TOPS crowns queen, runner-up from Belfield and DickinsonMaggie Hewson and EDee Steckler credit their weight losses to a healthy diet, exercise and the support of friends.
By: Linda Sailer, The Dickinson Press
Maggie Hewson and EDee Steckler credit their weight losses to a healthy diet, exercise and the support of friends.
They were recognized for the greatest weight-loss in 2012 by the North Dakota TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) at the State Recognition Days May 4 in Mandan. Hewson, Belfield, was named North Dakota TOPS Queen and Steckler, Dickinson, was runner-up.
“I like my fruits and vegetables and I also like my meat, but I laid off the bread with butter,” Hewson said. “I ate the hamburger, but not the top of the bun and I took smaller portions.”
TOPS is a weight-loss support and wellness education organization, founded more than 64 years ago.
Hewson joined Belfield’s TOPS Chapter 431 in 2000 at the encouragement of her husband, Roger.
“He said I was getting too round,” Hewson said.
Living on the farm, Hewson worked in the fields with her husband.
“When we came home, I cooked meat and potatoes,” she said. “There wasn’t a meal that didn’t involve cream and butter.”
Her husband died in 2002 and she moved into Belfield in 2003, becoming even closer to her TOPS friends.
Standing at 5 foot 2 inches, she weighed 192 pounds at her heaviest. Today, she weighs 142 pounds.
“I feel a lot better health-wise,” she said. “I still watch what I eat. I don’t eat the whole pie, I eat a sliver.”
Learning she was named TOPS queen, Hewson said, “I was overwhelmed, that’s for sure.”
Hewson’s daughter Della Haider, Harwood, said her mom was a great cook and baker.
“We all had the benefit of eating good food and it didn’t matter if she made supper for the six of us or if somebody popped in the door,” Haider said. “We’re all pretty proud of her, she worked a long time to get where she’s at.”
Hewson credited the TOPS chapter for encouragement along the way.
“They said I can do it, so I did,” she said. “I stood at 170 pounds for six or seven years and finally, last October, I started losing the weight — why I haven’t a clue, but I started with smaller portions.”
Chapter 431 leader Anita Kessel described TOPS as a family.
“They are always there for you, they are happy for you,” Kessel said. “We are so proud of her and so is her family.”
The TOPS queen is selected from a pool of candidates who are called KOPS (Keep Off Pounds Sensibly.) The individuals with the greatest weight-losses are declared the winners.
Steckler is a member of Dickinson’s TOPS Chapter 530. She joined TOPS in the 1970s, achieved her goal and later lost it.
She credits her TOPS pals and the 2011 Body Fit Challenge for inspiring her to regain control of her weight.
At one point, she weighed more than 190 pounds. Today, she weighs in the low 160s, a goal that is maintained with exercise and healthy eating.
“You don’t have to have a super-model look,” Steckler said. “I feel good at his weight and am working on toning and maintaining it.”
She avoids sugary desserts, and sticks to vegetables, fruits and lean meats.
Dickinson’s TOPS leader Betty Freitag also described their chapter as a big family.
“The members are non-judgmental — it’s so easy to talk to people who share the same problems you have,” she said.
Freitag was excited to learn the royalty was from the western side of the state.
“They are such an inspiration to everybody,” she added.
Steckler and her husband, Dave, also a TOPS member, will represent North Dakota at the upcoming International Recognition Days July 5 to 7 at San Diego.