VisualQs’ dinnerware helps dieters think inside the lines

BOULDER — Fine china and dainty appetites have long gone hand in hand.

So, Sheila Kemper Dietrich figured, if one would care to eat less to weigh less, why not make a line of elegant tableware that has the added encouragement of artistically placed portion boundaries.

Kemper Dietrich launched Boulder-based VisualQs LLC in 2011 to develop a plate pattern that helps people eat smaller portions. The prototype worked for her. The self-confessed overeater said she lost more than 50 pounds by using the plates.

Her vision was to create an artisanal suite of place settings designed for a healthy lifestyle and suitable for entertaining family and friends in both formal and informal settings. The designs on the dishware offer elegant visual cues to appropriate and healthy portion sizes.

Named Livliga — Swedish for lively, vibrant or vivid — the plates have serving-size circles painted on them.

“Livliga is for everyone who wants an attractive, subtle way to improve and control their food environment,” Kemper Dietrich explained.

A place setting — dinner plate, salad plate, bowl and mug — sells online for $49.95 at In the future, Kemper Dietrich plans to add glassware and a set of spoons that can measure servings.

Kemper Dietrich said she always has struggled with overeating. She said her husband, Walter Dietrich, and daughter also lost more than 20 pounds each by using the plates.

Walter Dietrich is Livliga’s chief operating officer and chief financial officer. He has held leadership positions with companies in diverse fields, including a food-distribution company with annual sales of more than $250 million, entrepreneurial startups and in the nonprofit sector.

He serves as chairman of the University of Colorado-Boulder art museum’s advisory board and is the owner of Arcadian Property Management LLC in Boulder.

A Gallup poll published in 2012 showed Colorado is the least obese state in the United States, and Kemper Dietrich wants to share that wisdom and local philosophy toward better overall wellness with the entire country through the product line.

It appears overeaters nationwide need it. The average American dinner plate has grown by almost 51 percent since 1900, with plates expanding from 9.6 inches to nearly a foot in diameter.

The Center for Disease Control said the current generation of parents will outlive their children because of the rampant rise of childhood obesity.

Studies have shown that if you right-size your dishware you will right-size your meal.

“As a professional nutritionist, I believe the Livliga dinnerware is an excellent tool for families with children in these critical formative years,” said Cynthia Schrader, a registered dietician who is the child nutrition director for Leavenworth Public Schools in Kansas and a member of Livliga’s advisory committee. “Creating positive eating habits as children grow to adulthood with behaviors that will last a lifetime is a must.”

Another adviser, Dr. Richard Flanigan, a cardiologist who is an assistant clinical professor at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, believes portion control is one of the main keys to living a healthier and longer life. “The chances of developing the diseases responsible for 80 percent of all annual U.S. deaths are not as influenced by family history and genetics as they are by lifestyle choices, including what and how much you eat.”

Kemper Dietrich assembled a team of experts with a combined 70 years of experience to create a suite of tableware that will contribute to solving the obesity epidemic.

She has more than 20 years of leadership experience. Most of her professional career has been in trust and wealth management in the banking industry. She has experience in research, focus groups and product launches, as well as assisting nonprofit organizations with strategic growth and financial stability. Her expertise led a multibillion-dollar Trust & Wealth Management division at UMB Bank to be the fastest growing and most profitable part of that organization.

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