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    17 weight loss stories of men who lost 14 to 250 lbs with Take Off Pounds Sensibly (TOPS)

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
    Thursday, May 19, 2011 3:04 pm Email this article
    Here are stories of seventeen ( 17 ) men who lost weight with Take Off Pounds Sensibly (TOPS), a low-cost, nonprofit weight loss program that costs only $27.50 per year for those in the US or Canada, and $43.50 for not living in the US or Canada. Why Show The Stories of These Weight Loss Success?

    These stories show people what is possible

    Here is why I think it is important to show these stories of people who have lost weight with a simple, inexpensive weight loss program like TOPS.

    Because it shows people what is possible.

    My guess is that many people may think that it would be impossible for them to lose large amounts of weight, but if they see stories like this, it may help them to realize, “Hey, maybe it is possible. Maybe I can do it to.”

    Here is an excerpt from the book “Hedge Fund Masters” authored by psychiatrist, Ari Kiev, MD, a psychiatrist who helped Olympic athletes achieve Gold Medals.

    Dr. Kiev wrote:

    “Making the Commitment, Taking the Risks”

    “Until Roger Bannister broke the invisible barrier by running a mile in less than four minutes, no one believed it was possible.

    “In his book, The Four-Minute Mile (Lyons Press, 1981) Bannister observed that it had become “rather like an Everest—a challenge to the human spirit. It was a barrier that seemed to defy all attempts to break it-an awesome reminder that man’s striving might be in vain” (p. 188).

    “When Bannister ran the first four-minute mile on May 6, 1954, that belief immediately changed.

    “Once the obstacle had been conquered, the notion of possibility was dramatically extended.

    “Breaking the four-minute mile was no longer a vain, exaggerated dream but a goal that could be reached by a runner capable of overcoming the pain, adversity, and anxiety involved.

    “After Bannister’s feat, the event itself became suddenly relatively easy.

    “Within 25 years, several hundred runners had run sub-four-minute miles.

    “Nothing could more vividly depict the power of belief in a favorable outcome to produce a result that for so long had eluded the runners of the world.”

    —Ari Kiev, MD, “Hedge Fund Masters”


    Joe Spinola

    Joe Spinola lost 119 lbs, dropping from 195 lbs to 119 lbs

    • Highest Weight: 313.5 lbs.
    •After: 195 lbs.
    • Pounds lost: 118.5 lbs.
    • Height: 5’ 7”
    • Former Size: 54”
    • Current Size: 36”

    This article is posted on TOPS website here.

    A chance encounter with a former TOPS pal while on a New Year’s resolution walk on January 1, 2007, encouraged me to visit and rejoin TOPS MO 0330 Kansas City. I had ballooned to 313.5 pounds and, at a height of 5’ 7”, had become morbidly obese. I rejoined my chapter on January 2, and my wife joined a week later.

    My doctor and I came up with a goal weight of 199 pounds. I was determined to change the first digit in my weight from a “3” to a “1”. Because I didn’t want to be overwhelmed with having to lose 114.5 pounds to reach that goal, I told myself I would just try to lose one pound. I would then share and celebrate that success with my TOPS pals before repeating that one-pound process 114 more times.

    Along the way on this journey, TOPS gave me encouragement and emotional and psychological support, and educated me with healthy living information. It’s very important to make it a priority to attend meetings regularly, even when you think you might show an occasional weight gain. Those are only bumps in the road on the way to reaching your final destination. Our TOPS chapter had lots of contests and recognitions that fed my competitive nature and provided me more incentives to continue.

    Today, exercise is a part of my lifestyle. I go to the fitness center five to six times a week. I take walks with my wife, and I even play senior softball three times a week. I feel better and more vital than I have in years. I now have three granddaughters and am able to play with and be active with them, which is a joy. I feel so good that, since October 2008, I have been working three days a week at a part-time job that requires a lot of physical activity.

    I am proud to be Missouri’s 2008 State King. Now my focus is on maintaining my weight loss and, in whatever way I can, to set an example for my fellow TOPS members and to inspire them to reach their goals. At 2009 International Recognition Days, I received my Century Award medallion for maintaining a loss of 100+ pounds for over one year. I look forward to retaining my KOPS and Century Award status. Thank you, TOPS, for helping me improve the quality of my life.


