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Losing weight is never easy. However, it can be a little easier when you try to shed the pounds with a group of people all hoping to do the same.

If you are someone who has been thinking about losing some weight, then perhaps joining TOPS is the right thing for you.

TOPS, or Take Off Pounds Sensibly, is a non-profit, non-commercial, weight-loss support organization that just recently found a home once again in Cut Bank.

“Many years ago, our community had a TOPS club, to which I belonged,” said Mona Shortman, organizer of the local TOPS program. That program, set up several years before, disbanded some time ago.

Shortman wanted to see it start up and again, so “I reached out online and found the number, called and got all the information and set up our local chapter. I felt Cut Bank needed a weight loss group that was not only affordable, but one that where there was not a specific diet or product criteria. TOPS fit the program I was looking for.”

The TOPS program “offers an individual approach to weight loss and overall wellness, with thousands of chapters in the United States and Canada. Members learn about nutrition, portion control, meal planning, exercise and more at weekly meetings,” said a TOPS press release.

The local chapter meets every Thursday at 5:15 p.m. at Northern Rockies Medical Center. The cost to join is $32 a year and a $5 monthly chapter fee which covers operating costs. The first visit to any TOPS meeting is free. Each membership includes a TOPS News Magazine that provides health news and inspirational stories from those who have had success in losing the weight they wanted.  

A private weigh-in is done each week at the beginning of the meeting at 5:15 p.m. and from 5:30-6 p.m. a short informational meeting is held along with presentation of awards and any additional business the chapter needs to conduct. 

The informational portion of the meeting provides “positive reinforcement and motivation to adhere to healthy eating and exercise programs,” the press release stated. “Consistent group support, health education and recognition are all key components to successful weight management.”

“People can stay with TOPS as long as they wish,” Shortman said. “We have 13 members in our TOPS group right now and anyone is welcome to join any time.”

When you do meet the weight goal that is set by your physician, you become a KOPS, Keep Off Pounds Sensibly. “These members maintain their goal weight by continuing to attend chapter meetings for accountability and support as they keep working to keep off pounds sensibly,” Shortman said.

TOPS members, which can be men, women and children ages seven and older, are encouraged to speak with their healthcare provider to find out if this or any weight loss program is right for them.

TOPS was founded more than 70 years ago, in 1948 and has a ten-member Board of Directors. The chapters are all led by volunteer leaders who help and support the members in their group. 

In 2018, TOPS members throughout the nation, as a collective unit, lost nearly 250 tons!

If this sounds like a program you might be interested in, Shortman invites you to come to a meeting. Remember, the first meeting is free. If you have additional questions or need further information, contact Shortman at 406-391-5033 or visit the TOPS website at www.tops.org.

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