FAQ

We recommend controlled calorie, adequate protein, limited carbohydrate, and limited fat eating plans that are individualized for each person based on their preferences, health, and metabolism.  We avoid overly restrictive diets or designate forbidden foods as these plans are more difficult to follow for the rest of your life, may cause too much hunger, may disrupt your metabolism or cause loss of muscle.

Our goal is to find a lifelong nutrition plan for you that not only meets the needs of your body but also fits into your life so that you can sustain this way of eating for the rest of your life.  We want to help people break the habit of yo-yo dieting, lose the excess weight, and manage that weight forever. We try to start with something that you can be consistent with and build upon that success.  Drastic diets that may cause rapid weight loss are more difficult to sustain especially when life events and stressors get us off track and we relapse back to old eating habits and regain.  If you find yourself always back at the starting line, was that “rapid” weight loss plan all that rapid?  We have nothing against rapid weight loss, but we genuinely believe that consistency is the key to keeping the weight off long term.

We can accommodate most persons with special dietary needs and preferences. There are no “forbidden” foods but there will likely be foods that you will need to limit in amount or frequency to achieve weight management goals. You can choose to incorporate some meal replacement products into your meal plans or may choose to eat only whole foods. The choice is yours.

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Our Medical Weight Management program is very involved.  We need you to be ready and motivated to make lifestyle changes. The motivation comes from your reasons why you need or want to lose your excess weight.  We make a strong recommendation that you write these reasons down as soon as possible and add to it frequently. This list will be very important to get and keep you motivated through the program and afterwards. We understand that losing weight is really hard and this list will be there to remind you why it is all worth it. 

Common reasons people have listed include: Improve health, prevent future diseases, improve self-esteem, to set a good example for their family and children, to have a better quality of life, to be more active with less discomfort, to improve fertility and start a family.  The more specific reasons, the better.

When you are ready to begin the journey, we are here to help you at all stages. We will need your full participation and engagement; it does not happen without you!

  • Reviewing this website is a great place to start! When you are ready, call our office at 207.275.4440 and we will send you an information package. Please read it carefully and write down questions to ask your first visit. The information part of the package is for you to keep.

  • Please fill out the questionnaire sent in the package. It will provide us with your full and detailed health history. It is important to supply all the requested information.

  • During your first visit, you will have some basic education about food and meal planning.  We will make some initial recommendations to get you started.  How your body responds to these initial recommendations will tell us about how your metabolism is responding and if more changes need to be made.  You will be expected to have at least 3 days of food and drink diary completed before all follow up visits so we can review what you have consumed.  If needed, we may recommend that you see one of our specialized dietitians for more involved help. 

  • As we progress, you will be expected to start some kind of physical activity that you can safely tolerate. This is very individualized and will vary by personal preference, fitness level and physical ability/limitations. It may include physical therapy for some, or more intense, regular exercises for others. Your plan will be developed with you to find what is right for you.   

  • To develop better habits, you will need to address your behaviors.  There are different levels of help available to you to make these essential changes. If needed, you may be referred to see our experienced psychologists who specialize in eating and lifestyle changes, who can guide you in behavioral skills needed for long term success.

  • A positive attitude is essential.  Be open to trying new things. Keep regular appointments (even if you are struggling). Make yourself and your health a priority for you.

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The biggest difference between other programs and ours at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center is that you will be medically supervised every step of the way by an Obesity Medicine specialist (Bariatrician). Each person has a unique plan developed for them. One size does not fit all.

Our center is comprehensive and multidisciplinary to better meet the needs of our patients. The Obesity Medicine specialist doctor or nurse practitioner supervises and evaluates the whole process and provides education and plan adjustments as needed. We have dietitians, psychologists, and physical therapists with specialized understanding of weight management who are available as needed to help our patients be successful. There are also highly qualified bariatric surgeons available if a decision is made that weight loss surgery is needed as an added tool for weight management in appropriate patients.     

We get to know you, your medical conditions, your lifestyle, and your individual needs. Our goal is help you attain the tools to lose weight and keep it off.

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As a program that promotes building sustainable eating plans, meal replacement predominant diet plans are not often recommended here (except for in special circumstances). However, using meal replacements as part of your daily meal plan can be a healthy and convenient tool to help meet your nutrition goals.  Meal replacements are often in the form of shakes, bars, puddings, soups, and snacks. These can help control portion size, prevent meal skipping, prevent muscle loss, improve metabolic rate, control hunger, provide structure, replace poorer nutrition with better nutrition and be helpful in meeting your daily nutrition goals.

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This depends on how much weight you need to lose, and what lifestyle changes you are able to make. 

Weight loss depends on age, gender, genetics, level of physical activity, and dietary adherence.  Some people lose more or less than typical. Drastic diet plans can produce more loss initially but are hard to follow long-term and are at somewhat higher risk of weight plateau.

  • Men usually lose weight faster than women do.  Women typically lose about 1-2 lbs. per week and Men typically lose 2-3 lbs. per week using a sustainable plan. 

  • The younger you are, the easier it is to shed the pounds.

  • The more active you can be, the faster you lose.

  • Persons with higher initial excess weight lose faster at the beginning.  The rate of weight loss slows as the body gets closer to a normal weight. Increasing exercise (muscle mass) helps to continue the weight loss.
     

After you have reached your weight loss goal, our maintenance program will help you to learn the skills used to maintain your weight loss and continue with healthy lifestyle habits.

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The cost depends on how much weight you need to lose and the amount of time you will be in the program.  Most of your costs will be in paying insurance co-pays.  If you need to see other practitioners for help, there will be copays for those visits as well.  You must also meet all insurance deductibles determined by your plan as well. 

Other potential costs include:

  • Costs of meal replacements, if used (many are less expensive than fast food or eating out)

  • Cost of food (eating healthy does not have to be more expensive)

  • Cost of vitamin and mineral supplements, if recommended

  • Costs of lab work and other testing, determined by insurance
     

There are cost savings too:

  • Less money spent on vending or convenience foods

  • Less money spent on prescription medications for health problems

  • Less money spent on copays to doctor’s visits for health problems

  • Less cost to your self confidence

  • Less cost to your health and life expectancy

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In recent years, more and more insurance companies are covering for the diagnosis of Overweight or Obesity.  However, most people with Overweight or Obesity also have weight related medical conditions (such as metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, diabetes, high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol, reflux, etc.) and since weight reduction and management treats the root cause of many of these conditions, using these diagnoses will increase the chances that your office visits will be covered by your insurance.  This is not a guarantee and you should check with your insurance company to see if you have coverage for treatment of Overweight or Obesity before you make your first appointment.

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Call our office at 207.275.4440 and ask for the Northern Light Medical Weight Management Information Packet to be sent to you. After we receive your detailed history and any prior records/lab results, please allow 3-4 weeks for your chart to be reviewed. We will get back to you with next steps. Depending on your history and the lab results you may need further studies before we can decide if our program is medically appropriate for you at this time. 

If you meet the initial medical criteria for our program, we will call you and schedule your first appointment. At that first appointment, we will review a detailed history, review medical eligibility for the program and decide first steps including lab testing and start a preliminary eating plan. 
 
At the second appointment and afterwards we will customize a program for you. Within a few weeks you could be losing weight, feeling better, and reaping the health benefits.  We re-evaluate your progress regularly to see if any adjustments need to be made to continue your progress.
 

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