TOPS tackles weight gain – for life


Challenges of maintaining weight affect most people at some point in their lives, the holiday feasting season included.

Whether you want to lose weight or add a little, it takes work and help from others.

Dee Guglielmelli, a member of Taking Off Pounds Sensibly, has lost weight and kept it off - and in the bargain has gained like-minded friends.

"First they are friends," she said. "Second, they are supporters."

Every week there are TOPS support groups in the Walla Walla Valley, where members get medical and nutrition information, recipes, and see who the best losers are.

Some group members have lost large amounts of weight, others have lost smaller amounts.

Guglielmelli got connected with the group many years ago when a friend lost weight. "I decided I need this," she said.

Like many weight loss and control plans, members keep a journal of what they eat during the day, which Guglielmelli said "makes you more accountable."

Another important part of the program, she said, is to learn how to let go of a negative body image and build a positive one.

The focus helps members deal with emotions that can escalate into an "accident" with food.

Another focus is to plan and shop for healthful meals. They encourage shoppers to turn away from something that is not life enhancing.

An active person, Guglielmelli said she's happy with her weight and has the energy for what she loves in her life - family, friends, the family farm and her oil painting. So losing weight and keeping it off has been very important for her to stay healthy and active.

Her advice to someone wanting to lose weight and keep it off is to find a support group and get some help.

Weight control can be challenging, and life's circumstances and emotions play a part.

"Your life throws you curves - you go to food for comfort, now we go to TOPS for comfort," she said.

"Whether you've gained or not, they still love you."

Karlene Ponti can be reached at 509-526-8324 or


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