A five mile talk with God

Posted by gum232 on June 11th, 2013 |Filed Under ME | Leave a Comment

Well today I got some news that was really quite crushing.  Actually the email came last night but I didn’t have the opportunity to check it till this afternoon. My surgery, again, is postponed and will have to be rescheduled.  I am a believer that everything happens for a reason.  I have been very upset today trying to figure out the circumstance. It will all be okay some how, some way, some day.  I really want to be rational and keep positive about the situation. Something that was weird, especially for me, was that all I wanted to do was to go walking.  It wasn’t possible at the time.

My 5 mile talk with God today was good when i got. Home.  I probably was certifiable if someone had been around.  I talked out loud as I walked a couple miles. Lots of things going through my mind evaluating my life from different points of views and praying earnestly about lots of aspects. Did anything get resolved? I am more at peace. Yes I am still upset to a point but trying my best to put it in God’s hands to deal with.  It’s hard to do-give your problems to God.
I am so humbled by the fact that I have lost an insane amount of weight and have been chosen for such an incredible opportunity. I give the credit to God completely, still in amazement and shock myself really, especially when I look in a mirror. There is a reason for everything though we might not ever know why. I am trapped in this body sagging with skin.  Emotionally it is so tormenting. Physically it is uncomfortable having to tuck and shove into a constricted form daily.  Tomorrow is a new day, and yet another day closer to starting to live in a new body. When that day will be is yet to be determined for good reasons I’m sure.
Time for me to practice the self-talking that I have somehow stopped. Time for me to show others by example that  you can overcome problems and not turn to food, maybe even exercise instead?! Time for me to be, or become, a strong woman to be an example to my daughters.  Time for me to realize and practice my own motto-that I am worth it and that I am Doing it for me. Time for me to ultimately give it all to God.

Be more aware of the body-effect that the food will provide.

Posted by gum232 on June 6th, 2013 |Filed Under ME | Leave a Comment

I responded on my FB page about my senior picture that i posted. A friend complimented me that I look better now. My response….

I am smaller now than when in high school. Pretty crazy it took me 30+ years to do it. I really put my body through a lot, emotionally and physically.  The torment, etc of growing up over weight is just horrible.  I truly wouldn’t wish it on anyone: being left out, not having invites, being uncomfortable in desks, not being able to wear the “in” clothes…. The list could go on and on.  Now when I see a child overweight I want to just talk to them and tell them to do it while they are young to not miss out on life and opportunities.  I am so thankful to have a second chance and a new beginning, ready to face the world and not hide away.

Now it makes me sad, so very sad, to reflect on my missed years of life and living that was restricted by the permanent “fat suit” that I wore.  It was my shield and protector at the time.  I hid behind, or in there, but who or why was I hiding? I don’t know and at this point it doesn’t really matter because it can’t be changed.  The youth of today have even more struggles than I did I think, not with just the social aspect of the results of being heavy but the temptations available and put in front of them/us today.

Its better late than never!

It isn’t fair that I don’t get to eat what everyone else eats. Does it make me mad? Absolutely! Did I use to eat all that “stuff”? Well… absolutely.  Did it produce an outcome, or shall we say side-effect, or even better a body-effect, that I didn’t want? Again I say… Absolutely!  Externally everyone could see what was going on but internally, in private, no one really knows what it does to your mind, your self worth, your self value unless you too are, or were, overweight.  Keep n mind when I say overweight, for my situation I pretty much could say that I was 200 pounds overweight.  I will hope to hit the scales one day with a solid 200 pounds gone, if my body allows it o happen.

So now what can we do for these children suffering with weight issues today? Cheap food is usually eaten for economical and time efficiency purposes, running through the drive thru somewhere, grabbing whatever will fill the void the fastest, not considering the long term body-effect.  I like that term! I will continue to use that.  We can look at the body-effect of fast foods, prepackaged foods, etc versus eating healthy-fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and minimal, non refined grains. The body-effect of making the fast choice is excess weight gain possibly, but then look internally what damage it could do with your heart, blood sugar, etc. not to mention the issues that could arise with joints and so on.  Now on the positive body-effect of making the healthier choices, you could experience weight loss, decreased levels of cholesterol, blood sugar, pain on joints and general overall feeling of goodness and health.

My new term…. Body-effect.  I like it! It says a lot.  Now, before eating I will personally try to be more aware of the body-effect that the food will provide.  Will it be a healthy choice for the body-effect that I want?  Absolutely!

On a personal note, I have been struggling. Writing helps me a lot.  If anyone reads it or not, it helps me.  The body-effect is great for me emotionally to release and share my thoughts.  I hope that someone, anyone, that might read my words will be helped through bringing awareness or thought to their own body.  Only you can do it for your body.  I am doing it for me!

if you follow me please feel free to respond.  Also I am now trying to post daily on my Facebook group Heather’s Healthy Habits, including what i eat at each meal, sometimes with pictures and recipes.  Just request to be my friend- Heather Shelton Gum or message me to be added to the group.

