Dare to Live Well
Dr. Janine Darby—health advocate, mother of four, and champion of social justice—inspires others to ask: “If not me, who?”
by Leigh Stuart

Janine Darby, M.D., shares a world of wisdom in just three words: “Health is wealth.” As a double-board-certified family physician and bariatrician, as well as the founder of Lifestyle Changes, she would know. Her words carry even more weight in light of the fact that an ongoing global health crisis has claimed the lives of more than 3 million people.
 
 
Educated at renowned institutions including Carnegie Mellon University, American University, and the Temple University School of Medicine, Dr. Darby says she “always wanted to be a doctor.” She felt the pull of her life’s calling early on; at eight years old, when most girls her age were more interested in dolls and toys, she was intrigued with how the human body works. She also had a fascination with different forms of disease—skin cancer, in particular—resulting from an experience with a family member. 
 
“I remember being intrigued with the process of helping to take care of my cousin,” she says. “My cousin passed away but helped inspire my desire to learn more about how the body works, and how to keep a body functional and healthy.”
 
A passion to help others led her to specialize in family medicine. She went to pursue additional areas of expertise, including weight management, in her effort to offer a holistic and comprehensive approach to bettering her patients’ health. 
 
Now, through her concierge practice, Dr. Darby helps patients take an active role in optimizing their health with a highly personalized approach. She meets patients where they are most comfortable—virtually, at home—and provides 24/7 access via a secure web portal that allows patients to review their health history and schedule appointments, often the same day or next. This immediacy provides great value when it comes to vital tasks such as refilling medications, alleviating the pain or discomfort associated with a range of minor health issues, or simply easing a mind when a health-related question keeps a patient awake at night.
 
“Because I don’t operate out of a single brick-and-mortar space, I am able to cater to a variety of patients,” she shares. “I work with patients who may need home visits, who may not be able to visit a physical office.”

Committed to Health
While medicine has been a lifelong calling for Dr. Darby, her interest in weight management arose from a personal experience that happened later in life. She is a mother of four and was once unhappy with her weight. This epiphany, coupled with her family’s medical history that included diseases such as cancer and diabetes, inspired her to commit to her own wellness.
 
“I felt sluggish, I had no energy, and as a doctor I knew that as I was getting older, I had to get it together,” she shares. “I lost 40 pounds in four months. I increased my protein, dropped carbs and calories, and really committed.”
 
As part of her transformation, she authored a book titled Get Your Sexy Back! A Guide to Bouncing Back After Pregnancy, written for busy new moms working to become their best selves. Her ongoing success in the wellness space motivated her to expand her Lifestyle Changes services, to include various weight-management treatments via her HIPAA-compliant video platform. 
 
Lifestyle Changes’ weight-management program allows patients to choose from three tiers of service—bronze, gold, and platinum—depending on their unique needs and goals. All patients begin with a comprehensive assessment of their health, including medical history and relevant reports from tests such as EKGs.
 
“This complete health assessment provides the information I need to personalize a plan for each patient,” she says. “I look at medical and family history, allergies, and the patient’s current level of health so I can understand the patient and what their needs, and hindrances, might be in the weight-loss process.”
 
With Lifestyle Changes, the phrase “one size fits all” does not apply.
 
“I create a customized meal plan and program for each individual taking into consideration underlying health issue such as diabetes or heart disease,” she adds. 
 
Each patient commits to a partnership with Dr. Darby of at least three months, as she believes extreme weight-loss measures are neither healthy nor sustainable. Rather, she provides each patient with informed guidance and specialized equipment, including a blood-pressure cuff and scale equipped with remote data-sharing capabilities, so she can closely monitor her patients during their journey to improved wellness.
 
“With my program, patients will not lose weight quickly, because it’s not just about weight,” she says. “That’s why my business is called ‘Lifestyle Changes’—because I help people learn to make healthy choices and change their lifestyles.”
 
For some, including many in a nurturer or caregiver role, it can be hard to avoid feelings of guilt when embarking on a journey to better health, as this takes commitment and time. Dr. Darby can relate. 
 
“I tell my patients that you can’t take care of anyone if you don’t take care of yourself,” she says. “I’ve learned it’s not easy, but you always have to be intentional about self-care.”
 
Dr. Darby’s comprehensive approach, which draws on her experience of more than 15 years as a practicing physician, is rooted in education, as she seeks to help patients become actively involved in their health. From mindful eating to meal preparation to a variety of supplements available on her website, Dr. Darby aims to inspire patients to take control of the choices that impact their everyday wellness. Part of Dr. Darby’s program includes group cooking lessons that patients can access online.
 
“I love life, and I love living,” she says. “I’m working to make sure we have a healthier world. No one can fix all the world’s problems but sharing what I can to help increase the quality of life for others, I believe that is my passion and purpose here on earth. That’s what moves me.”

Bringing the Community Together 
Dr. Darby’s commitment to uplifting others stretches beyond the scope of her medical practice. 
 
Last summer, motivated by the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, Dr. Darby and her daughter, established the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Task Force. The organization strives to address injustice by fostering and nurturing acceptance, respect, and dignity, with particular focus on eliminating discrimination and inequity in Methacton schools and the surrounding community.
 
“We decided to cofound a nonprofit to help our community regarding race relations, police relations, and helping underrepresented groups,” she says. “We’ve held roundtables with the local police department and brought DEI practices into the school environment. I want to continue the work and do something more to help.”
 
This passion for community improvement drew the attention of local Pennsylvania state representatives who encouraged Dr. Darby to run for Lower Providence Township Supervisor in the November 2021 elections. Bolstered by their support, she has outlined a plan to address issues such as community engagement and unity, street safety requirements, and township beautification, among others. 
 
Her overarching goal, as she sees it, is one of unification, “so all people feel like they belong.”

To learn more about Dr. Darby’s comprehensive approach to weight management and concierge medical services, visit lifestylechangesllc.com or call (484) 685-0033.

Photography by Nina Lea Photography

Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Life magazine, April 2021.