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Photographer, Impressions, Yukon, Okla.
Married to Jerry; four children
CBN.com Sugar Baby
Tammy’s addiction to sugar began as a baby. After that, Tammy would barely eat anything without sugar. Tammy’s grandmother suffered from a severe addiction to sugar that caused her to be overweight all of her life. Her grandmother weighed more than 300 pounds and died of cancer.
Because of her obesity, Tammy experienced a lot of heartache growing up. Her sister Regina remembers people staring at Tammy when they went to the mall. Strangers would point and laugh, which made protective Regina want to beat them up.
Junior high and high school were tough. In high school Tammy's goal was to not talk to anybody. Being 5’4” and about 60 pounds overweight at the time, Tammy wanted to be invisible. Unfortunately, the kids noticed her and made fun of her. As a junior in high school, Tammy was at a pep rally where the senior class was “willing” the junior class certain things. One of the girls stood up in front of the entire school and said, “I ‘will’ Tammy Luker my 24-inch waist line!” Tammy was crushed because the whole school was laughing at her. She wasn’t invisible after all.
Though she was about 60 pounds overweight, Tammy felt 200 pounds overweight because she was insecure. She yoyo dieted all of her life, trying every kind of diet imaginable, and just couldn’t seem to overcome her sugar cravings.
Tammy grew up in a strong Christian family and had a strong relationship with the Lord herself. Her repeated failed attempts at losing weight caused her to become bitter toward the Lord.
She met her husband, Jerry, while at church. They fell in love. They were both overweight. His mother had died of diabetes. She and Jerry prayed that they would lose weight together; they later married and started a family.
Help from God
As her family grew, so did Tammy’s weight, and Tammy feared she would end up like her grandmother. The breaking point came when a friend of her son told him that his mom had a big belly. This devastated Tammy.
Tellingly, Tammy had become a closet eater. She would sneak food and eat in her car. She didn’t want people to see her eat. “Whenever I had stress in my life, I would eat, I would run to food,” Tammy says. “It would calm me down.” Food was like a drug, she says. “I always questioned myself – why do I run to food?” Tammy explains. She wasn’t really sure of the answer.
At her heaviest Tammy weighed 315 pounds. She was mindful that her obesity not only endangered her, but her children and family as well. She couldn’t run or play with her kids, and she dreaded going up stairs because she had to stop and rest often. Lying flat on her back, she couldn’t breathe.
In desperation Tammy decided to get gastric bypass surgery, so she called her insurance company. They first told her she was 99.9 percent approved, but a few days later on August 13, 2002, the insurance company called instead to deny her. This was devastating news. Tammy felt that her last chance for a normal life had just died.
It was at this time that the Lord stepped in. Later that evening Tammy's and Regina’s families went to dinner. Regina grabbed her face and told her, “You’re going to live! God has a plan!” Her mom quoted Psalm 119:130 with great authority, which impacted Tammy decisively. Tammy had a vision of an arrow leaving her mother’s mouth, hitting her in her tummy, and flying out to the top of her head. Tammy started shaking, but she also began laughing. It was like the depression and grieving were lifted.
From that point, Tammy says her relationship with food changed. “Instantly, something clicked,” Tammy says. Sugary foods became repulsive to her, and she could turn away from them. When she was tempted to eat, she now would run to the Bible instead. The Word became her food.
Since that time, Tammy has lost 120 pounds and is living a much healthier life. She is still reaching for her goal to lose more weight, but is happy at how far she has come and will go.
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