Take Off Pounds Sensibly (TOPS) is an international, non-profit weight loss support group.
TOPS Diet Plan
Take Off Pounds Sensibly doesn't promote one specific diet plan. Instead, its purpose is to encourage members to seek the advice of their physicians to obtain a diet tailored specifically to their physical needs. TOPS discourages fad diets, weight loss pills and fast weight loss plans and instead encourages a balanced diet that includes a regular exercise regimen.
TOPS founder Esther Manz created the support group back in 1948 to help overweight and obese people to lose weight. Since that time, as other eating-related disorders have been identified, the program has expanded to include all eating and weight problems including bulimia and anorexia.
Club Meetings and Membership
While TOPS doesn't have any one diet they promote, club meetings do emphasize nutrition and provide exercise education focused on supplementing members' efforts in their quest to manage their weight.
TOPS membership and member fees differ from any other weight management program. They have about 200,000 members in the U.S. plus chapters in Canada and numerous other countries. The two main differences are that membership includes women, men, and children and it costs only $24 a year in the United States and $30 in Canada.
Take Off Pounds Sensibly Program
Members of Take Pounds Off Sensibly meet weekly in local chapters. However, the TOPS program requires new members to consult with their personal doctors to set their goal weight before reporting to their chapter's Weight Recorder for a private weigh-in. Each week a program follows the private weigh-in. Leaders who oversee the program are among volunteers elected from the group. These programs vary but they are all designed as positive reinforcement to motivate members to stick to their diet and exercise plans.
Features of the TOPS Program
- Offers competition and recognition as a means of additional support - Friendly contests are offered on a chapter, local, regional and international level. Every member can take part in these motivating competitions and be recognized for their efforts. When members lose weight, they receive awards along with a personal feeling of accomplishment and improved health.
- Members receive: TOPS' healthy lifestyle guide, The Choice is Mine, which is filled with meal planning, motivational tips and practical advice.
- Opens the opportunity for members to attend TOPS retreats, rallies, and recognition days
- Members also receive TOPS News the membership magazine
Keep Off Pounds Sensibly
TOPS not only encourages people to lose excess weight, or to eat enough to reach their ideal weight, but they also offer support to help people maintain their weight once they reach their goal. Keeps Pounds Off Sensibly (KOPS) is an incentive club that helps members stay active. These members are given extra recognition which in turn encourages the other members still trying to lose.
TOPS offers a host of tools to help members in their journey to ideal weight. These include:
- Body Mass Index Calculator
- How to Use the Exchange System
- Sample Exchange List
- Exchange Calculator
- 28-Day Meal Planner
- Food Exchange Cards
- Printable Food Exchange Groups Reminder (PDF)
- Printable Exchange Recorder (PDF)
- Exercises and Stretches
- Portion Control: The Plate Method
- Calorie Cash (PDF)
- Recipe Substitutions
If you've decided you'd like to join the ranks of TOPS members but aren't sure if there is a chapter meeting near you, the TOPS website offers plenty of help in locating meetings. And for those who cannot find a meeting convenient for them, online membership is also an option. Online members are allowed to attend retreats and join competitions even though they do not meet with a local chapter.