Does my insurance cover the program?
Most insurance plans do cover medical fees (doctor visits, labs, EKG or any other testing) for a weight loss program like ours. At this time however, no plans seem to cover any of the other fees associated with a weight program, such as nutrition coaching fees or meal replacements/protein products. Hopefully over time insurance companies will learn and recognize the tremendous healthcare savings resulting from weight loss.
Please inquire which insurance plans we currently accept. Some of our patients have been able to use their HSA (Health Savings Account) to pay for the program.
How many calories will I be consuming?
Our medical VLCD provides 800-1000 kcal/day, but can be adjusted if appropriate. If you consume the prescribed number of products you will receive all the essential nutrition needed for successful weight loss. Our Lifestyle and Wellness program is customized for each person.
Will I be hungry?
Most patients report that their hunger diminishes or disappears within three to five days of beginning the program due to the presence of ketones (if on the VLCD) and reduced food temptations. Our high-protein, low-carbohydrate nutritional profile also plays a role in appetite suppression. Dr. Costello does prescribe FDA approved medications when appropriate, to assist with hunger or cravings. We do not use any supplements or medications that lack solid evidence based on research, or that are not FDA approved.
How much weight can I expect to lose?
This may be the most asked question! It depends on several factors including your current weight, program, age, gender and activity level. A loss of four to seven pounds is common .in the first week of the VLCD. Ongoing weight loss on the VLCD will average about three to five pounds a week. For those in the Lifestyle and Wellness program the loss will be more gradual.
Is weight loss this rapid safe?
Yes, as long as it is done under the supervision of a medical weight loss team. Our meal replacements are formulated to ensure complete nutrition, and designed to create loss of fat tissue only, preserving lean muscle mass. You will have blood tests to monitor you for any issues, and any other medical conditions will be monitored as well.
What is ketosis and how will I lose only body fat?
Ordinarily, your body uses glucose from carbohydrates for energy. When calories and carbohydrates are limited (as with a VLCD), your body burns it’s own stored fat for energy. The fat is released into the bloodstream and travels to the liver, where it is converted to ketones (KEE-tones). The ketones are released back into the bloodstream, where muscles and tissues use them for energy. This process is called “ketosis” (kee-TO-sis).
How is this program different from other weight loss programs?
Most commercial diet programs focus mainly on the diet. They may provide a few products- special foods/meal replacements, supplements, a few lectures, and so on. Few, if any, offer a program that identifies and helps change the behaviors that have contributed to being overweight in the first place. We will help you identify and overcome the physical and psychological factors that have made and kept you overweight. While you lose weight, you’ll receive professional help, and will be held accountable during the process. Clinical studies have shown that accountability and behavioral counseling are effective tools in weight loss. As an endocrinologist and bariatrician, Dr. Costello will review your entire medical history, looking for conditions and medications that cause weight gain. There are many medications that cause weight gain! Finally, it’s the strength of our maintenance program that sets us apart. We have modeled our program after some of the largest and most successful programs in the country. It’s been learned through experience that the best chance of preventing significant regain is to remain in contact with and under the supervision of your weight loss team. We can help you navigate tricky eating situations- such as vacations, holidays, and life stress- with support, accountability and planning, rather than resorting to old behaviors.
Are there side effects I may experience while on a Very Low Calorie Diet?
There are some side effects that are generally easy to manage, and temporary as your body adjusts to the diet. They may include: dizziness, mild fatigue, “fruity breath”, gallstones, gastrointestinal upset, leg cramps, menstrual irregularities. A complete list and explanation of all possible side effects can be provided, and is reviewed in detail at all the New Start visits.
Who cannot participate in this program?
This type of weight loss may not be appropriate for individuals with metastatic cancer, active Inflammatory Bowel Disease, a recent major surgery or trauma requiring a long recovery, heart attack within last 3 months, sensitivity to aspartame (Nutrasweet), allergy to milk proteins, bone fractures, pregnancy, significant liver or kidney disease, stomach ulcers, severe gout, treatment with lithium or phenothiazines.