Hello…I am a Professional Dieter

Posted by gum232 on May 30th, 2013 |Filed Under ME | Leave a Comment

Today is an opportunity.  Many choices will be before us in this day God has blessed us with.  It is our decision how to react to them which will determine the outcome.  What results are you looking for?  Making the “right” decision is not always an easy thing to do in many situations, especially when it comes to our health.

For 30 years I was overweight to morbidly obese due to not making the choices that were best for my body - physical, mental and emotional health.  I was talking to some coworkers yesterday about nutrition and they were saying how knowledgeable I am.  I gave myself a new title of PD - Professional Dieter.  There’s no way I could figure out an actual count of how many “diets” I have been on.  For some I couldn’t even make it through the first day but they would count too.  There’s something to think about. However the benefit of my experience as a Professional Dieter leads me into a vast familiarity with healthy eating, nutritional options and even more so on what doesn’t work best for trying to lose excess weight.

After all is said and done - I finally found what has worked for my body.  Every body is different.  There are different likes and dislikes, capabilities, financial means, location and availability of food, etc.  I was talking last summer to a friend that has lost a lot of weight as well, over 100 pounds.  We both started feeding our bodies metabolically about a week apart.  As strange as it is, she’s the one who invited me to my first TOPS meeting and wound up quitting.  This time we both found a method that suited our bodies and situations. While we were comparing notes, it came up that we are using the knowledge that we’ve had all along.  It truly is in the mind to surpass and prevail over all the things that life throws our way to make the decisions that we know we need to make for the outcome we know we need and want.

I am a Professional Dieter.  I expect to live the rest of my life feeding my body what it needs to get the most from my body.  I feel great and it’s only going to get better.  I referred to my extreme weight loss as a shedding of my exoskeleton at one point.  Now that exoskeleton that has me en-captured it will be surgically removed to reveal the real me - the me I was meant to be, thanks to The Doctors and Dr. Andrew Ordon.  Life is truly a blessing to not take for granted. Give GOD the glory in everything.  Without him I would have and be nothing.  I am trying to give all my problems to GOD and turn to him for guidance by letting it go into his control, because ultimately I am not in control.  Everything happens for a reason.  A verse in a poem that I wrote in my youth - “He may answer quick, he may answer slow, but he promises to answer yes or no.”

Speaking with a friend yesterday I recalled something she told me.  Back last year when I went to a local plastic surgeon about excess skin just to see what would be suggested, etc. she went with me.  Financially, as expected, it would be a huge burden on our family and I could not see doing that.  As we sat eating at a salad bar, I looked at her and said “I don’t see it happening.”  Her response was “You didn’t see yourself losing the weight either.”  That was the determination planted in me to reach out for other options and sources to help with my situation.  My mom loves the statement I made that “the excess skin is as mentally debilitating as the excess weight was physically debilitating.”

Life is a series of options, choices and outcomes when it comes to health and nutrition.  It’s taken me a lifetime to learn that and now attempt to live it. I expect every day to have continued obstacles and pray that I can overcome them.  It is really hard having lost 160-170 pounds to maintain now.  I’m staying within 10 pounds so I am okay with that.  I am continuing to do this.  I am doing it for ME!

Your story matters

Posted by gum232 on May 6th, 2013 |Filed Under ME | Leave a Comment

It’s been a while since I’ve written.  A lot has been going on lately.

Since my last post I have attended the TN TOPS State Recognition Days.   It was a fun event, as usual, to recognize accomplishments across the state.  There was a before and after parade where you can show your old sized clothes.  When it was my turn, imagine me just walking across holding my pants in front of me like I was a paper doll… NOT!  I had the big size 30 red pants from my before picture folded and rolled up real tight.  I stood on stage and let them unroll.   With dramatic pause between each unfolding I opened them up completely.  After stepping out of my shoes and hearing the roar and applaud of the crowd, I stepped into one pant leg, holding out the other.  What an amazing feeling.  The next day I was crowned TOPS TN State Queen!  I received a crown and a scepter along with a sash, certificate and fabulous bouquet. It was a very humbling experience. I was recognized and presented the Century Award for losing over a hundred pounds and keeping it off for 52 consecutive weeks.  I also graduated as a KOPS, Keep Off Pound Sensibly and as Queen, with the King, we started the Circle of Light.  Congratulations Scott Thomas! it was a great weekend with old friends and even better with some new ones.

With this recognition and new title, there are some opportunities that are open to me now. I have applied for and gotten my passport! Why? Because the TOPS International Recognition Days this year is in….. (Drum roll….) Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I am really beginning to like traveling and flying!

The recognition from being on The Doctors was mentioned several times and I even was interviewed again for another paper yesterday.  I had to sign a few autographs too.  Unfortunately an Uncle died and I had to go out of town. Numerous relatives, who had not seen me, yet had seen me on TV, complimented and praised me about my weight loss.  It’s such an honor to be able to talk to people about what I have done and confirming what they know they need to do.  It’s not an easy thing by any means but if someone can make healthy choices because of seeing or talking to me, what a blessing.

