162.5 Pounds Lost: Doing it for ME…162.5 Pounds Lost!
NAME : Heather
BEFORE WEIGHT : 367.5
AFTER WEIGHT : 205
POUNDS LOST : 162.5
WHEN DID YOU START DEVELOPING A WEIGHT PROBLEM?
It’s hard to paraphrase my life and journey over decades living in an overweight body. My name is Heather Gum; I am a survivor of morbid obesity. For over thirty years I have struggled with excess poundage and still today the battle continues in a new health-style to maintain the loss, going from a size 30 to a 12.
HOW DID YOUR WEIGHT AFFECT ANY ASPECT(S) OF YOUR LIFE?
I was “the fat kid” in school that people would torment. It was a miserable existence finding clothes that fit or looked decent, doing anything physical, not to mention the reverberation of countless names. I tried to hold my head up. Through the unhappiness I turned to God. To look back I don’t know if any of the footsteps were mine or if I survived solely being carried in Jesus’ loving arms. I wanted to just give in but knew I couldn’t. The tribulation had just begun for decades to come.
WHAT WAS THE “TURNING POINT” THAT GOT YOU STARTED ON YOUR WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY?
I looked into surgical intervention following many suggestions by my doctors and the pressures of society. I decided that it wasn’t for me. I didn’t want to alter my insides when I knew it was my mind that I needed to be in control of to make the right choices. Following decades of apprenticeship in life, under my personal experiences, I claim to be a PD, a “Professional Dieter”. I knew all the tricks and cheats through yo-yo dieting and trying many “diets” and a lot of fads. I was always searching for that “magic pill” to make it all better. I knew, as bad as I wanted for it to happen that I wasn’t going to wake up “normal” one day, well, not without a lot of work and control, oh yeah and time. I’ve tried so many times to lose it was hard to be positive to try again. My health was declining with a history, excluding weight, of polycystic ovaries, endometriosis, gestational diabetes, gall bladder removed, depression, anxiety, insulin resistance, kidney stones, carpel tunnel, high blood pressure and sleep apnea, not to mention the physical limitations and restrictions due to size and mobility factors.
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED?
I’ve been a member of TOPS, Take Off Pounds Sensibly, (www.tops.org) for almost ten years. It’s the oldest weight loss support group around. As a member you can “use” whatever chosen method to lose excess weight, different programs, diets and even surgical intervention. I was respectfully crowned TN TOPS State Queen 2013! What an honor and privilege it has been. Knowing what all I had tried that wasn’t working I went into Metabolic Research Center (www.emetabolic.com) in Murfreesboro, TN on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2011. I knew I needed to learn to love myself. I had put everyone else before me and was always very generous, giving of my time and talents for my family, friends and various organizations. I heard the scenario years ago about the flight attendant describing to a parent (passengers), in the event of an emergency, to take the oxygen first, take care of themselves first so they would be capable to help their child/others. I had to take care of me.
Now that I have lived to tell the tale and have the experiences of decades it has been a blessing to be able to become an example and inspiration to others. I never imagined that I would lose the weight or have the opportunities that I have been bestowed upon me. With the weight loss came the formation of excess skin, the memories of the past that were hanging around, literally, had to be girdled, hidden, every day. The excess weight was as physically debilitating as the excess skin was mentally debilitating. Without insurance supporting and covering removal, fortunately I used my writing abilities and presented my story to the show The Doctors. I was chosen to appear on the episode Skin: Feed It, Fix It, Tuck It. Unbeknownst to me, I was the sole guest for the Tuck It segment at which I was presented the chance of a lifetime. Dr. Andrew Ordon, a world renowned plastic surgeon, and co-host, generously offered to assist in removing the surplus skin on my stomach and arms that would never “shrink” back on its’ own. After surgery and healing I returned to Los Angeles to film the reveal. After a lot of pampering, it was quite humbling to discover that the episode Eat, Pee, Poo! would be all leading up to my “Reveal” at the end with teasers all throughout. Spiegel provided me with a $2000 shopping spree for my new body!
HOW LONG AFTER YOU STARTED DID YOU BEGIN TO SEE RESULTS OF YOUR WEIGHT LOSS EFFORTS?
Results were seen immediately on the scales. I had so much to lose that it was nearly a hundred pounds lost before people started to comment and really take notice.
Poetry and writing were great ways to release and express my feelings as I would hide in my room eating snuck in food – Reese’s peanut butter cups and Pringles were two of my favorite comfort foods. There were my friends. Well…now I know they really weren’t. It’s amazing to reflect on the insight I had in my youth with the truth and connections that are just as relevant to today. No matter through it all, I am still me – on the inside, the outside appearance doesn’t make me the person I am. Who knew when I started writing a blog as I was losing weight that I would accomplish what I had given up hope countless times of doing? Just one more time… Through blogging at www.3fatchicks.com/diet-blogs/gum2323 I learned a great deal about myself, my capabilities and ultimately my worth. I am valuable, if not to anyone else, to myself and to God. It’s humbling to read and be reminded of what I was thinking, feeling and experiencing during the weight loss and what I refer to as my “rite of passage”. I started out one person with low self-esteem, depressed, and without much confidence and have triumphantly emerged on the other side a stronger, healthier, more self-assured person with an appreciation for the temple which God has given me to be a steward of for His glory.
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST PART?
