Shape Up
    Category: Entrepreneurs By : Gloria Haraito Read : 1704 Date : Monday, June 09, 2014 - 07:26:47

    Ahmad Zamroni / Forbes Indonesia

    One can immediately get a taste of the approach that Grace Judio-Kahl takes in her four LightHouse weight loss clinics when entering its headquarter in Jakarta. The nine-story building has a poster that covers the entire elevator door: “Elevator only available for the unwell, elderly and couriers.” The clear message: take the stairs—even to the ninth floor. A similar poster covers the door of another clinic (the two other clinics don’t have elevators).

    “By using stairs, I want to teach patients to get more exercise. But some of them are still stubborn and use the elevator,” says Grace. In a nutshell, that’s the difference between the LightHouse and most other clinics. Many focus on quick fixes and fad diets. The LightHouse goes deeper, trying to fix the root cause of obesity with lifestyle changes that are based on an integrated strategy for dieting and wellness. Patients in LightHouse clinics get a holistic approach that combines medical, psychological and behavioral therapies so that patients can live better and manage their weight forever. The clinics also provide traditional cosmetic surgery to reduce weight. “Patients like us because we encourage them to deal with real life,” says Grace.

    Starting ten years ago renting only a spare office in another doctor’s clinic, and investing just Rp 6 million in initial capital, Grace has built PT Shape Up Indonesia (the holding company for the LightHouse clinics and related businesses) into a business that now have revenues well over Rp 10 billion, according to an estimate by Forbes Indonesia.

    Her success derived from some sad facts. At least 20% of Indonesia’s population is now clinically obese, perhaps 50 million people—an unfortunate side effect of the growing wealth of the middle class. That 20% figure was under 5% a decade ago. Many suffer from yo-yo dieting, shedding and then regaining weight. Grace’s approach was formed by what she saw as a medical manager at multinational drug firm PT Roche from 2002 to 2004, working in the obesity-drug section. “When I worked there, I saw many doctors treating obese patients with quick fix solutions. I found it unfair when patients did not receive the correct weight loss therapy,” says Grace, 39. In addition, many patients became dependent on drugs instead of developing a healthy lifestyle.

    Thinking there must be a better way, Grace left Roche and started on the path that led to Shape Up. In her treatments, Grace utilized the expertise she gained from her extensive studies, including a masters degree from the graduate school of neural and behavioral science from the University of Tuebingen, Germany in 2001, another masters in hypnotherapy from a school in Vancouver, an undergraduate degree from the school of medicine of Diponegoro University in 1998 and a certificate in obesity management and weight control from the University of Sydney in 2002.