2011 Massachusetts State Queen
Paula Ferland

Paula Ferland Before
from MA 249 Somerset with a loss of 87.50#
I have always been fighting the battle of the bulge. Having lost some weight for my wedding (28 years ago) , I put it right back on plus some, when I became pregnant for my first, second and third child. Over the years my health had deteriorated and I was diagnosed with high blood pressure, cholesterol, borderline diabetic, fibromyalgia and knee problems. My doctors told me if I didn't take off weight I would need knee replacement surgery - that was the straw that broke the camels back.

After many years of being unsuccessful at taking the weight off, I was told about TOPS by a friend and joined immediately. This was 9 years ago. It has been an up and down road, some years losing, some gaining it back. About two years ago, after going to a RV show with my husband and having to stop every few minutes to find a seat because of shortness of breathe and knee pain, I had my AH HA moment - what was I waiting for?

Slowly, I began exercising by taking short walks and working my way up to a mile or so a day. My biggest obstacle is my appetite. No matter how much I exercised, if I didn't cut down on my food intake the weight would not stay off. Once I got my food intake somewhat under control, I joined a gym and hired a trainer for a year to assist me with the correct work out for me and my physical condition.

Without the support and encouragement of the many wonderful friends at TOPS MA 0249, Somerset, I would not be where I am today. No matter how many times I stumbled and gained, no one faulted me, instead they would encourage me to pick my self up and start allover again. Over the past year or so I have been steadily losing weight and have been recognized at both Chapter and State Level for weight loss. At times I look in the mirror and don't recognize the woman staring back at me. This isn't the Paula Ferland I've been living with for so long. But then again, I like what I see and pray that I never become that Paula again. It won't be easy, but I won't give up because I'm worth it.

My advice to each and everyone here, never give up, push yourself to the limit. Exercise, even the littlest bit does help. You'll be surprised at how far you will go. Your TOPS chapter is there for you, never be ashamed to go because you think you've had a weight gain. That's the time you need them most. I'll be a TOPS member for the rest of my life, committed to staying healthy and helping others achieve their goal.