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    16 weight loss stories of women who lost 28 to 172 lbs with Take Off Pounds Sensibly (TOPS)

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
    Wednesday, May 18, 2011 2:05 pm Email this article
    Here are stories of sixteen ( 16 ) women 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”


    Sandy Fillenwarth

    Sandy Fillenwarth lost 172 lbs, dropping from 322 lbs to 150 lbs

    Sandy Fillenwarth
    Highest Weight: 322 lbs
    Weight Now: 150 lbs
    Pounds lost: 172 lbs
    Height: 5’ 6”
    Former Size: 26 1/2
    Current Size: 8/10

    This article is posted on TOPS website here.

    “I am 56 years old, and I’m living proof that you’re never too old to change.

    I have gained and lost hundreds of pounds throughout my life.

    I had low self-esteem most of my life, mainly because of my weight problem.

    It was a vicious cycle.

    Whenever I felt bad about myself, I would eat; the more I ate, the worse I felt about myself.

    It’s hard to put into words how depressed and empty I felt during my years as a fat person.

    I was always so tired, and all I wanted to do was just hide from the world (even though it was really hard to hide 330 pounds—my all-time high).

    I eventually lost down to my goal of 150 pounds and became TOPS’ 2005 Indiana State Queen.

    “I love the TOPS challenge for this year: cut and burn.

    I think that is the key to losing weight.

    You have to cut calories and also burn them.

    Eating less and exercising more is so much easier said than done, especially when you’re an emotional eater like me.

    And, keeping weight off is a little more challenging than losing it.

    It is a choice I make every single day.

    “Two things have helped me.

    First of all, I love sharing my joys and struggles with people who share the same joys and struggles that I have, so I am a member of TOPS, the best weight-loss support group in the world.

    I will be a member the rest of my life.

    No matter how much I weigh, I always feel at home in TOPS.

    I know that my TOPS family at TOPS IN 0151 Indianapolis will always understand and help me.

    “Secondly, I think one of the biggest keys to losing weight and being happy is finding an exercise you truly enjoy.

    I joined the Indianapolis Hiking Club in June 2007, and I absolutely love it.

    I have become friends with some incredible people from the club.

    It is amazing to me that sometimes I can walk 26 miles, but it seems like only two miles when I’m talking and laughing with friends who share my passion for hiking.”


    Lisa Vorwerk

    Lisa Vorwerk lost 110 lbs, dropping from 268 lbs to 158 lbs

    Lisa Vorwerk
    Highest Weight: 268 lbs
    After: 158 lbs
    Pounds lost: 110 lbs
    Height: 5’ 6 1/2”
    Former Size: 24/26
    Current Size: 6

    This article is posted on TOPS website here.

    “When I turned 40, I gazed at my 268-pound reflection in the hallway mirror.

    I desperately tried to recall the strong, physical, competitive woman I used to be, but the vision was hard to imagine.

    I was overcome with a sense of hopelessness and failure.

    Standing there facing reality and dreaming about the good old days of my youth, I wondered how I had let myself slide into such poor physical condition.

    I thought back to my 125-pound-cheerleader figure and recalled running a 6-minute mile at the state track meet in high school.

    I asked myself, “How can I ever get that back in my life?” Then I rediscovered TOPS through school, where I work as an adult education instructor.

    “Right now, I’m looking great and feeling great! I’m in good shape, and I’m getting closer to my former “cheerleader” body.

    My old memories of winning in track meets have once again become reality.

    Even though I’m not at my goal yet, I am a winner.

    I didn’t do it overnight because I did it sensibly.

    I didn’t do it without exercise because I wanted to be toned and fit.

    Currently, I’ve lost 110 pounds and 62.5 inches and will be at my goal by December 31, 2009.

    “I used to wear size 24/26 stretch pants and loose, billowy, 3X blouses, but now I’m wearing size 6/8 low-rider, skinny jeans and size 4/6 blouses.

    I hope to be in the running for the honor of being crowned TOPS’ 2009 Arkansas State Queen and make everyone proud of me.

    But, most of all, I hope my story inspires thousands of TOPS members to rekindle those old memories into new realities, because they will lead you to your goal!


    Jocelyn McNamara

    Jocelyn McNamara lost 137 lbs, dropping from 287 lbs to 150 lbs

    Jocelyn McNamara
    Highest Weight: 286.5 lbs
    •After: 150 lbs
    • Pounds lost: 136.5 lbs
    • Height: 5’ 7”
    • Former Size: 24/26
    • Current Size: 8/10

    This article is posted on TOPS website here.

    “I’ve been a member of TOPS, on and off, since I was 25 years old.

    However, in May 2003, I found an amazing chapter, TOPS NE 0222 Blair.

    This group of people has cheered me on with my losses, week after week and, when a gain would creep in, they were there to get me back on track.

