Have you been thinking of losing weight or been instructed to do so by your physician?
It’s easy to put on a little unwanted weight here and there- a little from year to year, month to month without really realizing it until it is out of control. It’s just too easy to go out for lunch or dinner every night instead of taking the time to go to the grocery and plan each meal, go home from work and actually cook it and then clean up all the mess. But, now, your faced with the decision – how am I going to get this stubborn weight back off?
There are many choices:
- Research a diet or lifestyle change that will work for you and your lifestyle and do it by yourself – if you are driven and self-motivated;
- Seek medication or diet pills;
- Seek professional help through a weight loss management program;
- Weight loss surgery.
I was recently faced with this dilemma and have been searching for the plan that is right for me. My doctor suggested that I seek the help of UC Health Weight Loss Center. Since I have several other health issues, my doctor wanted me to be monitored, safe and get the results I needed. I thought this was the way to go, so I called to set up an appointment.
First, when I called, they wanted to know if I was calling to inquire about surgical or non-surgical options. Well, since I didn’t have any information on either and really didn’t know my options, I thought I would go with the less evasive – non-surgical option.
Before I could even make an appointment, I had to watch on online video that was sent to me through my email. Okay. So, I watched an hour video on surgical options- not what I wanted, but okay.
Three days after that, I was contacted by the facility and was informed that my husband’s employer had excluded weight loss surgery options from our insurance. I told her that I wasn’t interested in weight loss surgery, but that was nice to know. So, again, before I could even make an appointment to speak to anyone, I had to participate in a seminar that was only offered at UC hospital. I was becoming frustrated. I just wanted to get on some medication that would help me lose fast weight. But, instead, I waited another week to attend a seminar.
I had to leave work early to make it to the seminar in the nick of time. I was in a seminar room with about 50 other obese men and women – it looked like a workshop for overeaters anonymous.
We all sat at clean, professional tables with packets in front of us, with each page as gloom as the next. I skimmed the packet looking or a list of medications they would be providing and found none. Nope, this was not going to be a weight loss medication program like I had been led to believe. It’s a plan consisting of shakes, soups and maybe – if you are lucky a snack bar.
I’m looking around to see the expressions on others faces – to see if they are also in disbelief. I wanted to stand up and yell – “Are you kidding me?” Of course I’ll lose weight fast because you are going to starve me to death for the next sixteen weeks. But no one else seemed to be as shocked as I was. So, out of embarrassment, I decided to stay and hear what the people had to say.
In my younger days, I was a weight loss consultant. I was thin, happy and healthy. I went to seminar after seminar about healthy eating. I learned the correct portions to eat and the combination of various foods that made up a healthy eating diet. I know that not one of those “healthy eating plans” consisted of nasty shakes, soups and protein bars. So, what were these people trying to sell.
Well, I quickly learned that they were trying to sell dreams. Dreams of losing the weight fast- dreams of keeping it off – and dreams of having a healthy body that looked like Jane Fonda in the end. Let’s be honest. If a man weights over 400 lbs., he can lose all the weight he wants really fast on shakes and soups, but his body is never going to firm up that fast to look like Chuck Norris- same for a woman. It’s just not possible. We will all look like a deflated marshmallow that needs some liposuction. But, maybe that’s what the surgical part of the program offers!
But what does the program look like financially and what kind of obligation does it hold? Here it is…..
First, they do not bill insurance – since, they say, most insurance companies do not allow for weight loss programs. So, that’s strike one in my book.
Second, after the seminar and before your initial appointment, there is an in-depth assessment that has to be completed. A blood test is needed and requires an 8 hour fasting process. I’m overweight, I love to eat. Could I go 8 hours from morning to afternoon without eating or drinking anything? Probably not. I wouldn’t even make it past the first test. The initial assessment lasts 45 minutes. They determine your body mass index, take blood work, measure your resting metabolic rate, EKG, vitals and meet with a physician and dietician to work up a plan that is best for your needs. After approximately 7-8 days, the office will call for to schedule an initial appointment.
Costs just for Initial Assessment:
Program Enrollment Fee: $200
Initial Assessment: $50- does not include EKG cost or the metabolic rate cost
Program Orientation: $15
Program Materials: $15
Initial Fitness Consultation: $60
Initial Dietitian Consultation: $60
**These are the charges just to get enrolled in the program
Costs AFTER Enrollment:
Phase One- New Beginnings – $360 for 12 weeks
Blood work repeated every two weeks – extra cost
Meal replacements – $88-$110 a week
(Phase one can be repeated as many times as needed until you reach ½ weight loss goal- then the fees apply again)
Cost AFTER Phase One
Transition- Phase Two- $180 for 12 weeks
Meal replacements- $44-$132 biweekly
(Phase two can be repeated as many times as needed to get to your goal weight – then the fees apply again)
Cost AFTER Phase Two
Healthy Living: Phase 3 – $270 for 6 months
Meal replacements- $88-$264 a month
Additional services and costs that might be required:
Co-pays for visits with the physician
Charges for dietitian appointments
Charges for behavioral health appointments
- Must attend a weekly meeting – must attend every week or you could be discharged from the program.
- Must purchase the meal replacements
- Must commit to each appointment or could be discharged from the program.
The program is designed to work together with their team of well qualified physicians and staff, but the out-of-pocket expenses and the thought of only eating soups and shakes did not appeal to me at all and I think it’s not realistic to think it can be good for people who have trouble with food anyway.
So, I have to think of something else that can help me lose the weight and still be healthy- or as healthy as I am right now – which is questionable to some- mentally and physically. But, I don’t want a fade diet like Adkins, etc. I want something that makes sense to my life, my family and my schedule. I’ll find that soon.
What are your thoughts?