Living Healthier Lives

Dr. Suzanne Bentz turned her weight struggles into a mission to help others.

Suzanne Bentz

Dr. Suzanne Bentz founded Red Mountain Weight Loss in 1994. Courtesy of Suzanne Bentz

Living Healthier Lives

Dr. Suzanne Bentz turned her weight struggles into a mission to help others.

After overcoming childhood weight issues, Dr. Suzanne Bentz ’84 immersed herself in nutrition studies at TCU. She also achieved her longtime goal of becoming a registered dietitian. 

For two years, she worked as a clinical dietitian at the University of Texas Medical Branch, yet she felt unfulfilled. 

“I loved helping people with nutrition,” she said, “but I just wasn’t having the impact that I wanted.” So Bentz applied to medical school. 

After earning a doctor of osteopathy degree from the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth, she moved to Arizona and within a few years launched her own medical practice: Red Mountain Family Medicine. 

“I realized very quickly that so many of the patients I was treating had conditions that could be improved or resolved through weight loss and healthy lifestyles,” Bentz said. 

She pursued additional training, received board certification in obesity medicine and in 1994 founded Red Mountain Weight Loss.

Starting with a single office, Red Mountain is now the largest medical weight loss practice in the Southwest, with its own patented prescription medications, more than 300 employees and 17 locations across Texas and Arizona — including a new Fort Worth office, whose opening was slightly delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Suzanne Bentz

Dr. Suzanne Bentz is certified in obesity medicine and family practice. Courtesy of Suzanne Bentz

“Perhaps a silver lining from the Covid crisis is we have developed and implemented a telemedicine program, and now we’re able to see patients from all over the state of Texas — not just the locations where we have offices,” Bentz said. “That’s been a real bright spot in the situation.” 

As owner and chief medical officer, Bentz is heavily involved in operations and administration, but seeing patients is still her passion. Red Mountain has seen more than 250,000 patients to date.

“I’ve always been interested in health, but through my personal pain came my purpose and passion,” she said. “I think it was through my struggles with childhood obesity that it became very important to me to learn how to overcome and lead a healthy lifestyle, and that became my passion and desire to help other people as well.” 

Bentz shared lessons she gained:

Learn to find your purpose. If it’s not clear to you when you begin on your path, you just need to continue and clarify your vision with every step. Find out what you’re passionate about and go after it fiercely with everything you have. Once you find your passion and purpose, seek excellence and mastery in that area.

Seek mentors along the way who can support and improve your vision. Being an effective leader means always continuing to learn and developing role models and mentors. Coming out of medical school, that was my primary focus. I did not have a lot of leadership skills, and that’s something I had to develop through positive mentors, self-study and learning from my team members.

Service is a privilege. Having the opportunity and privilege to come alongside my patients in their vulnerable and personal journeys has been an incredible and rewarding experience. For one patient, it may be losing 10 pounds, and for another it may be more than 100 pounds. Every experience is uniquely personal and it’s such a privilege to be able to join each patient on their life-changing journey.

Don’t compare yourself with others or base your weight loss goals on unhealthy or unrealistic images portrayed in the media. Maintaining a healthy body weight is not the same thing as looking like a swimsuit model or a bodybuilder.

Don’t go it alone and don’t be afraid to seek help. For many people, weight loss is a difficult struggle that can lead to emotions of defeat and hopelessness. So engage the services of a board-certified obesity medicine specialist to ensure your success.

Don’t be so hard on yourself. Replace negative self-talk with compassionate, motivating thoughts that will lead you to success. Develop your own personal mantra that leads you to victory. 

Mental health is equally as important as physical health. Nurture your soul and practice self-care.

Sleep. The human body requires seven to eight hours of sleep each night. Without it, the aging and disease processes are accelerated.

Family and faith will get you through just about anything.

Find the joy of teamwork. Learn how to develop a team and develop a culture that encourages and empowers each individual to be their best.

Don’t be afraid to get personal. Get to know people. Take an interest in their lives. Seek to be a better listener and be open to sharing your story, as it may inspire others.

Eating healthy and controlling your weight is the single best action you can take to improve and maintain your health. When we eat right and control our weight, not only do we look and feel better and have more energy, but we reduce our risk for future illness and disease.

It’s never too late. Don’t wait until tomorrow to overhaul your habits. Take not one but two positive steps down the path. Now is the time. There’s never a perfect time, so start today.