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. 

History

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.

 

 

 

Limitations/Obstacles

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.

Health

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. 

 

Health-style

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. 

 

Attitude

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.

 

 

 Support

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. 

 Gifts/Capabilities

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. 

Future

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!

 

HAPPY HOLIDAYS! 

 

I care :)

 

 

My body says - NO DON’T!

Posted by gum232 on November 19th, 2012 |Filed Under ME | Leave a Comment

I am miserable in many variuos aspects of my life right now. I have really let myself go. I know that I don’t need to do that but it’s easier to just give in and give up than to fight it. It seems as though most everything I do, think or say is wrong. I wish I could just crawl in a hole and disappear. And then comes the holidays…. Isn’t that always such a joy? NOT! It’s a reminder of family situations/problems, FOOD, and finances. I just don’t want to gain weight. I do not ever want to go back to where I was or even 10 pounds back up at that. It’s doing it that is the hard part while all the other crap is going on around you that I’m so tired of struggling to do. Everyone just eats what they want, when they want and how much they want. Now I am limited beyond measure and feel deprived-sometimes. It’s not that I can’t have what, when and how much of whatever I want but that I know better than to completely cave.  I’ve given into temptation and convenience lately and am aware of it and now suffer the consequences of my own foolishness. We all understand what happens when you indulge at the numerous gatherings that we all face throughout the next few weeks. How did I survive this last year? Where was my head? What was I thinking? How did I make it through the holidays? Can I do it again? Will I get to my weight loss goal this year? Can I? How do I get that same frame of thinking that helped guide me through last year? I am weak now. I am tired. I don’t “see” myself where I need to be now. Content to have succeeded this far yet fearing the unknown - success? My mind says eat whatever.  My body says - NO DON’T!  Then reality is the reflection in the mirror of why I can’t be too terribly careless.  I can’t make absolutely stupid choices, much less try to “blame” someone else or any situation for allowing tempations to get the best of me.  I have come to far to give up now.  It’s been a very lonely road to travel on by myself without as much support as I wish I had had from people that you would expect and count on supporting you that are supposed to care - or heck at least fake it!  Geesh.  Well, I’m not blaming anyone, now I know that I can’t count on anyone either so I am left to push through to the finish line by my self- without giving credit to anyone for my success but me, myself and I.  I am doing it for me -  because no one else will or can, or thinks that I’m even worth the effort.

 

 

 

Chili anyone??

Posted by gum232 on November 7th, 2012 |Filed Under ME | Leave a Comment

Not much into mixing up ingredients since I am very particular about weighing everything. Yep, for most meals I use digital scales and weigh out my portions of lean meat and vegetables. Sometimes I’ll weigh my fruit but usually it has to be measured or guessed for a “serving size”. I have yet to find a list as to weight portions of fruit and nutritional facts by such.

I am actually anxious for lunch, which I got up and made this morning of course. I put 8 oz of tomatoes and peppers together and cooked them for a bit, added my chopped 4 oz of turkey breast and 1/4 cup of black beans (carb) with some water and texas chili powder then cooked it some more. I have my sea salt handy in case it needs a smidge but it sure looks, and smells, good anyways. Chili anyone?? We’ll see…. I typically don’t mix a bunch of stuff together into a soup like this but maybe, if it turned out, that could be my new “thing”. Considering that I always cook for ONE maybe even start a recipe file - “Dieting on your own”. I understand how difficult it must be for people living alone for shopping and preparing purposes and know first-hand how it is trying to lose weight in a family that still eats whatever they want - and I still cook it for them! GRRR! It’s just cruel sometimes. 

I enjoy cooking and baking but it makes me feel bad sometimes serving, or allowing, my family to eat some of the stuff they consume.  I have become the food police - in my head only.  It never helped me to hear people telling me to not eat this, don’t eat that, are you going back for seconds, etc.  You probably know some of those remarks.  No one knows what it feels like on the receiving end of remarks like that unless it’s you.  Anyways, since I choose not to eat certain foods anymore I really try to block out what other people are eating so as not to be tempted.  If I don’t acknowledge what people are eating around me and I have made good choices for me on my plate then I will not compare, envy or want what they are having.  It’s not so easy when it comes to the smell of certain foods - bakery items, pizza, popcorn and stuff like that.  I try not to eat anything prepared and have done pretty good so far.  It doesn’t do me any good to say anything to anyone else what they are eating because it is their choice what to put in their body.  They have to have their own awareness and live with the consequences, good or bad, by what they eat and nurish their bodies with.  I’m not perfect by any means but I have learned what works and what doesn’t and know how great I feel now without any prescriptions and only a trace amount of man made chemicals in foods being put into my body. 

