A moment with Dr. Robert Vyge

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Lowcountry lifestyle suits Beaufort Memorial’s newest physician just fine

By Marie McAden

When it comes to exercising, Dr. Robert Vyge follows the same advice he gives his patients. The Beaufort Memorial Hospital internist gets at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day to stay fit and healthy. He plays tennis, swims laps or takes a long walk after dinner. But eating a well balanced diet, well, not so much.

“I’m the first to admit, my eating habits aren’t the best,” said Vyge, who lived in Marion, SC, for 13 years before moving to Beaufort this summer. “I eat too much fast food.” But it’s the South’s bountiful ‘meat-and-three’ restaurants that are most to blame for his
nutritional lapses.

Dr. Robert Vyge
Dr. Robert Vyge

“Marion has some great buffets,” Vyge said. “I’d walk in and just eat like crazy.”

Living in the Lowcountry may change all of that. The married father of three has grand aspirations to start cooking at home and eating more nutritious meals. Inspired by his teenage daughter Kerri—a champion of healthful eating—Vyge is striving to cut down on red meat and load up on fruits and veggies.

“It’s a new start for us,” he said of the move. “It’s a chance to improve our lifestyle.”

Growing up on a lake in Stratford, Ontario, not far from Toronto, Vyge spent his summers swimming, canoeing and fishing. Now that he’s living near the water again, he’d like to dust off his rod and reel, learn to shrimp with a cast net and paddle the area’s many slow-moving creeks and rivers.

“I want to see if I can get the girls interested in kayaking,” said Vyge, father to 8, 14 and 16 year-old daughters. “It looks like fun.”

And with a new home on Lady’s Island, he has lots of new terrain to explore on his every-other-day walks with his wife, Pamela. It’s not unusual for the couple to trek five miles in an hour.

“We talk for the first half of the walk,” Vyge said. “Then we listen to music and try to book it.”

Maintaining a fast pace isn’t difficult for the 6-foot, five-inch physician. But to keep up with his long stride, his five-foot, six-inch wife needs to put it into high gear.

“She’s learned how to keep up,” he said. “She really walks very fast.”

Earlier this year, the two completed a half marathon in Myrtle Beach. Along with outdoor activities, the Vyge family also enjoys watching movies and traveling overseas. They’ve visited all over Europe including Italy, France, Germany, Russia, Greece Estonia, and Holland, sometimes spending their vacation camping, in addition to the requisite sightseeing.

“We’ll rent a campsite for 10 days and travel by train to the surrounding areas,” Vyge said. “We try to go somewhere different every year.”

Their annual vacation plans always include a trip to his parents’ home in Canada and to Pamela’s native Ireland. The couple met in Dublin when Vyge was attending medical school at the Royal College of Surgeons.

“We do most of our traveling with Pam’s sister and brother-in-law and their triplet boys,” Vyge said. “Her younger sister is getting married in Prague next year, so that will be our next big trip.”

Vyge joined Beaufort Memorial Lady’s Island Internal Medicine in July and will be moving the practice’s new office on Sea Island Parkway when it opens later this fall.

Until then, he is seeing patients at both the current office of Lady’s Island Internal Medicine at 12 Professional Village and at Beaufort Memorial Coastal Care MD on Ribaut Road. For more information or to contact Dr. Vyge, please call (843) 522-7240.