So I tried a new thing tonight

I found and attended a TOPS meeting tonight in my town. It was…different than I expected. There were about 15 women there and I think most of them have been going there for quite awhile – I got the impression they hadn’t had anyone new lately. They were all very nice and welcoming – one of the ladies introduced me to everyone there and made sure I had a seat. One thing that sort of surprised me was that this is a CLUB. Like an organization, there was roll call, minutes taken, motions voted on and agendas discussed. I expected it to be more like Weight Watchers but it wasn’t. To make things easier, I’ll just bullet point the things I liked and disliked:

What I Liked Alot

  • I felt very welcomed and had everything explained to me. There were all ages of women there – some were younger than me, some were around my age, and yes, there were some silver haired ladies there as well. I can tell there is a lot of support in this group
  • The weigh ins are private – as in done in a separate room behind closed doors.
  • There was a personal trainer (she’s a member) who showed us an exercise.
  • If you show a loss of 2 pounds or more, you get to choose a small prize. Nice!
  • The annual fee is less than $30 and then the monthly dues are less than $5. Bargain City, baby!!
  • There is no specific diet plan to follow – you choose your own plan and just count on the group for support and accountability.
What I Liked Less
  • We sang. At the beginning of the meeting, we sang 3 songs out of the official songbook (yes, there’s an official songbook). The songs were sung to the tunes of songs what I’m pretty sure were sung by miners during the California gold rush. My Darlin’ Clementine, My Bonny My Bonny, Rock Around the Clock, and Yakety Yak.  The lyrics were changed to relate to dieting and exercising and such. It was all very hokey and embarrassing and I really could have done without it.
  • There is also a pledge. Something to do with being an intelligent person who does not let her emotions control her and even though she eats in private her “poundage” is there for all to see…something like that. I didn’t really care for the pledge either.
  • During the weigh in, if you show a gain, you pay a small fine which ranges anywhere from a few cents to a dollar. If you lose the most weight for that night, then you win all the money.
  • There was a raffle where you could buy a ticket for $1 and if you won you got to choose a prize. I’m not such a fan of raffles. Mainly because I don’t usually win.
  • There seemed to be a lot of money being spent on raffles, or contests, or one thing or another. I can see how a few dollars every week would add up in a hurry. Of course no one was required to spend the money, but I noticed a lot of them did.
  • Then we did a craft. I don’t think they usually do crafts, but this was in conjunction with a contest they were getting ready to start. There are a LOT of contests going on with this group and it all got to be rather confusing.
  • The whole thing felt rather old fashioned and out of date. Up until about a year ago, they were still using the old sliding doctor’s office scales.
Having said all that, I’m not sure I WON’T be going back. I like most of the women there and they do seem to be a tight knit group. There was one older lady who reminded me of an older southern Audrey Hepburn, and one woman who looked mean, but she ended up being one of my favorite people there (think Ouiser from Steel Magnolias).
So basically I don’t know if I’ll go back or not. It’s not exactly what I thought it would be, but I can see how it might be useful. I was not pressured in any way to join and several of them said they hoped to see me back next week. I’m going to think about it for a few days before I decide for sure. I’m glad that I took the time to check it out.
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7 thoughts on “So I tried a new thing tonight

  1. Singing? A pledge? A craft??? Oh please, let this be the southern version of TOPS. Surely the California version has evolved???

    I like the money for not losing and then the winner takes all. Good motivation for me. Hey, I could buy a candy bar. Oops. I mean, um, a tomato.

    Did you talk to any of the ladies about their diet plan. No talk at all about food? Did you see the magazine they supposedly put out?

  2. Oh gosh – so not for me! The singing and pledging and crafts would push me away. But whatever works!

    What’s the eating plan like though? I’ve never heard of TOPS (we don’t have them in Aus).

  3. You mean they didn’t sing “Big ‘n Chunky” or “Baby’s Got Back?”

    The gimmicky contests bring back some memories. I remember an auction, too.

  4. I forgot about the pledge! And the songs… my mom’s TOPS did that, I can’t remember if we did that at the one I was in or not. There was a diet book, though, called a “monograph.” It’s probably out of date now. I’m sure it advocates low fat/high carbs, ha.

    Mom had a “sticktoit” on the refrigerator they either made there or someone made for eveyone. It was a clothes pin craft, and it was a reminder to Stick To It. They did all kinds of things like that–little tricks to stay on plan. It does sound old fashioned & hokey, now. I think you are brave to have tried it. Doesn’t sound like it’s a good fit for you, even though they were nice. “Nice” isn’t really the reason to commit yourself to a group, though. I’m sure you’ll make the right decision for you, whatever it is.

  5. Well, you saved me from ever trying a TOPS meeting-thanks! Singing, crafts, and pledges are so not me! And, the upfront costs may be cheap, but it sounds like you get nickeled and dimed. Let us know what you decide.

  6. I started laughing when you got to the part about singing, and find myself very tempted to look into a local group. Singing just plain appeals to me, and I like the other aspects that you mentioned such as accountability, encouragement, low cost, and no rigid diet plan.

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