Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in the area?
I’m originally from Harrison, NY and have lived part time in Naples, FL since 2021.
Child(ren) and Age(s)?
Peter, 34y; Matthew, 27; Alexa 23y
Are you involved in a business venture or corporate world?
Together with my husband, I am the co-founder and CFO of Gastroenterology of Westchester, an ambulatory surgical center for GI procedures, in Yonkers, NY as well as Body Morph MD Medical Weight Loss Services, with locations in both NY and Naples, FL. My husband has been in private practice as a gastroenterologist for almost 30 years, and together we transitioned the practice from an office based facility to an independent ASC. Of course, my husband has been the force behind the foundation of what it stands for right now.
When did you decide you wanted to become a Medical Weight Loss Specialist?
My oldest son, Peter, went to medical school. To destress from the pressure it entails, he went into bodybuilding to stay in shape. At the gym, he met different people with different body types and with issues with weight and nutrition. Through his knowledge of anatomy, biochemistry, physiology, and pharmacology, he studied what makes people obese and how to avert this multifactorial problem. When he graduated, he decided that he wanted to pursue his weight loss and nutrition business. He had patients in the finance industry, and from different walks of life who lost and maintained their weight while under his care.
In late 2019, I knew that together, we could expand his business but honestly, I didn’t know where and how to begin because “weight loss” is such a broad diagnosis. Weight loss is an EVOLUTION. Indeed, a consult may start with a weight loss issue, but to maintain it and to stay positive with oneself was as, if not more, important than the weight loss problem. I had the urge to think of a way to capture all the facets that go with managing weight loss, but there was this wall that blocked my creativity. I know that as a physician, I just couldn’t embark on a weight loss program that involves nutrition and diet. Otherwise, I will never see these patients again once they’ve lost weight.
In 2020, the devastating COVID outbreak happened. During the pandemic, I noticed that there was a huge increase in obesity. People were unhappy with themselves, their shape, their skin, their hair, and just their overall physique and psyche. That’s when I had a lightbulb moment on how to conceptualize the weight loss program, help these patients lose weight, and maintain the relationship with them after they achieve their weight goal. How to make it evolve into a lasting relationship with each patient that would come to see me for a consult and management was crucial in the continuity of patient care. My middle son coined the word “Body Morph” which compares weight loss to metamorphosis and transformation into bigger and more beautiful things.
From there, my mind had a surge of ideas that would have my patients stay with me even when they’ve achieved their weight loss goals. I want to help patients who are obese, BMI of 30, morbidly obese, BMI of more than 40, in a nonsurgical way. I knew about Orbera, the non-surgical weight loss balloon, from years back because they introduced their product to my husband who’s an invasive gastroenterologist but at that time, we didn’t have plans and did not know how to integrate it into his practice. With Body Morph Medical Weight Loss Practice, Orbera became the nonsurgical bariatric approach to weight loss. It proved to be the smartest and most intelligent weight loss solution for 80-90% of my patients. Our patients learned to reset their habits because of my individualized approach until they felt that they’ve got it. As my patients evolved into more health-conscious individuals, I saw the need for aesthetics that deals with laxity and cellulite. This was when I
purchased machines like Emsculpt which builds muscle and burns fat; Emtone which promotes skin tightening, 92% cellulite reduction, and reduces skin laxity. Simultaneously, it was evident that their facial tone needed to tighten and restore neocollagenesis, thus the aesthetic support with neuromodulators such as Botox and its kind, Hyaluronic Acid, Biostimulators such as Sculptra and Radiesse, have become adjuvants to their overall aesthetic needs.
Has health and wellness always been a part of your life?
Yes. When I was in my late teens, I became involved in fitness. I taught aerobics exercise to my peers and the older population. As a Pediatrician, I counseled parents on being more cognizant and active in their child’s nutrition and fitness.
What do you recommend for someone looking to get started with medical weight loss?
I highly recommend a comprehensive consultation which could last 1-2 hours. This involves biometrics, in-depth analysis of their weight, blood work, discussion of weight goals, and finally, their decision of their weight loss solution. My patients know that once they join me to achieve their weight loss, my time is theirs 24/7. Those who succeeded know that they were never alone because it is not a “walk in the park.” It takes time to reset and break old eating habits, but they knew that I was there for them 100%. Once that trust is established, weight matters become history.
If you could give one tip to fellow Mom Entrepreneurs what would it be?
I would say you have to think out of the box! Life is never what you’ve planned it to be right away, but stick to your gut feeling. Stay positive and trust your family and your instincts. You will meet people who will promise you the world just to get you to try or purchase their products, but don’t be surprised if they’re gone in a heartbeat once you’ve signed on their dotted line. Learn your business hands on. Don’t be afraid to be a one man show. Learn to operate all your products yourself, master it and be an expert at it. In the end, your patients or clients will appreciate your skills, and your standards will elevate before you hire anyone.
One thing people would be surprised to know about you…
I love people, I love to listen, and I love to talk non-stop. As a Pediatrician in my younger days, I managed my pediatric patients by communicating with the mothers who had valid questions and concerns. My relationship with the mothers prepared me to relate with the women and men I meet in my weight loss and aesthetics practice now. My weight loss and aesthetics patients are similar in so many ways because they need to express their frustrations and goals. Through communication and collaboration during our meetings, the results have been positive and in the end, I always remind them that they did it all.
Ok 10 Fun LOCAL favorites – ready, go!
1 – Favorite thing to do with your kids? Eat good food
2 – Favorite coffee spot? My kitchen- my coffemaker makes the best coffee. Lately, my friend Francesca who owns Molto gave me a cup of Kimbo espresso beans and oh my goodness. Now my coffee even tastes much better.
3 – Favorite lunch place? I don’t eat lunch, only dinner. I do intermittent fasting which has been my goal for my weight loss patients. Those who have done it, live by it.
4 – Favorite beach spot? Park Shore.
5 – Favorite date night restaurant? Molto
6 – Favorite boutique? Saks Fifth Avenue Naples or Greenwich
7 – Favorite spot to grab a drink? Le Petit French Cafe, Gulf Shore Blvd
8 – Who has the best bagels in town? First Watch
9 – Best slice of pizza in town? MOLTO HANDS DOWN
10 – Favorite spot for ice cream? Ben and Jerry’s at The Village
This interview was done in partnership with Body Morph MD Medical Weight Loss Services. Be sure to follow them on social media below: