How do I Choose the Best Medical Weight Management Program?

Rica Lewis

People, especially Americans, are regularly bombarded by advertisements for multitudes of seemingly promising diet plans, fat-burning medications and quick-fix weight loss solutions. These products and plans, however, are often unsafe and prove unsuccessful for long-term weight management. Medical weight management programs may be a better alternative, because they provide safe physician-monitored weight loss for both the modestly overweight and the morbidly obese.

A scale.
A scale.

Many factors should be considered when choosing the best medical weight management program. Personal tastes are among them, though other significant issues exist. In the end, no medical weight loss program is foolproof and the success of the chosen plan is determined by the user's ability to work hard and follow through.

Before selecting a medical weight management program, make a list of your goals. Determine how much weight you want to lose; programs for those who are significantly overweight and need more aggressive plans are different from those for people who only need to drop a few pounds. Decide how much time you have to devote to program meetings and sessions, as well as how far you are willing to travel to get to the facility.

Figure out how much money you can afford to spend on the program. Be sure to calculate all of the expenses in advance, including the cost of mandatory examinations and laboratory testing, food and dietary supplements, and program registration fees. Be honest with yourself about your personal preferences regarding meals. Some programs offer liquid diets, while others provide solid foods or a mixture of both. Tour medical weight management facilities in your area, gather brochures and other literature, and go over your options.

When choosing the best medical weight management program, you may also consider what kind of therapy is offered, such as group sessions or individualized counseling. Some facilities offer therapy for those who have an eating disorder, such as anorexia or bulimia. These medical weight management programs focus on the mental health of the patient to achieve healthier eating habits. A person does not need to have a diagnosed eating disorder to benefit from therapy. Professed emotional eaters and those who have an unhealthy attachment to food may also find therapy helpful.

After carefully considering the options, discuss the features of your preferred plan with your doctor. While you can determine whether the personal and financial aspects of the program are the right fit, your doctor may consider some additional criteria, such as your medical history, current medications and potential medical problems that could arise with the medical weight management program. Your doctor also may be able to recommend a program that would be suited to your medical weight management needs.

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