Scaling Back: Tammy Luker's Incredible Weight Loss Story

Tammy Luker was a compulsive overeater who weighed 315 pounds at her heaviest. So how did she lose the weight? Learn the secret to her divine success.


TAMMY LUKER: I've always loved sugar and bad carbs, and it just got continually worse the older I got. My family always did the best to help me eat right, but I would sneak it and became kind of a closet eater. I just couldn't control it. LISA RYAN: What are some of your earliest memories of being heavy as a child? TAMMY LUKER: Riding my bike around, trying to get exercise, and little boys off to the side yelling out, 'Fatty', 'Macaroni,' and stupid names like that. It hurt. LISA RYAN: Junior high and high school can be difficult times for any girl because of insecurities. TAMMY LUKER: One of the things that hurt so bad was I was a junior in high school and we had a big all-school assembly. The seniors would always 'will' something to the underclassmen. Somebody willed me their 24-inch waist in front of the entire school. It just humiliated me. LISA RYAN: Did it drive you sometimes to eat more, to find a haven in food? TAMMY LUKER: It would calm me down. I just found a friend in it, which was wrong because God is our friend. LISA RYAN: Did you pray to God to help you with this problem, to help you stop eating, to help you overcome this? TAMMY LUKER: Yes, I prayed all the time, but I had a hard time accepting His help because I felt like I did this to myself, that God didn't make me this way. LISA RYAN: Did you ever get angry with God that He didn't help you? TAMMY LUKER: Oh yeah, I did. That hurt me because it was like two different gods. It really caused confusion in my spirit. LISA RYAN: Did you feel like it was something that He could fix if He really wanted to? TAMMY LUKER: Oh yes. I knew He could do anything, but I guess I just didn't think He wanted to. Also, I was running. I really don't know why. I just was addicted. It was almost like a drug. LISA RYAN (reporting): Tammy started a new diet every Monday and felt ashamed with each failure, so it helped when she met a guy in church who liked her just as she was. Did getting married bring you any comfort, any relief? TAMMY LUKER: No, not really, but he loved me just the way I was. He needed to lose some weight himself, so he would go and sit on a hillside and pray for me before we were dating. He said, 'We can lose weight together, God.' LISA RYAN: Did his love for you medicate any of that hurt, his love and acceptance? TAMMY LUKER: Yes. I had a hard time accepting his love, though, because I couldn't see how he could love me. LISA RYAN: You then started a family, and with pregnancy comes weight gain. TAMMY LUKER: I tried very hard to eat healthily, but I didn't, and I gained. I got up well over 300 pounds and carried all four of my children at that weight. LISA RYAN: I would imagine the doctors would be very concerned. TAMMY LUKER: I got a lot of my insecurities from my doctors. They would be like, 'You're overweight." It was like, 'Duh! Hello?!' LISA RYAN: At your heaviest point, how much did you weigh? TAMMY LUKER: Well, I don't know exactly, but when I weighed 315, I had to sleep in the recliner because if I lay in my bed, I would almost vomit in my sleep or I would wake up, my heart racing just out of my body. It was scary. LISA RYAN (reporting): Her oldest son was starting to notice that mom was different. TAMMY LUKER: It just hurt me so bad because I knew my son loved me with everything in him and I didn't want to embarrass him. LISA RYAN (reporting): Tammy looked into having gastric bypass surgery and made an appointment. Then three days before her scheduled procedure, her insurance denied her. TAMMY LUKER: I've never felt devastation like that before. It took everything in me to get my kids into school and get back home. My mother was there with my younger ones. I walked down my stairs and just collapsed in her arms and cried with everything that was in me. LISA RYAN (reporting): Tammy's mother and sister wouldn't let Tammy give up. They loved her, quoted the Bible to her, and something happened that day. TAMMY LUKER: She just began to pray for me. I started laughing, and I laughed for 30 minutes, tears streaming down my face, and saw a vision of God's hand squeezing my stomach. LISA RYAN (reporting): Tammy says it was as though God had performed 'spiritual surgery' on her. And what about all those sugary foods? Tammy kept making herself say, 'Gross! I wouldn't touch that!' TAMMY LUKER: It wasn't very long after that that I didn't want to touch it. I have not touched it in a year-and-a-half. LISA RYAN: Did it seem like you had self control, or was it just a spiritual change in you to change your appetite? TAMMY LUKER: It was the Word of God. Daily I read the Word, and it's a journey. Losing this weight, it's a journey. I don't want anybody to think that I just woke up and I'm skinny. But with God's help and daily being in the Word, He makes it easy and not a drudgery. LISA RYAN: How much weight have you lost now? TAMMY LUKER: I've lost 120 pounds and am still losing. I have every intention of losing the rest of it. LISA RYAN: Just cutting out all the sugar? TAMMY LUKER: And breads. I used to hate vegetables. I eat vegetables. I eat protein. I didn't like protein either. The good whole foods that God makes I eat and I like it. That's the miracle -- I like it! LISA RYAN (reporting): Tammy is 'half the woman' she used to be, but her life now is fuller than ever. TAMMY LUKER: My boys are so supportive. They write me notes that say, 'Mom, you look small!' I put them on the refrigerator door and read them every day. JEAN (Tammy's mother): Just before she looked into the surgery, I leaned over the sink and began to cry and say, 'Lord, do something for her. She's still my child. Please do something for her.' LISA RYAN (reporting): Jerry lost 50 pounds himself and is very proud of his wife. JERRY LUKER (Tammy's husband): She is more outgoing now. She started her own business. She is doing great. She works out, gets down and plays with the kids. She is not afraid to go out and be seen anymore. TAMMY LUKER: I want people to know that I was just like they were. I didn't have any special willpower. I didn't have it. God can do it for anybody.


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