So, let’s start with the truth.
Dr. Inda Mowett has a ferocious sweet tooth. She loves Napoleons, cannoli and tiramisu.
“I love French pastry,” Mowett said last week with a laugh. “Anything with cream and chocolate. I really go with a creamy, chocolate dessert.”
In her native Panama, where there are bakeries nearly on every corner and the aroma of fresh bread spreads throughout the entire lower atmosphere, it is impossible to stay thin.
“We are spoiled in Panama having fresh bread every two blocks,” the trim doctor said longingly.
It seemed important to note that the doctor has to fight off demons to stay svelte just like the rest of us who crave sugar and carbs late at night.
That’s probably why her clients say Dr. Mowett is thoroughly understanding and compassionate about how hard it is to lose weight and keep it off.
Mowett, whose obesity medicine practice — The Aesthetic and Wellness Center — recently relocated to 5219 State Road 64 in East Manatee, so she could realize her dream of having the first medical fitness center in Manatee County.
Mowett’s old facility — a bit further west — helped roughly 1,200 patients lose weight since it opened in 2005 through diet and exercise. The new facility is also geared to help people lose weight, but through both diet and physician-supervised exercise this time.
“When you come to see her it’s never a cattle call,” client Kim Megree said of Mowett. “She always has time for you and she’s encouraging.”
“I am like everyone else,” Mowett said. “I have my weaknesses. I acknowledge my weaknesses. I did struggle with my weight when I was a little kid. So I understand it takes time and discipline.”
“But I have to tell you,” Mowett added. “The thing I love the most about my job is that I have to be a role model. So, I eat very healthy. I think my patients have inspired me. I don’t want to be overweight.”
Mowett said she doesn’t keep Napoleons at her house and only has them on special occasions. She has disciplined herself to not keep bad snacks in her home. To satisfy her late night cravings she calls upon the Greek god of yogurt, with a few walnuts or almonds and some raisins tossed in and a few squares high quality dark chocolate on the side.
But this is not a story about food.
This is a story about Mowett’s dream to open a facility where medicine is exercise.
“Medical fitness is a new concept,” Mowett said of her new 3,000-square-foot space. “Our exercise weight loss program is designed based on a patient’s physical limitations and will address patient medical conditions. The exercise will be adjusted based on the level of a patient’s heart rate.”
Says Mowett of how her dream of medical fitness started: “The idea started with my patients. What I found is that when a patient is dieting or changing eating habits they do lose weight. The main problem occurs during the maintenance phase. I found that many patients discontinue their exercise. Exercise has to be implemented. Patients told me they don’t like to go to the gym. They said they needed motivation. I decided that when the time was right I would help them add that motivation. That time is now.”
To make her dream a reality, Mowett invested in top notch rowing and elliptical machines, rope pulleys and a treadmill as well as the ripped arms and encouraging voice of a fitness director, in this case, Bradenton’s Michael Fulton.
“There are other weight loss centers like Weight Watchers and other commercial diet programs, but I didn’t find one that was actually managed by a physician,” Mowett said.
Fulton, who worked at the Bradenton branch of the Manatee County YMCA before signing on to be Mowett’s trainer, said the fact that the new fitness studio is run by a doctor makes all the difference.
“What we do differently here is that we can do a body fat analysis and can do metabolic testing to see if the metabolism is too slow,” Fulton said. “We can do food sensitivity testing and have blood work analyzed to see if the thyroid levels are too low. Let’s face it, if the hormones are down, no matter how many burpies you do, your body is not going to let you lose weight.”
Cardio is major component in fitness and weight-loss, but it all works better with the addition of two or three sessions a week of resistance training, Fulton said.
“Here we have all the tools to build calorie-burning lean muscle,” Fulton said. “We have a multifunctional machine to work every muscle group and body part, and we have medicine balls and dumbbells for individual or group sessions. And the floor space opens up to accommodate circuit training, boot camps and medical fitness seminars.”
If someone goes to a regular gym and they don’t get the weight loss they desire, the personal trainers might end up pushing them a little harder, increasing their intensity and frequency of workout, Fulton said.
“But sometimes it’s not the person’s will or the person’s motivation or the workout plan itself,” Fulton said. “It could be hormonal, thyroid or the situation they are in, which is their psychology.”
Fulton envisions the medical fitness as being extremely client-focused.
“When they come in they will get on the treadmill if the workout I have planned for them has any cardio,” Fulton said. “If they have joint issues, we have the ellipticals so they don’t have to worry about pounding on their legs and feet. We also have the row machine which is an excellent workout for upper and lower body and getting your heart beat up. There is little likelihood that in this fitness studio someone will not be able to crack their cardiovascular plateau.”
The program is so new there are not very many clients yet, but Kim Megee hopes to be among the first. Megee has been a patient of Mowett’s regular weight loss program and has lost close to 40 pounds in almost six months.
Information: 941-749-0741, www.tawcenter.com.
The Aesthetic and Wellness Center
Address: 5219 State Road 64 E., Bradenton
Information: 941-749-0741, www.tawcenter.com
Cost: The starting price for individual sessions are $40 each and three times a week is recommended. A group class will run $30 per person, per session and is held three times a week. A 10 percent discount is offered for a three month sign-up and a 15 percent discount for enrolling for six months.