by Dave Amoroso

Tamara Quarles of Buffalo not only changed her life and health by losing nearly 200 pounds, but also earned the title of 2019 Queen for the state of New York from TOPS Club, Inc. (Take Off Pounds SensiblySM), a nonprofit weight-loss support organization. In addition, Quarles was the 2019 International Queen Runner Up, losing the second most amount of weight of any female TOPS member in the United States and Canada.

“When my weight reached 457.50, I decided to start my weight loss journey. After a 14-day juice fast, I had lost 58 pounds,” Quarles said. “I read about TOPS, then went to a meeting. I joined weighing 399.50 pounds.”

Quarles said TOPS members were welcoming and inviting, so she believed she could succeed. Chapter leader Barbara Paprocki offered encouragement and inspiration. “As she did with all chapter members, I would receive motivational cards from her providing support and inspiration,” Quarles said. “Barbara is now my heavenly angel who continually keeps me under her wing.”

“Loving Healthier” became Quarles’ power phrase for creating a positive lifestyle. “I lost weight naturally through preparing and cooking all my food fresh, which was a challenge in itself as I didn’t eat vegetables. I ate my biggest meal early in the day, ate nothing heavy after 6 p.m., and drank plenty of water,” she said. “Fortunately, I’ve always loved drinking water, and I consume at least 32 ounces every couple of hours. For exercise, I do line, African, and urban ballroom dancing, along with tai chi and water workouts.”

Losing and then maintaining the weight loss has been her hardest battle, as Quarles defeated her biggest obstacle – obesity – and in turn, reclaimed herself mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually, giving her life balance. “I’m grateful to God that He continued to smile down on me during the years of struggling with my weight and the rest of life’s ups and down,” she said. “I never gave up and was able to persevere and achieve my goal. TOPS has given me great support, camaraderie, and fellowship. The encouragement and inspiration of other members provides rewards throughout the journey, giving you what you need to reach your goal.”

Founded in 1948, TOPS is the only nonprofit, noncommercial weight-loss organization of its kind. TOPS promotes successful weight management with a Real People. Real Weight Loss® philosophy that combines support from others at weekly chapter meetings, healthy eating, regular exercise, and wellness information. TOPS has more than 100,000 members – male and female, age seven and older – in its network of thousands of weight-loss support chapters throughout the United States and Canada. There are nearly 200 New York TOPS chapters, including several in Buffalo and surrounding communities.

Weekly meetings are the heart of TOPS support, whether online or in-person. Visitors are welcome to attend their first TOPS meeting free of charge. Membership is $32 per year in the U.S., plus nominal chapter fees. To find a local chapter, view or call 800-932-8677.

Dave Amoroso is a representative of TOPS Club Inc.