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Program Frequently Asked Questions

Get answers to common questions about how the CMWL program works. Contact us if you need more information!

To find a CMWL center, simply use our online Find a Center tool. Just input your zip code to find a CMWL provider in your area who can get you started on a weight loss plan that works for you.


No. The Center for Medical Weight Loss program is strictly a non-surgical approach to weight loss and weight maintenance. Read more about what medical weight loss is.

Not only are CMWL programs safe for weight loss, but they are effective in controlling, reducing, and even eliminating any complications, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease, that are associated with being overweight or obese. More than this, CMWL weight loss programs can help alleviate many of the other conditions that result from obesity, including arthritis, coronary artery disease, sleep apnea, persistent lymphedema (swelling in an arm or leg), lower extremity edema (abnormal accumulation of fluids), hypertension (high blood pressure), and high cholesterol.

The program is structured in three main phases: Quick Start, Transition, and Maintenance. Each phase has four components – food, activity, behavior, and medication – that are personalized based on your unique goals and needs. The food and behavioral components are core to the program; activity and medication prescriptions are suggested when the provider feels they are safe and appropriate. It’s important to understand that there is no ‘one size fits all’ with the CMWL weight loss program. Because you are unique, your CMWL provider will create a personalized plan just for you based on your specific attributes and weight loss challenges. Find out more about the CMWL program and plans.

There are two primary differences you will find with CMWL compared to most other weight loss programs. First, our weight loss program is provider-supervised. Our providers, who are extensively trained in the medical science of weight loss, can treat your weight within the context of your total health profile. Because of this they have tools and resources that other programs do not, such as the ability to adjust medications hindering your weight loss progress. Second, our program does not focus on just one aspect of weight loss. We take a comprehensive, holistic approach that includes food, exercise, and behavioral modification. Weight loss and weight maintenance is a way of life. CMWL providers understand this and will be there to support you every step of the way in achieving your goals.

Each of our CMWL providers receives extensive clinical training in medical weight loss. All of our providers are board-certified and are continually assessed to make sure you are receiving the safest, most effective treatment and care.


Each phase of the program provides a food plan based on daily calories. In the Quick Start and Transition phases of the program, your CMWL provider will prescribe a Low Calorie Diet (LCD), which consists of highly nutritional, FDA-approved products designed to keep you healthy and balanced as you experience weight loss. As you move toward your weight loss goal and incorporate healthier behaviors into your lifestyle, you will begin to introduce more of your favorite foods into your daily plan with the provider’s guidance. The goal is to help you achieve your life-long Maintenance phase while enjoying the foods you eat.

There is no requirement for exercise, but research consistently shows that exercise increases the likelihood of maintaining a healthy weight (and not regaining weight lost). Should you decide to pursue an exercise routine, with your provider’s permission, the program will offer activity recommendations based on your body composition and physical abilities.

There is no medication requirement. However, if you consent, your provider can prescribe a safe appetite suppressant to keep hunger at bay as you lose weight. Your CMWL provider can also adjust any current medications you might be taking for another condition, but that may also be interfering with your weight loss efforts.

Yes, behavioral counseling is essential and critical to achieving your weight loss goals. Without addressing your relationship with food, lifestyle habits, and the emotional barriers that may be preventing you from making progress, the program will be less effective in enabling you to reach your full potential. Your CMWL provider is both your experienced one-on-one coach and greatest fan throughout the weight loss process.

Programs at CMWL are not simply for people who are extremely overweight – they’re for anyone who is unhappy or feels unhealthy due to his or her weight. We will tell you if you don’t need to lose weight or if you don’t qualify for CMWL weight loss programs for any reason. Our first priority is your overall health and well-being.

Programs at CMWL are not simply for people who are extremely overweight – they’re for anyone who is unhappy or feels unhealthy due to his or her weight. We will tell you if you don’t need to lose weight or if you don’t qualify for CMWL weight loss programs for any reason. Our first priority is your overall health and well-being.


I really only want to lose 15 pounds. What would be the best plan for me? How long will it take?
At your initial consultation, the provider will be able to let you know which plan is best suited for you and how long it will take you to lose weight on each of the programs. The decision on which program is right for you is made based on your age, medical condition(s), and motivation level. The provider’s goal is to find the program and plan that will work the best and be the most effective based on your individual needs. To get an idea of how long it will take you to lose the weight, try our weight loss prediction calculator.

Program costs vary depending on the weight loss plan designed for you. However, initial consultation fees generally start at $39. At your initial consultation you will receive a full Body Composition Analysis report and a suggested personalized weight loss plan from the provider. There is no obligation to continue with the program following your initial consultation.

Starting in January 2012, Medicare covers obesity counseling and treatments for patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or above if they see a primary care provider with specialized training in obesity. United Healthcare, Oxford Health, Aetna, Emblem, Empire BlueCross BlueShield, GHI, and 1199 (hospital workers' union) are following suit, and other private health insurers may offer similar coverage at a future date. If you have Medicare or other health insurance, check with the CMWL provider in your area to see whether he or she accepts insurance and for more details on what your insurance will cover.

Though it depends on your specific circumstances and health concerns, most patients lose weight within the first two weeks and continue to reduce their weight as they continue with the CMWL eating plans and behavioral counseling. Adding exercise to your routine can also help speed up your rate of weight loss.

The length of time you may stay on any weight loss program depends on which program you are on, how much weight you need to lose and – most importantly – how motivated you are. As you know, weight loss is not about a "quick fix." When you move from the initial phase of any weight loss program to maintenance phases, the goal is to establish healthy eating habits you can follow throughout your life. The programs at The Center for Medical Weight Loss are comprehensive and include behavior modification and counseling, as well as exercise recommendations created to help you achieve on-going success.

Again, it depends on the requirements of your individual weight loss program. Initial programs usually require a visit every one to two weeks for progress measurements and behavioral counseling, but your CMWL provider will design a plan that makes the most sense for you and your weight loss goals.

After you reach your goal weight on The Center for Medical Weight Loss plan, you’ll enter the Maintenance Phase of the program. You’ll continue to visit with your CMWL provider as needed to help you maintain your weight loss and to ensure you have the best healthy eating, exercise, and behavioral strategies to keep off the weight – for good.

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