I have had people ask me about the surgery that Dr. Ordon has so generously offered for me.  I have a surgery date!  My schedule will be busy with lots of flying.  I will be flying for IRD to Canada and have to turn around to fly to California for the procedure on July 22nd. Life is such a blessing.

I have recently returned from a work conference and have some new ideas and possible opportunities ahead to incorporate my new health-style and to encourage others to lead a more healthy life. It was suggested I even present a meeting at a national convention in a couple years.  That would be awesome. Not only do we, as educators, try to build on skills and values in the youth with which we work, but we need to be physically and mentally healthy to present information and capable of being the examples for the youth of today and leaders of tomorrow.

God is blessing me daily. I am so proud to be able to share me story with you.  Your story matters. Write it down for yourself as you go through the process so you can reflect on your journey as a reminder of what you went through. It’s a great tool for me and I am glad I have done it. There’s no way that I could go back and try to write what I was feeling each time that I was dedicated to write. It’s not been, and still isn’t, easy but I keep Doing It for Me! You can do it.

I have been having a lot of struggles lately. Trying to stay in control is not easy, facing temptations daily…..

If you are interested in reading what I consume daily, on a meal by meal basis, I am posting it on my Facebook page- Heather’s Healthy Habits, under Heather Shelton Gum.

Confession of obsession

Posted by gum232 on March 28th, 2013 |Filed Under ME | Leave a Comment

i apologize for not writing sooner but life has been insanely busy. There have been a few stories written about my weight loss and my appearance on The Doctors.  It started off with The Daily News Journal interviewing me at the Murfreesboro, Tn Metabolic Research Center.  The story was in the business section yet mentioned TOPS and my employer as well.  Next Tennessee State University did a fabulous feature that was on the front page of their website and linked on their Facebook, Twitter, etc. pages. Not sure if or when it would be in print. There were numerous likes and shares. The University of Tennessee linked to the TSU article as well. The Murfreesboro Post featured my story and my before and after pictures were on the front page. That was quite humbling to drive up to see myself on the front page in the paper machine.

WKRN Channel 2 News came out to shoot a story too that the Director of Media Relations from TSU set up. It aired several times between Monday 18th and Wednesday morning prior to the episode airing at 11am.  The Murfreesboro Post did a follow-up story this Sunday after the show since the viewers all found out that Dr. Andrew Ordon offered to do my skin removal surgery!
I cried more watching the episode with some girlfriends than when I was in California taping.  The world has access to see me in my girdles and the excess skin within which is held.
This entire experience is so very humbling to be picked for this amazing life changing gift to remove the remnants of my past. The support has been incredible and the praise amazing.  I have found through the last few months having been able to keep the weight off that in a way it’s like being pregnant.  You’re probably thinking what in the world is she talking about? When you’re pregnant everyone tends to tell you their history about pregnancy and child birth. It’s quite similar with weight.  A lot of people have told me their diet history, sort of like a type of confession. They will tell me their history, their family’s or even friends.  If there’s a way that I can be an encouragement or support then I am glad to listen and share some details of my experience.
So now for you to help me…. Please.  I humbly request your prayers for the procedure to go well, for the doctors and nurses to have their hands guided by God’s, and to have a speedy recovery to return to my family and friends after a couple of weeks of healing in California. There are obvious factors including potential discomfort following the surgical removal of several pounds of stretched out and sagging skin.  It is temporary.  God is in control and has a purpose.
Also, I have a confession of obsession. I have been praying for guidance, patience and strength with my obsession for nuts and cheese.  It has had control of me, not me of it.  I will regain the control that is needed starting NOW!  How will I do this? I have done it before so I know I can do it again. I will do it. The stress has gotten to me and the smells, flavors and textures of eating crunchy yummy nuts, nut butters and various cheeses has been a weakness.  It’s not that I can’t consume them, just not in the quantity in which I have been partaking.  My personal method of choice will be avoidance.  If I cannot control my portions I cannot let nuts and cheese be in control! Avoidance=control=success, at least for me.
Surgery will be scheduled soon and another chapter of my life will begin.  If you want to follow me on Facebook please look me up Heather Shelton Gum and identify yourself and how you “know” me through a message. It’s pretty crazy too that you can Google me (minus Gum)!!  You can read articles, watch the news story out of Nashville and go to www.thedoctors.com and click on the videos tab.  There are two clips. I hope and pray that my journey and experience will help someone, or many, make a healthy choice for a meal, for a week or for a lifetime. Only YOU can do it for yourself.  I am doing it for me.

Humbled beyond words

Posted by gum232 on March 9th, 2013 |Filed Under ME | 2 Comments

This is a long post to describe an adventure and details therein.  If you are interested please continue reading….

