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Becoming a Whole New You

UPMC BodyChangers Program offers cooking classes and tips for eating healthy.Struggling to lose weight or keep it off? The UPMC BodyChangers program can change your body and your life.

Larissa Myaskovsky figures she tried about a dozen diets over 20 years, losing weight only to regain lost pounds. It wasn’t until she enrolled in the UPMC BodyChangers program that she saw lasting results.

“BodyChangers was different,” says Larissa, 42, a borderline diabetic who wanted to lose weight without surgery. “It helped me realize losing weight is a permanent lifestyle change. It gave me the tools I needed to succeed.”

A Healthier Lifestyle

Based at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC, and a joint venture of the UPMC Life After Weight Loss and bariatric surgery programs, BodyChangers provides a social support system to promote healthy lifestyles.

“We offer a comfortable environment for people who want to maintain weight loss — and become healthy and fit,” says Jeffrey Gusenoff, MD, a plastic surgeon at Magee and co-director of BodyChangers.

Designed originally for bariatric surgery patients, BodyChangers now supports anyone needing help with their weight loss journey. The program includes:

  • An exercise class with a personal trainer who tailors activities for each individual.
  • Group sessions with a behaviorist who teaches coping skills.
  • Yoga and belly dancing classes.
  • Cooking classes and “Destination Education” trips to community places, like grocery stores and markets.
  • Group activities, such as biking, kayaking, and walking.

“We’re showing people different ways to achieve wellness and have fun,” says Vicki March, MD, an internist at Magee and co-director of BodyChangers.

A Turning Point

The program appealed to Larissa, an O’Hara Township resident with two young children and a full-time job. She signed up for BodyChangers’ basic free membership, which includes a newsletter, recipes, and educational seminars. She also attended optional cooking demonstrations and met with a nutritionist. “It was a turning point in my thinking,” says Larissa, who lost 65 pounds and at 5’1” is now a healthy 115 pounds.

BodyChangers Saved My Life

For Beth Walley, 49, of Carnegie, BodyChangers was a life-changing experience. Having lost and regained a great deal of weight on various fad diets, she knew she was in trouble when she couldn’t keep up with her elderly mother at the grocery store.

With her weight topping 400 pounds, she joined BodyChangers to prepare for bariatric surgery, but soon started attending other classes and events. Beth lost 50 pounds prior to her bariatric surgery in January 2012, and she is now down to 170 pounds.

“The support I received through BodyChangers was key to my success. I feel great,” says Beth. “BodyChangers saved my life. It changed my body and my mind.”

Basic membership includes free educational seminars and a newsletter.
Other BodyChangers membership levels range from $25 to $50 a month.


Additional Information

To learn more about the UPMC BodyChangers Program, call 1-855-BODY-CHG (263-9244) or visit the program's website.

Interested in learning more about UPMC's Bariatric Surgery Programs? Free information sessions are offered several times a month at Magee, UPMC Hamot, UPMC Horizon, and UPMC St. Margaret.

Visit the UPMC Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence website for more information.


Visit the UPMC HealthTrak website to manage your health online.

For Details About Services in Your Community, Visit Our Hospital Websites

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