Winning by losing: The holiday season is upon us, and for many that means indulging into sweet treats, turkey, and dressing. Terrebonne Parish native Joy Bergeron’s story shows that you can manage holiday temptations while enjoying time with your loved ones.
Founded in 1948, TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) is a non-profit, international weight loss, education, and support club. The organization began unveiling its top “royalty” from 2020 for 2021 The organization 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. The club has tens of thousands of members from men and women, from age seven and older, in its network of thousands of weight-loss support chapters throughout the United States and Canada.
LOUISIANA FACTS & STATS:
• 36.8% of the adult population in the state of Louisiana is obese – the fourth highest obesity rating in the state!
• There are 48 TOPS chapters in the state*
• Louisiana members lost a total of 3,612 pounds in 2019!*
• Obesity effects more than a third of all Americans. That’s 78.6 million people. According to the CDC, it’s associated with “about 112,000 deaths every year in this country.” Obesity can cause an array of medical conditions including: heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer.
* 2019 stats
Royalty are women and men, who at the end of the year, have officially recorded the largest weight loss from their starting weight, regardless of the time taken to reach their goal. Bergeron lost an incredible 67.25 pounds and was crowned Louisiana’s 2020 TOPS Queen.
“I’ve been a member of TOPS for more than 25 years. I had struggled with my weight for years, trying new fad diets and trying to watch what I ate, but nothing I did really kept weight off. I was always discouraged and thought I would always be a bigger person,” said Bergeron “I loved TOPS so much that I eventually became its leader and then progressed to area captain. I was always pleased to see those that I knew become royalty never thinking I would ever have a chance.”
Bergeron participated in the TOPS international Recognition Days virtual conference, which took place July 23-24, 2021. Bergeron credits her late husband of 49 years for his support through the long nights of TOPS meetings and planning the fall rally for chapters in their area. “He was grateful to see me light up when I spoke of my TOPS friends. He was there with us, helping to set up or clean up.”
Not only did Bergeron lose a tremendous amount of weight with the help of TOPS, but she’s formed supportive friendships from the program. “My TOPS friends have been there for me through so much during the last decade- new grandbabies being born, suddenly losing my husband of 49 years, battling and beating breast cancer, and getting through the COVID-19 pandemic. They checked on me, sent cards, called, and made sure I felt loved.”
Bergeron shares that in March of 2021, she expressed to her daughter that she had doubts about being given the title Queen of Louisiana. “I thought it would be so great to be queen after such a long journey through TOPS, as there were many times I was ready to throw in the towel and not to renew my membership. But I knew the friendships were there and that they were strong enough to keep me motivated and on track.” Two weeks later, Bergeron phoned her daughter to tell her she was speaking to the Louisiana State Queen! “She cried with me, It was awesome to say those words.”
The program offers an individual approach to weight loss and overall wellness. Consistent group support, health education, and recognition are all key components to successful weight management. “Despite the pandemic, with assistance from TOPS support, the 2020 royalty, and many other prior, have exhibited that achieving a personal transformation is still doable through small, sustainable lifestyle modifications,” said TOPS President Rick Danforth. “Having sustained a 100-pound weight loss for over 15 years, I personally understand the commitment these folks have demonstrated.”
Bergeron attributes her weight loss success to the support she receives from her fellow TOPS members along with portion control and regular exercise. “I encourage everyone to take one day at a time. You can’t go back and change what happened, so start each day anew and be positive,” she added. In the hopes of helping others, Bergeron is willing to share her story. I would like the opportunity to speak with you about arranging an interview with Bergeron for a story that I believe your audience will find informational and inspiring.
“I encourage everyone to take one day at a time. You can’t go back and change what happened, so start each day anew and be positive.”
Visitors are able to attend their first TOPS in-person meeting free of charge and are 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 annually in Canada for in-person meetings, plus nominal chapter fees. Online membership is only $32 per year, no matter where the member is located.
For more information on membership options or to find a local chapter, visit www.tops.org or call 800-932-8677.