You may have heard of non-surgical weight loss programs, but what exactly are they and how do they work?
Sonya Long, a clinical supervisor with Mercy Health – Weight Management Solutions, breaks it down for us here.
“Our non-surgical weight loss program is open to individuals with a body mass index (BMI) of 27 or higher. Some of our program participants are interested in weight loss surgery. However, if their BMI is greater than 65, they need to go through our non-surgical program first to qualify for surgery for their safety. Additionally, patients with co-diseases related to their weight – such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease – have specific options available to them.
To determine which program options are best for you, the first step is to reach out to our office to schedule an appointment. From there, we will schedule you for two appointments:
- an in-person assessment and one-on-one meeting with one of our dietitians
- a virtual visit with Heeran Abawi, MD, (pictured above, right) a bariatrician and obesity medicine doctor who specializes in non-surgical weight loss management as well medical optimization of both pre- and post-surgical patients
The dietitian’s assessment gives our care team your background, diet history and goals. Once Dr. Abawi completes her meeting with you, she will prescribe the path your non-surgical weight loss program will take and will factor in what you qualify for based on your medications, health history, blood work and EKG.
For some patients, weight loss medications and appetite suppressant capsules or injections combined with a meal plan are the best option. Others can benefit from a meal replacement program and meal plan that combines products and store-bought food. Calorie-restricted programs are another option patients can follow based on their medical assessment.
It’s important to note that cost can be a factor in determining the best path for you. Weight loss medication and meal replacement products are not typically covered by insurance and can cost $75-$100 per week out of pocket. We will work hard to design a program that works for you and your budget that can also help you reach your health and weight loss goals.
You will not be on this journey alone. We have support groups for both our non-surgical and support patients that are available for you to attend throughout the rest of your life. Additionally, we have a behavioralist with whom you can schedule time to help you with goal-setting, time management and anything that may be getting in your way and keeping you from your goals. You will also have a 12-week membership to the Mercy Health HealthPlex and access to a specially trained personal trainer during that time. A dietitian or medical assistant will also be just a phone call or message away.”
Obesity is sadly not only a common disease but it’s serious, too. Obesity can lead to heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, which is among the leading causes of preventable, premature death.
Learn more about the non-surgical weight loss services we offer at Mercy Health.