I am doing it for me!

Hope renewed….

Posted by gum232 on November 3rd, 2012 |Filed Under ME | Leave a Comment

My hope is renewed!  I have struggled so very long with weight, literally all of my life.  I am smaller now than I was in high school, maybe even junior high.   So much time has been “wasted” in the condition that I was in for 30 years.  Finally, maybe, I have figured out the reason, the cause, the direction in which God has been leading me to for all of these years.  I have submitted a letter regarding my situation and the situation that is growing in society today where people are trying to focus on their health and lose weight via surgery, naturally changing their health-style and/or through excercise.  SKIN!  After doing a little research online, there’s not really hope but by carving it off like a turkey!  So now let’s wait patiently and see where this leads.  Below is some of the letter.

I truly feel like I have been able to put on a “skinny suit” which most people don’t get to wear that are and were as big or bigger than I was.  I have discovered that it’s not how people treat you but more of how you present yourself by letting your pride and confidence radiate through your existence.  Looking good in clothes is a huge bonus, with the deep, very deep, appreciation for spandex!  People have no clue what is hidden underneath the threads.  This “skinny” suit is one that I can’t take off on my own.  After visiting a plastic surgeon for an idea of what could be done, I found out that I have an additional 25 pounds, give or take, that could be surgically removed, that needs to be surgically removed. 

 

The problem that comes with this new knowledge, being the price of around $30K, is that insurance will not cover anything.  Some insurances I believe will pay for corrective surgery, however mine is not one of them. So herein lies the situation – the fight for legislation for insurance companies, all of them, to pay for skin removal- it is corrective NOT cosmetic.  When I blogged in December last year I wrote about some of the ideas that I had.  Here is a portion of that blog:

 

My most recent revelation

I have a new goal and maybe someone can help me figure out a game plan, method, or even give me names, etc. to contact. After calling our insurance company, I found out that nothing is covered – “anything related to obesity is exempt”. Thus meaning, that all these years of having my skin stretched out, which is now, uh, not so pretty and only getting worse, will just be there. Insurance doesn’t cover anything reconstructive for extreme weight loss. GRRRRRrrrrr! Really?! I got off of blood pressure medicine, other meds years ago, and am in darn good health now and improving daily. CONCLUSION: Insurance companies (at least ours) are in business to keep you sick! If you are healthy, well, you’re on your own. The nation is in an epidemic of obesity and numerous health related conditions. There should be some kind of benefit to cover procedures to remove excess skin. There should be many stipulations and guidelines that must be met/followed to qualify, but every insurance company should pay out for this cause.

 

Example guidelines:

1) Must lose “x” % of BMI (not just a tummy tuck for losing 30 pounds) {mine has gone from over 58 to around 37}                     (My BMI now is about 30!)

2) Be at “x” BMI for a year after goal is met, doesn’t matter what kind of method is used to lose weight whether surgical procedure, health-style change, etc. {not met goal yet – but will, and this needs to be in order by the time I qualify!}

3) Have been under doctor care for duration of loss {my doctor is ecstatic! Very supportive and proudJ}

4) Been seen by a psychiatrist, been in a support group, followed a program, etc. {I attend a TOPS chapter weekly and go to MRC twice/week}

5) Retroactive - applies to anyone that has done such up to 5-10(?) years ago as long as previous guidelines were met {want anyone who has accomplished a huge weight loss to be eligible}

 

Okay, I’m sure there’d be a lot of people on board with this idea but who do we talk to and how do we approach it? Congressmen? Representatives? President?? You would think that the drug companies would be behind it as well, but not sure about that? Any ideas and hints would be helpful. I’m ready to speak and go forward. I volunteer to be the face of the once obese people! Don’t know really how that’d work but I’ll put myself out there for the sake of myself and others. Someone has to be willing to do it.

