Sally Gracie TwispBy Sally Gracie

TOPS Chapter 882 will hold an open house with door prizes — and lots of good information to help you lose weight — on Tuesday (Jan. 14) from 9 – 10 a.m. at the Methow Valley United Methodist Church.

I’m certainly no poster child for TOPS success, but I have been a member off and on during my years in the valley, and I encourage you to come to the open house. What TOPS does is give you a group of friends who will do everything in their power to encourage you to reach your healthy weight goal. When someone like me loses focus, and falls back on bad habits, they will be welcomed back to try again. Whether your goal is to drop 10 pounds or 50, the members of TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) will help you to reach your goal. I’ve returned to TOPS for the fourth time this January. I’ve learned that when I attend the meetings, the encouragement from other members keeps me on track to lose weight.

TOPS is unique. As a proven weight-loss program, it doesn’t offer one single diet plan or sell diet foods or supplements. It’s a weight-loss support organization. You decide how to combine diet and exercise to lose those pounds. Weekly meetings include weigh-in (in private), silly “let’s lose weight” songs, a program about healthy eating or strategies for losing weight or better health, and a great group of people to support you.

What’s special about TOPS — and I speak from personal experience — is that you will make friends there. I met my closest pal, Elva Scott, at TOPS. At TOPS I met Mary Mattison, Marian Court, Vivian Setting and Marty Groulx. They’re not here to encourage me anymore, but Mary Bean, Marilyn Sabold and Sue Sabin are; these three reached their goal weights and are now KOPS (those who have learned to Keep Off Pounds Sensibly) that the rest of us members look to for inspiration. Chapter 882 was founded by Dorothy Therriault, another KOPS success, who brought the TOPS program to the valley in 1977 and still comes to meetings.

I hope to see you on the 14th. I promise the hour you spend will go quickly and will show you a direction toward healthy weight.

Both members of TOPS, Mary Bean and her friend Lois Chavey walked a two-mile stretch of East Chewuch Road in May 2012, picking up trash as they went. TOPS is responsible for litter control on that stretch of the road in the Adopt a County Road program. Mary just celebrated her 99th birthday. Her family brought the cake, and the seniors and guests celebrated with her on Dec. 30 at the Senior Center. Mention Mary Bean’s name to any woman in the valley, and they’ll say, “She’s my inspiration!”

Lois Chavey, left, and Mary Bean helped clean up East Chewuch Road in 2012 as part of the TOPS No. 882 crew. Contributed photo

Lois Chavey, left, and Mary Bean helped clean up East Chewuch Road in 2012 as part of the TOPS No. 882 crew. Contributed photo