Oklahoma Man Being Honored For Weight Loss By National Support Group

A national weight loss support group is celebrating an Oklahoma man for shedding the most pounds of all its members in the United States and Canada.

Tuesday, February 14th 2023, 9:54 pm



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A national weight loss support group is celebrating an Oklahoma man for shedding the most pounds of all its members in the United States and Canada.

TOPS, which stands for Taking Off Pounds Sensibly, is a nonprofit that holds weekly meetings to encourage people to reach their weight goals.

Of the dozens chapters of TOPS in Oklahoma, the Muskogee chapter has the reigning king and queen. Those two represent the organization's highest weight loss in the state.

Accountability and support, that is how the group of people of all ages has shed hundreds of pounds.

Members of TOPS, the oldest weight loss support group in the country, meet every week to discuss the different ways they are staying active and eating healthier.

“To manage your weight and be healthy, it has to be a lifestyle change and not a diet,” said Ed Harmon, a TOPS member. “To say something is a diet means it has a beginning and an end.”

Harmon weighed 310 pounds four years ago. The 73-year-old veteran is now at his ideal weight of 170 pounds.

Harmon said because of a heart condition, he cannot do intense exercise, so he does intermittent fasting and cuts out sugar.

He hopes to inspire others as the TOPS Oklahoma King and International King.

“I don’t see me as anything important, but what I thought, ‘As this king, I’ll have a chance, I can visit all the chapters in Oklahoma, I can visit other states as international king,’” said Harmon.

The group has guest speakers and goes on walks to encourage healthy lifestyles.

Ed's wife, Kathy Harmon, has gotten several family members to join TOPS. She said she is especially thankful her husband gave the group a try.

"It's fantastic,” said Kathy Harmon. “I'm so thankful because I don't know if he'd be here now if he hadn't."

41-year-old Erika Self is the TOPS Oklahoma Queen. She lost 156 pounds over the five years she has been with TOPS.

"By encouragement and kind of like my second family,” said Self.

TOPS said Oklahoma has 700 members, who dropped almost 7,000 pounds as a state last year.

In April, the organization will crown its next highest weight loss achievers in the state.

Here's Harmon's advice for those on the weight loss journey: "The biggest thing is to learn about food,” said Harmon. “To have someone who can prepare the food that you need to eat."

For more information on membership and how to join TOPS, click here.

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