On Tuesday, February 26th I alone arrived at the airport to head west to the wonderful state of California.  I was able to go down the aisle on the plane and request to sit in a middle seat!!  I have heard the analogy about giving yourself oxygen in case of an emergency prior to being able to help children or others where this situation is told about weight loss and the necessity of helping yourself.  I was able to see the flight attendant direct a passenger with an infant about the mask.  I appreciated that as a reminder that I have and am taking care of myself for a change, for the rest of my life. 

I sat next to this wonderful woman named Ellen and was touched by her.  We exchanged pleasantries then the whole “where are you going” stories.  She was so amazing and the conversation was such a blessing.  I have completely turned this over to God as I feel as though my story is and will be able to help others.  I was grateful to this beautiful stranger asking me questions about my life and weight struggles and how I have finally been successful.  Considering the purpose of the flight and what was to become, literally recorded in history, it was a great “practice” or trial run.  The flight seemed to last an hour with the wonderful conversation.

Speaking of trial runs…. If you recall, last July I was recognized in San Diego for my weight loss the previous year.  Since the family went with me we scheduled extra days to tour.  One of the days was spent on Hollywood Blvd.  To look back, it’s as if God was giving me a “dry run” to help prepare me and give me the confidence to return to LA. 

When I arrived, it was pretty neat to see someone with my name waiting for my arrival.  The driver got my luggage and we headed to the first shoot.  At this location my back story was filmed.  I was asked questions and told my story on camera and in photographs.  After several hours I was driven to my hotel - the Loews Hollywood.  I felt like a star walking into the hotel, much less going into my room. 

As an overweight/morbidly obese individual I was never comfortable eating alone in public.  It was a challenge that I would conquer a few times over the adventurous three days.  After everything was settled in the room, I did it!  I headed to the hotel restaurant -Preston’s.  I ate alone, but Matthew, my server, was very kind.  I was mentally prepared to stay on track with my eating program and did just that-without weighing portions which I just had to let go and not worry about.  Being absolutely treated special I did take a little advantage and enjoyed a filet mignon with some brocolini and roasted potatoes. Before turning in I ordered room service for breakfast to be delivered. 

The night seemed to last forever with the two hour time difference but was somewhat interrupted as well by an email I read in the night.  I had to set my alarm to call home early.  My oldest daughter was amazing and was able to find, scan and email some requested photographs from my youth.  Time passed and the alarm went off so I could get up and be prepared for my “free day” to play in LA.  When breakfast arrived, chicken breast with mozzarella and fresh berries, I was sitting there and it all hit me.  I was humbled beyond words which lead to tears.  I broke down.  The reality of me reaching a weight loss goal that I never thought I’d reach hit me and hit me hard.  As much as I love to write, this time my very words had gotten me to California to share and tell my story.  My friend Lisa made the remark in an instant of humbleness of “What makes me more special or deserving than someone else?” that changed my attitude…. she said - God has gotten you this far, he’s not going to bail out now.  I thought I had turned it over to him before but now it was completely.  The doubt and fear vanished.  The very humble confidence was prevalent above all.

What an amazing day I had?!  I took a taxi to the CBS studio where I was in the audience, not chosen, of a taping for The Price Is Right.  It will air on April 22nd.  I’m quite easy to spot in the back row to the left - a lot!! I also had gotten a ticket for Jay Leno but it was the opposite direction from where I was so I passed it up.  There was a taping of Extra with Mario Lopez interviewing Sean Combs and Mark Wahlburg at a nearby mall - The Farmers Market and The Grove.  I could have reached out and touched Sean and Mark!!  My goal was to walk back to the hotel, about 3 1/2 to 4 miles, and get back before dark.  I walked down Fairfax for a ways.  Since we had “done” Hollywood Blvd. last year I decided to turn and go up Sunset.  I saw some pretty nice cars and even stopped for a mani/pedi!  These sweet ladies at the taping and even at the salon offered to give me a ride to the hotel but I was determined and had a goal.  I did it!  I walked all the way back.  I could have NEVER done that before. 

Again Matthew was great and I thoroughly enjoyed my Barramundi (?) fresh catch from Australia with brocolini and asparagus.  It wasn’t as hard to sleep the second night after enjoying my own company for the day.  The day ahead was going to be awesome!

Since the car wasn’t going to be there to pick me up till 10:45 I slept in a smidge then got ready and packed up.  I went to the restaurant for breakfast.  Woo hoo!  I really have come a long way.  My mom was great to talk to throughout the trip even though there was three hours difference.  I checked out.  The car arrived and off to the studio we went.  It was nice being shown to my dressing room where I had to wait for hair, make-up and wardrobe.  They made me look beautiful and liked the clothes I had brought.  (Thanks to Emilie at Kohl’s!)  I sat, and froze, during the taping of other segments after being miked and ready.  I was lead behind the set and then onto the set of The Doctors where I met Dr. Andrew Ordon and Dr. Travis Stork.  Considering I’m not allowed to say anything about the show, it’s actually quite a blur and was very surreal anyways.  I vaguely remember, I think, some of the topics but not completely.  The most incredible feeling was when I was being lead off the set, cameras off and not cued, the audience started applauding me.  I had to keep telling myself not to cry to mess up my make-up. 

