Diet and Weight Loss / Exercise Plans / Health & Wellness

TOPS Celebrates Winning ‘Losers’

International Royalty and Division Winners Lose Combined Total of More than 3,200 Pounds

"TOPS Celebrates Winning Losers’Recognition is an important element of any journey to a healthier lifestyle — whether you’ve completed a small victory or reached the ultimate goal. Members of TOPS Club, Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), the nonprofit weight-loss support organization, were recently celebrated for their weight-loss efforts at its annual three-day event, International Recognition Days (IRD). This year’s event took place July 18 through July 20 in Calgary, Alberta. The festivity honored TOPS award winners who, with determination, perseverance, and support from fellow members, achieved the greatest weight loss in their category in 2012.

Wendy Vaux of Greenfield Park, Quebec, was crowned 2012 International Queen with an incredible total weight loss of 209.5 pounds. James Murphy of Aylesford, Nova Scotia, 2012 International King, lost an impressive total of 137.5 pounds. Royalty are those individuals who, at the end of the year, have officially recorded the largest weight loss from their original, starting weight to goal weight, regardless of the time taken to reach goal.

“Like many others, I’ve yo-yo dieted all my life,” says Vaux. “I’ve tried every diet under the sun. But on April 8, 2011, I was admitted to the hospital. The doctors thought I had had a heart attack, but they couldn’t run any tests, as I was too large to fit in the machines. They told me I’d have to wait until the following Monday to see if another local hospital had an angiogram table that could hold my weight. Throughout that weekend in the hospital, I was thinking, ‘It’s finally time for a lifestyle change.’ I joined TOPS on May 2, 2011, at 359.5 pounds. I love going to meetings each week. Everyone is so encouraging. I was so happy to reach my goal weight of 150 pounds on September 24, 2012 (my 24 year wedding anniversary), going from a 6XL to wearing a size 10. What a way to enjoy life with my grandson and family! I love running into someone I’ve known for most of my life and seeing the confused look on his or her face when they don’t recognize me. The reaction of shock when I tell them who I am is priceless.”

Notes Murphy, “I’ve had two heart attacks and was on 40 units of insulin. I knew I had no other choice but to drastically change my lifestyle. I was only 56, and I had a lot to live for. Three friends suggested that I join their TOPS chapter. I took their advice and joined on January 13, 2011, weighing 342 pounds. It was scary walking in the door at first. By December 31, 2011, I had lost 55.75 pounds. I was told that I had inspired others with my success story. This motivated me to lose the rest of my weight. I feel wonderful and alive! I’m no longer taking insulin and many of the other medications I was on. Changing my eating habits was hard, but I did it. I eat a very well balanced diet now, with a lot of healthy foods. I slowly incorporated exercise into my daily routine. I walk for one or two hours a day. When I started it was a chore; now I truly enjoy it. Wearing my new smaller-sized clothes makes me feel good about myself. I was always a ‘big boy’ and everyone called me Big Jim – never just Jim. Goodbye forever, Big Jim! Now, it’s Slim Jim!”

“TOPS’ founder, Esther Manz, felt that anyone who achieved their goal of losing weight should be treated like royalty,” says TOPS president Barbara Cady. “Though purely symbolic, these winners embody the best of what TOPS is all about: real people, real weight loss, through healthier lifestyles, personal accomplishment, and overall wellness. TOPS has been by these members’ sides every step of the way on their weight-loss journey and is proud to provide the support and motivation to sustain their remarkable achievements.”

International Royalty and Runners-up include:

• International Queen: Wendy Vaux; Greenfield Park, Quebec; 209.5 lbs.

• International King: James Murphy; Aylesford, Nova Scotia; 137.5 lbs.

• International Queen Runner-up: Beverly Wilkerson; Crocker, Mo.; 200 lbs.

• International King Runner-up: Jason Downing; Wheeling, W. Va.; 130.25 lbs.

TOPS Club Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) is the original weight-loss support and wellness education organization. Founded more than 65 years ago, TOPS is the only nonprofit, noncommercial weight-loss organization of its kind. TOPS promotes successful weight management with a “Real People. Real Weight Loss.®” philosophy that combines support from others at weekly chapter meetings, healthy eating, regular exercise, and wellness information. TOPS has about 150,000 members – male and female, age seven and older – in thousands of chapters throughout the United States and Canada.

Visitors are welcome to attend their first TOPS meeting free of charge. To find a local chapter, view or call (800) 932-8677.


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