    Jerome Biggars

    Jerome Biggars lost 239 lbs, dropping from 489 lbs to 250 lbs

    Jerome Biggars
    Highest Weight: 489 lbs.
    •After: 250 lbs.
    • Pounds lost: 239 lbs.
    • Height: 5’ 11”
    • Former Size: 66”
    • Current Size: 40”

    This article is posted on TOPS website here.

    In 1987, I was a fit, 220-pound, single guy who ran 6 miles day, lifted weights, and taught aerobics three times a week. I met and fell in love with my wife, who wasn’t a fitness fanatic like me, and I started to decrease my activities and eat unhealthy foods. By the time we got married in July 1988, I was at 275 pounds. When our first son was born in September 1989, the scale reflected my weight at 350 pounds.

    While it would be easy to blame my excess weight on my wife, it wasn’t her fault. I had fought this battle before and knew I was the one responsible. As I edged closer to 500 pounds, the time had come to do something. I had witnessed a friend of mine, Bonnie Voegeli, lose 30 pounds in three months on a doctor-assisted low-carb diet. (She is the Leader of my chapter, TOPS KS 0414 Valley Center.)

    I followed up with her to learn about the diet she was following, and I began my marathon on December 23, 2008. That is how I view this journey—as a long, slow, marathon. In just two short weeks, at our January 6, 2009, meeting, I had lost several pounds. I then called and set up my first appointment with Dr. Jeannine Cobb.

    I have gone from size 66 pants to a 40. This journey has had lots of milestones, but one of my favorites occurred in early August when I took four large trash bags of all my 3X and larger clothes to the Disabled American Veterans center because I am never going to need them again.

    I have come to believe there are four very important parts of a successful weight-loss program. In order of importance they are:

    1. Determination: You have to decide you are important enough to change your way of life to a healthy one. NO MORE EXCUSES!

    2. Support: For me, it is family, friends, and, of course, TOPS! What can I say? It is the best support anyone could ever want or need.

    3. Diet: For me it was the doctor-assisted low-carb diet and drinking 120 ounces of water per day.

    4. Exercise: At least three 30-minute aerobic sessions and three 30-minute weight or strength-building sessions per week. However, always allow for at least one day of rest.


    William Inglis

    William Inglis lost 73 lbs, dropping from 286 lbs to 213 lbs

    William Inglis
    Highest Weight: 286 lbs.
    •After: 213 lbs.
    • Pounds lost: 73 lbs.
    • Height: 6’ 1 1/2”
    • Former Size: 56”
    • Current Size: 38”

    This article is posted on TOPS website here.

    Like three-quarters of the population, I have spent a large part of my life on one fad diet after another. Each worked reasonably well in the short term because I actually would lose weight. Fifteen to 20 pounds were “easy” to shed. What ended up being difficult was maintaining the loss. Almost immediately after attaining my goal, I would “reward” my body with food. How ridiculous!

    Our chapter, TOPS ON 5327 Thunder Bay, was formed in July 2007. The first week, after alternately fasting and feasting, I had lost a whopping…half-pound. “TOPS is not working!” I declared to myself. What I should have realized was that I wasn’t working TOPS. What I had been doing was taking off pounds un-sensibly. I remembered a quotation from my years of training as a Watkins manager:

    “Success is the sum of efforts repeated day in and day out.”        —Robert Collier

    I started reading TOPS’ jump-start guide, My Day One. I started reading the recipes in our chapter’s copy of TOPS’ lifestyle guide, The Choice Is Mine. Then I realized that if it’s meant to be, it’s definitely up to me.

    No one else could be held accountable if I had poor success one week. I made the choice to “overeat in private” and I paid the price. On week two, with my new attitude, I recorded a great loss. My journey had begun.

    I cannot overstress the great importance of maintaining weekly attendance at meetings. Those who stayed each week after weighing in learned from the programs presented and tended to record substantially better results. Our chapter presents a Best Loser gift each week. I have a veritable treasure shelf of gifts, as well as scrolls, pins, and so on that I received at ARD.

    We all want to bask in the limelight of public recognition, if only for one, brief moment. For me, the limelight has yet to fade. Daily, I have people commenting, “You look so good.” I always answer,

    “I feel phenomenal. I go to TOPS.”