    My family, too, has been so supportive and knows the many years I’ve struggled with weight and all the complexities involved with obesity.

    We need our families, friends, and support groups to get us through this journey, which I really started to take seriously about four years ago.

    “We’ve all been there.

    You come to a crossroads in your life and decide it’s time to lose weight.

    I had been to my doctor for a yearly physical and received news that my glucose level was borderline high, my blood pressure was up, and my weight had escalated to nearly 300 pounds.

    Clearly, at the age of 48, it was the wake-up call I needed to take control of my health.

    The first year, I lost a little over 50 pounds and then started to plateau.

    “My turning point was realizing it was time to incorporate exercise into my life.

    I think we all come to that place in our lives where we realize that this is it, no more denial, no more “eating my feelings,” and truly coming to grips with the fact that we’re slowly killing ourselves—not just physically, but mentally.

    TOPS is a huge advocate of exercise, and I’ve learned that exercise can be fun and very rewarding.

    Today, with a total weight loss of nearly 140 pounds, I feel younger, my energy level is high, and I feel that I can take anything on.

    When I’m out in public, I no longer worry about what I look like.

    How wonderful it is to be able to go to a concert or event and not have to worry about getting stuck in a chair or taking up too much room on the bleachers—not to mention the agony of anticipating the climb up and down the bleachers.

    “The hard work has reaped many benefits.

    I reached my goal and became a KOPS, received my Century Award, and was crowned TOPS’ 2008 Nebraska Queen.

    Having the opportunity to visit various TOPS chapters throughout the year and representing Nebraska at 2009 International Recognition Days (IRD) in Florida has been amazing.

    Standing on the stage at IRD during the KOPS Circle of Light ceremony was breathtaking.

    Looking out at all the individuals who have made this commitment to being healthy and living the dream made me realize what I had accomplished.

    Don’t get me wrong.

    Maintaining this healthy lifestyle is hard work, but the benefits are so worth the effort.

    “Remember, you are ultimately the person who is in control and making the decisions.

    However, to think you can do it on your own goes against all we’ve been taught.

    I could not have done this on my own.

    My friends, family, and trainers have pushed me, challenged me, laughed with me and, most importantly, encouraged me never to give up.

    This is a gift that has no price tag, and I will be forever grateful.”


    Jackie Thomas

    Jackie Thomas lost 133 lbs, dropping from 289 lbs to 156 lbs

    Jackie Thomas
    Highest Weight: 289 lbs
    •After: 155.5 lbs
    • Pounds lost: 133.5 lbs
    • Height: 5’ 6”
    • Former Size: 24
    • Current Size: 4

    This article is posted on TOPS website here.

    What a blessing TOPS has been in my life! Without the incredible support of my wonderful husband, children, friends and TOPS family, my dream of losing over 130 pounds to reach my goal weight would have remained just that, a dream.

    But some dreams do come true.

    Like many of you, I love to eat.

    So many things that we do in our daily lives revolve around food.

    After all, it’s not like we can just quit eating and stay away from the temptation of food altogether.

    Learning to eat to live to get our bodies healthy and learning to balance our activities and food intake makes so much sense, and I think I finally get it!

    In February of 2009, I made a pact with my youngest son, who was battling a very serious heroin addiction.

    As we sat next to each other trying to figure out how to help him overcome his drug problem, it dawned on me that I could not do it for him.

    He had to want it enough to do it himself.

    All I could do was to give him my love and support.

    Then I realized that I was battling a food addiction that only I could fix.

    I have been encouraged by many people.

    My beautiful daughter was inspiring me by working really hard to lose some weight that she had gained during her pregnancy.

    My middle son wanted to take some weight off.

    My friends at work and at TOPS UT 0013 Kearns were getting in shape.

    All of this, together, made my journey to my KOPS goal a shared experience.

    My love goes out to all of you who are on the same journey—my TOPS family around the world.

    Eat to live, and realize your dreams.

    They can come true!


    Patricia Wood

    Patricia Wood lost 133 lbs, dropping from 316 lbs to 183 lbs

    Patricia Wood
    Verona, Virgina, USA
    Starting weight in 2009: 316 lbs
    Year-end weight: 183 lbs
    Pounds lost: 133 lbs

    This article is posted on TOPS website here.

    “My friend, Peggy, invited me to return to TOPS last January the day my doctor said I had congestive heart failure, high blood pressure and required a knee replacement.

    Something clicked when I walked into that meeting room and saw an “It’s My Time” poster.

    I changed my eating habits to incorporate five small meals a day, and increased my physical activity to including walking, riding the exercise bike, and lifting weights.

    My doctor has lowered my goal weight twice, and I’ve never felt healthier.

    My son recently told me, “Mom, I didn’t think I’d ever see you small again.

    I’m so proud of you.” TOPS and the wonderful support of a great chapter saved my life!”


