PITTSBURG — A weight loss group will celebrate 45 years of taking pounds off on Monday.

TOPS KS 0599 Pittsburg is one of many TOPS chapters in Kansas. This particular chapter, however, is going on its 45th birthday. TOPS stands for Take Off Pounds Sensibly.

The group first met at the Pittsburg Family YMCA in 1973, in fact it still has four of its original chapter members.

During Monday’s meeting the group will celebrate its birthday with an open house. The event will be at 6:30 p.m. at St. Mary’s Elementary School Commons. They also share a birthday with four other Kansas chapters.

At TOPS meetings they discuss programs such as portion sizes, better beverage choices, food and nutrients and controlling emotions, Chapter Leader Nancy Scott said.

The group has weekly private weigh-ins with a chapter officer. All weigh-ins are kept private, Scott said.

People are awarded when they lose weight, however, that isn’t the most important part, Scott said.

What makes TOPS special, Scott said, are goals are set by physicians — the chapter instead focuses on healthy lifestyle choices.

“What I like is, goals you set have to be approved by a physician,” Scott said. “We help people move toward that goal and maintaining that goal.”

During meetings the chapter members have an opportunity discuss their success with whatever routine or choice they’ve made towards weight loss.

For example, some may work out in the morning for 30 minutes a day and others take an hour or, some cut certain foods while others just cut their portions. They share within a group to support one another.

Scott said there are no set meal plans, just guidelines which are based on foods the individual can enjoy in moderation.

One of the TOPS members was recently crowned Carolyn Tatum Queen Runner-up after “outstanding” weight loss. Another member, Stan Forrest, was first place winner of Division 9. These awards are based on weigh-ins and maintenance of goals which people across various TOPS chapters are recognized.

The hardest part is to stay motivated Tatum said and people should “ go to weekly chapter meeting and receive support,” to continue striding for their goals.  

Tatum changed her diet, exercised regularly and drank plenty of water, which helped her lose almost 58 pounds. She is now a new member coach for the chapter.

Tatum gave praise to Scott, who has been a chapter leader and member for many years and has helped many people reach their goals.

To learn more about TOPS, people can visit www.tops.org.

— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at spotter@morningsun.net or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.