    I know that next year I will be on stage as a KOPS. That really is what makes TOPS so special: the safety valve of needing to maintain our goal weight for the rest of our lives. This is not, in any way, a yo-yo system whereby we lose weight and then put it back on when our “special occasion” passes. We are in this for the long haul: a long, healthy life.


    Marcus Murphy

    Marcus Murphy lost 59 lbs, dropping from 255 lbs to 196 lbs

    Marcus Murphy
    Highest Weight: 254.5 lbs.
    •After: 195.5 lbs.
    • Pounds lost: 59 lbs.
    • Height: 5’ 11”
    • Former Size: 46”
    • Current Size: 34”

    This article is posted on TOPS website here.

    My weight had been increasing steadily for years, and exercise was something dimly remembered from high school. Initially, my weight continued to rise until my wife, Sylvia, saw a flyer for a TOPS Open House at our local chapter, TOPS BC 1327 Sooke. There I found the support I needed to begin my journey. I began learning tricks, such as using smaller plates, to assist with portion control to help me reach my goal.

    I reached my goal weight in September 2006 and was very honored to represent British Columbia as 2006 Provincial King. My waist size has gone from 46” to 34”, and my shirt size has gone from an XL to a Medium.

    Since being crowned Provincial King, I have had my story printed in our local newspaper, and that article was posted on a bulletin board at work. Many people have approached me to ask about TOPS and how I began my weight-loss journey. I have also been told that I inspired people to lose weight, as well. That is an amazing feeling.

    TOPS has changed my life in many ways. Not only have I lost weight and maintained it for three years, I have met many wonderful people who I am proud to call friends. The support from my TOPS chapter and my weekly weigh-ins help me stay focused on the goal of keeping off the weight, and my successes as a KOPS help my fellow chapter members stay motivated.


    Raymond Anderson

    Raymond Anderson lost 127 lbs, dropping from 336 lbs to 210 lbs

    Raymond Anderson
    Jamestown, New York, USA
    Starting weight 2009: 336 lbs
    Year-end weight: 210 lbs
    Pounds lost: 127 lbs

    This article is posted on TOPS website here.

    “I was to lose weight or I would have to go on insulin.”

    “At 356 pounds, I was regularly taking medication to control my diabetes and high blood pressure. I knew I had to lose weight, but I kept putting it off. Finally, the time came when my doctor gave me an ultimatum: I was to lose weight or I would have to go on insulin. I decided to join TOPS with my wife. TOPS helped keep me accountable with the weekly weigh in and support that I didn’t get while dieting on my own. I eventually lost 126 1/4 pounds, meeting my goal of 210 pounds. There is no secret to losing weight. A few pounds lost here and there will really add up, changing your life for the better.”


    Richard Plodzien

    Richard Plodzien lost 127 lbs, dropping from 336 lbs to 210 lbs

    Richard Plodzien
    Mansfield, Ohio, USA
    Starting weight 2009: 331 lbs
    Year-end weight: 207lbs
    Pounds lost: 124 lbs

    This article is posted on TOPS website here.

    “We are in a big family that is striving to live life a little bit healthier, a little bit longer, and a little bit better.”

    “It’s been 310 days and 123 pounds lost, since accepting the reality that weighing 330 pounds at 69 years of age is not a recipe for good health. It broke my heart—and my stubbornness—when my wife was reading the newspaper obituaries and said to me, “Rich, please don’t leave me here alone. I don’t want to live these years by myself.” We joined TOPS and changed our eating habits. I’ve taken my 58” jeans and 4X clothes to Goodwill. I feel 30 years younger! We are in a big family that is striving to live life a little bit healthier, a little bit longer, and a little bit better. That’s a good way to live.”


    Shawn Kitney

    Shawn Kitney lost 104 lbs, dropping from 290 lbs to 186 lbs

    Shawn Kitney
    Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada
    Starting weight 2009: 290 lbs
    Year-end weight: 186 lbs
    Pounds lost: 104 lbs

    This article is posted on TOPS website here.

    “With the help and encouragement of my family, friends, and fellow TOPS members, I was able to lose 103.5 pounds.”

    “Seven months after my 41st birthday, I took a really good look at my reflection in the bathroom mirror. It was then that I decided to make significant changes in my lifestyle and eating habits. The first thing I did was to quit smoking. I then made small changes in exercise, such as taking the stairs, instead of the elevator, to my fourth-floor condo. With the help and encouragement of my family, friends, and fellow TOPS members, I was able to lose 103.5 pounds. What a difference it has made in my life! I can walk those stairs to my condo much easier now. The best reward is the way I look and feel.”


    George Gaus

    George Gaus lost 101 lbs, dropping from 273 lbs to 172 lbs

    George Gaus
    Orange Park, Florida, USA
    Starting weight 2009: 273 lbs
    Year-end weight: 172 lbs
    Pounds lost: 101 lbs

    This article is posted on TOPS website here.

    “After observing a meeting, I knew this was what I needed.”

    “Ironically, the same day I decided to lose weight, I saw a newspaper ad for TOPS. After observing a meeting, I knew this was what I needed. My first weigh-in showed 272.75 pounds. I called my doctor for his permission to set a goal of 210 pounds. He said that he and the Lord would both be glad if I reached it. We reset my goal three more times, settling with 172 pounds and, with the help of the Lord and my TOPS chapter, I have done it. Here are some rules that I live by: No days off. No dessert; eat fruit instead. Drink water and, if you slip, get back to the program.”


    Anthony Welch

    Anthony Welch lost 82 lbs, dropping from 241 lbs to 159 lbs

    Anthony Welch
    Nederland, Texas, USA
    Starting weight 2009: 241 lbs
    Year-end weight: 159 lbs
    Pounds lost: 82 lbs

    This article is posted on TOPS website here.

    ” I knew I had to lose weight to live a long, productive life, and my local TOPS was there to motivate me.”

    “From the age of seven, I’ve been fighting with my weight. As an adult, I’ve tried one diet after another with few successes. I did lose weight after high school graduation while working in the Air Force. When I returned to the States, I soon gained it back. My desk job was stressful and required long hours. I’m retired now. I knew I had to lose weight to live a long, productive life, and my local TOPS was there to motivate me. After one reaches KOPS, new goals must be set and met. My next goal is to tighten my excess skin and gain ripple stomach muscles that can actually be seen in the mirror.”


    James Partridge

    James Partridge lost 68 lbs, dropping from 241 lbs to 174 lbs

    James Partridge
    Fairport, New York, USA
    Starting weight 2009: 241 lbs
    Year-end weight: 174 lbs
    Pounds lost: 68 lbs

    This article is posted on TOPS website here.

    ” I never would have thought that I could do it, but I did!”

    “While on a walk with my daughter, Jennifer, we agreed that on that day we were going to join TOPS, stop making excuses, be accountable, and together conquer the battle of the bulge, once and for all, with real change and not with fad diets, starvation, or gimmicks. I cut out junk food. I started journaling what I ate and limited myself to 1,500 calories per day. I started walking two miles a day at first, increasing to six miles a day. Walking led to running. And a 10K race turned into a marathon. I never would have thought that I could do it, but I did! A goal met and an achievement to be proud of.”


    George Nambo

    George Nambo lost 35 lbs, dropping from 173 lbs to 138 lbs

    George Nambo
    Wichita, Kansas, USA
    Starting weight 2009: 173 lbs
    Year-end weight: 138 lbs
    Pounds lost: 35 lbs

    This article is posted on TOPS website here.

    “The group support was also a helpful motivator.”

    “I knew I had to do something about my weight when the physical activities that I love to do, like home repairs, yard work, and basketball, were getting more difficult. I became winded easily and felt bloated. My wife and I decided to give TOPS a try. From the information we received at meetings, we began eating healthier meals prepared at home. The group support was also a helpful motivator. I also found a community fitness program at Wichita State University, led by the track coach, providing cardio, and strength fitness at a “go at your own pace” style. The group challenges its participants to improve as their capabilities allow and I’m now running in road races.”


    Steve Kahn

    Steve Kahn lost 28 lbs, dropping from 199 lbs to 171 lbs

    Steve Kahn
    Banning, California, USA
    Starting weight 2009: 199 lbs
    Year-end weight: 171 lbs
    Pounds lost: 28 lbs

    This article is posted on TOPS website here.

