Airdrie woman named TOPS 2013 winner for weight loss
Thursday, Apr 24, 2014 06:00 am
When Airdrie’s Theresa Kemp went on holiday in January 2013, she realized she needed to make a change.
“I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t move. I was in a lot of pain,” Kemp said.
She came home from the Arizona vacation and weighed herself. Like many people she gained weight while away but for Kemp, reaching her highest weight ever spurred her into action.
“I thought, ‘this has got to stop,” she said.
With that Kemp, who had been a longtime member of Taking Off Pounds Sensibly (TOPS), decided to really focus on her weight loss and began an arduous 10-month long process of losing 130 pounds.
She said she has tried many different weight loss techniques over the years but found a fit with TOPS because of the support and low cost.
“What I liked about it is you have this accountability – you get weighed every week,” she said.
“It’s for those who need a lifelong lifeline,” she said. “The support is there as long as you want it.”
She added the other members offered her incredible support throughout her weight loss journey.
“My daughter (also a TOPS member) helped me get started with an inspirational file on my cell phone,” Kemp said.
She said the file included a photo of her at her heaviest and a photo of her when she felt she was at a healthier weight. Inspirational quotes were also included in the file, which Kemp had on her at all times.
“Having that inspirational file was the best thing because when I did get discouraged or made a bad choice, I’d look at it over and over. It meant so much to me and I could take it wherever I went.”
She said another key to her success was food planning that she did by making little protein and vegetable packets at the beginning of the week.
“When I was hungry I didn’t have to think about what I’d eat. I would just go to the fridge and it was already there, already prepared,” she said.
She admitted in the beginning she often felt hungry but learned that was more about cravings than real hunger. She said in those instances, she would get up and do something to distract herself.
“Get busy. Get doing something. Get doing the laundry, dust, go for a walk. Do something so you take your mind off it totally,” she said.
Though Kemp said she doesn’t feel comfortable telling the world her new weight, she is proud of herself and is happy with the weight she is at for now. She added she may look at lowering her goal weight in the future but for now she is feeling great.
“I can’t believe I lost as much weight as I did,” she said.
“I feel so good.”
A big push for her to commit to the weight loss was the pain she felt when she was at her heaviest, something that is no longer a problem for her.
“I don’t have anymore inflammation. My knees have totally recovered. I have so much energy. I had sleep apnea and had to wear a mask (while sleeping) and I don’t have to use it anymore.”
She said the weight loss has given her back the ability to get out and enjoy things she couldn’t when she was heavier such as hiking.
“I didn’t like going to the mall before because I couldn’t walk. I didn’t want to walk because I was in pain. Now I like going to the mall,” she said.
On April 12, TOPS celebrated its Provincial Recognition Days in Lethbridge, and Kemp was on hand to be crowned 2013 Alberta Queen for losing more weight in the last year than any other female member in the province.
As Queen she was awarded a tiara, sash and a certificate of recognition, and will go to Milwaukie in July on an all-expenses-paid trip to represent Alberta at the TOPS international celebration.
For more information on TOPS, visit www.tops.org