Healthy and Active

2014

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Find Support Wherever You Are Between work, errands and all your other responsibilities, it may seem difficult to go to an hourlong meeting every week to discuss your health and weight-loss goals. That's why TOPS offers you the flexibility of an online membership. If you can't find a convenient TOPS meeting in your area and are unable to start your own chapter, you can still get the support you need—when it works for you. Online members have access to all the same tools on www.tops.org that traditional members receive. Additionally, online members can look forward to weekly newsletters filled with specific weight-loss strategies and motivation as well as a chance each week to discuss their progress with other members in a live online chat. Carol, our TOPS Online Coordinator, hosts the chats and is dedicated to helping online members. In TOPS since January 2004, she shares how the program worked for her and what to expect: Q Why did you join TOPS? A I was pregnant with my first child, and I wanted to maintain a healthy weight and be healthy for my baby. I was getting close to the top of what the doctor said was a healthy weight gain, and I was really afraid of going over it. I thought I would never get the weight back off. I had been trying for a while to lose weight on my own, but that's not how losing weight works. So I made that first step and went to a TOPS meeting. I never went over the top weight that the doctor gave me, and I was able to shed my baby weight. And losing weight also helped me later, because eventually I had trouble having more kids. The doctor said losing weight would help, and the doctor was right. By the tops staff photo Our TOPS Online Coordinator Knows What You're Going Through—and Wants to Help Carol, the TOPS Online Coordinator, hosts live chats for online members and sends weekly newsletters with weight-loss tips. time I got pregnant with our third son, I said, "Wow, TOPS really does work." Q How else has TOPS helped you? A It feels like a family. We're all strug- gling with the same things. Everybody supports everybody else, and no one looks down at you. If you have a gain, they ask, "What can we do to help?" And when you have a loss, they praise you. That's been a really big comfort. Q What can online members expect? A We're on a journey together. You have someone to talk to. You can tell me when you're having a bad day. You can tell me when you're having a good day. I'll hear what you're saying and get back to you, because I don't want you to feel like you're in this by yourself. n HEALTHY & ACTIVE 2014 53

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