    ” it’s a personal life support system, one that only you can control.”

    “My weight gain seemed to be keeping with the years. In 1949, I weighed 145 pounds. In 1969, I was at 165. By 1999, I weighed 199, and that was the first of 10, consecutive, broken, New Year’s resolutions to lose weight. Last year I joined TOPS. It’s like a combination of group therapy and kindergarten, a combination of competition and support. Losing excess baggage is not a game; it’s a personal life support system, one that only you can control. Men often have the macho attitude of, “I feel fine. I don’t need to lose weight.” Well, ladies, if the men in your life can’t see their belt buckle without a mirror, they need TOPS.”


    Aaron McElmurry

    Aaron McElmurry lost 63 lbs, dropping from 259 lbs to 196 lbs

    Aaron McElmurry
    Eastpointe, Michigan, USA
    Starting weight 2009: 259 lbs
    Year-end weight: 196 lbs
    Pounds lost: 63 lbs

    This article is posted on TOPS website here.

    “I know it’s hard to take off pounds or keep off pounds sensibly, but anyone can do it.”

    “In 2009, I was surprised to find out I was first place division winner at SRD and second place in IRD. I had lost 52 pounds that year and along with it, I got to go to Disney World for the first time. After IRD, with the support of everyone in my TOPS chapter, I lost another 62.5 pounds. I still have another 10 pounds to go and some shaping up to do. I try to do some exercises every day. And I’ve learned to stay away from junk food that I used to enjoy. I know it’s hard to take off pounds or keep off pounds sensibly, but anyone can do it. Just believe it can happen.”


    Brek Jeffery

    Brek Jeffery lost 52 lbs, dropping from 298 lbs to 246 lbs

    Brek Jeffery
    Parkersburg, West Virginia, USA
    Starting weight 2009: 298 lbs
    Year-end weight: 246 lbs
    Pounds lost: 52 lbs

    This article is posted on TOPS website here.

    “My goal was to be a Division Winner and to make it to 2010 IRD in Halifax.”

    “My grandma has been a TOPS for years. For a while, TOPS was all she talked about. She was a Chapter Queen last year, and our whole family got to experience this recognition with her at IRD at Disney World. After seeing the success of other teenagers, I decided to join TOPS as soon as we got back. My goal was to be a Division Winner and to make it to 2010 IRD in Halifax. I’m just over half-way to losing 100 pounds. I know I still have a long way to go—and that losing the weight means nothing if I cannot maintain it. I’m so lucky to be able to experience TOPS with many family members.”


    Jerome Biggers

    Jerome Biggers lost 240 lbs, dropping from 478 lbs to 238 lbs

    Jerome Biggers
    Valley Center, Kansas, USA
    Starting weight 2009: 478 lbs
    Year-end weight: 238 lbs
    Pounds lost: 240 lbs

    This article is posted on TOPS website here.

    “I have my life and my confidence back.”

    “At my August 4, 2008, TOPS meeting, I weighed 493 pounds. I had high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and was worn out all the time. I had no self-esteem and despised what I saw in the mirror. I avoided social situations, keeping mostly to myself. I began following a doctor-supervised low carbohydrate diet and, in just two weeks, I saw results. I ate approximately 1,200 calories per day with my carbohydrate count under 25 grams. I began exercising for 15 minutes, three days per week, on a stationary bike. Now, I take three to five spin classes per week. My blood pressure is normal, and the sleep apnea is gone. I have my life and my confidence back.”


    Lee Hibbard

    Lee Hibbard lost 144 lbs, dropping from 427 lbs to 283 lbs

    Lee Hibbard
    St. Johns, Michigan, USA
    Starting weight 2009: 427 lbs
    Year-end weight: 283 lbs
    Pounds lost: 144 lbs

    This article is posted on TOPS website here.

    “As I neared my sixtieth birthday and weighed over 400 pounds, I knew it was time to make some life changes.”

    “I joined TOPS and started my weight-loss journey. At my first meeting, I weighed 427 pounds. I started a journal to keep track of what I ate. I cut my calories to between 1,500 and 1,800 per day. I cut out diet soda and now drink 12 glasses of water per day, instead. I slowly started to exercise, adding a little more time and intensity each week. I’ve increased my goal and, this fall, hope to complete the DALMAC Quint (a five-day, 500-mile bike ride from Lansing to Mackinaw City).”


