TOPS helps Brown

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Mary Brown always thought of herself as a sensible woman, so when she made the decision to lose weight, she did it the sensible way – with TOPS.
That decision helped Brooks transform her life and her look after she lost 115 pounds over a four-year period.
TOPS, also known as “Taking Off Pounds Sensibly,” is a nationally-known weight loss support group. Saundra Anthony volunteers as the local organizer for the Brewton chapter.
“I want to get it across that we support one another not only in weight loss but as being friends also,” Anthony said of the group. Anyone is welcome to join – men, women, or even teens, that have a weight problem. It doesn’t matter if it’s 10 pounds or 110 pounds that you want to lose.
“For us, the emotional support you get in our group is so important,” she said.
Brown can testify to that firsthand.
“I couldn’t have done it without my TOPS group,” the former nursery worker at Divine Temple said. “I was 274 pounds and in my class I had 10 to 12 kids from zero to five. It was hard to tend to them.
“One Sunday night, I was sitting there, and it was like God spoke to me,” she said. “The voice said, ‘When you’re ready, I’m here to help.’ That was June 28, 2010.
“I saw the TOPS info in the paper and I called the next day,” she said.
It was a long process for Brown, she said. She lost 50 pounds and then her husband had a massive stroke. The stress of taking care of him cause her to gain 40 of those pounds back. Two-and-half-years later, he died.
“The ladies at TOPS were very supportive,” she said. “I got back on my weight-loss journey and haven’t looked back.”
Brown suffered some health issues, but in the end worked through them all with the help of a special friend, John Wilson.
“I tell people all the time that I ‘destroyed’ my weight, because if you lose something, you can get it back,” Brown said. “I don’t want it back. With walking and portion control, and the people in my life, I did it.
“There are so many trials and tribulations when taking the weight off,” she said. “TOPS is there for you every step of the way. And it doesn’t matter if your struggle isn’t weight-related, we are a support group, and we support you no matter what.”
To join TOPS, the cost is $28, plus a $3 monthly fee. That covers the cost of postage for a monthly magazine, Brown said.
The program arms participants with menu plans, tracking measures and a multitude of support partners. Meetings are held each Monday in the D.W. McMillan Hospital auditorium at 5 p.m.
For more information on TOPS, contact Anthony at 251-238-0294.

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