Frequently Asked Questions
We're happy that you are considering joining one of our evidence-based weight management programs; and more importantly, that you have decided to take an affirmative step towards achieving and learning to maintain a healthier weight. Although a very healthy step, it can be difficult to choose the program that you believe would be best for you. For this reason, we provide you with some of the most common questions we get during our program orientations, along with responses to each. Below are the most frequently asked questions... and our responses.
- I only have a few pounds that I'm looking to lose. Do you have a program that fits my needs?
- I just want to learn to eat healthier; I don't necessarily want to lose weight. Can you help me?
- Do you take insurance?
- Can I use pre-tax spending/savings accounts to pay for your programs?
- There are lots of weight loss programs/clinics around. What makes the MUSC Health Weight Management Center different?
- What are the different ways that I can pay for a program?
- I see you refer to "lifestyle change" a lot, but what exactly does that mean?
- You have several programs from which to choose. How do I know which one would be best for me?
- Do your meal replacements taste good?
- It sounds like some of your programs are quite aggressive. Would I be hungry all the time on those programs?
Yes, we offer programs and services that fit every weight loss need, whether you’ve got a little or a lot to lose. Although we have programs for people looking to lose 50, 100, or more pounds, we also have programs that can help you take off that last 5 to 10.
Yes, we have registered dietitians and exercise physiologists who can tailor eating and exercise plans to fit with whatever your weight, eating, and activity goals might be.
This is a question we get all the time, and for good reason. The most accurate response is that most medical insurance carriers “don’t take us.” The vast majority of insurance companies do not cover weight loss treatments, even the most effective ones, and even if your doctor has recommended or prescribed weight loss for you. This is unfortunate given that even modest weight losses have been shown to significantly improve health and decrease Health care costs.
Yes, you can typically use your Flexible Spending Accounts, Medical Spending Accounts, or Health Savings Accounts to pay for our programs. This can be a great way to save a significant amount of money on your weight loss program with us. There is often a specific form that you would need to fill out to use these accounts, so refer to details of your specific account.
There Are Lots of Weight Loss Programs/Clinics Around. What Makes the MUSC Health Weight Management Center Different?
There are several, a few of which are outlined below.
Who You’ll Meet With:
- Us: You’ll meet with a variety of weight management professionals, faculty and staff who are specially trained in their weight management disciplines (i.e., dietetics, exercise, psychology, medicine).
- The Others: You’ll meet with staff who will attempt to teach you how to lose weight, often with minimal to no training in the necessary disciplines. Or you’ll meet with someone who became a program leader by virtue of having gone through the program themselves, but who has no training in the science or practice of weight management.
How Much Experience They’ll Have:
- Us: We have been doing this for over 37 years right here on the MUSC campus. The years of weight management experience of our faculty and staff is second to none at the state level or nationally. In fact, we have staff who are recognized as leaders in their fields on both the state and national level.
- The Others: Simply put, the others are less experienced.
Your Program Options:
- Us: We have a full range of programs and services, both individual and group, to fit all weight loss needs. Need an even more tailored plan? We can make that happen too. We will help you find the program that will be most effective for you, both for losing weight and keeping it off long-term.
- The Others: Typically have one standard program, with a few variations of it. Often interested more in “upselling” you than helping you build the best program for your needs; inadequate attention to teaching sustainable lifestyle changes.
These are just a few of the ways we’re different from every other weight management program around. Certainly look into other programs, but we’re confident we offer you the absolute best weight management options, whatever your needs.
We have several ways for you to pay for your program. You can pay in-full or pay monthly payments. There are discounts associated with paying in-full. In addition, MUSC/MUHA/UMA employees (and spouses) have the option of payroll deducting the cost of their programs, typically over 12 months. In terms of payment types, we accept cash, check, and credit/debit cards (all types).
By “lifestyle change,” we mean change that you can realistically maintain over the long-run. Although there are any number of diet and exercise plans that would cause you to lose weight, many of those aren’t sustainable over the long-haul... as you may have already experienced. In order to give you the best chances of successfully managing your weight over the long-term, we will teach you how to engage in healthier eating and activity behaviors that you can reasonably maintain forever.
Ultimately the decision is up to you, but here are some points you’ll want to consider when deciding on your program:
- How much weight do you want to lose?: Generally speaking, the more weight you’re looking to lose, the more aggressive of a program you would want to go.
- How many weight-related health problems do you have (and how severe are they)? (problems include, but are not limited to: diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, arthritis): Generally speaking, the more weight-related health problems you have, the more aggressive of a program you would want to go.
- How many weight-related health problems do you see in your family (thus, potentially in your future)?: Generally speaking, the more of these health problems you see in your family, the more aggressive of a program you would want to go.
- How busy is your schedule?: This may sound like a silly consideration, but in reality, you’ve got to do something that has the best chances of working for you. Generally speaking, the busier you are and the more hectic your schedule, the more you should consider a program that incorporates meal replacements.
- How frustrated are you with your weight?: Typically having lost and regained on other weight loss programs, our patients often feel a great deal of frustration when we meet with them for the first time. A good rule of thumb, the more frustrated you are with your weight (or, more concretely, the more weight loss efforts you’ve made in the past), the more aggressive of a program you would likely want to go. By hitting it hard from the beginning, that'll provide you with a jump start on turning that frustration into motivation.
Yes, we have excellent meal replacements, both in terms of nutrition and taste. Many of our patients continue to use our meal replacements even after they complete their programs with us.
It Sounds Like Some of Your Programs Are Quite Aggressive. Would I Be Hungry All the Time on Those Programs?
Although you might experience some degree of hunger the first few days or the first week (while you adjust to the reduced calorie level), the vast majority of patients are not hungry on our programs. One of the most important things to do to avoid hunger is to maintain your blood sugar, which is accomplished by eating something every few hours and eating the right types of foods.
Have We Answered All Your Questions?
If you're ready to enroll, simply visit our sign up page, where you can enroll.
If you have further questions, or if you would just like to come in to meet us in person, simply fill out our form for a free in-person program orientation.