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Rea Real P l We e ight ople. Los s.® Food Was My Idol How I Traded Empty Calories for a Circle of Friends member photos courtesy of member istockphoto/Thinkstock (page curl) By Larry Wilson Larry Wilson On his weight-loss journey, Larry Wilson needed both the spiritual and the social to reach his goal. I believe the root of my overeating goes back to my childhood. I grew up in a modest home with a meager household income—and 11 siblings and two loving parents. As I look back, I see two major influences on my life: Mom's faith in God, and her ability to always provide the family with a delicious, nourishing meal. I worshipped often at the altar of all-you-can-eat buffets. There was plenty of farmwork but no between-meal snacks, so by supper I was always hungry. Mealtime was an exciting Lost 62 lb. With TOPS event—and a source of security. I made a deep emotional connection with food. It became my comfort and my best friend. As the years passed, I realized that food had become my idol, and I worshipped often at the altar of all-you-can-eat buffets. Sweets were my favorites. I carried 50–60 extra pounds, I had high cholesterol, and I knew I was controlled by my appetite. So my weight-loss journey began as a spiritual assessment of my life. I knew I needed help in keeping myself accountable, so I joined my TOPS chapter (TOPS AL 0282 Foley) two years ago. The scales told my weekly progress, but my circle of friends encouraged me to keep going. "We're glad you're here," they said. I am thankful for TOPS and the friends who have inspired me on my journey to reaching my goal. n HEALTHY & ACTIVE 2014 23

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