Dr. Benita Stephens, MD is a Board Certified obstetrician and gynecologist with extensive training in bariatric medicine. She has degrees from the University of Georgia in education and exercise and sports science and got her Doctor of Medicine from Morehouse School of Medicine. As a practitioner, Dr. Stephens sees firsthand the devastating effects of being overweight and the detrimental health outcomes associated with obesity. She launched the Ciao Bella Center for Weight Loss in 2012, which provides one-on-one counseling, meals and injections and other treatments. Clients of this startup have gone on to lose an average 20 to 25 pounds while under Dr. Stephens’ care.
MN: Did you always know that you would start your own medical center?
BS: I really did go the traditional route. I work as an ob/gyn delivering babies. After years in the medical industry, seeing people develop illnesses and diseases that were related to their body mass, I realized that people need help with weight loss issues. Every day as a physician I saw women struggling with issues like irregular bleeding and missing cycles all which were due to being overweight. Clients also began contacting me and asking me for help. I opened the Ciao Bella Center for Weight Loss to fill a need that has reached such alarming proportions that it’s become a major national issue.
MN: How much did you initially invest in Ciao Bella Center for Weight Loss?
BS: My start-up resources included my personal funds and bank loans. I started Ciao Bella Center for Weight Loss with about $40,000. I used this money to build out the facility, pay for support staff, vitamins [and other necessities].
MN: What’s involved in a body composition analysis?
BS: Body composition analysis is measured when a client comes in and we place them on a scale. Composition is based on a person’s height, weight and resistance (resistance is measured as a client grips bars along the side of the scale). During the analysis, we can tell how much muscle, water and fat a person has. We use this information to tell how much weight a person can lose over six to 12 weeks. The average weight loss our clients enjoy is between 20 to 25 pounds. And, yes, people do keep the weight off. The biggest thing about losing weight is that people have to change their lifestyle and incorporate healthy foods and exercise into their routine. It’s good to have a healthy body image but it’s important to have a healthy body mass index.