My Official TOPS Story
Monday, April 11, 2011
It was suggested to me to tell my story so I thought I would post the official story that was read this past weekend at the Texas TOPS State Recognition Days in Beaumont, TX when I was introduced as the 2010 State Queen. It was an incredible weekend. I have been given a great gift. I am hoping that I can do TOPS proud! Here is my story:
"My aunt invited me to go with her to a TOPS meeting in 1997. Having just moved from Maryland to Texas, I did not know anyone, so I was eager for some social interaction. For quite some time that is exactly what TOPS was for me—a social outing. Even though I weighed 260 lbs. and I knew I was obese, I was in complete denial whenever I looked into a mirror, at a picture of myself, or needed an even larger size of pants because the ones that I had bought a month earlier must have “shrunk in the wash”. I made up every excuse not to exercise. I had grown up tall and slim, and I had excelled in sports. I felt I was fat when I hit 125 lbs. (and I am 5’8”) and I ran to the store and bought a workout so I could “feel the burn”, but I hated to sweat.
I was diagnosed with major depression at an early age and in 1993 had to retire on disability. I had nothing to do but eat. I had very little money (even resorting to eating at the local soup kitchen), but I always seemed to have money for ice cream. I gained over 100 lbs. in a matter of months, and so I accepted my parents’ offer to join them in Texas.
When I joined TOPS, I would celebrate each week if I had a loss, only to have the inevitable gain the following week. (Sitting at home eating a pint of ice cream in one sitting wasn’t working!) In 2009, I decided to become a vegetarian. This lasted a few months until I admitted that I really do love meat. During this time, I lost a few pounds. I discovered that writing down what I ate was crucial. I also began to realize just how important exercise is. This was all information I had heard over and over again in my TOPS meetings, but I just had not gotten to the point where I was willing to work at really losing the weight. Then I started thinking about how I would feel in one year, two years, and five years if I lost the weight and if I didn’t lose the weight, and how my health would be impacted. I had been diagnosed with arthritis; I had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and was prediabetic. I love to watch The Biggest Loser on television. Unfortunately, I loved to watch it while eating an entire pint of ice cream. One night I was sitting on my couch, eating my ice cream, watching The Biggest Loser and trainer Jillian began to yell at a contestant that she was probably one of those people who sit at home watching the show while eating ice cream. My spoon stopped halfway to my mouth. It was then I decided to give up eating pints of ice cream at one time, and to not keep ice cream in my house. It took me a long time to realize that I can’t eat what I don’t have in the house. I know that I will give in to temptation; that is inevitable. So I just work with it, not against it. What works for me is moderation, not deprivation. I made myself exercise. I still do not love to exercise, but I am finding different methods. I love doing Zumba and Just Dance2 on my Wii, and I have recently started actual Zumba classes.
Once I started losing, every time I dropped a clothes size it reaffirmed my excitement. I set goals for myself and the most exciting one that I reached was when I could buy a pair of jeans that was not in the plus-size department. I have not sat down with a pint of ice cream since September, 2009. I started my journey at size 26W and can now fit into a size 10.
I owe a huge thanks to my family and to my friends at TOPS #TX0955, Florence and TOPS #TX1066, Round Rock. I could not have done this without you!"