In the whirlwind I was rushed to the Bob Hope Airport where I had to walk briskly to get through security and to the terminal in time for the flight home.  Again I would eat alone in the airport and take 1/2 on the plane to Vegas to finish.  Flying can bring many emotions of anxiousness, fear, elation and relief.  After a short layover we arrived back to an empty airport and I got home about 2:30 am.  High on life. 

Tune in on March 20th to your local station to view The Doctors.

The mindset of Doing it for ME has kept me going and will be my focus to stay at my goal.  Now onward to work to not just help and encourage others but to lobby for insurance companies to have to pay for corrective procedures after extreme weight loss. 

The local paper did a story on me too.  I am Google-able!  http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=heather%20gum%20dnj&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&ved=0CDIQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dnj.com%2Farticle%2F20130307%2FBUSINESS%2F303070022%2FReadyville-woman-loses-170-pounds-by-eating-right&ei=ZQo8UaKkH4T28wTblIHQAw&usg=AFQjCNElqTeH6vkzoonZYDRwrhPK9MMORQ&bvm=bv.43287494,d.eWU

What is really a blessing is that someone not only made a life changing decision to join MRC after reading my article, but someone else knew my writing - asking if I was the one who wrote “The Reflection”.  I feel that makes me a real writer when someone knows your work!  Such a blessing to be in the position I am in to not only life a more active and full life but to make a difference in others lives to be an inspiration and encouragement to become healthier.

My rainbow awaits

Posted by gum232 on February 25th, 2013 |Filed Under ME | 1 Comment

Life is full of surprises and blessing in disguise.  I am going on an adventure of a lifetime, or the beginning of one.  My whole life has been a series of circumstances and situations that has lead me to where I am today, at this very moment.  Through all the good and the bad, the happy, the sad, the joyous occassions and misery, there seems to be a silver lining holding it all together, literally a light at the end of the tunnel, my rainbow awaits. 

I am running into my future with arms wide open ready to embrace what lies ahead….

I am doing it for me! 

Love yourself!

Posted by gum232 on February 14th, 2013 |Filed Under ME | 1 Comment

Here I am two years to the day that changed my life forever. After what seemed like hundreds, if not thousands, failed attempts at losing weight, I began the journey to what would become a success story. What drove me to the point of change is asked. Why did it work this time? So many factors are involved when it comes to being overweight mentally, physically and emotionally. All I can really say is that I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I didn’t really live life the way I wanted to or could have. No reason to have regrets because that doesn’t change the fact that for over thirty years I existed in a body that suffered from being over weight to morbidly obese. I never realized how bad that I really felt till I know now what it feels like to feel good.

I made changes in my food consumption.  There are foods that I don’t foresee me ever putting in my mouth again.  I might try a nibble and spit it out these days.  If I go off of my program/regiment I typically stay within the realms of foods that I choose to eat but perhaps exceed the measured portion size. The biggest thing I can tell you is that eating nothing boxed or canned has for sure rid my body of many chemicals and preservatives that aren’t natural.  The only things i eat now are canned low fat chicken breast, albacore tuna, rarely salmon, and boxed would be melba toast, and low fat high fiber flat bread, pitas, etc. Writing down what I eat helps so much to stay aware and to help pinpoint any problem areas.

When I started journalling, or blogging, my story I called it a rite of passage. It has been a process that has been the hardest thing in my life to do. It has been an every day issue to deal with, not just a one time thing. Through so many meals and situations where I have chosen to make healthy choices over an array of menu items available. I have prepared and taken my own meals into numerous events and gatherings and even into restaurants to eat with friends.  At this point it doesn’t bother me anymore.  I have gone through probably a ton of clothes from size 30 to now 12/14s. Unfortunately there are some people that have chosen to pull out of my life for whatever reason. That’s one of the worst things to happen after years of friendship.

To get to where I have come has not been easy. I have never been here before so it’s all new to me. I am enjoying my new found size and capabilities. I am still me, believe it or not, though a lot of times people don’t recognize me. That has been a struggle because I still see out of the same eyes. If I am not me then who am I? Well I have come to the conclusion that I am a new improved model of the me that’s been here the whole time.

Who would have thought two years ago I would be sitting here happy to be me? I had not enjoyed being me for a long time and had gained the identity of so many other names, or titles, that wasn’t a true representation of me: daughter, sister, wife, mother, friend, Girl Scout Leader, PTO Chair, employee. I was not serving those roles to the best of my capability because I was not capable to do so trapped in that body. World welcome the new and improved Heather! I expect that I am better at all the tasks those titles hold. I am so thankful that from somewhere deep inside me that the strength was found to overcome everything thrown my way to come out on the other side smiling.

