Take Off Pounds Sensibly (TOPS), a nonprofit weight-loss support organization, crowned Brandy Hartman Louisiana Queen. Hartman, a Houma native, lost 39 pounds.
Hartman’s weight-loss journey began nearly 10 years ago when she joined TOPS to lose baby weight following the birth of her second child, she said.
Upon joining the program, she met Melissa Buquet and the two became “instant friends,” Hartman said. Due to personal issues, Hartman stopped attending meetings, but they stayed in touch, often attempting different weight-loss methods, she said. But her weight always returned.
She rejoined TOPS in 2016, weighing 214 pounds, after deciding to join a different chapter with Buquet. “This time was different, as I was determined to lose weight for myself and my health,” Hartman remembered. “I was making great progress but regrettably the chapter folded in July of 2017.”
But she joined a different TOPS Chapter on December 14, 2017, when she was only 10.2 pounds away from her goal weight. “…And my determination…remained high,” she said. “I was so excited to be close to my goal.”
Tragedy struck in March 2018, however, forcing her progress to face another setback. “My husband was diagnosed with an incurable lung disease, which caused me to fall back into an old habit of using food as a comfort,” Hartman shared. “Knowing I needed to do something, I joined the Celebrate Recovery program at our church in July 2018. This program gave me the necessary awareness of my addiction to food.”
She realized she needed to return to TOPS as well, Hartman said, although her old friends were no longer involved in the program. Yet, her new fellow TOPS members encouraged her to keep chipping away at her goal, with one even calling her every Thursday to make sure she would attend the weekly meeting.
Participating in a TOPS State Recognition Day event in March 2019 was the final push Hartman needed to get serious about losing weight.
“I told my TOPS family that my aspirations were to become chapter queen and with their help, I succeeded in achieving my goal,” she said. “I followed a food nutrition plan coupled with exercise and stayed focused. By changing the way I viewed food, I was able to reach my goal on December 12, 2019.”
She later received a call informing her she had been named the 2019 TOPS Queen for Louisiana and would be participating in the TOPS International Recognition Days conference, which has been rescheduled for July 2021 in Niagara Falls.
Men and women who at the end of the year have officially recorded the largest loss from their starting weight, regardless of the time it took to reach their goal, are crowned TOPS royalty.
“Commemorating her life-changing achievement is an essential component of TOPS winning formula,” said Rick Danforth, TOPS President.
Hartman thanked God for “giving me the strength to endure this battle.” She also thanked her husband Jerry and daughters Haley and Lilly for their support and understanding throughout her journey.
“I encourage all TOPS members to continue working on achieving their weight-loss goals. I am forever grateful to the people in my chapter for accepting me into their family and keeping me inspired to stay on track,” she added. “I have made it my personal mission to encourage and support TOPS members along their weight-loss journeys.”
TOPS Club Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) is the original weight-loss support and wellness education organization. Founded in 1948, 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 thousands of members – male and female, age seven and older – in its network of thousands of weight-loss support chapters throughout the United States and Canada.
Weekly meetings are the heart of TOPS support, whether they are held online or in-person. Visitors are welcome to attend their first TOPS meeting free of charge and encouraged to try more than one chapter, since they’re all a little different. Membership is affordable at just $32 per year in the U.S. and $48 per year in Canada, plus nominal chapter fees. To find a local chapter, view www.tops.org or call 800-932-8677.