Dr. Lilli Link was inspired to open her own medical practice specializing in nutrition and lifestyle counseling after undergoing her own health challenges. Her focus on taking the control back and healing your body has been life changing for both her and her clients. Dr. Link is also a full time mom to 3 children, keeping life busy yet full of ambition. Find out more about Dr. Link and the most profound collaboration she has ever had!
1. What makes you a Beyond Mom?
I am trained as an internist, but after my own health challenge many years ago, I re-envisioned my role in caring for others. I came to understand that medications, though sometimes critical, don’t offer the possibility for healing and truly optimal health, the way nutrition and lifestyle do. I was inspired to open my own medical practice specializing in nutrition and lifestyle counseling. Now I am a ‘Beyond Mom’ in that I work part-time in my practice and am a full-time mom to 3 children: two 8-year old twins and one 10-year old. I work while they are in school, am somewhat of an indoor gardener, make almost all our meals from scratch, and try to take care of myself. Despite how it may sound, I am no Super-mom! I get stressed about my business when it’s too busy because I don’t have enough hours in the day to keep up with it, and I get stressed when it is too quiet because I don’t have enough hours in the day to work on expanding it. I know that life would be simpler if I didn’t try to work while being a full-time mom, but after all the years I put into training to get where I am, being a health care provider and wage earner is too big a part of my identity to give up.
2. What are the parts of you that have grown and expanded since becoming a Mom?
Before kids, I thought of myself as a patient, willing to compromise, slow-to-anger, type of person. After kids, all these qualities have been tested, and I haven’t come out nearly as kind as I’d imagined. I work on my patience when I need to remind my children 4 times to brush their teeth before we leave home. I work on my ability to compromise when my husband and I differ over how much computer time is allowable for the kids. I work on my temper when my kids are mean to each other.
3. Can you share a collaboration/success story with another woman; what helped the collaboration become successful?
At first I thought of sharing my experience with my mentor from a research fellowship I did about 15 years ago. She was there for me when I was diagnosed with cancer, and has supported me since. I have wanted to do more research since completing the fellowship, but haven’t had the time needed to make that happen. Nevertheless, she has made it clear that when I am ready to go back to research, she will help make that happen.
Though that collaboration has been significant to me, an even more profound one was with the woman who carried my children for me. After my treatment for cancer, I was no longer able to become pregnant, and this woman carried my oldest with love and care, and then did the same for my twins. For me, no collaboration could be as important and successful as that one!
4. What relationships help you stay connected to yourself?
My sister and I are very close emotionally, if not geographically. She moved from NYC to Israel about 11 years ago, but thanks to the many free ways to communicate now, we speak at least 3 times per week. As the older sister, she is the first to tell me what she thinks. I mean, what she really thinks! That makes her my biggest supporter and harshest critic.
5. Do you have a ‘Beyond’ dream that you are pursuing? If so, please share…
Washing vegetables and cooking is time-consuming and leaves a lot of opportunity for dreaming, so I have plenty! Top of the list is to write my memoir about my journey through cancer and infertility. I’ve been working on it slooooowly for the past 10 years, but hold out hope that one day I’ll make time to complete it. Next in line is marketing a veggie burger I make. I think it surpasses what’s in the freezer section of Whole Foods and is made from better ingredients. So far, I haven’t gotten beyond the dreaming stage for that one.
6. What wellness activity can you not live without? What is one thing you do daily that balances you?
I love Bikram yoga and aim to do it twice per week, though would love to do it more. Exercise makes me feel great, but fresh, green vegetable juice from my own kitchen is one thing that I do daily that I wouldn’t want to live without. It quenches my thirst, curbs my appetite and is energizing.
In terms of feeling balanced, hugs from my kids are amazing. Thank goodness they still enjoy hugging me as much as I do, because connecting with them that way makes feel more grounded and fulfilled than pretty much anything else.
7. How does style influence the way you stay feeling ‘Beyond’? Who is currently your favorite designer?
Designer? What’s that?! I like to dress nicely for work and going out, but otherwise, comfort is my priority. I shop at Banana Republic and that’s about it. The clothes fit my body type, the store is only a few blocks away and the prices are fairly reasonable. But I rarely buy myself clothes. I wait until I have an occasion to go to or am in a dire clothing situation (as I am now, with an embarrassing number of holes in my jeans).
Favorite NYC Spots that Embody The Beyond Mom:
Central Park and my kids’ elementary school ‘yard’ (it’s asphalt). I love to go to both with my kids. I enjoy doing what I like to do, such as riding bikes or throwing a frisbee. But when my kids want to play tag or hide-and-seek, I try to convince them to play with their friends and let me chat with their friends’ moms.
Beyond Cocktails and/or Food:
I am vegan and my favorite restaurants are vegan. Right now, Blossom on Columbus, located on the Upper West Side, is my favorite. Fortunately, it’s pretty high on my family’s list, too. My daughter and I ‘shared’ their Caesar salad, but really I only got a few bites and she polished off the rest of it.
As I said before, I love Bikram yoga. I am an August baby, which may explain why I love heat and humidity. I also enjoy a walk or run around the Reservoir in Central Park, but don’t always make the time for it. After trying and failing to keep up with my kids on their scooters, I bought one for myself (a rather fancy one, as scooters go) a couple of years ago. It is the perfect way to get around the City — it gets me places faster and I get exercise at the same time. I figure I’ve paid for the scooter at least twice over with the amount I’ve saved on transportation.
For me, walking through the aisles of Whole Foods or buying something for my kitchen is fun. Shopping for clothes is tedious. I do as little of it as I can get away with.