Site last updated: Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Log In

Reset Password
MENU
Butler County's great daily newspaper

Women enjoy a combined 80 years of membership in weight loss club

Butler TOPS members Sondra Grossman, 88, left, and Betty Judson, 94, right, pose with TOPS group leader Diane Weible during a meeting at Trinity Lutheran Church in Center Township on Monday, Feb. 5. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle

Betty Judson, 94, of Butler Township, had a goal weight of 145 pounds when she joined the Butler chapter of Take Off Pounds Sensibly, or TOPS, 50 years ago.

“My husband liked me at 145,” said the spry nonagenarian, who continues to attend TOPS meetings to this day.

TOPS meets at 10:30 a.m. each Monday at Trinity Lutheran Church, 120 Sunset Drive in Center Township. Costs include $49 for the initial membership fee, then $5 per month.

Judson’s favorite living room chair is surrounded by tote bags and stacks of folders containing TOPS information, fliers, notes and other documents.

She helps others in the group by encouraging them and sharing the valuable information she has gained over her five decades in TOPS.

“I keep going because I’ve made myself useful,” Judson said.

The TOPS Butler chapter met at Trinity Lutheran Church in Center Township on Monday, Feb. 5. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle

She color-codes the diet sheets club members are to fill out each week, which helps them determine where their trouble spots might be.

“They can look at their sheets and say ‘I ate too many carbs, and I’m going to cut back on that,’” Judson said.

She also leads the group in song at some meetings and has served as president in the past.

Judson explained that the goal of each TOPS member is to reach and maintain “KOPS status,” which is an acronym for Keep Off Pounds Sensibly.

“I got KOPS in the ’70s,” Judson said. “I was a yo-yoer. I’d lose, then gain it all back.”

She said each TOPS meeting includes a program that provides information on nutrition or health.

Judson said one meeting’s program centered on the health benefits of fresh cucumbers, and everyone at the meeting received a packet of cucumber seeds.

“The next year, we all had cucumbers,” she recalled, laughing.

Many years ago, Judson said those who gained weight were teased, but that practice has pivoted. She said members of the group are like a supportive family, which is why she continues to look forward to meetings.

“We are all in there for one reason: to help each other lose weight,” Judson said.

Her fellow TOPS member, Sondra Grossman, 88, has been a member for 30 years.

Grossman joined TOPS IN 1994 and earned her KOPS status in 2001.

“I saw (TOPS) in the paper, and my weight was going up,” she said. “I didn’t want it to go any further.”

Grossman swims at the Rose E. Schneider Family YMCA in Cranberry Township three days per week and rides a stationary bike two days.

She regularly snacks on rice cakes and sugar free Popsicles, and advocates eating smaller portions and just sampling foods she craves.

“I eat one cookie instead of six,” Grossman said. “Just go easy and be sensible.”

She said she will continue attending TOPS meetings in the future.

“It does encourage you not to eat so much,” Grossman said, “and we have a good time.”

Diane Weibel has been the Butler TOPS chapter leader for two years and a member since 2018.

She said she can’t imagine the group without the wise words and friendship of Judson and Grossman.

“They are the rock of our group,” Weibel said. “They are fine examples, and they show us that (weight loss) can be done, and you can keep it off.”

She said members who gain weight at each week’s weigh-in must pay a quarter per pound gained, and members pay similar fees for not filling out their diet sheets or not wearing their TOPS T-shirt the first meeting of each month.

“It’s not a diet plan. It’s a support group of your peers,” Weibel said. “You are held accountable each week.”

She said those who join pick a goal weight, and when they reach that weight, they must obtain a document from their doctor that the weight is a healthy one for them.

They then receive KOPS status and the recognition that comes with it.

Weibel has lost 50 pounds so far, and she said she feels she will keep it off thanks to TOPS.

“If I wasn’t going to TOPS, I’d be back up that 50 pounds,” she said.

All are invited to join TOPS, which has chapters all over Butler County, but those who join the Butler chapter get to meet Grossman and Judson.

“Their knowledge and support, and knowing you can achieve this goal and keep the weight off for the rest of your life, it’s amazing,” Weibel said.

TOPS chapters can be searched by ZIP code at tops.org.

Butler TOPS members Sondra Grossman, left, and Betty Judson pose during a meeting at Trinity Lutheran Church in Center Township on Monday, Feb. 5. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle
Butler TOPS members Betty Judson, left, and Sondra Grossman hold hands to recite the closing pledge during a TOPS meeting at Trinity Lutheran Church in Butler on Monday, Feb. 5. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle
Butler TOPS member Betty Judson recites the TOPS pledge during a meeting at Trinity Lutheran Church in Center Township on Monday, Feb. 5. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle
Butler TOPS member Betty Judson shares with the TOPS group during a meeting at Trinity Lutheran Church in Center Township on Monday, Feb. 5. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle
Butler TOPS member Sondra Grossman reads from her TOPS booklet during a meeting at Trinity Lutheran Church in Center Township on Monday, Feb. 5. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle
Butler TOPS member Betty Judson shares with the group during a meeting at Trinity Lutheran Church in Center Township on Monday, Feb. 5. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle
Butler TOPS member Betty Judson shares with the TOPS group during a meeting at Trinity Lutheran Church in Center Township on Monday, Feb. 5. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle

More in Community

Subscribe to our Daily Newsletter

* indicates required
TODAY'S PHOTOS