feet firm, living the best life in a valuable body, with a worth more valuable than all the riches in the world.
I am Doing it for Me!
I found my treasure map.
Unfold your map completely and find your treasure- YOU!
Life has been busy with work, kids and of course the holidays. I am doing well 20 weeks out of major surgery for skin removal. Life is great and I can’t complain. I am blessed beyond measure. There is a small issue of lymphedema, swelling in extremities from manipulation of the lymphatic system (armpits). In time all will be well. I am not worried or concerned. I am in therapy for treatment and recovery.
I got the urge to write and you know how I am about that. I have to run with it and let it out. So here ya go… Another poem….
I am 20 weeks out of surgery today.
I woke up skinny with the skin cut away.
Dr. Ordon and Dr. Chopra did an amazing job on me.
I am ever so grateful for their generosity.
My life has changed by choices I made,
the excess weight I’ve carried has gone away.
The skin that was hanging to remind me off my past
has been removed but the memories still last.
I cannot and will not ever forget
the years of anguish, but live with no regret.
God had a plan and I finally obeyed,
I changed how feel, I love ME today.
I have more value and worth than ever before.
I am important and am doing this for me evermore.
It’s a health-style not a “diet” the way I live now.
I eat healthy and move as my schedule allows.
Yesterday, today and tomorrow I will still be me.
I’m becoming the person I was meant to be.
The confidence came from somewhere down deep.
The humbleness of success often makes me weep.
I never intend to return again
to the morbidly obese condition I was in.
Every day is an opportunity to make it all right
and tomorrow’s another chance to battle the fight.
There’s always temptations and struggles that abound
but I turn to God for help, in Him peace can be found.
Love yourself as much as God loves you
and treat your body as He intended for you to do.
I have changed my life and am ready for what’s yet to be.
I am healthy and capable I’m doing it for me.
I hope that you are doing well on your journey to a healthier you. This time of year has it’s trials and temptations everywhere! Don’t wait till next year, after the holidays. Get a head start on YOU today.
You are worthy! We all are worthy. You have to believe it, feel it and act on it. Be all that you can be, that you’ve always wanted to be and make your dreams reality. Only you can do it for you (NOT for anyone, or anything else). I am doing it for me!
P. S. I post my food journal publicly with ideas, recipes and motivation. Please go check out my page. Follow me and share my page with your friends too.
I understand that you are having some issues right now. You have been through a tremendous amount of changes in the last few years. Your life has been one of consistent hurt and betrayal emotionally, mentally and physically by others and even yourself. What you have done in the past doesn’t matter any more. Things can’t be redone or reversed. You have to move forward the best that you can, letting go of the past, forgiving yourself as God forgives you.
Let’s talk about relationships for a minute. Everyone needs friends and family but not always is your family your friends. People need support in different ways and people offer support in different ways. The type of support that you seem to need might not be available from those that you know. So what do you? You reach out for guidance from God. He is always there even when no one else is. He is always there when you’re happy or sad. He always is there to support you but you have to let Him. No it’s not always easy to do. After all, we are creatures that want to be in control and right.
I know that there are people that have problems with the positive changes you have made in yourself by losing weight whether it’s jealousy or envy, or whatever reason they claim, it doesn’t matter. You need to have and keep positive influences in your life. Get rid of, or stay away from, people that make you doubt yourself, that lead you into temptations and those that don’t offer what you need. Pray for those that do you wrong keeping in mind that Gods wrath will be upon them in time and it’s not deserving of your time and energy. With that being said, you must treat others how you want to be treated as well. Listen to those that need a friend, a sounding board or even ask for your opinion or advice as you need them to do for you. People will come into and leave your life as God deems necessary. All you can do is to try your best to be a friend, be nice to everyone and make the most of this life. You only get one chance at it.
Now for your weight loss, let’s talk about a few things and how it’s changed you. It’s amazing that once you started losing weight how your confidence has grown. It’s great to see the smile on your face that’s been missing for years, decades. When you walk into a room you are proud to be who you are regardless if anyone knows your history of morbid obesity or not. Confidence is a good trait but don’t let it overtake you. Always remain humble. You are so very appreciative of your success and it shows. Never forget where you came from and remember to be empathetic to those fighting the battle, not knowing their individual story- health, medical, etc.
