Beverly Sullivan of Dracut was honored recently as the 2014 queen of weight loss at the state conference of TOPS, held in North Falmouth.
TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly is a 66-year old not-for-profit, non-commercial weight loss and support organization. It is not a diet but a program that fosters a lifestyle change for a life time.
Sullivan recounts that her weight has been an issue for as long as she can remember and was a typical yo-yo dieter. The problem became acute when she fractured her tibia in several place and spent 12 weeks on crutches.
“Not being able to work, let alone move very easily, I had plenty of time to think,” she writes. “Was my injury just bad luck or was I really so heavy that my bones couldn’t support my weight?
She decided to take her mother’s invitation to join her at TOPS, whose meetings her mother had been attending for seven years.
Sullivan’s first weigh-in in March 2012 was a shocker: 310 pounds.
“As advised by my TOPS chapter leader, I met with my doctor, and we discussed my weight, recent injury, and how I was living on 800mg of Motrin four times a day for my aches and pains,” she writes..
She and her doctor set “a reasonable weight loss goal” of 120 pounds. She started attending TOPS meetings regularly and lost weight every week for 20 weeks. By December 2012, she had lost 100 pounds and her aches and pains diminished.
It took Sullivan 53 weeks to reach the 120-pound goal.
She met with her doctor and amended her goal so she could reach normal BMI by losing 20 more pounds and by August 2013 had lost a total of 140 pounds.
Sullivan is now the leader of her TOPS chapter.
“Being leader continues to help me maintain my weight-loss success because I want to be a role model for my chapter and to others who will listen to my story,” she writes. “TOPS has taught me to be responsible for my actions, to forgive myself when I have a rough day, and to not let a “cheat day” turn into a bad food week like I had done in the past.”
Sullivan, who has put her renewed energy into activities like walking and hiking, has been an example to her family, too.
Her youngest daughter joined TOPS in 2012 and her other two daughters and her husband, all joined this past September.
“Together they have lost more than 60 pounds, and they have helped me lower my goal even further,” she writes proudly. “I reached a new weight-loss goal of 150 lbs. Now I am motivated to be finally half the size I was in the beginning — to weigh 155 pounds.”