7 Steps to a New You

By Joyce Hendley, M.S., March/April 2007

How one couple lost more than 100 pounds between them and how you can too.

In 6 months, one couple lost more than 100 pounds between them—thanks to a life-changing, university-tested program, VTrim™. Here’s how they did it and how you can take the pounds off, too.

David Blittersdorf has the tall, rangy look of someone who has always been thin. Having just celebrated his 50th birthday, he has a few more gray streaks in his hair than he used to, but he walks with a purposeful stride that makes him seem much younger and carries a lean 170 pounds on his 6'1" frame. You might never guess that a mere 18 months ago David was 80 pounds heavier. His friends called him “Buddha” and in clinical terms, he was obese.

Jan Blittersdorf, 47, David’s wife of 23 years, is what some might call “statuesque.” At 5 feet 10 inches tall and around 145 pounds, she’s not the same woman who once combed the plus-size racks in clothing stores. “I went from a plus-size 2X to a size 12,” says Jan, who lost 55 pounds over a year and a half. Now, “instead of looking for camouflage,” she shops for form-fitting clothes.

What happened was a transformation neither Jan nor David could have imagined. The Vermont-based couple, who just couldn’t see themselves drinking slimming shakes or attending weight-watching meetings, reinvented themselves—literally—with the help of an innovative weight-loss program that skipped the gimmicks. Instead, the VTrim program focused on helping the Blittersdorfs change the behaviors that put on the pounds in the first place. “VTrim wasn’t a fad diet or a magic bullet or potion,” says Jan. “It was just common sense.”

VTrim was developed by Jean Harvey-Berino, R.D., Ph.D., a nationally recognized weight-loss researcher at the University of Vermont and an EatingWell Nutrition Advisor. Her concept is based on behavior change: a systematic shaping of daily habits to help people move more and eat less. VTrim’s focus on everyday strategy sets it apart from conventional weight-loss plans. “Most diets tell you what to do but not how to do it,” says Harvey-Berino. “They don’t provide you with a plan for the long term.”

Harvey-Berino developed the strategies and tools that the Blittersdorfs used in their weight-loss journey. She then worked with EatingWell to adapt them into a book, to be published this month by Countryman Press, The EatingWell Diet. Our book lists the seven essential steps the Blittersdorfs and other VTrim participants took toward achieving healthy weight loss and adds in a 28-day menu plan and nearly 100 recipes from the EatingWell Test Kitchen.

Here’s how the program worked for Jan and David Blittersdorf.

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