Today IS the hardest part. I’ve never been the size I am currently as an adult. It’s a conscious effort every day. One day at a time. One meal at a time. That the best I can do for me. I journal my food daily, usually with pictures and sometimes the recipes, at www.facebook.com/heathershealthyhabitsdoingitforme. I have to stay accountable to ME. In doing so publicly, recording my food has given others ideas and encouragement. There is hope.
DID YOU EVER WANT TO GIVE UP? WHAT KEPT YOU GOING?
I have chosen to change me. No one else can do it for me. I have to be my biggest supporter since I am the only one with me 24 hours a day. When no one else is around, I still have to be accountable to ME. The foods I eat are fresh vegetables, fruit and lean protein – lots of “feather and fin” – chicken and turkey breast and tilapia and albacore, consuming red meat, pork loin or shellfish rarely. I have a food list which I adhere to combining and playing to come up with alternate recipes “my weigh”, using seasonings, spices, extracts and flavorings to keep it interesting. I post my daily food journal publicly at www.facebook.com/heathershealthyhabitsdoingitforme to share and give others idea and hope. Since I have fed my body metabolically I lost a majority of weight without exercise, mostly because I was not capable. Now I move as much as I can, when I can and really enjoy walking. I can only do so much for others. It’s an individual’s choice and responsibility to find what works for their body, dietary needs and physical abilities. It took me a long time to “figure it out” that I wasn’t losing weight for an outfit, for an event, etc. but that I was “Doing it for Me!”
DID YOU HIT ANY WEIGHT LOSS PLATEAUS? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM?
My body had been through so much by the choices I made to get me in the condition that I was in, it’s surprising that it didn’t rebel more than it did as I was changing my diet, my “health-style”. I would just keep going forward, doing what I had been doing, when the scales wouldn’t seem to budge, or slightly go the other way. Persistence and a lot of water helped me through physically, while mentally blogging, my own proclaimed self-therapy, I was able to discover more about myself and understand who I really am.
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO LOSE MOST OF THE WEIGHT?
I can claim victory for losing over 150 pounds, without surgical intervention, in about 15 months, and thus far keeping it off for well over a year. The physical weight might be gone but the emotional and mental weight remains, if not just as memories. I, as anyone who loses weight, have no intention to return to the state I was in willingly. I am strong enough to fight for myself now.
DID YOU HAVE ANY NON-SCALE VICTORIES?
The non-scale victories are countless and observed every day through just regular activities. I see things in a “weigh” that most people don’t or won’t, or never will.
Here’s a very short list of non-scale victories: (some obvious)
* smaller clothes – more stylish for starts – shopping in a total different department and stores and even being told there’s nothing to fit to me in the woman’s plus size dept
* fitting in – this has many examples: booths, theater or stadium seats, airplane isle and seats, amusement park rides, etc.
* CONFIDENCE – I don’t walk into a room like I’m better than anyone else, but as a confident person proud to be me, regardless if anyone knows or my weight loss accomplishment or not
* WORTH – I am worthy of consistently feeding my body the best nutrients that I can for optimum health benefits, not just to lose and keep off pounds sensibly
and many, many others……………
WHAT DOES YOUR DAILY DIET LOOK LIKE COMPARED TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER?
In my past I would eat anything I wanted to eat in any portion (IF you’d call it a “portion) that I chose, without limit or end till the food was gone. I never let me body tell me when to eat and I always pushed through when it was trying to tell me to stop.
Now I typically measure my food on digital scales to my desired portion, prepare it and eat it and when it’s gone, a new concept for sure… I STOP. I do listen, understand and appreciate my body so much more now, than I ever did before. I’m serving God and wasn’t in the best condition to do that in the past.
HOW DOES YOUR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY COMPARE TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER?
Feeding my body metabolically, I was able to lose the weight without exercising much. Now I move a whole lot more than ever before. I have gone canoeing, kayaking and even snow-skiing with my daughters. The common phrase I hear now on family walks/hikes/outings is “slow down” or “why are you going so fast?” That’s a great feeling, seeing the scenery from the front instead of everyone’s back sides from way behind.
Catch me if you can!!
MY WEIGHT LOSS TIPS & TRICKS
- Eat Healthy Live WellMake it a conscious effort daily to put the best fuel into your body so you can feel your best and get the most out of every day.
- NEVER QUIT and forgive yourself.No matter how many times you have tried to make an effort to lose weight or to improve your health – never stop trying. If you completely fall, get up, wipe off and start again.Do not ever beat yourself up about any time that you do something you would usually have regret and guilt for doing or eating. What’s done is done. Learn from it and go on.
- Do it for YOU!No one else put the food in your mouth to become overweight. Stop blaming anyone or any situation. YOU have to take responsibility. Only YOU can make the changes needed for YOUR body!
- Be your biggest supporter!!YOU are the only one that is with YOU 24/7. YOU have to be the one to self-talk your way through tempting situations, to stay on track when you are all alone and no one else is watching and when you should congratulate yourself for accomplishments!! Go Team “ME!”
- Trust completely in God.God has given us each this incredible body that works wonderfully when maintained properly. It doesn’t determine who we are as a person. It’s the transportation for our soul. God doesn’t want our soul to be unhappy. It’s up to us to be a responsible caregiver to our body in service for him. Give all your worries to him and find peace. Trust God!
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