“There are some meetings when we don’t even talk about weight.”
It may seem strange to some that a weight-loss support group would, on occasion, neglect to mention the very reason for being.
But that’s exactly what separates the Richmond chapter of the non-profit TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) from other organizations of its kind.
“We support each other a lot and we have different programs that we run to encourage people to exercise more and eat healthier,” said Karen White, the Richmond leader of TOPS, which has chapters across North America and has been run locally for almost 50 years.
“It tends to rotate around what we discuss at our meetings and we try to go outside the box with swimming, yoga, anything morale boosting.
“But we do talk about the emotional aspect of (our weight) and what times are the weakest when it comes to eating habits. There’s a lot of interaction and synergy.”
Another attractive aspect to TOPS is its low cost at just $48 a year.
“I joined in November 2018 with my girlfriend with the goal of losing 20 pounds,” added White, noting that her group has grown to 14 members last year, from just eight the previous year.
“Other members are doing way better than me, though. I spend a lot of energy motivating them and helping them reach their goals.
The group meets every Friday morning at South Arm United Church and often has educational presentations, guest speakers and a sharing of members’ weight loss journeys.
Some of the members, said White, are retired, some are working and not all of them are women.
“We do have men in the group. I would encourage anyone to come along and meet the group. Come see if it will work for you. We understand that it has to be the right fit,” said White, who retired two years ago as a sales manager.
Everyone's first visit is free and, when a member has achieved their weight loss goal, they become a KOPS member to Keep The Pounds Off Sensibly.
Every meeting starts with a private weigh-in and meetings runs 30-60 minutes after the weigh-in.
For more information, email White at K.G.White21@gmail.com or go to the TOPS wesbite.