Women in Business: Dr. Rebecca Cipriano, Founder/ Medical Director of Pop Weight Loss

Dr. Rebecca Cipriano is a well-respected medical doctor, board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology. She has been in private practice for more than 15 years.

After years of caring for women of all ages and walks of life, she recognized the rapidly emerging need for nutrition counseling as a means of prevention as well as panacea for what ails them.

Governed by the breadth of knowledge she obtained via her master's degree in clinical nutrition and guided by her passion to help patients live a healthy life on all levels, she founded Pop Weight Loss Centers in 2008. More than a typical weight loss program, Pop Weight Loss offers medically supervised, one-on-one nutrition counseling with a goal of teaching people how to lose weight and keep it off.

Dr. Rebecca is a pioneer in the field of personalized weight loss and advocates for health and fitness as a non-negotiable lifestyle change, rather than a trend or quick fix.

Ever fueled by her desire to educate and empower men, women and children on the real way to lose weight and feel better, Dr. Rebecca began putting pen to paper in 2011 to write Pop: Burst the Diet Bubble and Finally Lose Weight.

Dr. Rebecca believes that proper nutrition, as supported by regular exercise and a handful of other healthy habits, is catalyst for all positive change in your life.

How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
A lot of my leadership beliefs can be traced back to my pregnancy. Because I gained too much weight I developed diabetes and hypertension, two conditions I did not have prior to pregnancy. After I gave birth, I struggled to get that baby weight off and regain control of my health. It was at that moment I realized I had more knowledge of nutrition than most doctors. In addition to my MD I also completed a Masters In Clinical Nutrition. Even thought I knew what I was supposed to be eating during and after my pregnancy, I wasn't doing it. This was the moment my weight loss plan was born. I developed truly healthy protocols to regain control of my eating habits. My program needed to be one that fits into heal busy lifestyle without weighing and measuring food, or counting calories.

I grew more and more fascinated with nutrition and diets programs available, and learned that at any point, up to 77 percent of the American population is on a diet. The idea of constantly being on and off a diet is an unhealthy concept that does not work. I then explored the programs and prepackaged meals that a lot of people try to lose weight, and knew most of them were far from healthy.

Here I began to transform the weight loss program I developed for myself into a consumer facing protocol, based on education. Along the way, it became clear to me that my best nutritional and dietary habits were based on my education, so I designed a consumer-facing weight loss program that puts education first and makes our clients leaders of their own health. Misinformation about what is truly healthy is something my team at Pop Weight Loss deals with on a daily basis.

How has your previous employment experience aided your position at Pop Weight Loss?
Even before launching Pop Weight Loss, my husband and I were operating our own medical practice, Healthy Woman ObGyn LLC, one of the largest practices in NJ, where our success has been closely tied to the quality of our care and compassion. I see the entire franchising model resting on the same principles. If the franchisor's business plan and structure doesn't support all the people involved, the franchise won't succeed either.

What have the highlights and challenges been during your tenure at Pop Weight Loss?
As the brand has grown and entered new markets across the country, we've found that different regions have have different approaches and attitudes toward fitness and nutrition. As a result, some of our protocols work better in certain areas than in others. For instance, we tend to face more challenges in communities that have different approaches and attitudes towards fast food restaurants.

On the other hand, we're excited by how much attention Pop Weight Loss has received from the medical community. For instance, our team in Connecticut is based in a less populated region, but the area's large medical community has been reaching out to work with our staff, since nearby doctors are realizing their hospitals and practices don't have adequate nutritional programs in place. Targeting this type of void in the healthcare sector will be key to our brand's success. Doctors really are fragmented about where they send patients for weight loss, and often just say "lose weight" but give no advice about how.

Why did you want to start your own weight loss and wellness center?
I felt strongly that there weren't enough nutrition and weight loss programs that were effective. So many of our patients have said that before joining Pop, it seemed there was nowhere to turn for healthy weight loss help that was sustainable. I felt the same way after my pregnancy. I wanted to show people that they could be successful, with patience, support and proper guidance.

What advice can you offer women seeking a career in weight loss, fitness and the wellness industry?
I would advise other women to take the lead, if they are living a healthy lifestyle and feel passionate about wellness. Don't give up -- when you love what you do, it comes through, and you will feel inspired to keep innovating and adapting. If you know your work is important keep going. Pop has been a rewarding experience, both personally and professionally. I have had an opportunity to share what I know with people and really make an impact on their lives.

How do you maintain a work/life balance?
I have really good people that work with me and a supportive family. You have to prioritize everything, and I'm lucky enough to do the things I enjoy doing. When you work with people who have the same vision, you can get your life balanced.

What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?
I've seen a lot of female professionals struggle to manage their personal and professional lives. I think it's important for people to find ways to separate the two. You have to have a point in your day when you stop with work and electronics and focus on your family, friends and yourself. Exercise helps me so much to clear my mind - I do something in the exercise realm every morning. Sometimes I run out side, sometimes I take a yoga class in my home (I love You Tube exercise classes). Taking time away from work will actually help people to enjoy their work life and home life more.

How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?
I try to be a mentor at my OBGYN practice and at Pop Weight Loss. I try to help the people I work with to have confidence to trust themselves, and trust the people they work with, and try to weed out what is really important in life.

Throughout my life, I have had people that I look up to also. At the time, when I was younger, I didn't understand why my mentors did the things the way they did, but now I have a different perspective.

When you're a role model, in terms of being healthy and exercising, being compassionate with people around you will inspire those people to model themselves after you.

Which other female leaders do you admire, and why?
I admire women like Marissa Mayer, the CEO of Yahoo, who is influential in the business world and has a family life. I admire all woman who do not give up on their dreams.

What do you want Pop to accomplish in the next year?
I want Pop Weight Loss to be the modern fixture of health and wellness, where we see one on every corner. A brand where losing weight and staying healthy is a positive, ongoing experience, and not something that you turn on and off.

I am committed to providing nutritional education to the country in an organized fashion, and hopefully make the world healthier in the process.