STAYING TRUE TO TOPS’ MISSION
As long as TOPS does not lose sight of its mission to promote ways to become healthier through professionally prepared, medically approved programs about nutrition, roper portion sizes, fitness, self-care, and behavior modification, the vehicle used to ensure members are at their healthiest weight can be relevant to the changing times.
The blueprints of maintaining a successful organization are codified in Mrs. Manz’s writings. One example is her emphasis that the journey to better health is its
own reward, which can be lost in the glitz and glamour of recognition . She wrote to the membership in February 1967... ”Perhaps I may be starting to sound like a stuck record, but I am going to repeat: We did not start TOPS, nor should we join TOPS, to win prizes. We love to give honor and recognition to those who lose, but it is not our intention nor desire to pay or reward people for losing weight. The loss of excess poundage is the reward in itself.”
TOPS will continue to support and recognize members for their achievements. However, it is important to keep reminding members that their healthy, prolonged life will indeed be still theirs long after crowns tarnish and ribbons fade.
Sure, knowing what and when to change will always be met with questions. Knowing what not to do was mentioned by Mrs. Manz in July 1972. She wrote about things to avoid:
- Parodies of religious or patriotic documents or sayings
- Verse or worse in which in any way we ridicule or demean ourselves. Example: The use of the word “pig” in reference to overeating
- Use of childish words like “no-no foods”
- The entire concept of “forbidden food” (TOPS does not specify foods or diets.)
- Association of TOPS activities in any way with food unless prefaced by the word “low-calorie”
As time goes by, how support and recognition take place will always look different. That’s fine, because TOPS as an organization will not deviate from the principles and ideals set forth from the first time Mrs. Manz stepped on a scale among her friends.