What a privilege that has be bestowed upon me, yes me, I still can’t believe it myself, to become the example and now inspiration to others to make healthy choices and lose weight. I doubted that this journey would have lead me to where I am today but am so grateful and humbled to have accomplished the near impossible feat of losing an extreme amount of weight. Surgery was not an option for me so I lost it all my the good ole hand to mouth method. I move so much more than I ever did before yet find it difficult to find time in my busy schedule to exercise on a routine. I will do as I can when I can is all that I can promise myself right now so I have to be good with that.

If you have followed my blog thank you. I hope I have said something to touch your heart that makes you value yourself a little more, a lot more.

I have another chance at LIFE!

Posted by gum232 on January 13th, 2013 |Filed Under ME | Leave a Comment

For so very long I have been overweight I have never known any different.  I have never done so many things but have watched as a spectator from the sidelines.  NO MORE!  I have Another chance at LIFE!  I am where I need to be on the scales now 175 pounds down!  I have lost all of my family one by one… my youngest daughter, then my oldest and now my husband. 

The list could go on and on but I have to share with you my most recent adventrue. Never in my life would I have ever given it a second thought until now……The opportunity arose at a great cost to go on a trip with my daughters.  Not only did I go but I participated!  I didn’t just stand on the sidelines watching my daughters learn how snow ski, but I too was up on the hill in training!  The outing included a second day which allowed Olivia, 14, and me to make a few runs again to get our bearings down the training slope to build our confidence to head up the ski lift.  I went down a few times and she went a few more.  What an absolutely amazing adventure.  Did I fall?  Well duh!?! How many times? Did I have fun? Absolutely!! Would I go again? Let me get my calendar and we’ll schedule it. 

So my question for you to ponder is what would you possibly do if your body allowed you to?

Well, something that happened today I’d like to share real quick.  A friend that I’ve not seen in a while was out of town for the holidays and gave me a call.  She thought my husband, Terry, had gotten remarried.  She had to take a second and third look to really see and believe that it was me in our family photo on our Christmas card.  She said that I aughta be on TV every day sharing my success story and encouraging others that it’s incredible how I’ve lost the weight, without surgery, and how wonderful I look.  What a blessing to have that praise and compliments. 

I don’t think about how my successful weight loss has effected others in their weight loss orr healthy lifestyle journey but I hear remarks and get credit for people’s successes through knowing me and witnessing my own.  WOW!  I really have done it!  I am still aware and fighting every day to stay in control, with an occassional lapse of overindulging eating nuts and cheese-my temptations.  The way I eat now will be the way I see myself eating for years to come.  I’m not doing it for recognition by any means but if me being recognized and able to share my story with others who need help, maybe I can help them, you, too.  The recognition has just begun but bigger still is that I have another chance at LIFE! 

I am doing it for ME!

Become the person that’s been inside all along

Posted by gum232 on December 18th, 2012 |Filed Under ME | Leave a Comment

I wanted to share an overview of where I came from to where I am today.  I had to make a choice and have kept the determination to become the person that’s been inside all along. 


Since I have such a long history of weight issues it’s difficult to narrow down the last few decades of my existence but I’ll try.  I have existed but haven’t really been living.  At my highest weight I was 367.5 pounds and stretched a woman’s size 30 to the max, what few items that I had found that would fit.  What lead me into bad habits?  I am not pointing my fingers at anyone or any situation.  No one ever forced me to eat anything that I didn’t shove in my mouth willingly.  The habits of sneaking foods, running through convenient drive-thrus, grabbing prepackaged foods, eating entire packs of food with numerous servings and just generally eating whatever I wanted, when I wanted to and whatever quantity I could, combined to produce the broken miserable person that I literally grew to be but never wanted to be- inside or out.  Pre-children, I graduated modeling school but still my self-esteem, value and self-worth were completely diminished as I fought daily and was defeated by temptations and the weight.  I was a stay-at-home mom for almost 12 years prior to returning to the land of adults and a paycheck.  I had volunteered for years on the PTO, as a Girl Scout Leader and with 4-H working with children.  For three years now, I have been working with 4-H program.  Going to the classrooms and saying the 4-H pledge with the students made me more aware that I wasn’t the example of Health but needed to be. As a 4-H alumnus I can say that 4-H meant the world to me back then but now I feel that 4-H has literally saved my life.





No one truly knows or understands the road I’ve traveled unless they’ve been there not being physically capable to  effectively accomplish daily tasks and chores, even getting to the point where personal hygiene was starting to become an issue.  I felt like I needed to do the best I could to dry off after a shower and completely dunk in a tub of powder to prevent chaffing, rashes and infections.  I was not living and going to do the things that “normal” people would do through life with friends, family or even my children.  It was hard to get down on the floor with them as infants/toddlers and that much more difficult to rise again.  It was humiliating and embarrassing to really be seen a lot of the time.  Going to a restaurant or food function as an overweight person you feel as though everyone is watching what you eat, pointing at you, wondering if you’ll leave food for the rest of the people, etc. That’s not even mentioning how uncomfortable it is to sit in chairs or squeeze into a booth.  I never really would look in the mirror to acknowledge that reflection.  It got to be commonplace that no matter where I went I would expect to be, and usually was, the largest person wherever we would go.  That made me not want to go anywhere.


