Look your best by spring
TOPS group provides peer support for weight lossBy Meghan Streit
The weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day are a blur of whipped-cream-topped slices of pumpkin pie, glasses of champagne, homemade cookies, and second helpings of mashed potatoes. By February, many of our waistbands feel a little bit tighter, and we decide it’s time to slim down before spring rolls around.
Trying to lose weight on your own can be a challenge—you stick to your plan for a few days, but without the support of weight-loss buddies, you can slip quickly back into old habits.
People who live at Fox Run don’t have to go it alone if they want to shed a few pounds. A chapter of the national weight-loss program TOPS, which stands for Taking Off Pounds Sensibly, meets weekly on-site at the Novi, Mich., Erickson Living community. The program is open to anyone but currently consists of only women.
Source of support
Resident Deloris Roman has been involved with TOPS for a number of years, and she arranged to have her chapter start meeting at Fox Run about three years ago. The group consists of about 20 people, including Fox Run residents and staff, as well as people from the Novi community. Deloris says members range in age from mid-50s to 90.
TOPS doesn’t prescribe a specific diet. Members develop healthy nutrition plans with their doctors and then rely on fellow TOPS members to stick to those plans. That support, Deloris says, is what differentiates TOPS from other weight loss plans.
“It’s hard to do it alone,” she says. “We offer a source of support to each other and cheer each other on when we lose weight.”
The TOPS members who meet at Fox Run discuss all kinds of topics related to maintaining a healthy weight, from exchanging low-calorie recipes to inspiring each other with strategies to overcome weight-loss obstacles. Sometimes, Deloris will arrange for a speaker to talk to the group. At other meetings, members will bring in articles related to weight loss for discussion. Because they are discussing personal topics, Deloris says bonds form quickly, and the women have grown close over the last few years.
“This has become like a family,” she says. “We came in here strangers, but it doesn’t take long to become friends.”
Deloris says living at Fox Run helps to support the healthy eating and active lifestyle goals that the TOPS program advocates. In addition to working out at the community’s on-site fitness and aquatics center, residents can burn calories just by walking down the community’s hallways and glass-enclosed walkways to get from their apartment homes to the clubhouses in the wintertime, and walking the acres of walking paths on the secure campus during better weather. Plus, she says, dinner at the community’s restaurants always includes healthy options.
“They really do provide a balanced diet here,” Deloris says.