More than 200 members of a nonprofit weight loss program are expected to attend a conference this weekend in Augusta celebrating their weight loss victories.
A conference for Take Off Pounds Sensibly begins Friday at the Augusta Marriott at the Convention Center. The participants represent chapters of the program from across Georgia.
“We aim at doing things sensibly. We don’t sell products. We don’t have fads or gimmicks,” said TOPS President Barbara Cady.
The 1,200 members in Georgia’s 97 TOPS chapters lost more than 5 tons of weight in the past year. In the United States and Canada, about 170,000 members participate in the program founded in 1948.
At weekly support meetings, participants weigh-in and discuss strategies and challenges to weight loss. TOPS also provides programming on nutrition, exercise, stress and behavior change, Cady said.
Roxane Beard, a member of the Grovetown TOPS chapter, has lost 100 pounds since she began the program in 1994. She reached her goal weight of 156 pounds in 2004 and after gaining weight back, she reached her goal a second time in December.
Beard’s support group provided accountability as she strived to reach her goal.
“They’re just like my family. They’ve supported me through a lot of things, the highs and lows,” she said. “Once you reach your goal you still have to struggle to stay there.”
Through the program, Beard learned about portion control, calorie counting and other strategies. Drinking adequate amounts of water and exercising were key components to her success.