Virden woman loses big

It's never too late to lose.

Joyce Braybrook, at 85, has done something that many people plan to do and hope to do. She dropped excess pounds – so many pounds that she has been recognized as Manitoba Queen in TOPS Club, Inc. (Take Off Pounds SensiblySM).

The Evergreen Place resident lost 90 pounds to reach her goal weight of 155 lbs.

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“When you get to be five-foot-nothin’ and 245 pounds, you’ve got to do something,” Braybrook stated matter-of-factly.

Facing up to her situation, deciding to change, never giving up, gaining group support, finding what works for her and replacing bad habits with good ones are all keys to Joyce Braybrook’s success.

“You have to set a goal with your doctor. We all know that in older years you aren’t going to be 125 pounds.” Her goal of 155 was her weight when she was 18, and when she got married.

Braybrook had some success with weight loss groups over the years, so she knew it was possible but still, her weight crept up over the years.

It has been a 34-year journey with the TOPS organization. “I’m a charter member with TOPS. I started back in January 1986.” Since the year 2000 she has lost 90 pounds and admits, “It’s been a struggle.”

Braybrook is happy to share the ups and downs of this journey. She says, “It’s a lot of different feelings. When I first started, you are kind of gung-ho – you’re going to make it, you’re going to do it! And then you slough-off. It’s very disappointing.”

“I’d eat behind closed doors, that was my downfall. I would buy some donuts when I bought bread at the bake shop. There were none left when I got home.”

A few years ago, not feeling her best, she decided to seek the advice of a nutrition-based practitioner who came to Virden. “First thing he said, ‘no wheat, no chocolate, no cheese,’ and I thought, ‘I’m dead,’” she laughs. It was quite a change for the lady who used to consume three chocolate bars on the way home from the grocery store. She followed that advice for several years, feeling it was a help.

But by 2019 she knew this was the year to lose the final pounds that needed to go. “When I made up my mind I was going to do this, I said, “If not now, when?”

The TOPS group provided diet plans geared for women, men and teens, she explained. “You can have anything in moderation,” she said, adding, “You have to find out what works for you. I had to cut my carbs down.”

She began eating more vegetables.

She says it takes 21 days to break a bad habit and replace it with a good habit. “I was never a good water drinker, but I forced myself.” It has become one of her good habits. “Now, I don’t eat a whole half of a pie. I have one piece and put it away. Out of sight, out of mind.”

From wearing size 24 she’s down to about size 14. “I lost all this weight and, I just feel so good.”

Braybrook is aiming for KOPS status (Keep Off Weight Sensibly SM).

TOPS President Rick Danforth has maintained a 100-pound weight loss for 15 years and advocates for personal change. “With the support of TOPS, this year’s royalty, and countless others before them, have shown that personal transformation is possible through small, sustainable lifestyle changes.”

Braybrook is invited to participate in the TOPS International Recognition Days conference, rescheduled for July 2021 in Niagara Falls, New York. “Commemorating her life-changing achievement is an essential component of TOPS winning formula,” Danforth noted.

“Joyce is one of the oldest women to be recognized as a TOPS Queen in its history,” he said. And, it’s never too late to lose. In 2019, the TOPS Missouri Queen is 86, while the North Dakota Queen is 92.


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