2019 International Division Winners (Male)

TOPS Success Stories > 2019 International Division Winners (Male)

Each year, TOPS honors International Division Winners. These members are recognized within divisions based on their starting weights of each year. The member who lost more weight during the previous calendar year than anyone else in his or her division is the winner. A little healthy competition usually provides extra motivation for our members.

Looking for our female or teen winners? Check out the 2019 International Division Female Winners or 2019 International TOPS Teens.

Male Winners

First Place Winners

James G. - Lost 108 lb.
Division 1

My story is simple. I was a very active young man and served as a volunteer in an elite Navy unit. Thirty years ago, I was badly injured in an accident and was unable to walk for six months. I got up to 400 pounds and let myself just stay there. At 415 pounds, I was visiting a friend and realized there wasn’t a single chair in his house that I could sit in without it breaking. That was my reality check. I joined an app that day and began counting my calories. I got my doctor involved and started doing daily workouts. My TOPS chapter never gave up on me, even when at times it seemed like I’d given up on myself. I’m in this for the long haul and intend to reach KOPS this year.

Derrell H. - Lost 96.25 lb.
Division 2

I’d just been diagnosed with diabetes. It was doctor’s orders to lose weight. I bumped into someone at the hospital who mentioned going to TOPS. By the end of the year, I was so healthy that I no longer needed the blood glucose monitor and test strips. My blood glucose level is controlled by diet and exercise—not insulin or pills. I used to think that 150 minutes of exercise a week was extreme. Now, I aim for 60 minutes of exercise daily. I’m learning to select new goals and to set my sights on distant targets. The goal is not the finish line— it’s a new beginning. I’d like to thank TOPS for all the assistance along the way.

Lee B. - Lost 60.8 lb.
Division 3

My weight has yo-yoed for most of my life. At the end of 2018, I found myself overweight again. I knew I had to do something different. Luckily, I saw a sign for a TOPS meeting. I was familiar with TOPS as my mother was a TOPS Queen in the 1960s. My favorite aunt was a successful TOPS member, and both of her daughters are currently members. I attended a meeting and found the members to be friendly, helpful and supportive. The weekly meetings hold me accountable. TOPS has provided the direction for healthy weight loss. I feel confident that through the continued support of my fellow members and the TOPS organization, my yo-yo years are forever behind me.

Ronald E. - Lost 34.4 lb.
Division 4

I’ve worked second shift most of my working life. I ate when I got home and then went to bed. After I retired, I continued to eat snacks late at night. My wife and I joined the gym because I was overweight and both of us were worried about my wife's health. The owner of the gym told us about TOPS and talked us into joining. At first, I was doing it just for my wife. I soon realized how nice everyone was and how supportive TOPS was. As I started losing weight, my TOPS pals cheered me on and encouraged me to continue. The hardest thing was to quit snacking in the evening. Sometimes I reward myself with a few chips, but I found the best way for me to keep the weight off is exercising and not snacking at night.

Michael D. - Lost 111.6 lb.
Division 7

I knew TOPS would work if I put in the time and effort. At my highest weight, it took effort to walk to the store to buy a soda … so that was the first thing I cut out. I still went to the store; it was the soda I gave up. With the addition of a salad every day, the pounds started to come off. It finally clicked that I had changed when I couldn’t wait to shovel after the first big snowstorm of the year. My weight-loss isn’t just for me — it’s for my chapter, my state and for TOPS. This is what pushes me to keep going at times when I don't want to go for that walk or I reach for the extra slice of cake. I'm not sure when it will happen, but someday I'll be able to proudly say, “I'm half the man I used to be.”

Jamie G. - Lost 123.2 lb.
Division 9

At 635 pounds, my doctor informed me that it was my weight or my life. I decided to change my way of life. My doctor suggested gastric bypass surgery, but I had to lose 25 pounds first. I lost 40 pounds after joining TOPS NY 0934 Arcade. I had to weigh-in at a nearby hospital since the chapter’s scale couldn’t handle my weight. Through TOPS, I learned about healthy foods, exercise and drinking water instead of pop. I’m so thankful for my TOPS friends and my family for their support and encouragement. I’m so happy I had the surgery! It may seem like an easy way out, but it isn’t. My 20-year-old daughter said to me, “I’ve never been able to hug you and clasp my hands together until now. I’m so proud of you.”

Second Place Winners

Frank D. - Lost 88.2 lb.
Division 2

I joined TOPS at 322 pounds because my then girlfriend, Robin, was already a member. That first year I lost 113 pounds to goal. After Robin and I got married, we decided we didn’t want to “live” in the gym and stopped going. Needless to say, most of my weight came back. I dropped out of TOPS for a short period, but then came back. Our weight yo-yoed for a few years. In 2019, while we were sitting in a meeting, I told Robin that I felt like I was going to die. We joined the gym again because my A1C level had risen to 8.0. My doctor had me taking diabetes medications and my legs showed fluid retention. Within two months of joining the gym, and with changes in my diet and exercise, my A1C dropped to 5.2. It’s so much easier to move now. I want to thank all who have helped me on my journey.

Russell B. - Lost 32 lb.
Division 4

I’ve tried at different times to lose weight and always gained it back. Nothing was working. My wife and I attended our first meeting together in late June. My main goal was to go in every week with a loss. It didn’t have to be a big loss; it was more about me staying on track. The biggest change I made was portion control. My wife and I also walk at least 3 miles every day. We prefer to do our walking on the golf course. My wife and I achieved our KOPS status in December. Now the hard work begins! I know I must keep attending my meetings to succeed.

Clint M. - Lost 96.2 lb.
Division 7

My grandmother told me about TOPS, and I’m so glad I went. It doesn’t matter if I lose or gainit’s the accountability of being true to myself and facing the scale. I recommend that you keep a variety of healthy food on hand. I love apples, but if I eat apples three times a day, I’m going to get tired of them. There are so many great healthy recipes out there to mix it up! Cutting back on the bread has helped a lot as well. Do you look at the nutrition panel on the back of your food to see what you are putting into your body? I know I didn’t. Now I read the entire label: calories, carbs, fat, proteins, and the ingredients as well. I loved drinking Coke, but now I treat myself to one once a week. Thanks to TOPS, I’ve lost 96.2 pounds. That’s a pretty good start! Just watch … I’m not done yet.

Ruben G. - Lost 120 lb.
Division 9

I knew I was in deep trouble when I hit 417 pounds. I was on a downward spiral. Having been a master florist and cultural artist for more than 25 years, I started volunteering at the Commander’s House in San Antonio as an arts and crafts instructor. For the first time in years, I started to feel happy again. TOPS meetings were held there every Wednesday. My first meeting was so much fun! I knew I wanted to go all the way with TOPS. They really understood me and applauded for any loss—even if it was half a pound. I was able to lose the weight I needed to have my weight-loss surgery, and I’ve continued losing weight. My goal is to motivate people and let them know how much TOPS has helped me. My thanks to my TOPS members, family and friends. GGG-Give God Glory.