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Cortez Man Crowned Colorado King of Weight Loss


Roger Echols, of Cortez, led all Colorado participants in the TOPS weight loss program, losing 32 pounds over 12 months. He’s encouraging other Cortez residents to join his weekly meetings ahead of the holiday season. By Connor Shreve. This story is sponsored by FASTSIGNS and TruWest Auto

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A Cortez man is getting through the holiday season healthier than ever and hopes others follow his lead. You're watching the "Local NEWS Network," brought to you by FASTSIGNS and TruWest Auto. I'm Wendy Graham Settle. Worrying about packing on pounds over the holiday? Cortez's Roger Echols is proving that with a little support, you can tip the scales in your favor.

We retired and moved back here to Cortez to be around family, and we could tell that we had put on quite a bit of weight, all that we had lost. And so, my wife had belonged to TOPS before, which is T-O-P-S, Take Off Pounds Sensibly. And it's not a program, it's just a weight-loss support group, and they don't have menus and things like that that you follow. It's just a group of people who are wanting to lose weight, and they meet each week and support one another in their efforts.

Echols credits the program with his weight loss success and says the organization's sensible approach resonates with him.

Of course, we weigh every week, and when you're accountable to the scales, that makes a difference. So we have done that, and we visit our physician who gives us a weight-loss goal that we should be at. Depending on your age and your health, he'll tell you or she will tell you what your ideal weight would be.

The TOPS group has become a social gathering for Echols and his wife, Judy. Echols says the friends he's made as part of the weekly meetings hold him accountable to working toward his goal.

Well, you know, it's interesting, you know, you can watch the carbs and do your dieting, watch your calories, but boy, if you don't put exercise with it, it is going to be a struggle to lose your weight. If you'll combine the two, your diet and exercise and drink lots of water, you're going to reach your goal if you really put your mind to it. And you got to really want to lose the weight before you can be successful. 'Cause if you don't really set your mind to it, you'll fudge here and fudge there, and then it just makes it a ongoing process forever. But if you'll really set your mind to it and put a target weight and where you want to be and achieve it, it makes you feel good.

Echols' dedication earned him TOPS' highest honor, being named Colorado's King after dropping 32 pounds over the course of a year, hitting his target weight, and being moved from weight loss to maintenance. He says it's been a life-changing experience.

You know, my health, I'm blessed with high cholesterol. I'm blessed with arthritis in my knees and what have you, and knowing if you get some of that weight off, you're going to feel better, which I do. I feel a lot better, and I'm prolonging my knee replacement just because I'm not carrying that much more weight. And, you know, you just feel better. It's nice to go down a pants size or two, go to a smaller shirt, and you put on the ones you had when you first started, and man, they are bagging. And it's just, it's self-satisfying to see your accomplishments. You just feel better.

Echols understands it can be hard for people to join a weight-loss organization, but says his experience is proof of how positive committing to a change can be. For now, he's enjoying his time in the TOPS throne, so to speak, before he retires and passes the crown to another weight loss leader next year. Until then, he'd love to see you at a TOPS meeting. Information on the TOPS program is available online at Thanks for watching the "Local NEWS Network." I'm Wendy Graham Settle.


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