Besides your confidence, the determination and drive that you’ve had is admirable. Where did it come from? Where has it been in years of numerous attempts to lose weight? God has always been walking besides you and mostly carrying and directing you. You are one hard-headed person! Countless times you have fought against God so hard that He let you learn from your choices, and you learned a lot each time. He was still beside you, even when you didn’t acknowledge Him. Not until you really trusted Him and were really ready did He carry you through to success, when you gave it all to Him out of sheer desperation and reaching your personal breaking point. You’ve never had such an experience to be successful, much less being prepared for what was and is yet to be.
You are making a difference. With your weight loss journey and succeeding you have taken to the sky to journey across the country and even to another country! Everywhere you go and have the opportunity to share your story-do it. Give God the glory and the credit for where you were and how far you’ve come on your rite of passage. It is encouraging and an inspiration to speak to anyone who is interested and has an open mind about their health yet even better to spread the love of God. Bringing someone to the mindset to make choices nutritionally to enhance their quality of life is a wonderful goal and blessing. Bringing a lost soul, or one who has strayed away, to God is even better! Keep sharing through speaking, through your support group, blogging and posting. You are helping others while helping yourself too. Don’t let anyone stop you or get in your way of helping someone or many.
Speaking of helping yourself, congratulations on finally figuring out a huge puzzle in your earthly life. You have found your worth. Not everyone can seem to come to this enlightenment. People try to blame anyone else and everyone else sometimes for their problems or situations. You’ve claimed it. You have owned your faults. You have made the changes necessary for bettering yourself. You now have put yourself first in a world where it is hard to be able to do so. You have not been selfish, as some have claimed, you have gained self-worth. Only you are responsible for your body and ultimately your soul. Only you could have made the changes needed once allowing God to take over. You are correct in “Doing it for Me” because no one else would, could or should do it for you, but you.
Heather your future is what you are willing to make it. You can stay at your goal and be healthy and active. You can work with others and be an example nutritionally to show that someone can lose a lot of weight, even without surgery. You are worthy and can do anything that you set your mind to with your confidence, determination and God beside you. Keep up with the self-talk too. Not only are you trying to help yourself, but at the same time God is hearing your pleas and will help you too. ”He may answer quick, He may answer slow, but He promises to answer yes or no.” -Heather Shelton
With love and devotion to you,
If you’d like to follow me daily check out www.facebook.com/heathershealthyhabitsdoingitforme
I’ve had inquiries as to what and how I eat. What I eat has worked for my body. You must find the food combinations that work best for your body.
I have changed the way I eat and have no intention on going back to the way I used to eat knowing it would not be healthy for my body or my mind. The condition I was in was the result of poor choices, poor quality and poor quantity too.
As I’ve changed what I eat my taste for things has changed as has the like/dislike for consistencies, textures etc. I know what I need to feed my body and what I don’t prefer to put in my body.
Do I always want what I eat?
Not necessarily but it’s what my body needs as it produces the results I desire- to lose/maintain weight and feel great.
Do I eat a tiny “bird-size” amount of food?
Nope! I eat a massive amount of nutritious food pretty much at each meal. I don’t get hungry in between and have learned to make and have a nice quantity of quality food.
Do I eat what I want?
Within reason - I try to alter a recipe or an idea to fit within the perimeters of what I choice to eat. It might not taste the exact same but it beats not having anything at all. This is how I’ve come up with some good recipes too.
Does everything that I eat, or make, taste good?
98% of the time it has/does. I haven’t thrown out but one attempt at making “hot chocolate” out of a chocolate protein powder. If there’s a way to do it, I learned a way NOT to! Lol!
Most days I stay on track or extremely close. Are there times, days or even weeks that I haven’t stayed on my “plan”? Absolutely. But I know what I need to do to get back on track and stay in my chosen food path that works best for my body. If you have followed me, or are new to my page, my weakness is nuts! I absolutely love nuts! Nuts about nuts! I prefer fresh ground peanut butter, almond butter, and most nuts besides pistachios or black walnuts. The problem with this is the quantity which I consume. Moderation is the key for sure. I am quite weak and vulnerable when it comes to tasty, crunchy and salty nuts and know its probably best to avoid completely but then I really overindulge. I have to stay focused on health for myself and my longevity.
It’s a new way to live and I’m enjoying my health-style now. If I have to continue to take my food to gatherings to stay in control I am perfectly fine to do so. That way I know what I’m eating, not meaning to offend or hurt anyone’s feelings about a dish, meal, etc. To my knowledge everyone has been quite understanding about my choices often times remarking that mine looks and smells better than what they ordered or brought.
