Renewal in the New Year


New Year’s resolutions can be fun to think up during the festive holiday season, when we’re eating and drinking with abandon. But now that the New Year has arrived, it’s time to get down to business. While some of us are trying to cheat our way out of too-lofty goals, others are putting their noses to the grindstone and setting out to accomplish a new look, better health, increased mindfulness or a more fruitful lifestyle. Local health, beauty and wellness professionals are no strangers to resolution-seekers and offer advice and services to help achieve a new you.

Weight loss always ranks as one of the top New Year’s resolutions. Some embrace it; others revolt. Whether you’ve committed to a weight loss goal or are just considering a step in that direction, there are a variety of programs available to assist.


Medi Weightloss is a medically supervised weight loss clinic that uses trained medical staff to guide patients along their weight loss journey. Upon starting the program, patients are examined by a physician to see if they qualify for a prescription appetite suppressant. Weekly visits are scheduled with a health coach to monitor diet and weight loss, and if the patient is placed on medication, monthly follow up with a physician will occur.

The Medi Weightloss Plan includes diet and exercise recommendations. “Patients have access to the Medi Weightloss website, which is full of recipe ideas. We also offer protein shakes, protein bars and other food and vitamin supplements, including an herbal appetite suppressant for patients not on a prescription,” says Jennifer Cabibi, Clinic Manager. Patients also get a one-month free trial at Ochsner Fitness Center as part of the Medifit program, where they’re consulted by a personal trainer with the option to join at a discounted rate at the end of the trial month.

“We also offer B Complex injections to help with energy. Patients who follow the weight loss program and get injections see better weight loss results,” says Cabibi.


Looking and feeling good can also be achieved with self-care that goes beyond eating well and exercising. Treating ourselves with a little self-pampering can help us unwind, and massage offers a number of health benefits for the mind and body.

Spas like Belladonna Day Spa offer many refreshing treatments to help you renew your mind and body while offering a relaxing escape. Brand Ambassador Bethany Lirette suggests the Revitalize Body Treatment, which starts with a detoxifying still bath followed by a replenishing bamboo scrub and relaxing deep tissue massage. She also recommends manicures and pedicures as affordable mini-escapes.

“We also just opened our new Suites at Belladonna. It’s our private guesthouse with four unique suites. You can enjoy one of our boutique rooms for an overnight stay and use our hydrotherapy garden with hot tub, steam showers and dry sauna. We have private treatment rooms that are perfect for a couple’s massage as part of the experience,” says Lirette.

Along with these relaxing spa offerings, Belladonna has expanded into fitness and aesthetics with its Be Fit Personal Training and Alma Lasers Accent Prime laser services such as body contouring, hair removal and skin tightening. “We encourage all guests to make full use of our campus,” says Lirette.


When you’re attempting to finesse your look, part of the fun is deciding on wardrobe. And while you work out to look good, you also want to feel like you look good working out.

“Treat yourself to something that looks and feels good, and see how your confidence and motivation changes. We can help you with that,” says Christina Calamia, Owner of SWEAT. SWEAT is a women’s activewear boutique on Magazine Street that carries high quality, high fashion brands. According to Calamia, SWEAT provides activewear beyond the boundaries of a workout and says the “sweat-to-street” styles can be worn during a workout or a night out.

“We believe in an active lifestyle and we even more strongly believe that when you look good, you feel good, and part of that is your workout attire,” she says. “As we grow, our goal is to become a lifestyle store providing all items to help you live your best active and healthy life.”

To that end, the boutique offers glass water bottles, essential oil items, yoga mats, gym bags and more in addition to its activewear staples like leggings and sports bras.


Incorporating healthy foods isn’t just for weight loss – adding certain nutrients and eliminating toxins can positively affect our bodies, whether it shows through healthier skin and hair or simply improves the body’s functioning. A few blocks down from SWEAT is Raw Republic, an all-organic, cold-pressed juice bar offering cleanses, smoothies and healing foods and experiences.

“Our intention in all that we do is to help our customers expand into a deeper relationship with their own healing and happiness,” says Sheena Mannina, who co-owns Raw Republic with Evan Cretini.

“Most of what makes us feel unhealthy stems from a congested digestive system and heavy emotions. A juice cleanse, or incorporating whole foods full of enzymes, water and life can help to restore the gut and reduce whole body inflammation,” says Mannina. “Also, some of our wellness events can support a deeper connection through healing within.”

