TOPS Club celebrating 75th anniversary

Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 6:16 PM EDT
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(WNDU) - The TOPS program is a unique weight-loss course focused on being sensible.

Here in Michiana, TOPS has a lot of committed members, and they’re celebrating a milestone anniversary.

A sun splashed day at Spicer Lake finds a collection of friends gathering for a late summer stroll. These cheerful hikers are members of a weight loss club called TOPS, or Taking Off Pounds Sensibly.

Before you think this is some sort of goofy, new-fangled weight loss fad, Sandy Walker wants you to know something.

“Our group has been around since 1971,” Walker said. So, we’re into our 52nd year here.”

Members say they pay a modest fee to join.

“It’s like a family,” one member said. “It’s not like another weight loss program. We’re not trying to sell you any food or even tell you how to do it. We’re trying to help you make choices.”

That help comes during weekly meetings such as this Spicer Lake gathering. It is unstructured and unregimented, but Michael Ruzevich says it works.

“Since I joined, I’ve dropped, gosh what is it now? 43 or 44 pounds,” Ruzevich said.

Ruzevich says he is within 10 pounds of his goal weight. And while he keeps track of such numbers, he maintains his primary concern is being healthy.

“It’s important really, a number of issues,” he said “You lose that sort of weight, your ankles thank you. Your knees thank you. Your hips thank you. Your heart and lungs thank you.”

Ruzevich believes taking care of himself requires a measure of accountability.

“They’re not changing the law of gravity anytime soon, so it’s up to me to drop the weight,” he joked.

Weight loss, it seems can’t be packaged and sold. It isn’t magic — it’s about finding your best self with best friends willing to support consistency and self-control.

The TOPS converts 16 News Now spoke to get together for their meetings, but the program also offers online meetings and encourages members to start their own groups.

A deluxe tops membership is $79 a year. For more information on TOPS, click here.