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story.lead_photo.caption Dianne Burge
Richard Witte

Two Mid-Missouri residents won royalty status for their losing ability — losing pounds, that is.

Richard Witte, of Bland, and Dianne Burge, of Columbia, were named the 2020 Missouri king and queen from international weight-loss organization TOPS Club Inc. The title is awarded each year to the participants who recorded the largest weight loss from their starting weight, regardless of the time taken to reach the goal.

Witte lost 30.6 pounds, and Burge is down 64 pounds.

TOPS, which stands for Take Off Pounds Sensibly, is a nonprofit weight-loss support group that offers an individual approach to weight loss and overall wellness though group support, heath education and recognition.

"Despite the pandemic, with assistance from TOPS support, the 2020 royalty, and many others prior, have exhibited that achieving a personal transformation is still doable through small, sustainable lifestyle modifications," TOPS President Rick Danforth said in a news release. "Having sustained a 100-pound weight loss for over 15 years, I personally understand the commitment these folks have demonstrated."

Burge and Witte were invited to participate in the TOPS International Recognition Days virtual conference last month to commemorate their accomplishments.

Weekly TOPS meetings — in person or via Zoom — feature private weigh-ins, members sharing challenges and successes, and a brief program often with a guest speaker on fitness, nutrition and more.

Visitors are able to attend their first TOPS in-person meeting for free. Membership is $32 per year. To learn more about membership options or to find a local chapter, visit or call 800-932-8677.

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