77: Heather Gum – Once Uninsurable and Now Happy & Healthy (F/45)

Heather once believed weight loss was impossible for her, but she made her own possibilities and dropped over 160 pounds!

“Doing it for me.”

Weight Gain Background and Contributing Factors

Heather’s issues began when she was young. She recalls sneaking food at the age of 7.

She struggled with yo-yo dieting over the years and reached a peak weight of 367.5 pounds. (167 kg)

How Being Overweight Impacted Heather’s Life

At her peak weight, Heather experienced problems with excessive sweating, and also shares her frustration at being unable to participate in events with her children.

“I didn’t want to be the fat mom anymore.”

Heather experienced issues with insulin resistance, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, and depression. Heather was also once diagnosed with PCOS.

Another serious issue was that Heather was un-insurable for life insurance.

The Weight Loss Journey

Heather aims for 6oz of lean protein at each meal, a fruit or small grain, and then 8oz of vegetables.

She avoids canned products and tries to stick to whole, natural foods as much as possible. The only exceptions for her are tuna, canned chicken, and beans in water.

“Why would you put something in your body that you can’t pronounce?”

Staying Motivated

Having a positive attitude has been key for Heather. She describes her objection to using the term “morbidly obese” because she feels that telling people they’re going to die isn’t a positive outlook. She calls herself a “survivor of morbid obesity.”

Heather shares that her faith has helped her avoid additional stress by confidence in how things will work out.

“I have learned to feed my body what it needs, not necessarily what Heather wants.”

Heather is a member of Take Off Pounds Sensibly (TOPS), an international weight-loss support network that she says has been a big help for her.

From the TOPS.org pledge:

“Every time I am tempted to use food to satisfy my frustrated desires, build up my injured ego, or dull my senses, I will remember that even though I overeat in private, my excess poundage is there for all the world to see.”

Heather shares about new experiences she has enjoyed as a result of losing her weight: kayaking, canoeing, skiing, sleeping on the top bunk of a bunk bed on a trip with her kids.

What Heather Learned About Food, Exercise, and Herself

It’s not how people treat you; it’s more about how you respond and how confident you can be in yourself.

“You make the choices and you either suffer the consequences or reap the rewards.”

Listen just past the 40-minute mark to hear a poem Heather wrote about her experience that she calls The Reflection.

“I learned so much about myself. I learned… that I deserve to put myself first.”

Heather’s Advice For Your Journey

  • Try to eat whole, natural foods as often as possible. Avoid canned and pre-packaged meals.
  • Focus more on being healthy than a specific weight goal.
  • Don’t let one meal, or slip, derail you from the path to your goals.
  • Finally, and most importantly, do this for you.

Resources Discussed In This Podcast

Contacting Heather

Heather is paying forward her experience and advice by helping others. Check out her writing and resources on the web:

Here is Heather’s appearance on The Doctors. (Direct link here if video is not showing properly.)

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