Found through hospitals and health and obesity centres, weight loss clinics are designed to teach participants about nutrition and exercise as well as provide counselling and doctor-prescribed medical assistance. The counseling and medicine are what set these clinics apart from more 'conventional' diet spas and weight loss centers.
Medical weight loss clinics involve the combined efforts of physicians, registered nurses, dieticians, physiologists and psychologists. The team devises specific diet plans that all participants must follow which are usually very low-calorie and involve a meal replacement of some sort. Participants are required to take multi-vitamins and to work with the dieticians in order to learn about how to maintain proper nutrition after the clinic ends.
Participants receive individual treatment and counselling if needed. With weekly meetings and 'behavioral group sessions,' the focus is always on making the lifestyle changes requisite for long-term weight management. Medical weight loss clinics are designed to have a lasting impact on the participant, to be accomplished through a regime of personal medical assessments, exercise education and professional help for those with compulsive eating and addictive eating behaviors.
Some clinics help participants lose weight by prescribing specific medication; sometimes participants may even volunteer to be in an experimental drug study to try out new weight loss medicine.
However, clinical weight loss programs are not for everyone; participants usually have to fulfill a number of criteria with concern to their health and weight. You have to have a certain Body Mass Index or BMI (a weight ratio calculated using your height and weight). If you have a BMI over 30, you classify as overweight and a BMI over 40 categorizes you as obese.
Contact your physician or local hospital for information about clinics in your area if you're interested in learning more about medical weight loss clinics.