Confession of obsession

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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 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

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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!,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.