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Health Team

TOPS program promotes losing weight safely, sensibly

Posted April 27

— Many people dealing with obesity are turning to weight loss surgery. However, the original non-commercial weight loss support organization in the country, called TOPS, still preaches exercise and eating sensibly.

TOPS stands for "Taking Off Pounds Sensibly.” A group of TOPS participants met in Raleigh recently to cheer each other on.

Lou Bond, 65, of Hickory is now wearing a crown and title, State TOPS Queen, for losing the most weight toward her goal.

Many people who have tried dieting are familiar with success, followed by discouraging failure.

"I tried all kinds of stuff. Went on Weight Watchers, did this, did that, “ Bond said. "Lost a whole bunch of weight one time and gained it all back, and more."

TOPS participants join a group near where they live for support and ideas. No specific diet is preached.

"They figure that people are adults and they know what will work for them and what won't," Bond said.

Bond said drinking plenty of water and keeping a daily food diary were important for her success, losing 130 pounds.  She also said the support of her chapter was crucial.

"The support you get from TOPS - there's no way you could do it without that," Bond said.

State TOPS King, George Smith of Fayetteville, got to the point where he couldn't bend over to tie his own shoes and he was constantly out of breath

"I had to lose 27 pounds which is insignificant to some, but still - it was hard," Smith said.

Both never expected to win this type of attention at TOPS’ annual state celebration.

"I think my chapter mates are more excited than I am, you know. That's kind of nice," Bond said.

A lifestyle change may not help you to lose weight as quickly, but if you find a food and exercise plan that fits your life, you are more likely to continue it for a lifetime.

Nutritionists encourage the concept of a three-day nutrition planner to get an idea of what patients are eating.

Other tips include emphasizing plant-based food in your diet and substituting soda with water.

Be sure to check with your doctor before starting any formal weight loss program.

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