Amanda Weisbrod

Even though Union County still has mounds of snow refusing to melt and a thick layer of ice coating some streets, summer is approaching fast — there’s less than three months left to get that summer bod you promised yourself you would work toward at the new year.

Maybe you’ve tried every diet on the internet and have even followed tips from friends and family, but nothing’s working. You just can’t stick with it, so you give up instead of trying again.

Before you despair over failed diets and weight loss programs, know you aren’t alone — there’s someone right here in La Grande who can help.

Brittney Garcia, the owner and operator of The La Grande Diet Doc, wants to teach everyone she can how to eat nutritionally and lead a healthy lifestyle. The Diet Doc is a global franchise, and Garcia’s operation in La Grande has consistently made the top 10 list out of the more than 150 locations worldwide for revenue since she opened her storefront at 212 Fir St. in October 2015. She thinks her success is partly due to the personal touch that is possible with owning a business in a small town.

“We have a face-to-face based business, and I think our clients like having that individual touch,” Garcia said. “The community within The Diet Doc is very tight knit, and our clients have each other’s support.”

At The Diet Doc, clients get a personalized nutrition and fitness plan based on their goals and preferences. Some of Garcia’s clients walk in the door wanting to lose that last pesky 10 pounds, and others are looking to shed a large amount of weight. Garcia said the most weight loss she’s seen with a client has been 140 pounds in a year, and the client didn’t even start exercising until she’d lost 120 pounds. The key is the personalized diets created by Garcia and Angie Brown, who joined The Diet Doc in 2016.

Clients can also attend a yearly retreat at Wallowa Lake to focus on wellness workshops like how to handle stress eating and how to cook and prepare healthy food. This year’s three-day retreat will take place in September, and Garcia hopes to feature rail riding as the special activity for the weekend.

Along with the workshops and general relationship building, Garcia noticed something small, yet notable, that clients find valuable about the long weekend.

“One of the simplest, unexpected things of the retreat was that people get to see what everyone else is eating and get ideas for themselves,” she said.

Garcia’s own fitness journey began about nine years ago when she realized how unhealthy she was and decided to lose weight.

“I liked to cook, and I felt like when I was dieting, I wouldn’t be able to cook as much, but it was really about portions,” she said. “I think people need more help with portions and what to eat than anything because if you think about it, nobody ever sat you down and taught you how to feed yourself.”

After she lost 60 pounds, Garcia got her personal training license, but she soon realized people don’t need as much help with exercise as they do with planning meals. Then she found The Diet Doc from a podcast interview with Dr. Kori Propst, The Diet Doc’s vice president and wellness director.

“When I heard the interview, I knew I was either going to be her client, her best friend or work with her somehow,” Garcia said, laughing. “Now I’m all three.”

Garcia’s love of podcasts and desire to get the word out about good nutrition led her to start her own with Brown called Life Fitness Podcast two weeks ago. Their weekly episodes, published on Fridays, are free and available to the public on Apple Music and Soundcloud.

“I’m always looking for a way to give more to my clients,” Garcia said. “And for people who don’t know us, (the podcast) can help them feel comfortable enough to reach out to us.”

See complete story in Wednesday's Observer