What to look for in a successful weight-loss program
To reach a healthy weight and stay there over the long term, you need to consider your overall health and lifestyle habits — not just what you eat. A successful weight loss program must promote a variety of healthy behaviors that can help you lose weight safely, that you can stick with most days, and that you can adjust as needed as your life changes.
At the Bariatric Counseling Center we focus on changing habits, not just on changing weight.
Safe and successful weight-loss programs should include:
- Behavioral treatment that shows you how to develop and stick with healthier eating and physical activity habits.
- An understanding that food serves more purposes than just nutrition and then help you to increase the ways that you self-soothe, connect with others, and spend your free time.
- Education about getting enough sleep, managing stress, and the benefits and drawbacks of weight-loss medicines.
- Ongoing feedback, encouragement, and support throughout the program, either in person, by phone, online, or through a combination of all.
- Slow and steady weight loss goals — usually one to two pounds per week
- A plan for your future, including social support, goal setting and monitoring, counseling support, and a relapse response plan.
The most successful weight-loss programs provide multiple sessions of behavioral treatment over an extended period of time and are led by trained staff. The Bariatric Counseling Center’s program typically involves a minimum of 22 sessions over the course of 2-3 months.
Because social connectedness is correlated with better health, we always encourage clients to attend our program in-person so they can participate in meal preparation and dine together as a group, as well as participate in guided grocery shops together. There are also “family nights” that show your loved ones how to give you positive support as you work toward your goals.
Changing your lifestyle isn’t easy, but adopting healthy habits that you want to continue after a few weeks or months may help you maintain your weight loss.
Weight loss programs to avoid
Avoid weight loss programs that make any of the following promises:
- Lose 30 pounds in 30 days!
- Lose weight in specific “problem” areas of your body!
- Eat only what you buy from us and you will lose weight!
Other warning signs to look out for include:
- Very small print, asterisks, and footnotes, which may make it easy to miss important information.
- Before-and-after photos that seem too good to be true.
- Personal endorsements that seem to be made up.
For people who are obese, many recommend a beginning weight-loss goal of 5 to 10 percent of your starting weight within six months may be appropriate. If you weigh 200 pounds, that would amount to a loss of 10 pounds (5 percent of starting weight) to 20 pounds (10 percent of your starting weight) in six months.
What questions should you ask about a weight loss program?
The Bariatric Counseling Center is totally transparent and will gladly answer all of your questions about our program and results.
- Does the program include a physical activity plan?
- Does the program offer ways to help me be more physically active and stay motivated?
Personalized mindful movement is an important part of our program. It doesn’t necessarily mean going for a 30-minute run; rather, every step counts. We will help you identify what types of movement and at what frequency work for you! We introduce our clients to many options for movement during our sessions, fully customizable to you.
- Does the program offer one-on-one or group counseling to help me develop and stick with my healthier habits?
- Does the program include a trained coach or counselor to help me overcome roadblocks and stay on track?
Our staff includes licensed mental health professional and registered dietitians who will provide guidance in both group and individual sessions.
- Does the program include a plan to help me keep off the weight I’ve lost?
- What does that program include? Will there be ongoing counseling support?
Those who complete the program at the Bariatric Counseling Center will develop a relapse response plan to help them identify things that could get them off track in the future and develop a plan ahead of time. Alumni of our program are invited to participate in monthly support groups. We can also connect clients to other professionals in the community to provide ongoing support if needed.
- Could the program cause health problems or be harmful to me in any way?
- Is there ongoing input and follow-up to ensure my safety while I’m in the program?
- Will the program’s medical professional or staff work with my health care professional if needed — for example, to address how the program may affect an ongoing medical issue?
Because our program focuses on mental health, there is a risk that you may experience some emotional discomfort as you explore your relationship with food, movement, and your body. Your personal dietary and medical needs are taken into account at every session. We emphasize to our clients that all movement should be modified to accommodate one’s own mobility levels and in response to any discomfort or pain.
Look over our website and you’ll see that our program provides a comprehensive weight-loss program rather than gimmicky companies that merely want to sell you food. It’s the only program of its kind in San Antonio.