Maybe you’ve seen ads for weight management clinics, or you have a friend who has recommended them. But you’re not really sure what they are, how much they cost, and whether going to one would benefit you. I got you, girl (or guy). Here are all the deets you need to know about weight management clinics, weight management doctors, and medical weight loss clinic costs.
What Is a Weight Management Clinic?
Weight management clinics, sometimes called weight loss clinics or weight loss centers, offer supervised programs to help people lose weight and develop a plan to get and stay healthy. Most are staffed by clinicians and doctors who are able to provide evidence-based treatment.
Medical weight loss centers focus more on doctor-supervised plans that may include medication and structured diet and exercise programs. Doctors may do lab tests to determine if there are any underlying reasons you may be having trouble losing weight.
Weight management clinics are helpful when you have tried everything else on your own but are still not able to lose the weight. They’re similar to a coach in that they’ll provide you with a plan and keep you accountable. Depending on the clinic, they may not be as personalized or one-on-one as a coach. Some weight management programs will include or consist only of group sessions.
Doctors may prescribe medications to help you lose weight. These could include hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin), prescription appetite suppressants, and B12 injections. Hormone-replacement therapy is also often provided. Other clinics may lean toward health coaching, behavioral change, and nutrition education approaches. Which one you choose depends on what you are hoping to accomplish.
Some clinics may offer other services in addition to weight loss programs, including cosmetic procedures such as liposuction and cosmetic injectables. It’s my opinion that you should look for a clinic that specializes only weight management.
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What To Expect at Your First Appointment
Of course, this will vary from clinic to clinic and depend on what type of clinic it is. In general, a doctor or clinician will ask you about the following:
- Your health and weight loss goals
- Your regular diet and exercise routine
- How long have been trying to lose weight and what methods you have tried
- Your medical history
Your doctor or clinician will then decide which program is best for you—diet and exercise, behavioral therapy, medications, or treatments like bariatric surgery. You should have plenty of time to ask any questions you want so that you can thoroughly understand your treatment plan. You can expect this appointment to last about an hour.
You will also schedule follow-up appointments so that your provider can asses your progress and how the prescribed program or treatment is going. He or she might decide to make changes to the medications or advance your diet and exercise plan. These will last about 30 minutes.
What Are Medical Weight Loss Clinic Costs?
Before you dive right in, you probably want to know how much all of this is going to cost you and whether you can even afford it. Again, that is going to vary from clinic to clinic, and it’s going to depend where you live. Medical weight loss programs with medication intervention may cost more than weight management programs involving only diet and exercise guidance. If your treatment plan involves behavioral therapy, that can also cost more. And of course if you have a surgical procedure such as bariatric surgery, that will be significantly more.
Here are a few examples of programs that vary widely in cost:
- The Ohio State University Wexler Medical Center offers it’s Living Well Stage 1 program at $855 for six months or $485 for three months, at the time of writing.
- Manasota Minor Care Clinic offers its medical weight loss program for $150 per month.
- Columbia University Center for Metabolic and Weight Loss Surgery provides a 12-week program for $480.
Each of these programs is going to offer different components, and more or less one-on-one care. The Ohio State program provides full meal plans, while the Columbia University program does not. To find the medical weight loss program that is right for you, you’re going to have to do some research and weigh all your options (no pun intended).
Check out the websites of your local weight management clinics, and call and ask any questions you might have. Definitely don’t go into something until you know fully what you are getting for your money.
Does insurance cover weight management clinics, weight management doctors, and medical weight loss clinic costs?
The answer is maybe. It depends on what health insurance provider you use and what plan you have. It may depend on whether or not a doctor determines that medical weight loss treatment is critical to your health, and your insurance may only cover a part of your treatment.
The best way to figure out if insurance will cover weight management treatment is to give your insurer a call and ask. Make sure you understand exactly what is covered and what isn’t.
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Does Medical Weight Loss Work? Is it Worth it?
Medical weight loss can definitely work and be worth the investment. But it is important that you find the right clinic and the right program for you. So do your homework. Talk to your physician to get his or her opinion and ask for a referral. Ask friends if they have any recommendations.
But it’s not just the clinic or program you choose; you have to be ready to take this step. If you’re not, you’ll waste your money. It’s important to understand that weight management clinics and doctors are not providing you with a magic weight loss pill. You will have to do the work to stick to the program you are given, to take the medications you are given, to attend all your follow-up sessions, and to work on making the lifestyle changes necessary to lose the weight.
And keep in mind that a weight loss clinic can only take you so far. You may need more help along the way, such as a therapist or an accountability coach to really make lasting changes to your weight and your health.
Is it worth the investment? If you find the right team, ABSOLUTELY. If you have the money, this is the best thing you can spend it on. Even if you don’t have the money, it’s still worth it. I’m not saying you should max out your credit cards or rob a bank; I am saying that you should consider putting more money towards investing in your health and less money towards things that aren’t making you healthier and happier.
OK, over to you—Have you tried medical weight loss or a weight management clinic program? What did you think? Share your experience in the comments below!
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