Just as top athletes strive for an Olympic gold medal, individuals on the journey to weight loss and wellness also aim for their ultimate goal. Whether you want to lose 100 pounds or maintain your current weight, it’s important to give it your all. TOPS Club, Inc. ® (Take Off Pounds Sensibly®), the nonprofit weight-loss support organization, encourages those looking to achieve a healthier lifestyle to keep in mind essential lessons from top competitors.
1. Fitness is not a destination; it’s a journey. People see the Olympians when they’re well down the road, but most of them have devoted many years to get where they are. Like them, everyone must start at the beginning.
2. Improvement is the goal. Olympic athletes are working hard all the time to shave a fraction of a second from their time, and the closer they get to their goal, the more difficult that becomes. They never settle.
3. Stay healthy. You can’t win the game or finish the race if you’re not healthy, so you have to take good care of your body in every respect.
4. Winning is as much about training the mind as it is about training the body – this applies to losing, too (weight, that is). Mental discipline is key for athletes and for those on a journey to wellness. Train the mind before the body can follow.
5. People will put forth a great amount of effort for a medal. Awards and recognition matter, as they do in TOPS – not for what they are, but for what they represent. Pick your own reward for reaching your health and wellness goals – whether that’s a few minutes to yourself with a good book or a weekend getaway, having something to represent a goal you are reaching is powerful.
6. You can’t do it alone. Olympic athletes get much support from their teammates, family, friends, and coaches. Get support at a TOPS chapter in your area by visiting www.tops.org and clicking on “Find a Meeting.”
7. Great athletes don’t always make the qualifying round. Just as a world-class sprinter may miss a spot in the finals by 1/100th of a second, everyone has days when the scale just doesn’t reflect the hard work they’ve done.
8. Just as Olympians suffer sprains and strains, we may also run into problems, but a surgery, pregnancy, or broken bone doesn’t have to derail us long term. It may simply mean sitting on the sidelines for a bit or scaling back goals.
9. Even Olympians have off days. Hockey players miss the shot, ski jumpers land short, and figure skaters fall. But they always get up and try again.
10. Olympians never give up on their dreams. Some want to win the gold medal, while others just strive to finish race. Whatever the goal, they give it all they’ve got.
TOPS Club Inc.® (Take Off Pounds Sensibly®) is the original weight-loss support and wellness education organization. Founded more than 66 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.®” philosophy that combines support from others at weekly chapter meetings, healthy eating, regular exercise and wellness information. TOPS has about 150,000 members – male and female, age seven and older – in thousands of chapters throughout the United States and Canada. To find a local chapter, view www.tops.org or call (800) 932-8677.