NEW GLASGOW – Cindy Jeans of Trenton lost her husband in 2009. Her life just wasn’t the same after that day.
“It was lonesome of course,” she said. “Things just didn’t matter as much any more, including my appearance.”
Just two years later, Jeans weight peaked just over 252 pounds. She knew it was time to act.
With the help of her sister, Virginia, Jeans joined the TOPS NS 5264 Chapter to get back control over her bad eating habits. TOPS, Take Off Pounds Sensibly, is a not for profit weight loss program that focuses on health ways to lose weight.
Now, three years and 89 pounds later, her hard work has been recognized. Jeans was runner-up for the TOPS Nova Scotia provincial queen, awarded to the member who has shed and kept off the most weight at the provincial event in Dartmouth last weekend.
Jeans was also named New Glasgow TOPS chapter queen.
She’s come a long way since stepping on the scale at her first TOPS meeting at the Superstore Community room one Monday evening.
“Don’t get me wrong, the first meeting was great,” she said. “But I was embarrassed to tears when my weight was displayed.”
Since then, the New Glasgow TOPS members, around 60, have become a second family to Jeans. Among them is the group’s leader, Diane MacKenzie.
“When she walked in, she was welcomed to our group,” said MacKenzie. “We look forward to seeing each other.”
At TOPS meetings, following the Canadian Food Guide along with fellowship and sharing best practices are part of the agenda. Some come because their health requires it, other to feel better about themselves.
“It’s changed my life,” said Jeans. “I have a new family and I’m very close with my sister now. In fact, Virginia said I’m never going back to the weight I was. She won’t let me.”
She received more good news this week when she learned she would be representing Nova Scotia as runner-up to the queen at the TOPS international rally in Milwaukee, the group’s headquarters city. She and MacKenzie will be travelling there together.
Jeans will proudly walk across the stage as representing Nova Scotia’s TOPS queen in front of 3,000 people.
There are some tough days, especially when she thinks about her husband.
“There might be days where it’s tough. I know if I didn’t go to TOPS regularly, I would go back to my old eating habits.”
Since losing the weight, she’s ditched the blood pressure medication that she’s been taking since age 17.
“Best of all I can carry on with my grandkids.”
The TOPS NS 5264 New Glasgow chapter has four KOPS members – those who keep off weight sensibly. KOPS are members who have reached their goals for weight loss and have kept off the weight.
On Twitter: @NGNewsJohn