Oklahoma Man Being Honored For Weight Loss By National Support Group
A national weight loss support group is celebrating an Oklahoma man who has lost the most weight of any member in the United States and Canada.
TOPS, which stands for Lose Pounds Smartly, is a non-profit organization that holds weekly meetings to encourage people to reach their weight goals.
Of the dozens of TOPS chapters in Oklahoma, the Muskogee chapter has a reigning king and queen. Those two represent the organization's highest weight loss in the state.
Accountability and support, that's how this group of people of all ages lost hundreds of pounds.
TOPS is the oldest weight loss support organization in the United States, and its members meet weekly to discuss different ways they can stay active and eat healthy.
“To manage your weight and stay healthy, you must make lifestyle changes, not diets,” says TOPS member Ed Harmon. “To say something is a diet means that it has a beginning and an end.”
Four years ago, Harmon weighed 310 pounds. The 73-year-old now weighs 170 pounds, his ideal weight.
Harmon says he can't do strenuous exercise because of a heart condition, so he intermittently fasts and cuts down on sugar.
He hopes to inspire others as TOPS Oklahoma King and International King.
“I didn't think I had anything important, but I thought, ‘As this king, I'm going to have a chance, I can visit all the chapters in Oklahoma, I can visit other states as an international king,'” Harmon said. ,'”.
The group has guest speakers and encourages a healthy lifestyle through walks.
Ed's wife, Kathy Harmon, has enlisted several family members in TOPS. She said she is especially thankful that her husband tried the group.
“It was fantastic,” Kathy Harmon said. “I'm very grateful because I don't know if he would be here now if he wasn't here.”
Erika Self, 41, is the Queen of TOPS Oklahoma. In five years with TOPS, she lost 156 pounds.
“Through encouragement, it's kind of like a second family to me,” Self said.
TOPS says Oklahoma has 700 members who lost nearly 7,000 pounds statewide last year.
In April, the organization will crown the state's next highest weight loss achievement.
Here's Harmon's advice for your weight-loss journey: “The most important thing is to know about food,” says Harmon. “Someone can prepare the food you need to eat.”
For more information on membership and how to join TOPS, click here.