Pounds being taken off in Slave Lake, sensibly

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

You may have heard of T.O.P.S. It has an active Slave Lake chapter and stands for ‘Taking Off Pounds Sensibly.’ Cathy Pambrun was in to tell us about it last week and she says it has worked better for her than anything else she has attempted.

“I’ve tried those diets,” she says. “You lose weight, but you always gain it back.”

How TOPS helps is by providing a support group. The one in Slave Lake meets weekly, and the encouragement of the group makes a big difference, Pambrun says.

“It’s about being there for each other,” she says.

The support system goes beyond the local group. The TOPS organization publishes a magazine every couple of months. It has all sorts of tips and information and stories about success. Lorne Goodman, one of the Slave Lake members, is featured in a recent issue, thanks to being the Alberta member to lose the most weight in a certain period.

Pambrun says TOPS does not prescribe any diet or exercise routine in particular. It’s up to the individuals, she says, what methods they choose to lose weight.

These may be items for discussion in the weekly meetings – which always begin with a weigh-in. This is done individually and privately, and you aren’t required to share the results.

The camaraderie is a big part of TOPS, Pambrun says. Lifelong friendships form.

She says on a trip in the U.S. last winter she made a point of attending TOPS meetings along the way.

“Everyone is fantastically friendly,” she says. “It’s a really good thing to do.”

TOPS is for men and women. It can also be done online. Even kids may be involved. If you are interested in attending, or learning more, Pambrun can be reached at 780-966-1957.

Meetings are at the Alliance Church. There’s plenty of room for safe distancing, Pambrun says.

“There is no pressure on any one to lose weight,” she adds. “Some people just want to maintain where they are at. We feel that everyone has their own journey and we just try and help each other get there in a friendly, non-judgmental way. We all have our own struggles and TOPS helps you be accountable to yourself.”

Cathy Pambrun

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