    Michael Lavigne

    Michael Lavigne lost 14 lbs, dropping from 224 lbs to 210 lbs

    Michael Lavigne
    North Adams, Massachusetts, USA
    Starting weight 2009: 224 lbs
    Year-end weight: 210 lbs
    Pounds lost: 14 lbs

    This article is posted on TOPS website here.

    “TOPS has taught me to watch what I eat and to count calories.”

    “I joined TOPS for three reasons. The first is my grandmother, Alice LaFountain, who’s a longtime member (also, my aunt, Priscilla O’Neil, was a member until her passing). My second reason is that my grandmother and mother wanted me to join because they were worried about my health. I kept getting heavier and heavier as I got older. They thought I would be happier if I joined TOPS. The third reason is that I wanted to see what TOPS was like. I’m glad I did go because I really like it. My grandma takes me to meetings, and the people are nice and very caring. TOPS has taught me to watch what I eat and to count calories.”


    Wesley Lovell

    Wesley Lovell lost 138 lbs, dropping from 399 lbs to 261 lbs

    Wesley Lovell
    London, Ontario, Canada
    Starting weight 2009: 399 lbs
    Year-end weight: 261 lbs
    Pounds lost: 138 lbs

    This article is posted on TOPS website here.

    “I can shop for clothes anywhere, not only at Big and Tall.”

    “I’ve struggled with being overweight my whole life. While playing high school football, I was forced to sit on the bench after my doctor refused to perform knee replacement surgery until I lost weight. Later, my weight interfered with playing and interacting with my children. I didn’t fit in restaurant booths. Now, at 260 pounds and a size 38, my life has changed completely. I can shop for clothes anywhere, not only at Big and Tall. And I can do things with my family that were impossible before, such as zip lining through the rain forest, because I’m finally under the weight restriction. My TOPS chapter has been great—they have stood by me through thick and thin.”


    Maynard Yoh

    Maynard Yoh lost 79 lbs, dropping from 308 lbs to 230 lbs

    Maynard Yoh
    London, Ontario, Canada
    Starting weight 2009: 308 lbs
    Year-end weight: 230 lbs
    Pounds lost: 79 lbs

    This article is posted on TOPS website here.

    ” I now have more energy and have experienced less back problems.”

    “At 314 pounds, I was morbidly obese and I was cutting my life short. I had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and was borderline diabetic. In 2006, my wife and I joined TOPS. Our Leader, Faith Dye, stressed “portion size and exercise.” After struggling for a few years to lose weight, I knew I needed to have gastric bypass surgery as a weapon to assist me in my weight loss. Since the surgery I’ve lost 90 pounds. I’ve cut back on most of my medications. I now have more energy and have experienced less back problems. I am thankful that TOPS continues to be my support group in my fight to have a healthier life.”


    What is TOPS?

    What is TOPS? A description from their website

    “TOPS = Take Off Pounds Sensibly

    “TOPS Club, Inc. is the original, nonprofit, weight-loss support and wellness education organization,” according to their website.

    “We were established in 1948 to champion weight-loss support and success. TOPS promotes successful, affordable weight management with a philosophy that combines:

    “TOPS Fees [ as of May 2011 ]:”

    “TOPS’ annual membership fee is $26 in the US and $30 in Canada, plus nominal chapter fees (on average, $5 per month) collected for local chapter expenses.

    “If members’ spouse and children age 7 through 17 join and prefer not to receive their own copy of TOPS News, they pay half price.

    “TOPS Membership:”

    “TOPS is comprised of men, women, and children age 7 and older, with about 170,000 members in nearly 10,000 chapters throughout the United States and Canada.

    “Visitors are welcome to attend their first TOPS meeting free of charge.

    “Members meet weekly in their local chapters, where they receive positive reinforcement and motivation in adhering to their food and exercise plans.

    “New members consult with their healthcare professionals to obtain a healthy goal weight and share it with the chapter Weight Recorder.”

    TOPS Contact Info

    TOPS Contact Info

    TOPS Club, Inc
    4575 South Fifth Street
    Milwaukee, WI 53207
    414.482.4620 phone
    .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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