Vickers honored as 2019 TOPS Queen

By: 
Hannah Gross

Hannah Gross

NLJ Correspondent

 

When Alice Vickers became dissatisfied with her unhealthy lifestyle, she knew that she needed to do something about it. That’s when she decided to join TOPS Club Inc., nonprofit weight-loss support organization. Not only did she make her goal weight, Vickers said, but she was recognized as the Wyoming 2019 TOPS Queen for all her hard work at a small rally in Douglas this past summer (normally a larger convention is held in Casper, but it was moved to Douglas due to COVID-19 restrictions and concerns). She was presented with a certificate, roses, royalty pins and a tiara and sash.

“I was so honored,” Vickers said. “You just feel pretty darn important.”

TOPS stands for Take Off Pounds Sensibly, and once members achieve that status, they are called KOPS, which is an acronym for Keep Off Pounds Sensibly, to help members maintain their weight loss. The group was founded in 1948, and in 2019 alone, TOPS members “collectively lost nearly 241.5 tons,” according to the club’s website. 

“I was pretty heavy,” Vickers said. “I’m really glad I went because they got me down to where I wanted to be.” 

Vickers started off by cutting out sweets and snacking from her diet, as well as limiting her bread consumption. She said that although she never cared for eating vegetables, she started eating more salads and low-calorie dishes. 

“I wanted to see that scale go down every week,” Vickers said. 

Participants set a goal weight, which must be accompanied by a doctor’s note to ensure that it’s a healthy goal, and weigh in weekly at their local clubs. TOPS 218, one of the three Newcastle chapters, meets every Thursday morning at the Gateway Fellowship Church on Old Highway 85 and is led by chapter leader Fran Goode. Chapter 218 was started in the 1970s by Grace Davis and Frieda Lincoln, who was queen for 2013. Both women still participate as “inspiration for the rest of us,” Goode said. The club used to meet at the Weston County Senior Center until it was closed to the public because of the pandemic, so Gateway Fellowship Pastor Jon Anderson offered the church to them as a new meeting place. 

“I think it’s awful kind of him,” Vickers said. 

Weighing begins at 6:30 a.m. and ends at 8:30 a.m., followed by a brief meeting at 9, which opens  with the organization’s pledge. Members announce whether they have gained or lost pounds, and they keep a record book that shows their balance of “withdrawals” and “deposits,” similar to a checkbook, with weight instead of dollars. A quarter must be paid for a weight gain, and small contests and challenges are presented to make it fun and motivational. 

Vickers said that the people in her group soon became her friends and are a “great incentive” because they cheer each other on in their successes and encourage everyone in their failures. It can be challenging to not revert back to old habits, she said, but now that she is at her goal weight, she both looks and feels healthier. 

“I’m pleased I did it. It was a long struggle,” Vickers said. “I look better, and I think my doctor is pleased.” 

When Vickers received a letter in the mail from the district leader announcing her nomination as queen, she thought it was a hoax or mistake and Goode had to tell her, “No, Alice, it’s for real.”

“I read it and I didn’t believe it,” Vickers said. 

But there was no mistake, and the recognition she received in Douglas was a good motivational tool to stay healthy, she said. 

Vickers encourages anyone who wants to lose weight to join the club. The first meeting is free, and after that members pay annual dues of $32. Those interested can contact Grace Davis, who lives at the senior center, Fran Goode at 746-2386 or any of the club members of any of the three chapters. More information on the chapters can be found in the classifieds section of the News Letter Journal

“We certainly welcome anyone who wants to come,” Vickers said. “You look better, so you feel better.” 

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