I maintained my existence through the damage I continued putting my poor body through.  It was a struggle trying to get pregnant due to polycystic ovaries and after multiple miscarriages to maintain both of my pregnancies to have our daughters. I had to be on medications constantly and was high risk with gestational diabetes with both.  I had my gall bladder removed with emergency surgery 7 months after my first child was born, being fortunate that the doctor didn’t have to cut me open completely to remove the worst gall bladder he’d ever seen.  The last pregnancy did me in leaving me with carpel tunnel, insulin resistant and with post partum preeclampsia having me under a cardiologists care for a while.  I’ve had kidney stones too that were hard to break up due to the excess fat insulating my organs.  Eventually I was able to get off of medicines with natural treatments. My blood pressure increased to medicinal treatment with additional weight gain after yo-yoing several times.  Several years ago I was diagnosed with sleep apnea and grinding my teeth.  Fortunately I never had a huge health scare.  I was entirely out of control.  My blood pressure on medication at my highest weight was 158/84.  Currently I am not on any medications and my blood pressure runs regularly 110/70.  The pressure on my CPAP has been decreased to the lowest setting but I have not been “released” per se because I don’t want to make that financial commitment towards a deductable.  Occasionally I will use the CPAP still as self proclaimed “healed”.  I still sleep with my splints but the carpel tunnel is greatly improved.  It’s more of a habit – but not one that affects my weight.  

A change

I can’t even say that I refocused because that implies that at some point I was focused.  If I had been I would not have failed countless times.  I have tried so many diets, diet pills, etc. out of desperation and searching for that quick fix that would still allow me to eat poorly and magically get thin.  I have been a member of TOPS, Take Off Pounds Sensibly, since 2005.  I continued still to go up and down till I joined MRC, Metabolic Research Center, on February 14, 2011. I was desperate and had to learn to love myself.  My measurements had ballooned up to a whopping 53” bust, 55.5” waist, 63.5” hips.  Currently they are better at 42”, 35”, 43”.  Obviously something has finally clicked for me to lose 170 pounds, without surgery.  Not that having surgical assistance to lose weight is easy by any means, but I don’t have that “stop button” in my body, but it’s in my head with will power and determination.  I made the comparison to my husband when I made this commitment to change that if it were our car that was broke we’d get it repaired – I was broke and needed to be fixed.  TOPS is relatively inexpensive at a whopping $100 for a year membership, with a magazine and monthly dues for weekly meetings for accountability, support and educational information.  However, MRC on the other hand provided me nutritional counseling twice a week with supplements I chose to nourish my body with has roughly cost about $100 per week. 



I will admit, unfortunately, that my successful weight loss is not due to exercise.  Besides not being able to physically keep up with an exercise regimen, I did not want to be seen.  I did water aerobics for several years but now with my skin hanging that is completely not an option for my self-confidence.  My achievement was 95% consumption of making healthy and nourishing choices for my body.  At one point I told my mother that I was feeding my body.  That was a huge “a-ha” moment.  My nutrition consists of fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables prepared by steaming, sautéing or mostly eating raw.  I eat lots and lots of fowl and fins- chicken, turkey breast, albacore tuna and tilapia.  A treat is some very lean red meat, pork tenderloin or salmon. I consume very minimal processed foods/carbohydrates.  Perhaps that is one reason that my body has allowed the weight to vanish and why I feel better physically.  It’s like I have preserved my body by eliminating the preservatives.  The energy level has increased tremendously.  I consciously try to stay in control of my food now and will take my pre-measured food to gatherings and functions.  Eating out is stressful but I will order very specifically which is aggravating to those around me most of the time.  If I’m paying for it – I want it cooked to my specifications. 



I built up some very strong walls for self preservation.  I didn’t know what else to do. The walls I constructed around me were super thick and tall.  Was I hiding inside, preventing anyone from coming in to know me and help me or was I completely scared of reality to the point of blocking everyone out?  I was in denial and had my defenses up for decades.  I thought I was a nice person, always helpful, with many talents that I freely shared but now I have recently discovered through an acquaintance that I have become so self-absorbed, self-centered and arrogant about the weight loss that no one likes the “new” me. Emotionally this has been a roller coaster without any brakes and totally out of control.  There are people that I thought were friends that are no longer around. Is it their choice, jealousy or did I run them off somehow? I have blogged about this passage from unhealthy to healthy and it’s titled Doing it for Me.  Perhaps losing weight has taken over my life, but it is my life that I am in control of, that it’s my responsibility to take care of or suffer the consequences.  I never have had this mindset but am glad that I do now because for me it’s worked.  I like the new me.




