Support Groups - Advice on TOPS or other Support Groups?




aliasihaya
10-12-2011, 08:50 PM
Hi. While I find this online forum very helpful, I've realized that I need a bigger boost of motivation and I want to try a face to face support group. I joined weight watchers and have been to a few meetings, but I'm thinking for various reasons that it may not be for me. I briefly heard about TOPS and I'm thinking about joining it. It seems to be more of a general weight loss support group rather than plugging a specific program. Does anyone have any advice on this support group or other ones that you've been a part of?


kaplods
10-12-2011, 10:05 PM
I LOVE my current TOPS group. In the past 20 years, I've been a member of several TOPS groups. Every group is a little different, because while there are some national rules, the groups are more self-governing than commercial programs like WW, so you'll see more variation from group to group.

You can even form your own TOPS chapter if you want, you only need 4 members.

I've only ever been a member of existing groups, but some groups have a lot of contests, others have none. Some groups are very chatty, and some are more business like.

If the atmosphere of the group is important to you, and if there are several groups in your area, I'd recommend visiting them all before deciding on which one you want to join.

I've visited all three of the meetings in my area (and a fourth group is forming).

One is very small. There were only 3 members when I visited, and there were fewer than 12 members total. I was told that most members just weigh in and leave, and usually no more than 5 or 6 stick around to chat. I was told they almost never do any activities or contests.

The group I now attend has about 30 members. Most active members stay for the meeting.

Our group opens the meeting with the TOPS Pledge, a little poem we receite, and then a song (I didn't like the singing when I started, but now I think it's kind of fun).

The weight recorders announce the total losses for the week, the total gains, and the resulting net gain or loss (it's an eye-opener, because you see what average weight loss really looks like. Our group has won recognition for weight loss results compared to other groups in the state, and our average loss is still far less than one pound per person per week).

Then we go around the room and say whether we've lost, gained or stayed the same (some groups will say "I turtled" to mean I stayed the same). If you lost or turtled, everyone applauds - and if you gained everyone says "we're glad you came."

Most groups have some kind of "best loser" contest. And many groups collect fines for weight gain (in our group it's 10 cents per pound, and there's often a cap). In many groups the fine money collected goes to the best loser, or in some groups the money gets split between the best loser and the club treasury.

In our group, everyone chips in a dime every week, and those dimes go to the best loser (so usually the best loser gets about 2.00, and if people tie, the money is split).

I like this better than using fine money - because the best loser isn't benefitting from other members' misfortune.

Our group also rewards weight loss with free chapter dues. National dues are $26 per year (and $13 for each additional member of the household who joins). National Dues are going up to $28 in January. Weekly dues are determined by each chapter. In our area, it varies from $2 - $5.

In our group, dues are $5 per month, but if you lose weight, you get free dues for the next due month (in ours we pay a month ahead, so if you lose weight in October, you get free dues for December). So, if you lose every month (even if only a quarter pound) you would never pay monthly dues.

My group meets on Tuesday nights. Weigh-in starts at 4:30 and the meeting starts at 5:30 and usually lasts about 45 minutes. Some people come early to chat.

The leader or a volunteer usually leads a short program. They might read an article or prepare an activity. For example, when I've volunteered to run the program, once I brought in little envelopes filled with whole grains and passed them around one-by-one, and everyone had to guess what grain was in the envelope. The person who got the most correct got a small prize (which I donated, thought he leader offerred to reimburse me). Another time, I showed everyone how to grow sprouts in a gallon jar.

Then there are also events you can attend - rallies and recognition events and also retreats. I haven't attended any in years (I went to Fall Rally or SRD - State Recognition Days once in Illinois about 20 years ago. That was a lot of fun).

Retreats are announced in the newsletter. I've never been to a retreat, but they sound like a lot of fun.

miniDoodles
10-17-2011, 11:00 PM
:) Hi, I lost 24# in my TOPS CLUB. It is 500% more supportive than other diet clubs. The members are the club & there is nutritional support & help at the club & website & at free workshops & with a semi-monthly magazine all for $26 yearly. This is my 5th year with TOPS & the weekly meetings are $2 to pay for the meeting room & game prizes. I am +50 & I took off my baby weight with tops 20 years ago after having problems with W.W. club staying with the 2# limit. At TOPS you can reach your goal & be in leeway at +3# or -7# below goal & have 2 weeks to get back into leeway If you exceed the 3#/7# limits without losing status; unlike other weight loss clubs. I have not ever seen a member drop-out in my 30's or now in my 50's. Some clubs have more activities than others; so visit a few to find your best match to fit your interests & lifestyle, you will be sooo happy. I reached my goal & became a KOP 3 years ago & I am lowering my weight again :carrot: to 141# & losing a extra 10# because TOPS members give family support. Good Luck :hug:


Hi. While I find this online forum very helpful, I've realized that I need a bigger boost of motivation and I want to try a face to face support group. I joined weight watchers and have been to a few meetings, but I'm thinking for various reasons that it may not be for me. I briefly heard about TOPS and I'm thinking about joining it. It seems to be more of a general weight loss support group rather than plugging a specific program. Does anyone have any advice on this support group or other ones that you've been a part of?


aliasihaya
10-27-2011, 10:46 PM
Thank you both so much for all of the detailed information. I'm trying to get up the courage to go to a TOPS meeting. The meetings that are closest to me are only on Thursdays. And for some reason every Thursday I have a work crisis that keeps me at work so that I miss the meetings or I'm emotionally stressed/exhausted from work to go. I'm trying to push past that because I really think a support group would be good for me. And I emailed one of the members who was so welcoming in her response. I guess in the end I need to push work aside for once and just go. But old habits are hard to break. Hopefully next week I'll make it.

gladsome
11-07-2011, 07:27 PM
I was looking for information on TOPS meetings, and I'm glad I found this. Thanks for posting about TOPS; there is a meeting very close to me (I can walk!) that meets on Fridays. I think I'll check it out this Friday.