I joined TOPS on Nov. 30, 2000, weighing 327.25 pounds. At the beginning, I struggled, so I prayed for help. I saw that I was addicted to sugar. Once I realized this, I decided to stay away from it completely. I learned I could trade sugar for fruit. This seemed to be a good substitute for the sugary things I had been eating. Removing sugar from my diet was making a difference in my weight, which was very encouraging!
My clothes were getting too big, so I had to buy smaller ones. What a fun thing to do: Go shopping! Not only was it fun, it was encouraging to see the number on the scale go down. Family and friends noticed, and that made a difference in my attitude. I was much happier.
As my weight dropped, it became much easier to get around. I was also more interested in keeping the house in order. When you’re very overweight, you just don’t keep up with the house as much.
I became a much more positive person. I encouraged other people to try TOPS, especially since they saw a difference in me. I attended water aerobics classes, and did that for many years. Additionally, I began using Jodi Stolove’s chair dancing DVDs. I did them faithfully for quite a few years.
I encourage you to eat and exercise for health, lean on friends, your TOPS chapter and your faith. I’d like to thank my family, friends, TOPS chapter and my God for helping me succeed.
Editor’s note: After being crowned at the Virginia SRD, Gail unfortunately passed away at age 78. Gail joined TOPS in November 2000, and lost 177.25 pounds to reach her goal weight in July 2022. She was also a Century Award winner, achieving that distinction in 2013. TOPS was an important part of Gail’s life and she took great satisfaction in her accomplishments and was an inspiration to others. Achieving success late in life, as Gail did, makes it all the more satisfying and serves as encouragement for those who may be struggling to keep striving to reach goals. She leaves an amazing legacy. For all this, and more, Gail is being honored posthumously as the 2022 TOPS International Queen.
You only get out of TOPS what you put into it. We can't guarantee weight loss just by attending meetings, but we can offer support through each stage of your weight-loss journey. Your results may vary.