medical weight loss program, Lawrence, Kansas
As medical providers, we treat weight loss from a health perspective. We do a comprehensive evaluation to determine how your health may be affected by your weight and then address the problem on multiple levels—medically, nutritionally and behaviorally. We have more resources to help you lose weight than non-physician supervised centers such as medically prescribed low calorie diets and medications that aid in weight loss. We also use body composition analysis to determine your fat percentage and track this measurement to ensure you are losing fat and that the diet is truly working. Many other centers will use measurements of different body areas that aren’t as accurate—the result can vary greatly depending on who is doing the measuring, where they are measuring and how snugly they fit the measuring tape. Many people who have used these facilities in the past have heard the phrase “ don’t be disappointed you didn’t lose weight this time, you’ve lost inches off your (waist, thighs, arms, etc)”. And perhaps best of all, since most people who are overweight have some health issues due to their extra pounds we can usually bill your medical insurance for your visits instead of charging a “program fee”.
What diets do you use?
We are using Low Calorie Diets (LCD), which are around 1000 calories, a day and Very Low Calorie Diets (VLCD), which are less than 800 calories a day. These allow for more rapid weight loss in the beginning of the program to get you motivated and feeling better with more energy right away.
Doesn’t your metabolism slow down when you eat too few calories?
Traditional thinking was that if you go under about 1200 calories a day it is harder to lose weight as your metabolism slows down. Actually, your metabolism slows down the minute you start a diet! As you start losing weight on any diet your metabolism slows down automatically because you now weigh less and your basal metabolic rate (the amount of calories you burn just doing daily activity) drops and your body hangs on to calories harder thinking it is being starved. This is why the same diet that helped you lose weight in the beginning stops working and you “plateau” and don’t lose any more. By doing a LCD or VLCD it takes longer to hit your plateau. Because these diets are doctor supervised, we ensure that you are getting the right amount of nutrients and proteins during your weight loss. We also monitor your body composition to make sure you are losing fat and not muscle.
Do I have to buy your foods?
Purchasing food products offered in the program is not required but highly encouraged. Part of what makes us unique is the ability to prescribe low calorie diets (LCD) that are safe when used as part of a program under a physician’s supervision. LCD's can be harmful if not done properly. One of the key factors of LCD's is getting adequate protein intake so you lose fat weight and not muscle weight. The protein intake requirement is very hard to achieve unless you are using the protein supplements we prescribe. We have researched products available in local grocers and have not found any that taste as good our products. In addition, the products we are offering are competitively priced, are lower in calories and higher in protein than their store bought counterparts. And finally, some of the low calorie high protein foods we have are just not available in any store, including cereals, soups, fruit drinks, hot chocolate and snack chips.
Does this mean I drink shakes instead of eating real food?
No! Our meal plans encourage eating portion-controlled meals consisting of healthy foods along with a “supplement” that ensures you are getting enough protein. These supplements come in many varieties so there is sure to be some you enjoy. These include shakes and bars but also come in more choices such as soups, hot drinks, smoothies, pancakes, oatmeal, cereal, chips, entrees and more. Some people who have more weight to lose or want to lose weight more rapidly may chose “meal-replacement shakes” in the beginning, but our goal is to help patients develop healthier eating habits for a lifetime and including “real” foods from the start helps with this.
How is this different from a low carb diet?
Traditional low carb diets such as Atkins emphasize only carbohydrate reduction and do not restrict other nutrients such as fats and do not count calories. While they produce weight loss over time the higher amount of food intake and calories ingested on these diets do not cause as quick weight loss as the Low Calorie Diets or the Very Low Calorie Diets.
Is this diet safe? What are the risks?
These diets have been around for decades now and have been found to be both safe and effective.They are prescribed by physicians only so that you can be monitored for any complications. Rarely people can develop electrolyte (sodium, potassium for example) abnormalities from rapid weight loss so some patients may need blood work for evaluation at times. Due to risks associated with some appetite suppressants, an EKG (heart rhythm strip) is usually done on any patient prior to starting these medications. Any rapid weight loss, whether from our diet or any other means, can sometimes encourage gallstone formation leading to gallbladder disease.