    Stephanie McGruder

    Stephanie McGruder lost 124 lbs, dropping from 322 lbs to 198 lbs

    Stephanie McGruder
    Federal Way, Washington, USA
    Starting weight in 2009: 322 lbs
    Year-end weight: 198 lbs
    Pounds lost: 124 lbs

    This article is posted on TOPS website here.

    “I’m recognizing my emotions now.”

    “When I first joined TOPS in 1991, I weighed 308 pounds.

    Within the year, I quickly lost 76 1/2 pounds, earning Women’s Division 3, third place, honors in Washington State.

    Shortly after, I experienced two heartbreaking miscarriages and looked to food for comfort, returning to over 300 pounds.

    I had failed to address my emotions.

    Last year, my doctor said he wouldn’t perform a necessary surgery because of my weight.

    I knew I could do anything with Christ, who strengthens me, and a TOPS chapter who never stopped believing in me.

    I’m recognizing my emotions now.

    I believe this has led to successfully losing 124 pounds and contributes to my future success in my fight against multiple sclerosis.”


    Charlie Hendrix

    Charlie Hendrix lost 65 lbs, dropping from 183 lbs to 118 lbs

    Charlie Hendrix
    Council, Idaho, USA
    Starting weight in 2009: 183 lbs
    Year-end weight: 118 lbs
    Pounds lost: 65 lbs

    This article is posted on TOPS website here.

    “I was a member of TOPS before, reached my goal, and then life seemed to get in the way.

    I quit TOPS and regained all the weight, plus another 20 pounds.

    I was embarrassed and ashamed.

    I felt like a failure.

    After I retired, I rejoined TOPS, exercised on a regular basis, kept a food journal, and counted my calories.

    I recently completed the Race to Robie Creek, the toughest half-marathon in the Northwest.

    Even though I’ve reached my goal, I still have to be sensible about what I eat and continue to exercise.

    I may be at the finish line, but there is still a race to run.

    It has to be a lifestyle, not just a number on the scale.”


    Ladene Nelson

    Ladene Nelson lost 34 lbs, dropping from 196 lbs to 132 lbs

    Ladene Nelson
    Jamestown, North Dakota, USA
    Starting weight in 2009: 196 lbs
    Year-end weight: 132 lbs
    Pounds lost: 64 lbs

    This article is posted on TOPS website here.

    “I’ve also learned that weight loss doesn’t have to be hopeless or lonely.”

    “I’ve had a weight problem and low self-esteem my entire life.

    I would lose unwanted pounds, only to gain them back.

    It seemed like such a hopeless and lonely battle.

    For five years, as I watched my mother dying from Alzheimer’s, I turned to food for comfort.

    Then God sent someone to help me—a friend from church who is also a TOPS member.

    Her kindness, concern, and invitation to a TOPS meeting changed my life! Now I realize that any year and any day of our lives is the perfect time to begin healthier, happier living.

    I’ve also learned that weight loss doesn’t have to be hopeless or lonely.

    Thanks, TOPS, for this “new me!””


    Connie Wright

    Connie Wright lost 39 lbs, dropping from 135 lbs to 96 lbs

    Connie Wright
    Sapulpa, Oklahoma, USA
    Starting weight in 2009: 135 lbs
    Year-end weight: 96 lbs
    Pounds lost: 39 lbs

    This article is posted on TOPS website here.

    “I’m doing well and continue with these same eating habits.”

    “Quite some time ago, my daughter and I were members of TOPS.

    We both reluctantly quit when her work schedule changed and I didn’t want to go without her.

    We recently joined again.

    When I was five pounds from reaching my goal weight, I was diagnosed with cancer and hospitalized for a short time.

    From then on, my eating habits have changed drastically.

    I cut back on fatty foods and chocolate because they made me sick and began eating smaller, more frequent meals.

    This new habit later contributed to a healthier lifestyle.

    I’m doing well and continue with these same eating habits.

    Through the roughest moments and my weakest days, my family and friends have been there for me.”


    Rosey Gonzalez

    Rosey Gonzalez lost 37 lbs, dropping from 142 lbs to 105 lbs

    Rosey Gonzalez
    Kirbyville, Texas, USA
    Starting weight in 2009: 142 lbs
    Year-end weight: 105 lbs
    Pounds lost: 37 lbs

    This article is posted on TOPS website here.

    “I joined TOPS and learned how to eat right and started exercising.”

    “Before I joined TOPS, I was miserable.

    I was overweight and shy because of it.

    I was taking medications for diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, depression and anxiety.

    These medications made me tired, which made it difficult to get up and move around to lose weight.

    The more weight I gained, the unhealthier I became.

    My seizures were out of control.

    I had to lose weight and knew I couldn’t do it on my own.

    I joined TOPS and learned how to eat right and started exercising.

    I now have a full-time job and am off all my medications! I feel great and am enjoying my life and my new friends.”


    Sierra Ober

    Sierra Ober lost 44 lbs, dropping from 194 lbs to 150 lbs

    Sierra Ober
    Graham, Washington, USA
    Starting weight in 2009: 194 lbs
    Year-end weight: 150 lbs
    Pounds lost: 44 lbs

    This article is posted on TOPS website here.

    “I started TOPS and my weight-loss journey when I was nine years old.”

    “I was always a bit chubby.

    I thought I would grow out of it.

    However, I grew into it.

    Throughout my preteen years, I dieted and exercised on and off, never sticking with it.

    By the time I was 12, I weighed 250 pounds.

    I was disgusted with myself.

    Something clicked.

    I knew how to lose weight; I just wasn’t actually doing anything about it.

    I cut calories and began exercising regularly.

    The pounds started coming off.

    Everyone is going to have different goals and different plans that work for them.

    It’s all a matter of finding what works for you.”


    Elizabeth Lloyd

    Elizabeth Lloyd lost 39 lbs, dropping from 223 lbs to 184 lbs

    Elizabeth Lloyd
    Lindsay, Ontario, Canada
    Starting weight in 2009: 223 lbs
    Year-end weight: 184 lbs
    Pounds lost: 39 lbs

    This article is posted on TOPS website here.

    “Fat. The smallest, tiniest word—but it has resounded in my head all my life.”

    “In school, I was “big,” self-conscious, and kept to myself, except for a few good friends.

    In April 2009, I begrudgingly agreed to go to a TOPS meeting with my mom.

    My jaw dropped when I heard my weight, but I immediately fell in love with the family atmosphere.

    Just thinking about the hugs I’m going to get helps me go that extra mile.

    I lose by counting every calorie that hits my tongue.

    Now the word resounding in my head is: Beautiful.

    As it says in Philippians 3:14, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize…”


    Kim Knobf

    Kim Knobf lost 114 lbs, dropping from 428 lbs to 314 lbs

    Elizabeth Lloyd
    Lindsay, Ontario, Canada
    Starting weight in 2009: 428 lbs
    Year-end weight: 314 lbs
    Pounds lost: 114 lbs

    This article is posted on TOPS website here.

    “I still have a long way to go, but I know I will get there with the help of my TOPS pals.”

    “I’ve been overweight my entire life.

    I became truly aware of the effect my weight was having on me when, one day in high school, I went into diabetic shock.

    I weighed 450 pounds and didn’t know I was diabetic.

    Since then, I’ve tried to lose weight, but was unsuccessful.

    Last year, I moved to a farm with other developmentally disabled adults, where I learned to stay active, keeping my mind off of food.

    This Easter, I wore a dress for the first time since I can remember.

    I felt so proud, and everyone told me how pretty I looked.

    I still have a long way to go, but I know I will get there with the help of my TOPS pals.”


    Diane Thornsberry

    Diane Thornsberry lost 93 lbs, dropping from 401 lbs to 308 lbs

    Elizabeth Lloyd
    Lindsay, Ontario, Canada
    Starting weight in 2009: 401 lbs
    Year-end weight: 308 lbs
    Pounds lost: 93 lbs

    This article is posted on TOPS website here.

    “Know that you are worth it.”

    “I’ve been fighting my weight since I was 10 years old.

    My weight has been fluctuating up and down for many years and, eventually, my body paid the price.

    I’m now in a wheelchair.

    I never thought this would happen to me.

    Last January, I hit my top weight and I told myself that I had better do something now.

    My goal is to keep losing and, eventually, to drive again.

    Losing weight is the most personal thing you can do for yourself.

    Know that you are worth it.

    It’s a one-day-at-a-time job.

    I know that I am the only one who can make a difference.

    Betty Maydew, you are my special angel.”


    Deborah Renner

    Deborah Renner lost 157 lbs, dropping from 407 lbs to 250 lbs

    Deborah Renner
    Newport, Tennesee, USA
    Starting weight in 2009: 407 lbs
    Year-end weight: 250 lbs
    Pounds lost: 157 lbs

    This article is posted on TOPS website here.

    “I felt I had to do something before it was too late.”

    “At my highest weight of 484 pounds, I couldn’t breathe, let alone walk from point A to point B without being completely exhausted.

    I avoided shopping for groceries and had my daughters run errands for me.

    After trying twice to lose weight, only to gain it all back, I reluctantly decided to have gastric bypass surgery.

    I felt I had to do something before it was too late.

    With my family’s help, I lost 216 pounds in one year.

    I started exercising; eating healthy by giving up potatoes, bread, and sweets; drinking plenty of water; and attending TOPS meetings.

    Now, with my doctor’s permission, I can occasionally treat myself to popcorn and grits again!”


    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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