LA Weight Loss - Does anyone know...

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Shondra J
11-11-2007, 04:47 PM
what the difference is between Weight Watchers and Tops. I been all over the Tops site today and it seems to be a weekly support meeting as WW is. The difference I see is the cost. Anyone????? Thanks

11-11-2007, 08:37 PM
I haven't been to TOPS in years, but to my recollection it's a support meeting, we used to weigh in but there is no particular diet everyone has to follow. It depends on how much direction you need -- if you need to learn to eat healthy -- go for WW, if you just need a little accountability -- TOPS -- or just come back here for free!! :D

11-11-2007, 09:45 PM
Tops doesn't require you to follow any particular diet, but I very much disagree that Weight Watcher's provides more information and direction on eating healthy. While it is an optional purchase ($15) TOPS has a 230 page guidebook called "The Choice is Mine," that has much more detailed information on diet, exercise, and meal planning, than I ever got at Weight Watcher's. As I said, it's an optional purchase, but most groups have a copy (or someone in the group will lend you theirs) so you can borrow it to decide whether you would like to purchase it. The "official" diet recommended by TOPS is an exchange based plan, based on, and compatible with the diabetic exchange diet. The guidebook contains exchanges for most food items. There is also a book ($6) called "Nutrition in the Fast Lane" that lists the calorie and exchange counts for fast food restaurants.

My husband and I joined TOPS together in late August. Unlike Weight Watcher's, TOPS gives you a discount when you join with a spouse (It's $24 per year to join as a single and $12 more for a spouse or child in the same household). Every group runs itself a little differently as bylaws and procedures are chosen and voted on by members. Our group charges $3 per month per person dues, and you have several ways to "win back" your monthly dues. In our group for every ten pounds lost, and for losing 4 weeks in a row in any month, you get your choice of a charm for a charm bracelet, or free monthly dues. If you gain, you pay ten cents per pound to the "kitty", and the biggest loser for that week takes the money home.

I've been in four different TOPS groups, and they all had incentives and games for losing. In our current group, the leader or one of us members usually present a program on some aspect of dieting, exercise, or nutrition.
In other groups I've been in, some have invited speakers in to the group, such as pharmacists, dieticians, yoga instructors...

If you have several chapters in your area, I would suggest visiting each before deciding which you want to join. Some groups are more support and health oriented than others, so you can pick the one that fits your needs best.

Shondra J
11-11-2007, 11:55 PM
So much for your responses. I'm going to place a phone call and then go to a meeting for free on Wednesday night. WW doesn't really tell you to follow any particular diet either. We just talk about healthy choices and that seems to be what I read on the TOPS site tonight. They seem to have a lot in common....except the price. Thanks once again.

11-12-2007, 01:04 AM
I think the biggest difference is that TOPS is a not-for-profit organization, whereas Weight Watchers is a giant corporation with 47,000 employees, and franchises all over the world.

Weight Watcher's bottom line is profit. That doesn't mean they don't sell a good product, but as with any product, you pay extra for "brand name" recognition. I think TOPS has an equally good product, but because they're a non-profit group, they do very little advertising.

In our group, a lot of members are former Weight Watcher's members who still follow WW's point program. I would say the three most common diet plans people are using are the WW point system, calorie counting, and exchange systems. Often when there's a recipe brought in, someone will help "translate" it into points or exchanges.

11-12-2007, 01:19 AM
I am a member of Tops. It cost very little money to be a member, plus you get a free magazine monthly which is really nice. It does'nt cost alot of money to lose weight. If money spent on weight loss helped......I would be one skinny chick.

11-12-2007, 02:20 AM
The cost was a big factor for my husband and I. When we joined TOPS, we figured that our first year at TOPS would cost us less than one month of Weight Watcher's. This was before we learned about the magazine and the small prizes along the way. (I was a member about fifteen years ago, but I had forgotten about the magazine, and I knew there might be prizes, but wasn't sure since each group can be run so differently). My husband and I each have won "biggest loser" several times. In our group, if you're biggest loser twice in a row, you get a $5 door prize to take home in addition to the weight gain "kitty." My husband won the doorprize last week. I thought it was hilarious how excited he was over a dish towel and candles. For my first ten pounds, I took a charm, but hubby took free dues. The biggest loser "kitty" is usually between 30 cents and $3, and we've won several times between us.

I suppose the only reason I can think of for joining WW over TOPS would be if you want to remain completely anonymous, and don't want to meet or talk to people. There are a few people at TOPS who only weigh-in and make a mad dash for the door, but for the most part we all get to know each other pretty well. Sometimes someone will have a bad week, and some or all of us members know why "Well, you just had surgery," or "you did great for having the inlaws vistiting all week..."

I like the friendly competition among members in my group, but also between our groups (there are various recognition days and rallies throughout the year where groups and individuals are recognized for their achievements). In our group we've chosen to do double fines for weeks after holidays or after the group has a net gain (where more weight was gained than lost by members), so instead of .10 per pound, it is .20. We hoot and holler like you wouldn't believe when we have a big net loss as a group. It's like losing weight isn't just a solitary endeavor, but a big group project.

I did the program a few weeks ago, and I created a "whole grain" game. I put 10 different grains, in 10 envelopes. I handed out a worksheet with the ten grains listed, and people had to guess which grain was in which envelope. (Only one person got "quinoa" right). Then when I gave the answers, I read a little blurb about each grain.

A lot of times our meetings almost have the feeling of a bridal shower. It's fun, motivating, and often educational to boot.