Food doesn’t make me the person that I am. I am just me, the same ole me in a better physical state, with a better attitude and confidence in the person that I am evolving into.
I am Doing it For Me!
Don’t you just hate stress and drama? Sometimes it’s hard to focus on yourself and what you need instead of trying to “feed” the aggravation or emotional pain. It gets to most people that I know and for sure it gets me. Life was never guaranteed to be easy. Things aren’t always going to work out how we want them to either. Compacted by weight issues and possible health concerns makes it that much harder on our bodies when we stress eat (when I stress eat).
So what do you do? Really. What do you do when faced with stressful situations that lead you into a spiral or in the edge of nutritional failure? Do you exercise and what kind of exercise do you prefer? Do you vent to friends? Do you write? For me writing makes it real. I can write it out and talk to myself, and anyone else that wants to read what I write and possibly relate. In this whole wide world, if I am feeling weak or strong, I am the only one that is always going to be there for myself with God right beside me. It’s a hard concept to have to be your own support system. Again, I like the comparison of the oxygen mask dropping down in the plane. The main point is that you have to take care of yourself before helping others. You cannot always rely on others to help you in your time of need so you have to learn to be your strongest support.
For me I have come a long way and gone through many changes the last couple of years physically, emotionally and mentally. There are those that have “issues” with my weight loss success, having lost friends over it and I seem to be experiencing more negative attitudes, or jealousy, now. I have worked hard on myself and have value. I am worthy. It bothers me that there are those that have that animosity towards me, assumingly because of my weight-loss, possibly because of my confidence level that has sky-rocketed compared to where it used to be. My attitude and outlook is to be joyful and celebrate others’ good fortune thus I would like to think that I would show that to my friends, family and loved ones in such cases.
So now what? The “newness” has worn off of that initial shock I experience when people see me and when I meet new people they have no idea what my journey or weight loss experience has been. A new friend mentioned that after losing a lot of weight that she’s just like everyone else walking down the street that there’s nothing to make her different now. That’s an interesting perspective but now I get it. At this point for me it’s still quite unbelievable that I’ve accomplished the “impossible” by losing 170 pounds. I don’t feel out of place any more or as if I draw any attention to me for being “different”, even though being overweight is becoming the norm.
Fortunately I don’t see myself as still big. I know some individuals that lose weight have self-image issues based on what they looked like before losing weight and that they see themselves as being that way even afterwards. I didn’t like what I saw in the mirror for decades so I would try not to look, or see, the reflection. Perhaps that has helped me as a way for self-preservation. I thank God that I don’t have that concern on top of all my others. Also, things in my life work out better when I can relinquish the control that I want to have and give my concerns to God to deal with instead of trying to handle situations, worries, stresses, etc.
It is hard to maintain a weight loss, I would expect of any amount, especially of so much. After having “yo-yo” dieted for so long it’s difficult to not slip back into habits that have been broken. When you go “on” a diet it implies that at some point that you can get “off” or “stop” your diet. I have learned that it is a way of life and that I will always try my best to eat nutritionally for my health and longevity. I have two beautiful daughters that I pray to see mature into wonderful woman, wives and mothers eventually, not to mention wanting to try to be an example for them to want to emulate. I can’t let the stresses of today determine who I am today or effect my health for years to come. Everything happens for a reason. A verse in a poem I wrote years ago says: He may answer quick, He may answer slow, but He promises to answer yes or no. Today I give my worries to God. I am Doing it for Me.
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.
I have much to catch up on as time allows but had this come to me this morning so I had to share. Much love for you, but love yourself even more!
What a blessing it is to be alive today. I was so very fortunate to not have any severe health scare to finally “make” me wise up to lose weight. At my maximum recorded weight I tipped the scales at 367.5 pounds. I won’t do all the comparisons of weight but that’s a lot of sticks of butter! It’s also about 45 gallons of milk! Wow! That brings it into perspective. I have lost 170 pounds – over 21 gallons of that milk is GONE!!
