"ABC"August and September are times of year when kids enter a new school season – and many adults notice fresh-start feelings of their own, too. With the new school year upon us, TOPS Club, Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), the nonprofit weight-loss support organization, offers “ABCs” to guide you on the road to weight loss and a healthier lifestyle.

A – A is for All the added sugar you will trim from your diet. Besides sweets, keep in mind that sugar is in many processed foods, such as crackers, frozen pizza, and canned soups. Read food labels.

B – Begin your food planning at the supermarket. You can’t eat at home what you don’t buy at the store.

C – Chewing longer gives your stomach more time to let your brain know it’s getting full.

D – Don’t eat if you’re not truly hungry.

E – Make Exercise a habit in your life by engaging in physical activities that you enjoy and won’t dread doing. Consider walking, hiking, bicycling, swimming, or dancing.

F – Find a hobby. Busy hands are less likely to reach for food.

G – Buy yourself a small, non-food Gift when the going gets tough and your spirits are low.

H – H is for the good Health you will enjoy as you eat sensibly.

I – I is for the Information and Inspiration you will receive as a TOPS member at your weekly chapter meeting – and for the Inches that fall off as the pounds drop away.

J – Jazz up your life with something great: a new outfit, new walking shoes, new book, or even a new hairstyle.

K – Have an appetite Killer at hand. Consider fresh fruit, crisp raw vegetables, or a glass of refreshing ice water with lemon to curb cravings.

L – Learn healthful eating habits and familiarize yourself with nutrition facts.

M – Make up your mind that you really want to lose weight. You can fool yourself, but you can’t fool the scales.

N – Nobody can lose weight for you. TOPS can open the door.

O – TOPS provides the Opportunity to learn new tips about sensible eating.

P – Plant your new image firmly in your mind.

Q – Quiz yourself on your eating habits. Don’t let day-to-day problems and emotions control your diet.

R – Reward yourself with a meaningful, non-food item or activity as you “take off pounds sensibly.” Keep thinking thin.

S – Simmer a bowl of broth-based soup on the stove. It’s a filling and inexpensive way to control your appetite.

T – Top your table with attractive dishes to make nutritious meals even more enjoyable.

U – Understand that you are what you eat. Be the person you really want to be.

V – Wave the flag of Victory, but keep your nose to the grindstone. Reaching out to a friend or TOPS member for support may be just what you need to keep you on the right track.

W – Watch out for temptation.

X – Cross your fingers – especially when eating out. Decide in advance the foods you can order that will work best in keeping you on your healthy lifestyle plan.

Y – Yell, “Hooray!” When you lose weight, be proud. When you gain weight, be proud that you are doing something to remedy it.

Z – Zip into your new, healthier life.

TOPS Club Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) is the original weight-loss support and wellness education organization. Founded more than 64 years ago, TOPS is the only nonprofit, noncommercial weight-loss organization of its kind. TOPS promotes successful weight management with a “Real People. Real Weight Loss.SM” philosophy that combines support from others at weekly chapter meetings, healthy eating, regular exercise, and wellness information. TOPS has about 170,000 members – male and female, age seven and older – in nearly 10,000 chapters throughout the United States and Canada.

Visitors are welcome to attend their first TOPS meeting free of charge. Membership is affordable at just $28 per year in the U.S. and $32 per year in Canada, plus nominal chapter fees. To find a local chapter, view Tops.org or call (800) 932-8677.