Did you know that, on average, every one out of three adults are obese? That equates to around 36 percent of the population.
Are you one of the one in three? If you are, getting healthy can often feel like a lifelong struggle.
You likely get told by every doctor that you need to lose weight, and you’ve probably tried. However, sometimes, exercise and diet aren’t enough, and that’s okay.
There are many medical weight loss program options available that can help give you the support you need. But, how do you know which program to pick?
If you’re ready to start losing weight, keep reading to learn how to pick the medical weight loss program that’s right for you.
Involve Your Doctor When Choosing a Medical Weight Loss Clinic
Before you begin the process of choosing a medical weight loss program, consult your doctor. While there are many programs you can choose, not all are created equal, and not all programs will work for you.
If you have programs in mind, ask your doctor about them and whether they’re safe for you. If you don’t have any programs in mind, ask your doctor if they have referrals and why they believe those programs could be right for you.
You should be prepared to be open with your doctor about past experiences attempting to lose weight and your current goals. Take a list of your questions, and make sure you ask about the pros and cons of various programs and whether or not any current health conditions will impact your weight loss journey.
Focus on Program Safety
Beyond talking to your doctor, how do you choose the right program for you? One of the most important things to consider is program safety.
There are several components a safe and successful weight loss program should include.
Lifestyle counseling is a behavioral treatment that focuses on diet, physical activity, and behaviors. Changing old habits isn’t easy, and a lifestyle counseling program can help you learn how to create and stick with healthy habits.
This type of program can also help identify unhealthy eating habits that have formed and emotions that surround food. As you’re able to identify these behaviors and emotions, you can work on replacing them with healthier habits.
Any program you choose should include information on managing stress, sleep, and the pros and cons of weight loss medications.
Did you know that individuals who are overweight tend to have higher levels of cortisol? Higher levels of cortisol can make it difficult to lose weight. Because of that, learning to manage stress is imperative.
In addition, when you’re not getting enough sleep, your stress levels rise, and when you’re stressed, you have a difficult time sleeping. This is a vicious circle that can lead to your stress levels remaining high, and continued struggles with weight.
In addition, not getting enough sleep can make it more challenging to lose weight and cause you to gain weight. There are multiple reasons behind this. However, many of them come down to metabolism and the regulation of neurotransmitters.
Weight Loss Goals
Anyone embarking on a weight loss journey wants the weight to come off quickly, but the reality is that it doesn’t. Sometimes at the beginning of a medically supervised weight loss program, you might lose weight more quickly.
However, that weight loss will eventually begin to level out. As you’re losing weight, you should aim for slow and steady goals. This means losing one or two pounds per week.
Many people who watch shows like The Biggest Loser hope for those fast and drastic weight drops. However, losing weight slowly over time makes it more likely that you’ll keep it off. When you lose weight too quickly, you’re less likely to keep it off and will often end up gaining back more than you lost.
When you’re looking to lose large amounts of weight, it really is a journey. During that journey, you will likely hit plateaus and encounter other struggles. It’s essential to have support in place to help get you through that.
You should also have ongoing feedback and monitoring to make sure that the program keeps working for you and you stay safe. This support can be in person, online, by phone, by video conference, or through a combination of those approaches.
Plan For After Weight Loss
What’s going to happen when you hit your goal weight? Will you be able to keep the weight off? Are you worried you’ll just regain that weight and more?
Many people joining a medical weight loss program have tried diets in the past that have been successful. However, ultimately, when the diet ends, the weight comes back. A medical weight loss program should focus on helping you create a lifestyle change that you can sustain long term.
In addition, any program you participate in should help you create a plan to keep the weight off. This can include self-checks like tracking eating habits, goal setting, and support through counseling.
Watch Out For Red Flags
There are some red flags you can look out for that are key signs that the program isn’t the right choice. This could also key you into the fact that the program isn’t safe.
You will probably see many weight loss programs that make a variety of claims. Some of these claims will sound too good to be true, and they probably are.
It’s likely you’ve seen this before just wandering the aisles of your local grocery store. For example, statements like, ‘lose weight without exercise or diet,’ or ‘lose weight while eating as much of your favorite foods as you want.’ For healthy weight loss to occur, it involves a lifestyle change, and neither of those statements will hold true.
Other claims to watch out for are ones that would indicate the program isn’t safe. This includes a claim like, ‘lose 30 pounds in 30 days.’ Losing weight at an unhealthy rate isn’t safe, and you can’t sustain that type of weight loss.