So today, here I am two days away from the flying to California for what will surely be a life changing experience. Since I have lost weight it seems that there are numerous things that I notice, countless events that have altered my life, my views and my beliefs. I see differently now with an open mind and deep appreciation. My relationship with God has been increased beyond measure. My relationship with myself has changed to where I really like ME now. I am comfortable with who I am and the person that I’ve become. Excess weight and now excess skin, does not make me the person that I am but has made my attitude and outlook different for sure. After unsuccessfully attempting to lose weight more times than I can even tally, I have found victory in “Doing it for ME!” I have put myself first and foremost which I never did before. It sounds selfish but it’s not. By focusing on my health – mental, physical and emotional, my value and worth have improved tremendously, in turn, my family is better off because I am obviously more capable to do things with them and have increased my life expectancy by years if not decades.
Monday with my traveling companion, Trish Marshall, we will get to Los Angeles, California and meander to Rancho Mirage to settle into our home away from home for over 2 weeks. On Tuesday I will have a consultation with Dr. Andrew Ordon. (If you don’t already know a quick update: I sent my story into The Doctors; they contacted me and after numerous emails, calls, pictures, and details, I appeared on an episode “Skin: Feed It, Fix It, Tuck It” where I was the feature guest on the “Tuck It” segment; I was generously offered his service for corrective surgery to remove excess skin.) Wednesday, July 31, 2013 I will have corrective surgery. It is corrective, not cosmetic. The excess skin is as mentally debilitating as the excess weight was physically debilitating. It’s not for vanity but for functionality.
Today as I was getting dressed I was more aware of my routine, thinking about not having to do this anymore. I have done this for so long it’s just habit now. First off when I take a shower my arms flop and sway as I’m washing my hair – that will be “fixed”. Then I have to lift the excess skin on my stomach to be able to get clean – that will be “fixed” too. Trivial maybe to others, but it will be life changing for my daily routine and hard to even imagine not having those problems hanging around any longer. Back to my routine, so you can get an idea of my layers and tucking – hiding of the truth if I dare say. Panties are an obvious. They are put on after powdering under my flap/apron of skin. Next I will put a little powder in my hands and rub my upper arms. I will then put on what I refer to as my sleeves. This wonderful invention has changed my life and my self confidence by constricting the excess skin on my arms into a more firm, fit, contoured shape. I will then pull up the bra and adjust my breasts to look as “normal” as I can. After my arms and breasts are neatly tucked away, I can then step into my waist high girdle. This is pulled up to meet my bra. Then I adjust the skin on my stomach and legs of the girdle that go down mid-thigh. Next I put on a tight fitting tank top and adjust the excess skin under my armpits, on my sides, to be more contoured to not show under clothes with the sides of my bra and the tank. Finally I can get dressed. Whew…… this is not an easy task but makes me more mentally capable to face the world, if even at home.
The reality comes back, no matter how I look and my self-confidence level, every time that I have to use the restroom. I have to tuck, shove and adjust my stomach back into hiding. At bedtime I am continually reminded of my past as the layers come off one by one. The truth comes back, maybe not to everyone else but to me. No one ever warned me of the remnants that would be left after losing a lot of weight. It’s disheartening to think about all the others out there that are living with the excess skin condition I have, much less if it’s worse than or not as bad as mine. I know that the girdling is giving me a false self-confidence to get through the day but it has prevented rashes and back pain that I have heard come with the weight of the skin “hanging” around and shaking about during the day.
I wanted to share my experience as my story, my journey, is an open book. If my situations can be of assistance, guidance, encouragement or inspiration to others I feel humbled to be the vessel to do so, a way that I can give back and pay it forward. I completely give God the credit for getting me to this point and beyond. Truly I am holding on for the ride not knowing where this will take me. Another chapter of my life is about to begin….
What chapter are you on? Are you living your life for God? Are you making excuses for not eating right and treating your body like God has intended for us to be able to serve him? To serve others? It took me “weigh” too long to figure it out and I am appreciative for the opportunities that have happened and those that are before me. Don’t “weight” too long to figure out that you control your own weight. No one else is feeding you. Only you have the ability to make the changes that are beneficial for your body. Love yourself. YOU are Worthy! I have been, and will continue to be “Doing it for ME!”
I’m at the Nashville airport getting ready, well waiting, to start an adventure of a lifetime. I seem to be quite leased lately with several of those and more yet to be. It is so very humbling to have all these amazing opportunities for finally learning to care about myself. The past few months have been incredible and such a blessing to have succeeded to lose almost half of myself. It’s a joy to try to encourage and inspire others to do the same through different venues, Facebook, Twitter, etc.