Stettler resident Eleanor Gorjans has accomplished an amazing goal that few reach by shedding more than 100 lbs. and keeping it off.
Having been named the 2019 TOPS Alberta Queen, she credits TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) with being an essential support through the life-changing process.
Gorjans hadn’t been heavy growing up or into her adulthood – until a battle with depression began and the medication she was using caused her to gain weight.
Her journey with a weight struggle started back in 1990.
And with the weight gain, her depression tended to worsen which in turn caused her to each more – so it became a bit of a vicious cycle.
Eventually, her health started to suffer. Her blood pressure went up and she had to take medication for that, and she was told she was becoming pre-diabetic.
“I decided that for my health, I needed to lose weight,” she explained. “I twice joined a TOPS chapter but found losing weight difficult because I wasn’t committed,” she explained.
“When I rejoined TOPS on March 10th 2016, I weighed 252.5 pounds. It was a long journey, but everyone in my chapter was so supportive through my ups and downs. I wrote in a journal, exercised, and drank plenty of water,” she recalled.
On June 27th, 2019, she achieved her goal and the KOPS (Keep Off Pounds Sensibly) status and she now weighs 136 lbs. Altogether, she lost about 116 lbs.
“It wasn’t an easy journey, but it certainly was a rewarding one. I thank everyone at my TOPS chapter for their assistance.”
TOPS is the short name for TOPS Club, Inc., the original non-profit, non-commercial network of weight-loss support groups and wellness education organizations.
According to the web site, TOPS offers tools and programs for healthy living and weight management, with exceptional group fellowship and recognition.
“Established in 1948 to champion weight-loss support and success, we’ve helped millions of people live healthier lives.”
Gorjans said rather than being a regimented diet, the program is all about a lifestyle change.
“I find you also have to journal. And I still really need the people every week who boost me – they cheer me on when I lose weight and they support me when I gain weight. I need that support,” she said, adding that she still attends weekly meetings with the Tees-Clive chapter of TOPS.
“I attended there because they have morning meetings,” she said. “It’s very supportive.”
Meanwhile, the benefits to losing weight are plentiful – from feeling better to having a whole new level of confidence as well.
“I don’t use a walker anymore. I feel better, and I’m off my high blood pressure medication,” she said. “I’m also no longer pre-diabetic. And I just feel better about myself, too,” she said.
“And I can also walk farther,” she said, adding that walking was a key part of her weight loss journey as well.
“TOPS is a good program. You just have to be consistent. Journaling is also important – you have to write down everything you eat. You don’t realize what you eat until you write it down,” she explained. “And I mean ‘everything’ you eat!
“If you wanted to count the calories that you eat, you would be surprised when you start out how many calories you actually eat in a day,” she said.
“You may think to yourself, oh, I’m only eating 2,800 calories but you might find you that you are eating 3,500 calories per day, or 5,000 calories.”
To help maintain her weight loss, she stays active, continues to attend KOPS meetings for support and only allows herself one cheat day per week.
Thursday is her cheat day.
“I weigh in on Thursday mornings and I give myself a treat.” That usually involves a stop at Blokes Bakery where she will enjoy a tasty long john. “Then I’m good for the week,” she added with a laugh, adding that really, her love for sugar in general has decreased significantly as well.
“I also really find that I don’t crave chocolate like I used to,” she said. “And I do eat smaller portions as well
“I also don’t snack like I used to,” she said, adding that in the old days, she enjoyed eating in the evening in particular. “I’d turn on the TV at night, and eat.”
For more information about TOPS, check out www.tops.org.