It’s no secret that many Americans are affected by obesity and its related conditions. For most, losing weight is no easy task, and some resort to fad diets and other methods to drop dress sizes as quickly as possible.
However, Buena Park resident Barbara Treece lost 200 pounds over the course of three years not with ‘magic’ pills or miracle diets but with the help of Buena Park’s chapter of Take Off Pounds Sensibly (TOPS), a nonprofit that offers tools and programs for healthy living and weight management, with exceptional group fellowship and recognition.
“I think I was so obese I felt like I was in a hole and I couldn’t pull myself out,” Treece said. “I wanted to lose the weight that I had gained in those years in one night and be done with it but it’s not a diet or a one day thing; it’s a way of life forever.”
When she was laid off from her job of 25 years in 2010, Treece became depressed and began to gain weight. At the time, Treece weighed approximately 346 pounds, and with her diabetes, depression, and difficulty moving becoming a lot to bear, she sought out help from her local TOPS chapter.
“The support of others in my chapter kept me motivated to keep losing the weight until I reached my goal,” Treece said. “I think without that, it would’ve been a really bigger challenge for me than was at hand.”
During their weekly meetings at the Buena Park Senior Activity Center, TOPS not only kept its members accountable for the weight they gained or loss but also provided them with workshops and resources to help them live healthier lives. However, the main component of the TOPS program was support and maintaining motivation. In addition to taking on a more healthy diet, Treece went on daily walks with Sue Whited, the chapter leader.
Whited, along with the other members, saw Treece’s transformation with their own eyes and even saw her get crowned TOPS’ California State Queen.
“I absolutely had joy in my heart seeing [Treece] become the shining star that she is,” Whited said. “She glows now and when I went to Modesto to see her get crowned California State Queen, I was bawling. I get choked up thinking about it now.”
Treece will also be attending the TOPS International Recognition Days in Reno, Nevada as California State Queen. She had the opportunity to share her success story at other TOPS chapters, and her new lifestyle has given her a new world view.
“It’s just like a new person has emerged from a cocoon,” Treece said. “It can be done and now I can just live a normal life.”
TOPS meets every Monday at 6:30 p.m. at the Buena Park Senior Activity Center, 8150 Knott Ave.