How do you choose the best medical weight loss clinic? What questions should you ask? After twenty years of helping patients lose weight, I realize there are questions everyone should ask in order to find the best medical weight loss clinic, but no one does.
1) Choice: How many different medications do you prescribe?
The best medical weight loss clinics in the US will offer at least ten (10). The best medical weight loss clinics will offer phentermine because it is the #1 prescribed weight loss pill, but there are people who can’t take it. So, they need to offer more than just phentermine. If a medical weight loss clinic only offers phentermine, you’re stuck with no choice.
2) Personalized service: Does everyone get the same diet, or do you give the best diet for weight loss for each person?
Large, commercialized medical weight loss clinics keep everyone on the same diet, and if it doesn’t work for you, you’re stuck. Worse, you have to try a bunch of different weight loss programs to find out which one is best for you, instead of having the medical weight loss clinic doing the work for you. Insist on personalized care.
3) Health: Does the weight loss doctor prescribe medications which have been demonstrated to reduce my risk of a heart attack?
All weight loss improves cholesterol and blood sugar, but not all weight loss is healthy for the heart. Multiple weight loss medications not only help you lose weight, but also reduce your risk of a heart attack. The best medical weight loss clinics in the US use those weight loss medications.
4) Focus: What services do you offer in addition to weight loss?
The correct answer is: none. If they offer lots of services and weight loss is only one of many, go somewhere else. The best medical weight loss clinics in the US will focus strictly on weight loss. The practitioners at single-specialty medical weight loss clinics are more likely to know weight loss really well
5) Experience: How long has the doctor been practicing only weight loss?
Minimum is 5 years. In the first few years of practice, even if the doctor has training in weight loss, they have no experience. So that weight loss doctor won’t have seen patients with unique problems like yours, so they won’t know the solutions.
6) Medical: Do your weight loss doctors treat obesity like a chronic medical condition/disease?
In the 1950’s, physicians thought weight problems were cosmetic and limited weight loss pills to a short time, like 3 months. However, for the last 30 years, the standard-of-care for weight loss doctors is to treat obesity as a chronic medical condition, which requires long-term treatment with lifelong lifestyle changes and medication when needed (same as treating asthma or hypertension). That also means the best weight loss doctors are able to recognize and treat medical complications of obesity, like diabetes and hypertension and depression and arthritis.
7) Results: What percent is fat loss and what percent is muscle loss?
This crucial question on weight loss is missed by most. For example, people get bariatric surgery and up to 1/3 of the weight loss is muscle. Then they end up looking “skinny-fat” – their faces look like they’re a starvation victim, but they still have a lot of belly fat and excess skin. Unhealthy.
8) Effective: What is your success rate?
The best medical weight loss clinics in the US have a success rate at least above 75%. If the medical weight loss clinic says they don’t know, that means they have never bothered to check or they know their results aren’t good.