Savanna man makes worldwide mark with weight loss

SAVANNA – A Savanna man has proved age is just a number where excelling at weight loss is involved.

Warren Vincent, 74, placed second in the world July 17 for weight loss in the 250- to 300-pound international division of the Take Off Pounds Sensibly program. Vincent was recognized at a TOPS gathering at the Statehouse Convention center in Little Rock, Arkansas.

As of Oct. 3, Vincent said he was down to 191.3 pounds – nearly 100 pounds from his heaviest weight. He had started out watching his weight while in the military.

“I was in the Navy, serving with the Marines. Then, I worked on subs. I had 11 and a half years active duty,” Vincent said.

Vincent eventually moved to Savanna, working at the former Army Depot as a quality insurance specialist and retiring in 1993 from the Department of Defense. He still lives in Savanna with his wife, Jean, 69.

Warren’s weight increased to about 270 pounds about 7 or 8 years ago.

“At 6 foot, that’s too much,” Vincent said.

His weight continued to increase, to the point where he reached 287 pounds and fought COPD.

“I went on oxygen 24-7, 3 or 4 years ago,” Vincent said. “Then, I saw an article that Stephenson County Health Department was provided a grant to open a TOPS chapter. I spoke with Jim Debunaer, then Mark Kline. That was Jan. 5, 2016.”

Decreasing his weight didn’t happen overnight.

“It’s tiny, one-step-at-a-time progress. It takes years to put on more weight than you ought to have. It’s lifestyle changes,” Vincent said.

Vincent cited the example that one week, a participant might begin by watching how much they put on their plate, and only eat that much. Then, they might cut down on how much bread they eat, then how many potatoes they eat, and so on.

“It’s really surprising how that works,” Vincent said.

Vincent has a weigh-in once a week, with 12 to 15 other people, and they have round-table discussions on ways to lose weight. The group also shares recipes. “I am comfortable with the fact that I have so much support,” Vincent said.

TOPS has worked so well for Vincent that after he lost his first 86 pounds, he asked his doctor in February if he needed to use oxygen during the day. The doctor performed some tests, and found that Vincent could go without needing to do so.

“Then, on St. Patrick’s Day, I didn’t need to use extra oxygen at all,” Vincent said.

Go to tops.org for more information about the program.

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