Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Weight Management Center

For Patients

Frequently Asked Questions: Medical Weight Management Program

Do I qualify?

You must have a BMI of 30 or greater and be at least 18 years old to be considered for the program.

The Medical Weight Management program is not for those who:

  • have metastatic cancer
  • have bone fractures
  • are on steroid therapy
  • have type 1 diabetes
  • have endocrine/hormonal causes for obesity
  • have peptic ulcer disease or an active gastric or duodenal ulcer
  • have untreated, active gout
  • have active inflammatory bowel disease
  • have binge eating disorder
  • are undergoing lithium treatment
  • have liver disease requiring protein restriction
  • suffer from mental retardation or mental illness
  • have had a myocardial infarction within the past three months
  • are sensitive to aspartame or allergic to milk proteins

There may be other medical situations that would prevent your participation in the program. Please feel free to address any questions with our staff by calling 832-667-LOSE (5673) or joining us at a free orientation session.


What kind of diet will I be on?

This is a liquid fasting program which gradually transitions to a healthy eating plan. You will be using a low carbohydrate, high protein meal replacement beverage for the first phase of the program, and will slowly introduce other foods once this initial phase is complete.


How much weight will I lose?

The expected rate of loss is 2 pounds per week, but results vary greatly from person to person. Most people consistently lose between 2 and 5 pounds per week on average.


Can I just purchase the beverage?

The Medical Weight Management Program is a medically screened and medically monitored program that includes not only the use of a meal replacement beverage, but a more important component: support in the form of nutrition education and behavior change. This is a complete program designed to help you make lifestyle changes for permanent weight loss. The meal replacement beverage is only a small portion of the overall process, and is therefore only available for purchase within the program.


How much should I weigh?

Most people have a particular weight goal in their minds when they begin the program. Our staff will work with you to determine a reasonable, achievable and more importantly, a healthy weight for you based on your personal needs. Regardless of your weight goal, you will begin to see improvements in health very quickly, often within the first month. Ninety percent of the health benefits from weight loss are achieved with as little as a 10% loss of your initial weight.

How often do I need to come?

Each week, you will have a clinic visit with your nurse and a group session focusing on either nutrition or behavior change. Lab tests and visits with our medical director will each occur once per month. Your total time commitment is approximately 2 hours per week (not including exercise or other weight loss-related activities performed on your own time). Treatment sessions are held at our clinics at the Weight Management Center, Methodist Sugar Land Hospital and Methodist Willowbrook Hospital.


What kind of diet will I be on when I have finished with the fasting portion of the program?

Fasting works well for a limited period of time. Once you have completed the fasting phase (Phase 1), or you are at the point where you can no longer continue the fast, it is time to gradually transition to food (Phase 2). This is done in a controlled, step-wise fashion over several weeks. The meal replacement beverage will slowly be withdrawn and regular food and calories added back in. Your caloric requirements are individual to you and are based on your gender, age, weight, height and level of physical activity. You will ultimately be on a full food diet incorporating foods from a variety of food groups, and will not require special foods. The ultimate goal is to return you to normal eating with a food plan created just for you, based upon your personal needs and preferences.


Will my insurance cover this program?

Due to limited insurance coverage and a lengthy approval process, we no longer accept insurance assignment for our Medical Weight Management program. Instead, we have created a flat rate that offers a significant discount from regular charges on individual services. The package includes the following services: weekly clinic visits with a nurse, dietitian and counselor; weekly group sessions; monthly labs and physician oversight. To learn more about package pricing, please call us at 832-667-LOSE (5673) or join us at a free orientation session.


How long do I have to be in the maintenance phase?

This is the most difficult phase of the program. During this phase, you will put together all of the knowledge you have accumulated over the previous fasting and transition phases, and develop independence in continuing your healthy lifestyle. The maintenance phase (phase 3) is offered in 16-week blocks. Maintaining weight loss requires a great commitment from you, so we highly recommend that you remain in Phase 3 for a year after you complete your initial weight loss treatment.


How do I get started?

If you are interested in the Medical Weight Management Program, please register to attend a free one-hour orientation session to learn more. This is an informational orientation and requires no obligation. Orientations are held at all of our locations: Medical Center, Sugar Land and Willowbrook. Call 832-667-LOSE (5673) to reserve your spot, or register online.

How do I re-enroll in the Medical Weight Management program?

We will help you get back on track - please visit our Frequently Asked Questions to learn more about restarting the program.