NewsGreat Falls News


Great Falls women honored for taking off pounds sensibly

Cindy Greenwood and Heather Weibel.jpg
Posted at 7:35 PM, Jul 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-08 12:27:59-04

GREAT FALLS — Inside the walls of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church on Thursday nights, a group of people are taking a sensible approach to losing weight. They’re members of one of four Electric City Chapters of TOPS, or Take Off Pounds Sensibly.

They’re proving you don’t have to spend hours sweating at the gym or starving yourself to reach your health goals.

“Before I joined, I was 245 pounds, and I've lost a total of 113 pounds,” said Cindy Greenwood, who was recently crowned the Montana State TOPS Queen runner-up during the organization’s recognition days in Great Falls. Cindy says 84 of the pounds have come off during her three years with TOPS.

“I started at 265 and I've lost over 100 pounds. I lost 88 of it last year,” said Montana State TOPS Queen for 2023, Heather Weibel.

The women say the program is different and easy to follow. It doesn’t promote pills, powdered shakes or boxed foods, instead they advocate a simple approach.

“What we teach is how to eat properly,” said Greenwood.

“We do whatever is between us and our doctors,” said Weibel.

Meetings include fun contests and even get members moving by simply walking and chair exercises - but mostly they help by holding people accountable.

“We are a big, huge support group of friends,” said Greenwood. “When each other loses, we support them. When they gain. We still support them.”

Heather says the accountability factor was especially evident when chapter meetings were held over zoom.

“When COVID was going on, I gained weight. When we had a stall, I gained almost 30 pounds,” said Weibel.

The program isn’t just for ladies as men also take the weight loss journey.

It’s also family friendly. Heather’s mother was last year’s queen and her grandmother wore the crown in 1993.

Both women say the benefits of the affordable program go beyond physical health. They feel a greater sense of self-esteem.

“I don't have people looking at me. When I'm getting my food they’re not wondering what the big girl is going to eat or if I'm going to be able to fit in the booth,” said Weibel. “I can enjoy my time out now.”

“You don't feel judged and you're not looking down and feeling ashamed,” said Greenwood. “You're looking up and you're smiling.”

By reaching their doctor approved goal, both women are now part of KOPS, or Keep Off Pounds Sensibly.

They are also giving back, several of the chapter members collected food adding up to the amount they collectively lost and donated it back to the community.

The women say the program is affordable. Weibel estimates it costs $42 to join and monthly dues are six dollars.

Greenwood adds that with four different meeting times in Great Falls, it’s convenient.

Heather encourages anyone who’s hesitant to join to take the step.

“At first you're not going to believe in yourself, but then people start believing in you,” said Weibel. “And then that's where it begins. After a while you start losing weight and you do start to believe in yourself.”

“I would just say to do it,” said Greenwood.

You can find a link to local meeting times by logging onto the TOPS website.


FOLLOW KRTV: Instagram | TikTok | Twitter