Our family’s unofficial ‘diet guru’

In the unlikely event we manage to get everybody together in time to shoot a photo for my parent’s Christmas card this year — and in the astronomically less likely event someone managed to slide a giant scale under the assembled group of 23 — it would be interesting to see the difference in total weight since last year.

Even with a few still-growing kids in the mix, that number on the scale would be down for the year, primarily thanks to the efforts of a couple key family members, led by my sister-in-law Darcy.

I don’t know how much weight she’s lost, but it’s been inspiring to see the change. And the person who helped inspire her, as well as my mom, was the subject of this week’s “Adventures in Food and Fitness” column.

Vickie Betz is their weight-loss coach on the Take Shape for Life program. When I went to interview her about Type 2 diabetes for Diabetes Health magazine, I was expecting some kind of covert sales pitch for the Medifast meal products that program uses. Instead, I discovered she’s a low-key, likable person who underwent program training at the request of the doctor she works for — and only then as a plan of “last resort” for patients who struggled with the simpler low-fat, low-carb diet her clinic prefers patients use. (And that’s what Vickie herself uses now in her third year of maintaining a 45-pound weight loss.)

Turns out that I found talking to Vickie pretty inspiring myself. Though I’m too cheap to ever consider a diet that encourages you to buy stuff, I do like the idea of eating a small portion of something healthy every 2-3 hours rather than three larger meals. It seems like it’s easier to scale back if you know it’s never all that long til you can eat again.

Vickie Betz, the subject of this week's newspaper column, has helped motivate some people in my family to shed weight.

Vickie Betz, the subject of this week’s newspaper column, has helped motivate some people in my family to shed weight.

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