Changing lifestyle habits, whether for weight-loss, or to start a better eating program or just to work towards better physical and mental health, can often times be a tough road to wander down. However, if you have others with like-minded goals, it sure can make that journey a bit easier and more fun.
A group that has re-established themselves in Cut Bank can help with any or all of those things. They are Montana Mountain TOPS, with TOPS standing for Take Off Pounds Sensibly.
“Although weight loss is a common focus, our chapter is also focused on adopting a healthy lifestyle of which weight is one of the components, but not the only one. We also address the areas of physical activity and exercise, stress, sleep, mindset, work-life balance, healthy relationships, to mention a few,” said Toni Altenburg, who is the leader of the Cut Bank chapter of TOPS.
Anyone, any age can join this group, for a fee of $49 a year, which is paid to the national office of TOPS. That fee entitles you access to a member’s only website that offers healthy tips for eating and fitness guides, a step-by-step guide to healthy living, a subscription to the TOPS magazine, a hands-on handbook to losing weight and weekly in-person or online meetings.
“We do have weekly, confidential weigh-ins for those that have a personal goal to lose weight,” said Altenburg. “You are not required to log your food or turn in food journals unless you feel that helps you stay accountable. TOPS tries not to be overly prescriptive in the approach, since we are all wired differently and what works for one person may not work for another,” explained Altenburg.
“In a nutshell, we encourage eating whole foods that are minimally processed consisting of lean proteins, fruit, lots of vegetables and healthy fats in an amount that allows you to lose weight,” she continued. “Once you are at your goal, then you continue eating the same food just in a different amount that allows you to stay at that goal weight. You do not have two different eating plans for weight loss and maintenance.”
The eating plan offered by TOPS is great for diabetics and for those dealing with high blood pressure. “As with everything, always check with your personal healthcare provider first before starting any program,” cautioned Altenburg.
Learning good eating habits to move into the healthy direction is a sure help in weight loss, as “we often find that once someone loses their weight, they feel better and have more self-confidence and are ready to tackle their next goal,” Altenburg offered.
“Ultimately, we want people to learn what it takes to get healthy and stay there. There is nothing as discouraging and disappointing as putting in the work to lose weight, only to gain it all and sometimes more back,” she said.
Altenburg will be the first to admit, none of this comes easy, but with one step at a time, one day at a time, goals can be achieved and a better, healthy lifestyle can be realized.
Altenburg also believes a healthy lifestyle makes a strong immune system. “We all know how important our immune system is during this current time in history. There are a lot of things we do not have control over right now, but we do have control over what we eat and how much we move, both are key components to a strong immune system.”
Montana Mountain TOPS is being offered through Logan Health-Cut Bank as one of their community service projects.
“We meet Wednesdays at 5 p.m. at the Logan Health-Cut Bank Clinic but members can also attend via Zoom. We welcome members from out of the area to join us, too,” invited Altenburg.
If you would like to join the Montana Mountain TOPS or need more information, contact Altenburg at 406-873-3696 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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