In January, Raw Republic offers a “New Year, New You” special: purchase a cleanse and get $15 off an acupuncture session. The juice bar hosts a number of workshops and events to promote healing, which can be found online.


Some changes are more easily made to the body than others, and while we can control our caloric intake and level of fitness, we can’t exactly turn back the hands of time and with a Bewitched-like twitch of the nose achieve decades-younger skin. We can, however, seek some help in that department.

“There are many changes that happen as we age, so what works to freshen up one person’s look may not be what’s needed for the next,” says Sean Weiss, MD, FACS at Facial Plastic Surgery. Dr. Weiss encourages anyone considering facial cosmetic procedures to begin with a comprehensive evaluation to develop a relationship and plan for their aesthetic concerns. “Many people start with something as simple as Botox injections and skin care, while others may take a more aggressive approach with RF microneedling,” he says.

For patients looking to contour the jawline and lift the neck but who aren’t ready for a facelift, Dr. Weiss recommends the Thermi Tight as a one-time treatment that achieves results. Weiss says the treatment can achieve dramatic results when coupled with liposuction in the neck.


To optimize the results of more aggressive procedures, he recommends ongoing maintenance. “This frequently involves regular use of Botox and fillers such as Restylane or Juvederm. When coupled with skin tightening and collagen induction treatments, amazing results are possible,” he says.

Dr. Ali Sadeghi of Sadeghi Center for Plastic Surgery echoes that approach.

“Externally, I recommend peels, Botox and fillers to obtain a fresh look with minimal to no downtime.” However, Dr. Sadeghi also stresses the importance of taking an internal approach to a fresher appearance as well with a life-changing food and wellness perspective, which could include juice cleanses, a liver detox and a healthy, well balanced diet. Externally, Sadeghi names CoolSculpt and Emsculpt as contouring options for the body, while fillers can be used to obtain symmetry in the face.


A bright, white smile is another way to freshen up your look. According to Dr. Elizabeth Riggs, achieving straight, white teeth is a great starting point for one’s smile. With technologies like Invisalign, it’s easier now than ever for adults to straighten their teeth. Additionally, teeth whitening can be accomplished easily with in-office bleaching or at-home treatments. Dr. Riggs can also help whiten a smile by replacing discolored crowns and bridges.

Dr. Riggs recommends booster bleaches for maintenance, which she says can be done as often as once a year. Maintaining white teeth can have a lasting impact on one’s life and confidence.

Once achieving straight, white teeth, Dr. Riggs recommends finishing your smile makeover by framing your smile – a little Botox or dermal filler can plump thin lips and eliminate the little lines around lips. These actions can take years off your look, she says.


Many people think of varicose and spider veins as a cosmetic issue, and it may be one they’re looking to address in 2019. However, these veins can be symptoms of a larger venous insufficiency problem, according to Dr. Richard Gitter of the Gitter Vein Institute. The institute is a minimally invasive surgery center using innovative techniques to treat and cure varicose veins, spider veins, vascular malformations, venous ulcers and other peripheral venous system abnormalities.

Dr. Gitter recommends that anyone showing symptoms such as varicose and spider veins or swelling, burning and/or restless legs should be evaluated by a professional, as venous insufficiency can lead to more serious health problems.

“I recommend scheduling an appointment and getting an ultrasound. It’s really that simple. It’s called a diagnostic ultrasound and it’s to evaluate any of those signs or symptoms of venous insufficiency,” says Dr. Gitter. “The reason to have it evaluated and the reason the overwhelming majority of insurance companies do cover venous insufficiency is there’s increased risk for blood clots, bleeding and for skin ulcers.”

According to Dr. Gitter, new technologies such as VENCLOSE™ radiofrequency ablation system and Varithena® medication are effective treatments for patients looking to improve their health and eliminate unsightly veins.

Note: St. Charles Avenue magazine doesn’t advocate plastic surgery except under certain conditions. Please consult your doctor before undertaking any medical procedure or large change to your diet.

Renewal in the New Year

Renewal in the New Year

Medi Weightloss®
Ochsner Baptist
2820 Napoleon Avenue

Belladonna Day Spa
2900 Magazine St.

6023 Magazine St.

Raw Republic
528 Magazine St.

Dr. Sean Weiss – Facial Plastic Surgery
2201 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Suite 408

Sadeghi Center for Plastic Surgery
3434 Prytania St., Suite 420

Elizabeth Riggs Dentistry
3442 Magazine St.

Gitter Vein Institute
1 Galleria Blvd., 100


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