Losing weight can seem intimidating, but Shellbrook’s Melvin Neufeld made it look easy.
Neufeld was recently named the TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) Saskatchewan king after losing 52 pounds with the non-profit weight loss, education and support organization. Neufeld credits the achievement to the support and positive attitude of the other local TOPS participants.
“Without the support of the group as a whole, I don’t think I would have made the journey,” Neufeld said from his home just outside Shellbrook. “There’s nobody saying, ‘why didn’t you do better?’ It doesn’t matter if you gained weight or lost weight. If you lost weight, everybody’s happy, and if you gained weight, nobody runs you down for it.”
Neufeld said he was seriously overweight before he started with TOPS. He was involved in a different weight loss program, but quit after the program kept changing.
He began putting weight back on after a hip replacement surgery in 2010, followed by a hip revision surgery three years later. The latter surgery alleviated the pain, but injuries to his back and legs made regular exercise almost impossible, and led to a slow weightgain.
Neufeld said he realized he needed to do something about his weight after multiple back surgeries and a second hip surgery in 2020. That’s when a friend invited him to a TOPS meeting in Shellbrook.
“I liked what I saw and joined up,” he explained.
Beside the support TOPS offered, Neufeld credits their education on portion control for helping him live a healthier life.
“That is very important,” he said. “Write down what you eat. If it goes past your lips, it goes in the book. That’s the only way of keeping track of how much you eat in a day.”
Neufeld added that he wasn’t even aware of the TOPS Saskatchewan King award when he began the program. He’s still happy, however, to have earned the provincial crown.
“It came as quite a surprise,” he said. “We were getting close to the end of the year and they told me about this (award). Being so close to becoming the king of Saskatchewan, I started getting quite excited about it all.”
TOPS has a network of thousands of support chapters across Canada and the United States. It was originally founded in 1948 to help members change their lifestyle to reduce medical conditions like heart disease, strokes, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer.