By CHERIL VERNON
Losing weight is hard. But keeping the weight off once its lost can be even harder.
Over the years with the help of her local weight-loss organization, Take Off Pounds Sensibly Club No. 698 in Palestine, Edna Higginbotham has been able to reach her goal weight and keep the weight off for a straight 21 years.
During a special Keep Off Pounds Sensibly ceremony Tuesday, TOPS Area Captain Sheila Callaway presented Higginbotham with a special pin in honor of her achievement. She also was presented with yellow roses and a corsage, pinned on by a special guest, her granddaughter, Amanda Welch. Also in attendance was her daughter, Deborah Hagemeier.
“Thank you all for your support — I couldn’t have done this without you all,” Higginbotham said during the presentation.
Higginbotham originally joined TOPS in 1968 for a few months but dropped out. When she moved to Palestine in April 1986, she joined the TOPS Club No. 698 chapter.
Showing a “before” picture to those in attendance Tuesday, Higginbotham started her weight-loss journey wearing a size 18-20 in women’s clothing. After dropping down enough weight to wear size 8 or 10 petite clothing, Higginbotham reached her goal of becoming a KOPS in 1991.
“It’s not easy at all to lose weight but once you get there — it’s hard to stay there,” Callaway said, commending Higginbotham. “We all applaud you for keeping the weight off.”
What is Higginbotham’s secret to losing weight?
“I kept a food chart. It’s very important. I tried lots of different things, but it took doing the food chart and writing everything I ate down before I learned to change my eating habits and to have portion control,” Higginbotham suggested. “I encourage my fellow TOPS members to try it.”
Also during Tuesday’s meeting, Callaway discussed TOP’s program, “Real People, Real Weight Loss.”
TOPS meets at 9 a.m. on Tuesdays at Evangelistic Temple, located at 3011 N. Loop 256. Visitors are welcome (preteens, teens and adults — male and female). The first meeting is free.
To join TOPS, the fees are $28 a year and $2 per month. Members receive a monthly issue of TOPS NEWS, a new member guide to healthy living, plus the camaraderie and encouragement of the club members. Accomplishments are awarded with charms and/or certificates at the local, state and national levels. Members learn about nutrition, portion control, food planning, exercise, motivation and more at weekly meetings.
TOPS Club Inc. is a non-profit, weight-loss support and wellness education organization with thousands of associate chapters in the United States and Canada. The organization was founded in 1948.
For details, call Violet Lynch at 903-723-2430, visit www.tops.org or call TOPS Headquarters at 1-800-932-8677.