Fifty years ago, a group of ladies gathered in the Price County Telephone Co. conference room on Sept. 17, 1971, for the purpose of establishing a Phillips chapter of TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly). They elected officers and made plans for their new chapter, including drawing up a set of by-laws, discussing fundraisers to purchase a scale for weigh-ins and competing in contests which encouraged each member to try hard to lose weight.
Over the years, the chapter, TOPS WI 0644, has gained new members, and lost some. They have moved their meeting place several times, but they never lost their focus of encouraging members to lose weight sensibly by portion control, keeping track of food intake, to stop making excuses and getting up and moving. Once a goal is met, members receive the encouragement of the TOPS family to maintain their weight losses by continuing to attend meetings and remain accountable as they step on the scale every week.
Each meeting begins with weigh-ins and the usual chapter business. Records are kept of gains and losses for the week. All members are greeted with words of encouragement, and the meeting includes weekly programs to help each member reach his or her own goal. Members have included men and women, young and old members and even preteens.
The chapter abides by the rules of the National TOPS organization, which is located in Milwaukee. The cost of belonging to the Phillips TOPS chapter is minimal.
The COVID-19 pandemic created unprecedented challenges, and there were months when the chapter was encouraged to refrain from holding weekly meetings. Now the meetings continue and everyone is back on track to make smart eating decisions and improve their quality of life.
TOPS meetings are held at the Trinity Lutheran Church, 103 Trinity Dr., Phillips, on Thursday evenings beginning at 5 p.m., lasting about an hour. Anyone is welcome to attend, and the first meeting is always free.