A program that makes that claim isn’t promoting healthy weight loss.
More Red Flags
Beyond the claims made by weight loss programs, there are a couple of other red flags to look out for. For example, if there’s very small print and asterisks and footnotes. This can make it easy to miss seeing very important information.
Other red flags include before and after photos that seem too good to be true and personal endorsements that seem as if they could be made up. Make sure that the information you’re basing your decision on is based on facts and not an emotional decision based on a picture that might not be reality.
Questions to Ask
Exploring your options for weight loss can feel overwhelming, but if you go in armed with questions, it can help you make your decision. If the staff is unable to answer questions about the program’s safety, features, costs, and results, then you need to consider other programs.
We have some recommended questions to ask as you evaluate whether a program is right for you.
Make sure you ask questions about eating and meal plans. The answers to these questions will help you determine if this is something you can stick to.
Some of the things you should ask about include:
Specific meal plans
Food journaling or tracking
Expectations of buying special meals or supplements
Costs of special meals or supplements
Provision of healthy meal plan suggestions
If special food plans are customizable based on likes, dislikes, and allergies
When you’re working towards losing weight, you will want to increase your activity. However, if you haven’t been working out, or don’t know where to start, that can be difficult. In addition, depending on your health, implementing an exercise program could be difficult.
Make sure you ask about physical activity plans and how those can get customized to your specific needs. In addition, ask about staying motivated and ways to help with being more physically active.
Having support as you seek to stay motivated is essential if you’re afraid you won’t follow a plan without it.
Counseling can help you as you seek to make lifestyle changes and become healthier. Make sure you ask questions about counseling offered by the program.
For example, what kind of group or one-on-one counseling does the program offer to help you create and stay with healthy habits? Is there a counselor or coach available that can help you overcome obstacles and stay on track?
These types of questions can help you evaluate what kind of support you’ll have throughout the program.
Make sure you ask about what the program offers to help you keep off the weight you’ve lost. Ask if there’s a plan or ongoing counseling support.
Remember, safe programs will help you create a plan that will help you keep off the weight and maintain your new lifestyle.
You should also ask about the different features of the program itself. Knowing about these features will help you determine if it’s right for you and whether you have the ability to commit.
Some of these features include:
Length of the weight loss program
Length of any maintenance programs
Doctors or certified health professionals available to speak with
Program customization for work, lifestyle, and cultural needs
Does the program offer help to cope with:
Changes in work schedules
Lack of motivation
In addition, be sure to ask if the program is online or in-person. This can lead to other questions such as how often support is available, or how often you meet, and through what type of platform.
Questions About Staff
Ask about the staff that works with the program, especially if you’re considering one that advocates for losing weight at a faster rate. You should find out if the program is overseen by a certified health professional or doctor.
In addition, ask about specialists that could include nutritionists, trainers, therapists, and more. Finally, ask about the training and certifications that staff members get and the average length of time the majority of the staff has been with the program.
You always want to make sure to ask about potential risks that could come with the program. As part of that, ask about monitoring that helps to ensure safety during the program.
If there are risks with the program identifying those and having ongoing monitoring can help keep you safer. Ask if the program will work with your doctor. This can help if issues arise; however, it’s especially important if you have ongoing medical issues.
If there’s a medication associated with the program, make sure to ask about potential side effects and risks associated with the medication too.
You want to make sure you can afford any program you sign up for. Make sure to ask about the cost from the beginning to the end. Also, ask about membership fees that might not get included in that.
Other costs to ask about include:
Follow-up maintenance costs
Finally, be sure to ask about the past results. This will help you see what the program has helped other people achieve and whether or not it is the right program for you.
Ask about how much weight the average person loses and how long they keep it off.
Another important question to ask is if the company has published any reports in scientific journals that are peer-reviewed about the effectiveness and safety of their program. If they have, ask to see the reports. If they haven’t, ask if they have written results from their program that you can review.
This can help you evaluate the program based on previous results and determine if it’s right for you.
Find the Right Medical Weight Loss Program for You
Losing weight can help you get healthier and build confidence. It’s not an easy journey, but it’s worth it. Finding the right medical weight loss program for you is imperative.
Are you ready to get started? UnCraveRx has a program that can get you on track with your weight loss. Find an UnCraveRx provider today to get your weight loss journey started.