Medical Weight Loss FAQ

Q: How aggressive are the diet plans? Do all patients have the same weight loss plan, or is it individualized?

Every plan is tailored to the individual. We offer a range from very aggressive dietary plans to more moderate dietary regimens.

Q: Should I bring anything to my first appointment?

Please bring the last set of labs done with your primary care provider and an ekg, if you have recently had one performed. We accept anything from within the last year. The following list is what we typically look for in your lab panel: CBC, CMP, TSH, Lipid Panel, Vitamin D, HgA1C.

Q: Who is the medical weight management team made up of? (Drs, dietitians, physical therapists, Medpro)

Our bariatrician, Dr. Zalavadia, oversees the medical weight management program. She manages any weight related medical conditions and medications. Our in-house bariatric dietitians work with participants on the details of diet and nutrition. Through the EmergeOrtho network, participants work with Physical Therapists and Trainers at various locations for individualized exercise plans. We also refer to a psychologist who specializes in working with bariatric patients to work through any psychological barriers contributing to weight.

Q: What is my commitment should I chose to participate? Can I stop at any time?

Weight management is not an overnight process, it involves treating a complex, chronic medical condition and therefore deserves the same treatment and follow up as any chronic condition. For instance, if you have heart disease, you wouldn’t stop seeing your cardiologist after one treatment. Similarly, we would not recommend stopping in the middle of a treatment plan. Discontinuing treatment before advised could lead to not only weight regain, but some people can end up at a heavier weight than when they started. This is an investment in your health, and the more you put into it, the more you will get out.

 Q: What about exercise?

The majority of our participants are evaluated and treated by physical therapists to assess any limitations for exercise. We help participants understand what is safe, yet effective exercise for them. Patients have the opportunity to continue exercise post physical therapy with one of the bariatric trainers.

 Q: I had another doctor refer me here for treatment before having a surgical procedure. Why was I referred, and what can I expect?

Sometimes other surgeons will refer patients to our program because an increasing number of procedures have BMI requirements. These BMI requirements are based on research demonstrating that weight loss prior to the procedure ensure better outcomes. If you were referred to us by a specialist, your treatment will be tailored to fit the BMI expectations for that procedure. This is common for patients with plans for orthopaedic or plastic surgery, fertility treatments, transplants, and many other procedures.

Q: Do you prescribe weight loss medications? What if that is something I am uncomfortable with?

Yes, we can prescribe weight loss medication. However, not every patient is prescribed weight loss medications, and every weight loss medication is appropriate for every patient. Medication options that are appropriate for the individual are reviewed in detail allowing the patient to be more comfortable with that treatment plan.

Q: Is there a cost associated with this program?

Everything that is completed in a clinical setting or considered a medical service is billed through insurance. Copays and coverage will vary from plan to plan. Out of pocket costs that may apply: meal replacements— which may be used in lieu of food, and bariatric trainers or coaches— should you chose to take advantage of those programs.

Q: I travel frequently.  How might this affect my weight loss plan?

Travel should be taken into consideration when choosing which treatment plan is ideal for you. More aggressive options require stricter adherence to routine visits and the dietary plan.

Q: May I drink coffee or caffeinated beverages on my weight loss plan?

We will ask all patients to reduce/eliminate all beverages with added sugar depending on the treatment plan.

Q: Can I drink alcohol on my weight loss plan?

Depending on the treatment plan, alcohol may be eliminated. If it is allowed, reduction or moderation will be strongly encouraged.

Q: Do you use meal replacements? What products are allowed?

Yes, meal replacements are one of the tools we may use to aid in weight loss. We will review which products are appropriate when a treatment plan is decided upon. All meal replacements are available at Envision Nutricenter, located on the first floor of our Cary office.

Q: Where can I purchase the meal replacement products?

All meal replacement products are available for purchase at Envision Nutricenter, located on the first floor of the Cary Office.

Q: Can I use my flexible spending account to pay for meal replacement products?

In the past, participants have tried using their flexible spending accounts to cover meal replacements without success. It is a non-covered service.

Q: How does the medical weight management program handle eating disorders or maladaptive eating behaviors, like binge eating?

We have a team based approach to handling these conditions. This includes working with the bariatric behavioral therapist.

Q: I am a post bariatric surgery patient experiencing weight regain. Can I meet with Dr. Zalavadia? 

Yes, it is beneficial to meet with Dr. Zalavadia and as soon as possible. Our goal is to stop the progression of weight regain. The longer the person waits, the more weight gain can become overwhelming and more difficult to lose.

Q: I am on the fence between medical weight management and bariatric surgery. Can I meet with Dr. Zalavadia to receive information about both options?

Yes, your first visit with Dr. Zalavadia will include a long discussion about all of your weight management options. Depending on your situation, this may include a discussion on bariatric surgery options as well. Should you decide to continue with the surgical route, you will be asked to attend a seminar or watch our online webinar before we schedule your initial visit with one of our surgeons.

2016, Bariatric Specialists of North Carolina, a part of the EmergeOrtho network
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