Lynnette Baughman of Sequim graduated Feb. 23. Not from high school, not from college, but from a two-year effort to improve her health and lose weight with the help of 35 special friends.
Baughman is a member of the Sequim chapter of Taking Off Pounds Sensibly and last Wednesday she celebrated losing 42 pounds and keeping it off for six months.
She originally joined TOPS four years ago, but it wasn’t until she went skiing and was brought to tears when her ski pants no longer fit that she got serious about losing weight.
“For the first couple years I gained (weight),” she said. “I was not serious about it and I was feeling worse and worse. But two years ago I hit the wall. I don’t think anyone does serious weight loss until they hit the wall.”
Baughman said TOPS is a unique weight-loss solution because it is so inexpensive — only $25 a year to the national group and $5 a month locally — and it has a supportive, friendly environment.
“We put together our own programs from scientific organization materials and sometimes put on a skit to enforce the idea,” she said. “Because there is so much involvement of the members it is interesting. Your friends are giving examples of things.”
Members frequently share things they’ve learned about health, nutrition and weight loss. The group also has a couple of meal events each year, where the menu includes low-calorie, healthy items.
The group is run by volunteers and weekly weigh-ins are private so no one is humiliated, only encouraged, she said.
Now that she’s a graduate, she is part of Keeping Off Pounds Sensibly. As a KOPS she will continue attending weekly meetings and encouraging other members.
“This isn’t something you just quit then go get some Krispy Kremes,” she said.
Sequim No. 1135 meets at 8:45 a.m. Wednesday downstairs at Sequim Bible Church, 847 N. Sequim Ave.
Members may weigh in anytime from 8:45-9:45 a.m. Their weight is recorded in complete privacy by two members trained for the job. The meeting begins at 10 a.m. Visitors are welcome to attend their first TOPS meeting free of charge.
Port Angeles has four TOPS chapters. Meetings are held Monday and Wednesday mornings and Wednesday evenings. Port Townsend, Chimacum and Forks also have chapters. For time and place of all these meetings, contact the TOPS area captain, Maria Goss, at 360-275-2179.
Reach Amanda Winters at awinters@sequim gazette.com.