Weight Loss Wednesday: Tops support group helps woman lose 92 pounds over 26 years

“The friendship, you know the support, you become a family,” Tilly Blue said.

Golden Meadows, La. — Sometimes you can feel alone in your weight loss efforts.
As we continue our Weight Loss Wednesday report, we travel along the estuary to examine a 75-year-old weight loss program that's still going strong because it brings people together around a common goal.

When 77-year-old Tillie Breaux from Golden Meadow mentions she's lost 96 pounds, she screams out at the team.

“The friendship, you know the support, you become a family,” Blue said.

She couldn't talk about her coronation as state queen and the upcoming statewide ceremony without tears.

“So they played this song, Candles on the Water, and I've always wanted to be in that circle. This year, I'm going to be. It's very important to me to achieve my goals,” Breaux said, her eyes filled with tears .

It took 26 years due to major health and personal obstacles, but with the help of her TOPS support group, she never gave up.

“You know, you've all heard the stories of graves being dug with forks. We hear that all the time in the South,” state coordinator Donna Hebert, 63, said at the group meeting.

TOPS stands for Weight Loss Smartly. A 75-year-old network of nonprofit support groups with chapters in the United States and Canada. In Louisiana, 600 people attend regular meetings in their own communities. Their ages range from 7 to 100 years old. Herbert presided over the meeting at Thibodeau.

When asked why she thinks TOPS helped her lose 70 pounds, she replied: “Dedication, commitment, and of course support.”

Then there are the trade-offs before the meeting begins.

“When you get to that scale, sometimes you want to pick up a hammer and break it, but actually the scale is your friend. It doesn't lie to you, we fool ourselves sometimes. Scale doesn't lie,” Herbert said .

“Losing 10 lbs, gaining 3 lbs, net loss of 7 lbs. That's awesome. We're good,” member Jackie Gauthé read to the group as the crowd cheered and clapped.

People share personal challenges and success secrets.

“Sometimes you have these issues at home where you buy food for different kinds of diets at home and it’s a huge challenge and a battle,” member Michael Marel announced to the group.

“You have to. If you don't want to, you won't. So, you have to take it to heart. It's what you want, you know, why you work for it, you want to do it,” member Lynn Da Joyst told the panel.

“We're all dealing with diabetes. We all have heart problems. So, we're going to a lot of doctors, and it's going to take a toll on you,” Dwight Davidson said in his testimony.

“If you don't work hard, you get nothing. I started putting on weight. In the first year after my husband died, I gained 28 pounds because I ate his food and ate mine,” says the 91-year-old Evelyn Waguespack LeBlanc announced to everyone.

TOPS encourages exercise, a doctor-recommended diet, and portion control.

“My favorite pasta. If I had a plate this big and tall, I'd eat two,” smiles Eiffel Levron, crowned king of the state. “But now I only eat a little bit.”

It's important to always get expert nutritional advice based on your specific health needs, but overall, systemic support increases success, says Dr. Jacob Mey, a researcher and registered dietitian at the renowned Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge. .

“Community, relationships, support, motivation, it all adds up to benefits. All of the best research we have on long-term weight loss and metabolic health success involves a group or community aspect,” explains Dr. Mey.

“These are the types of programs that are proven to work. Anyone interested in TOPS should talk to their doctor first, start walking gradually, and maybe add some yoga or some type of weightlifting,” says Exercise and Weight Specialist, Louisiana Dr. Melinda Sothern, professor emeritus at the State University Health Sciences Center. public health.

This policy applies to the TOPS group.

“You know, crayfish season is coming up, right? Well, I'm not going to share my sack with anyone,” said Herbert.

It works, as long as sometimes they can have a little taste of their culture.

There is a small annual fee of about $50, followed by monthly chapter fees ranging from $2 to $10.

You'll get magazine subscriptions and website access to help you on your journey.

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