By Nyesha Stone
Take off Pounds Sensibly (TOPS) is celebrating 70 years in business this year. TOPS is the only nonprofit, noncommercial weight-loss organization of its kind, plus, according to a press release, it is a Milwaukee based international organization.
To celebrate their 70 years, TOPS gave their members a goal of collectively losing one million pounds, a goal they reached.
One in every three U.S. citizens is obese and Wisconsin is ranked the 23rd highest state for adult obesity rate, according to a National Institutes of Health (NIH) 2015 data brief. TOPS organization is helping Americans stay fit and healthy with their nearly 125,000 members throughout its 240 chapters. There are 3,782 TOPS members in Wisconsin and last year they lost a total of 16,310 pounds, according to TOPS.
TOPS President Rick Danforth joined TOPS 16 years ago at age 45 because he was overweight, and since then has kept off over 100 pounds by cutting down his meal portions without having to cut off his favorite foods.
He says he lucky to have made it that far in life and with the help of TOPS he has many more years to go. He says TOPS is different from other weight lost endeavors because their support system is unmatched and there are no gimmicks, such as taking weight-loss pills.
“I needed something that would keep me healthy,” said Danforth. “If you know someone who needs help make sure to point them in the right direction.”
TOPS was founded by Esther Manz, who was an overweight mother that wanted to lose weight. She created a weight-loss support group because she believed support was better than any diet.
Former TOPS President Barbara Cady had a similar story to Manz. Cady wanted to have a baby, but her weight held her back, so she went to TOPS for support and help, and now she has three sons.
“Change is really hard and that’s why we’re here. We help people,” said Cady. “This is a journey, not a final destination.”
Although TOPS main membership comes from people ranging from 45-70, Danforth and Cady said it’s best to start caring for your health now, so you won’t have to fix it later.
“We are real people, losing weight and we’re extraordinary affordable,” said Cady.
To find out how to become a member visit their website at http://www.tops.org.