By Polly Keary, editor
Becky Clark has been a professional trainer for more than 10 years, but when she writes, it’s usually romance.
She has published three romance novels, but her fourth book, out this week, is a diet book.
She will join three other area writers to read from their works at a fundraiser for children’s cancers at Pine Creek Farms and Nursery Sunday, March 23, from 2-4 p.m.
Last week, she sat down with her friend, Dianne Forth of Monroe, to talk about her new book, the event, and the cause it supports.
The Checklist Diet
“I’ve been a personal trainer for more than 10 years, and my clients always say, ‘You’re a writer, why don’t you write a diet book?’” said Clark, a fitness instructor at Thrive Fitness in Monroe. “But I’m not a celebrity and I don’t train celebrities, so I didn’t think anyone would read it. Then I thought, well, I’ll write one for my clients.”
She also knew from her experience in the romance publishing industry that self-publishing can be easy and even profitable.
The result was the 44-page book, “The Checklist Diet,” available at Amazon.com.
“It’s less than the cost of a latte and you can read it before you finish the latte,” Clark quipped.
There is no shortage of diet books, she acknowledged, and her book contains no new information.
What it does that most do not, she explained, was simplify it.
“This is 10 basic simple steps,” she said. “If you follow the steps, great, but you don’t have to. It’s about making those changes every day.”
The 10 steps are those she considers the most important for maintaining healthy weight. She knows them well; they are the steps she used to shed 30 pounds, weight she has kept off for a decade.
Oddly, for a fitness instructor, one of the steps is not exercise. Exercise can do many, many positive things for your body, including help you lose weight, but the major determining factor of your body fat ratio is what you eat.
“You can work out every day of the week, but if your diet isn’t right, you won’t see any changes,” she said.
The 10 steps instead include common bits of diet wisdom such as writing down everything you eat, getting 25 grams of fiber, and avoiding alcohol and junk food.
Each day, readers can review the list and check off the items they have accomplished. They then can grade the day. Seven checkmarks equals a C, eight a B, and nine or 10 and A or A+.
At first, just try to get Cs, she said.
“It’s about making those changes every day,” she said.
Hear Becky Clark read from the first pages of her book.
Clark’s book release was well-timed to coincide with a fundraiser her friend Dianne Forth was planning later this month.
Forth lost her grandson Brandon to a brain tumor at the age of 11. He’d been diagnosed at the age of four with a rare tumor, with very little chance of survival.
During his life, even while sick much of the time, he had always tried to help other children, she said.
“He had two huge birthday blowouts, and half his school came, and all the kids brought unwrapped gifts,” she said of the Bothell boy. “They wrapped them and wrote on them whether it was for a boy or girl and what age. And they brought them all to Children’s Hospital.”
Once, he held a lemonade stand outside his house and raised $200. He wanted to give it to two girls at the hospital who were there from out of state.
“He gave $100 to each of them, and one of them was a 15-year-old girl,” she remembered. “She wanted to give him a hug. And he didn’t like that too much!”
After he died, his mother wanted to carry on his effort in his name, and the Brandon’s Goal Foundation was born.
The organization has undertaken a number of projects in the last four years.
An education event at a Mill Creek elementary school so inspired students that they raised $1,900 for children’s cancer research.
Another event, Kids Kicking for Kids, is a one-day soccer camp, the proceeds of which go to Brandon’s Goal.
Currently, some of the funds of Brandon’s Goal are going to support the work of a Seattle researcher who is studying pediatric cancers.
“He’s doing a thing called ‘tumor paint,’” Forth explained. “Brain tissue and tumor tissue look the same. It’s hard to try to remove a tumor without removing healthy tissue. This tumor paint is injected and it’s a dye that crosses the blood brain barrier and absolutely only dyes the tumor.”
The foundation also supports the families of children who are ill.
Forth had heard of a fundraising technique growing in popularity on the East Coast, and she wanted to try to draw from it for Brandon’s Foundations.
“They have a Parade of Parties, and for a three-month block, people have small fundraisers in their homes,” she said. “And then at the end, they all pool the money.”
She knows she numbered authors among her friends, and thought to have a reading at her home.
But she could only get so many people into her house, so she approached Pine Creek Farms and Nursery about a larger event.
They were eager to help, and eventually four authors signed on, including Maureen Rogers of Seattle, reading from her book of short stories; Paddy Eger reading form “84 Ribbons,” a young adult coming-of-age novel; Nicki Chen of Sedro Woolley reading from a historical novel about war in China, and Clark, reading from “The Checklist Diet.”
In addition to the reading, there will be mimosas, a dessert bar, coffee and tea, and door prizes.
Pine Creek Farms and Nursery is located 23225 Sofie Rd., Monroe, WA 98272.
For more information see http://www.brandonsgoalfoundation.org.