What are the benefits of the diet?
The most obvious benefit of course is weight loss. However, these low carbohydrate high protein diets have also been shown to be beneficial in controlling many medical diseases as well. Most notable of these is diabetes but also high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea and arthritis can all be helped by weight loss.
How much weight will I lose and how quickly will I lose it?
The amount of weight loss will vary greatly depending on the individual, how committed to the diet you are and your level of activity. Beware of places advertising claims such as “lose a pound a day” or “guaranteed weight loss”. During your initial evaluation we will discuss your goals for weight loss and determine if they are realistic or not. Remember, you didn’t gain it all in a month so it will take longer than a month to take it off!
Will I have to take weight loss medicine?
While we have the ability to prescribe weight loss medicine, our goal is to help patient lose weight mainly through diet modification and increased physical activity. Some patients may have difficulty sticking to a low calorie diet and may need medication to help suppress appetite but many people on the diet don’t feel hungry since there is a large amount of protein in the plan. Others may need medication once they hit a “plateau” to jump start additional weight loss but often this too can be overcome with diet changes. Nobody is required to take medication at any times except multivitamins. On the other hand, we are not prescribing medication to patients who are not committed to working on a weight loss plan that includes diet and exercise. We want our patients to have lasting success and this is best accomplished with a comprehensive approach that includes nutritional counseling and developing an exercise/activity plan, not just medication alone.
Do I have to exercise on the program?
The majority of weight loss on our program will come from calorie reduction/diet. However, you will have faster, better results if you are exercising. In addition, numerous studies have shown that the secret to keeping the weight off after losing it is daily exercise. The high protein concentration in our diet ensures you have enough energy to exercise and although some overweight individuals have been unable to exercise due to mobility issues associated with their weight such as arthritis, these conditions often improve as you start losing weight making it easier to exercise later. For maintenance of weight loss our eventual goal is to have our patients getting 45-60 minutes of physical activity daily. Don’t let this number scare you! We don’t expect you to be able to do this right away, especially if you haven’t been exercising. Keep in mind even 10-15 minutes of activity daily can still be beneficial and help you work up to this goal and we can usually find some activity that almost anyone can do. We are partnering with several physical therapy offices in town so you can have access to their gyms at a reduced fee to help accomplish this goal. And if you feel that you are unable to do any type of activity for even 10 minutes a day then you would probably qualify for true physical therapy which is covered by your insurance to help increase your mobility.
How long do I have to stay on the diet?
The Very Low Calorie Diets are designed to be 12 weeks in length but the Low Calorie Diets can be done longer. The total length of time you stay on the diet depends on how much weight you need to lose, how dedicated you are to the diet and your activity level.
What happens after I lose the weight?
After you reach your goal weight on our program, you’ll transition to the Maintenance Phase. Since 80% of people who lose weight gain it all back within five years we think this phase is just as important as the initial weight loss phase. We recommend continued visits with our physicians to help maintain your weight loss and make sure you have established healthy eating habits, physical activity levels and behavioral strategies that will be lifelong and help make sure you keep the weight off for good.
Do you offer weight loss surgery?
Our goal at the Physician’s Weight Loss Clinic is to avoid surgery so our program consists of diet modification, nutritional counseling and medications to control weight. We are not surgeons and therefore do not offer this service at our clinic. As physicians we understand some patients will require this service and can provide referrals when appropriate. In addition, we can aid in pre-surgery weight loss (which can lower complication rates of surgery) as well as weight maintenance support after surgery.
What kind of training have you had?
Dr. Carla Phipps is board certified in Bariatric Medicine and Dr. Kimberley McKeon hopes to be certified in 2015. They both are members of the American Society of Bariatric Physicians (ASBP)—a society for physicians with specialization in bariatric (weight loss) medicine. They have developed this program especially for our clinic and provide training and oversight for the other medical providers in the practice.