 

Back to a personal note, I have realized what I have done to my body and wrote it a letter the other day. I thought I’d share it with you.

 

Dear Body,

I deeply apologize for all the unhealthy, unwise, and downright stupid choices that I made in the past few decades. Please forgive me. I look forward to building an even healthier relationship with you today, tomorrow and for years/decades, to come.

Sincerely,

Heather

AKA “The hand that feeds you”

 

If you look up plastic surgery after weight loss or bariatric procedures you will find that there is obviously a HUGE need because there are lots of doctors playing on the growing (or shrinking) need.  If the nation is concerned with the increasing obesity problem and there are those that fight the battle of the bulge and win, naturally or surgically, shouldn’t we have the right to live the rest of our lives in a corrected more contoured figure?

 

I am a mother of two daughters that we have to consider paying for college, cars, weddings, etc. It has taken a toll on our family through the strife to finally lose the weight and work on keeping the pounds off sensibly.  I can’t afford to take funds away from our children and be selfish to invest that kind of money into something I would typically consider vain.  I have already deprived my children of a mother for most of their lives not being able to go and do the things with them that I should have been doing for not being physically or mentally capable.  It would be financially devastating to our family to make that commitment for years. 

 

There is obviously a huge problem with obesity in the society in which we live, practically being the norm, not even the exception anymore. We’re living in the land of plenty all right.  Now that there are people focused on losing and maintaining their weight loss there seems to be an even bigger problem that these elite successful dieters face.  It’s understandable that it could be considered vain to want the extra skin gone but it’s probably not for the vanity part for others any more than it is for me.  I have worked too hard to lose 170+ pounds, WITHOUT SURGERY, to want to LIVE the rest of my life hidden and shaped in girdles.  Don’t get me wrong – I love elastic and spandex – but I would like to live out my days/years/decades not having to tuck, shove and squeeze into figure contouring devices. 

Thank you for taking the time to read this.  IF you have any connections to help in this endeavor please let me know.

 

Today’s travel through eating…

Posted by gum232 on November 1st, 2012 |Filed Under ME | Leave a Comment

Schedule and time is so confusing sometimes.  I KNOW that I have to plan but today, and actually the last few days, I have failed myself.  I get upset with myself for wasting time when I do not do what I know that I need to do when it comes to what, when, how and I even suppose, why I “over” eat.  Thus the belief in the saying “If you fail to plan - you plan to fail!”  So true - so very true. 

Trying to stay positive in the weight loss game is not always easy.  I have to take it one day at a time, one meal at a time.  So when I eat “wrong” I over eat things that are on my eating plan - twice, three times and probably sometimes more than that too much. Why, oh why, do I allow myself to do that???  I don’t understand it.  I have come so very far from where I was at 367.5 pounds.  I refuse to return.  I have gotten down right tired of being so precise and measuring everything.  I know that it works for my body and that I am trying to find excuses to justify my lapse in judgement. I know that it was me, and only me, that put that extra few bites of cheese in my mouth, that put that extra heaping spoonful of freshly ground peanut butter in between my lips and that it is my fault, and mine alone, for the mental anguish that comes afterwards from losing control and giving into to flavor, convenience and temptations, not to mention the consequence on the scales and the effect on my body.  GRRRrrrr! 

So where do I go from here?  Well there’s another meal coming up….  I have recently given into the concept of “I already messed up today”.  Really?! What in the heck is up with that?  I cannot do that.  That is in no way going to get the results that I want. One meal at a time is going to have to be the focus and planning ahead.  I cannot beat myself up about it too hard though.  I must stay focused and be triumphant through each and every meal.  I can do this.  I can lose the last few pounds that I need to lose.  I have to.  I want to be where I need to be ASAP!  Geesh!  No one stands in my way but me.  Get out of the way!  Regain control over that old person with bad habits that resides within me and be triumphant!  I am going to do this.  I have to keep reminding myself - out loud a lot of times - that “I am doing it for ME!”


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