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Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center

Program FAQs


How effective is your program? How many pounds can I expect to lose?
How well you do depends to a great extent on how closely you follow the plan you are given. We will calculate a theoretical maximum weekly rate of weight loss you can expect (via measurementof your resting metabolic rate) during your initial assessment visit. Typical rates of weight loss are 2 to 4 pounds per week.during the inital weight loss phase. Follow-up surveys of peole who have completed our comprehensive program show an average weight loss of 50.8 pounds in 19 weeks during the inital rapid weight loss phase and an additional 9.4 pounds during the subsequent 12 weeks of weight stabilization for an average total of over 60 pounds! Weight fluctuations are natural and regain of at least some weight is to be expected. It is important to stay in a monitored weight maintenance program after the inital weight loss, and reenter active treatment should substantial weight regain occur.

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How are pre-packaged, proportioned food products used in your program?
The Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center offers both food-based and product-based programs. Pre-packaged foods or meal replacments have been shown in clinical trials to enhance weight loss. This is at least in part because they are portion-controlled, satiating and convenient to use. Many of our clients choose meal replacement product-based programs for the intial weight loss phase, transitioning fully or partially to a regular food-based program later. The choice of program is up to you and will be disucssed with one of our clinicians in detail during the initial consultation.

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Can I do a "natural" weight loss program at your Center?
The WMC emphasizes the importance of developing eating habits that will encourage weight loss while meeting the specific needs of each client. We are sensitive to preferences for organic foods, vegetarian dishes, prepared items or packaged meals and work with our clients to plan a diet that will mesh with personal beliefs.

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Are any drugs or appetite suppressants used in your program?
Drugs for weight control are used, under medical supervision, for selected patients for whom they are medically indicated. Most of these drugs are appetite suppressing, but have only a modest effect on weight loss results, and all have side effects.

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What is the best way to diet?
Losing weight is a process and there are multiple ways to achieve the needed results. Research supports making lifestyle changes as the most effective way to lose weight and maintain weight loss. This "best" way includes developing a personal plan that incorporates increased activity, dietary changes and behavioral strategies that will work for each individual.

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How important is portion size?
Understanding portion size is one of the first steps in the development of a successful weight management plan. Without an understanding of the amount of food we are consuming (and the calories in those foods), we cannot begin to make changes that will help us to meet our goals.

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Is exercise a part of the program?
Yes. During your assessments you will meet with an exercise physiologist to set goals and start on an exercise program based on your needs and fitness level. There is no fitness center located at the Weight Management Center, but we can give you specific instructions for implementing an exercise regimen at your local fitness center or home.

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Will weight lifting increase my weight?
When beginning a weight lifting program, some people do see a small increase in muscle mass which can cause a small increase in weight. Muscle, however, is more compact than body fat and does not typically cause a noticeable increase in size. It is also important to remember that increasing muscle mass can cause small increases in metabolism which will further assist you with your weight loss efforts.

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Will my metabolism slow down?
Metabolism is directly related to total body weight, meaning that as you lose weight you will often see a modest decrease in metabolism. This is normal and will happen with any significant weight loss, but increasing your activity level can offset this effect while providing other important health benefits.

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What special programs do you have for children?
“A Better Weigh” is a program designed for overweight children between the ages of 8 and 12, and their families. The goal of the program is to help these children achieve a healthier lifestyle and weight through behavior modification, changes in diet and physical activity. Each child enrolled receives a nutrition consultation and behavioral evaluation, in addition to 8 weeks of classes. A parent is required to accompany the child during these sessions.

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Is "yo-yo dieting" bad?
"Yo-yo dieting" is the process of losing and regaining weight via short-term fad dieting. It is damaging to individuals attempting to lose weight, in that it may cause the individual to get discouraged about their ability to lose weight. It promotes an attitude of “why try, I won’t be successful anyway,” when the truth is, weight loss can be achieved with an appropriate program and good motivation. Success in a weight loss program involves many factors, including psychological readiness to accept change, overall motivation, and behavioral, nutrition and exercise habits. "Yo-yo dieting" may cause the body weight to increase with each up and down cycle, causing overall weight gain.

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How is this plan different from other plans?
Research shows that the most effective weight loss programs include individual counseling by professionals, regular support group attendance and follow-up. Our center approaches the problem of obesity from an integrated multidisciplinary perspective, utilizing the latest information in the fields of medicine, nutrition, psychology and exercise physiology. This approach provides you with insights to assist with your weight loss and long-term weight maintenance after reaching your goal weight.

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Am I going to be hungry all the time?
Hunger is a natural body response, indicating a need to eat. Much of what we perceive as hunger can often be attributed to other experiences: thirst, boredom, anxiety, or excitement, for example. While a certain degree of hunger is to be expected when the amount of calories is decreased, our program works with you to help you to learn to differentiate true hunger from other experiences and to eat an appropriate amount to satisfy that hunger.

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I haven't been successful with past diets. Can I succeed with this one?
While having success prior to this attempt can be an indicator of success in this program, it is certainly not the only ingredient. There are many factors that contribute to success: level of motivation, openness to exploration and change, adherence to treatment, and available support, to name a few. We work to develop a program that fits each of our clients needs, responding to those needs as they may change over time.

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Should I be considering bariatric surgery?
You may be considering bariatric surgery if you suffer from severe obesity, defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 40, and have been unsuccessful in achieving and/or maintaining weight loss with medically-monitored weight loss programs.

To be considered for bariatric surgery, you must meet one of the following criteria:

  • BMI of 40 (at least 100 pounds overweight), or
  • BMI between 35 and 40, with at least one associated medical problem (i.e. diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure)

Risks and benefits of bariatric surgery should be discussed with your primary care physician before contacting a bariatric surgeon.

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Do you have programs programs for people who have had, or plan to have, bariatric surgery?
We do not offer pre-bariatric surgery weight loss programs but we do offer a post-operative bariatric program for individuals who have received gatric bypass or lap-band surger and need asistance with achieving further weight losss.  THis program provides diet, exercise and behavior change skills for life-long weight control. 

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Do you accept insurance?
The Johns Hopkins Weight Mangment Center does not file insurance claims on behalf of our patients; however, patients are welcome to submit their invoices to their insruance companies for reimbursement.  All payment is due at time of service. 

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Do you accept credit cards?
We accept all major creidt cards including American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa.

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