I would like to think that my husband who married me at a size 24 would be supportive but that is not necessarily the case.  Having been overweight for so very long people do not know who I am and it gets a lot of attention, I mean a lot of attention.  He told me he had a discussion with someone, and agreed with them, that I walked into a room like I was better than everyone else.  I told him, if anything, that I walk into a room with self-confidence and my head held high, proud of myself, and a confident woman, and typically NOT the largest person in the room anymore.  This makes me very sad and depressed that he is not with me, not there for me through this process of changing and adapting to this new body.  It’s upsetting not knowing how to respond respectfully when someone makes a comment about I bet your husband loves the new you.  Previously I feel he sabotaged my efforts, or I just gave in and allowed patterns to repeat.

I have generally gone through this process alone making it as least inconvenient to my husband or daughters by preparing my food separately while still serving them whatever they want prepared.  I have never asked them to change but by default of not buying a bunch of junk that I used to they do not have a lot of stuff readily available anymore. My youngest daughter has measured me by how far she can wrap her arms around me considering she never could do that till she was 9 ½.  TOPS awards regionally, at the state level and internationally for success.  This year I, for my weight loss last year, I was recognized for all the above.  I am on their website and even in their magazine.    The best recognition is the Century Medallion that I just was presented for having lost 100 pounds and keeping it off for 52 or more consecutive weeks. 


I took for granted many things as I have been alive yet there are things that I never have done or been capable of doing because of size.  I have an invisible pair of blinders on that are used more than not.  Presently they are on a majority of the time in eating situations to avoid “eye contact” with temptation.  They have been worn a lot in years past to the unreachable, unattainable gifts that I now see and appreciate.  I had gotten so large that I could not wear my wedding rings but now I have actually shrunk out of them going from a size 13 to a 9.  I notice the gift of veins and tendons in my hands and up my arms.  I never could see them and always had dimples where knuckles were hidden.  I catch myself rubbing my collar bones that I can feel now.  I have been capable of not only fitting comfortably in an airplane seat but even in the airplane restroom!  On a trip I was given the gift of being able to see inside of a submarine and was capable of maneuvering through hatches.

Where I was always the one behind the camera, not wanting to be seen, I now have the gift of self-importance and am proud to show my accomplishment to encourage others, NEVER, EVER, meaning to brag or boast.  I am capable now of accepting praise and humbled to do so.  The best gift that I have gotten is that of feeling good and capability of living a life being able to physically do and try new things with my family and friends that I am years behind in trying.  In pictures with my husband and daughters the expression has changed. I have found my smile. 


What will the future hold?  Of course no one really knows.  I appreciate every day that I get to live now.  I have high hopes for the upcoming year.  The sky is the limit.  I said that to a friend at the beginning of this year and I still believe it.  I want to be healthy and happy and live for a long time.  I want to be able to help others find self-worth.  It’s been there somewhere but it took me a long, long time to find it.  Losing an extreme amount of weight can be done.  If you are reading this and are aware of needing to make changes… what’s stopping you from starting?  Will it take a health scare? Are you wanting to wait to start after an occassion, or a holiday because you don’t want to miss out on an eating opportunity?  For me, at this stage, I view food as nutrition and don’t want to waste calories or nutitional value on a bite or two of something for a moment, or even a larger portion.  Why not make a beginning today, right now, starting at your next meal?  YOU CAN DO IT!  YOU ARE WORTH IT!  ONLY YOU CAN DO THIS FOR YOU!!  It took me over 30 years to get to where I am now.  I know that I have reached my goal by Doing it for Me and that you can too.

I’ve posted this once a while back but want you to read it again and really think about the words.

The Reflection     

by: Heather Gum

I looked in the mirror and who did I see?

A stranger, not familiar, looking back at me.

Once large and unhealthy who struggled to get around –

In the reflection I looked but she could not be found.

The discomfort and embarrassment of years gone by

I looked at the image and tried not to cry.

The weight had to GO for a rebirth of ME

To become the person I was meant to be.

I’m sorry dear body what I put you through

Forgive me I didn’t know what to do.

Countless plans and attempts were made to lose

Exclusion diets, extremes, many “here’s what to do”s.

The “health style” I choose to feed my body now

Is lean meats, fresh fruits and veggies prepared somehow.

The energy I had was absolutely nil at the start

Now I try to move when I can, it’s so good for my heart.

This foreigner that’s been living inside of me…

She was there the whole time living in misery.

I set out on this passage to learn to love myself again

“I am important” – that’s where to begin!

You can do it, keep going, are you sure of that bite?

Self-talk and encouragement helps through the fight.

If the food didn’t help to get you where you were

It won’t help to get you to where you prefer.

There’s focus and obsession to balance between

Stay on the edge and soon results can be seen.

Ask for help from those who love you, they do.

They want you to be healthy and live longer too.

Look what has happened! In the reflection I see…

I’m finally doing it! I’m doing it for ME!




I care :)



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