ANYONE who has ever struggled with their weight will know the emotional rollercoaster involved in the weight loss journey and the importance of being supported.
The Mornington-based healthy eating group, Take Off Weight Naturally (TOWN), celebrates its 25th anniversary in February – a quarter of a century of helping people stay healthy and manage their weight.
The not-for-profit group has more than 40 members who meet at Mornington Bowls Club on Wednesday mornings, providing friendship and support in a non-judgmental environment.
TOWN clubs encourage weight loss by promoting a nutritionally balanced diet and giving encouragement and practical advice on how to lose weight and keep it off.
Ruth Carmichael, of Mornington, joined 24 years ago when she was in her 50s, after struggling with her weight most of her life.
Carmichael was around 90 kilograms and felt that carrying extra kilos was damaging her health and not allowing her to live her best life.
“I got my weight down to around 75 kilograms gradually, and at one point during COVID it was in the 60s, and I know I could not have done that on my own,” she said.
“I think with most people who need to lose weight it has been a lifelong battle because they haven’t really had the right support and advice and motivation.
“I had tried a lot of other weight loss groups, but some of them can be costly and make it hard to keep going.
“TOWN is cheap by comparison, and we don’t really go on diets as such, we give each other support and advice, and we have competitions to make weight loss fun.”
It’s a similar story for Kathy Woodroffe, who joined the Mornington group from its inception.
“I went to a meeting 25 years ago where they were looking for expressions of interest to start a group in Mornington and I couldn’t get there quick enough,” she said.
“I’ve struggled with my weight all my life and went from 102 kilograms to around 69 kilograms in two years with the club’s support, healthy eating and exercise,” she said.
Last year Mornington TOWN won the group’s statewide weight-loss competition, with members losing a collective 140 kilograms.
TOWN clubs discourage the use of non-prescribed medication and substitute foods.
The first club was established in Melbourne in 1968 by two Melbourne women and there are now more than 80 clubs that meet weekly throughout Victoria and NSW.
To be eligible to join TOWN Mornington a letter from a doctor is required, advising the club of how much the prospective member would like to weigh.
Members must be over 14 and make a commitment to attend weekly meetings and lose weight.
Clubs are run by volunteers and members compete for weight loss awards each week, with special awards given out once a month.
For more information call 9761 1875 or email firstname.lastname@example.org