a picture of a MacBook that has Google search page on it, there is a smartphone on the right and a notebook and peons on the left
a picture of a MacBook that has Google search page on it, there is a smartphone on the right and a notebook and peons on the left

Losing weight is a common goal for many people. There are countless diets, exercise regimens, supplements, and medications marketed to help with weight loss, making the process of trying to find the right option overwhelming. 

A balanced diet and active lifestyle are key to maintaining a healthy weight, but achieving this goal is easier said than done when you are juggling a variety of stresses and responsibilities. Making efforts to lose weight are frequently placed on the backburner in favor of completing tasks that feel more pressing. 

However, the consequences of being chronically overweight and obese are much more severe than most people realize. Getting professional care from a weight loss clinic can help you reach your weight loss goals with safe and proven methods, and here’s how.

Why is there a need to visit a Weight Loss Clinic near me?

Obesity among Americans has steadily increased in the past few decades, with 41.9% of adults aged 20 and over,[1] falling into the obese range as of 2020, prior to the pandemic. Severe obesity, classified by having a body mass index (BMI) of 40 kg/m2 or higher, has nearly doubled in recent decades. Obesity takes a significant toll on health, and the increase in obesity prevalence has caused healthcare costs to soar. Experts estimate the medical cost of obesity in 2019 was a whopping $172.74 billion[2] in the United States.

hamburger next to some French fries before an obese man holding his full stomachOn average, the medical costs of an obese adult are $1,861 higher than for those within healthy weight ranges. Obviously, these inflated costs cause more stress, making it more difficult to navigate daily life and trapping many into a vicious cycle of feeling unable to address the health issues that are negatively impacting their lives.

People often experience frustrating fluctuations in weight as they try to navigate losing weight on their own. Seeking medical help for weight loss is often stigmatized as shameful or overly expensive, leading many to keep fruitlessly attempting various products and techniques claiming to be miracle fixes for fast weight loss.

In addition to being frustrating, it can also be dangerous. Weight loss supplements are not drug regulated by the FDA, meaning that many make claims not backed by science, and may not even match the listed ingredients. This can lead to negative reactions due to various health conditions or contraindications with other medicines you may be taking.

The safest and most effective way to lose weight is under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

What are the different Types of Weight Loss Programs?

There are a wide number of options to choose from when considering a weight loss program. Understanding how the different options work can help you choose the right one for you more easily. It’s also important to know what makes a program stand out, as well as signs that you should avoid a particular program or provider.

Weight Loss Clinic 

a female black doctor talking with a patient, she has a stethoscope around her neck and a skull art piece in the backgroundA weight loss clinic, sometimes called a weight loss center, is a practice focused fully on helping people lose weight and keep it off. Weight loss clinics typically focus on people considered obese, with a BMI of 30 or higher.

If you are considering a weight loss clinic, you should research it first to ensure:

  • They are a reputable healthcare provider
  • If they have published any peer-reviewed research in any medical journals
  • Whether there are any complaints lodged against the center by former patients or other medical organizations online or with your state medical board.

The strategies employed by a weight loss center can vary from practice to practice. Some may focus on reaching low, weekly weight loss targets with gradual changes to diet and physical activity. Other programs start with a meal replacement plan or low-calorie diet. Your overall health condition, weight loss goals, and starting weight will also impact your plan.

Some weight loss centers may offer medication during the course of treatment to enhance the effects of other weight loss methods, such as diet and exercise. Prescription weight loss aids may not be right for everyone, so a thorough health evaluation should be completed before you are given a prescription. If a center seems to be pushing you towards a weight loss aid prescription without conducting a health screening, that is a sign of a program you should avoid.

In the event that you regain weight after finishing the program, a weight loss clinic may suggest you consider bariatric surgery.

Signs of a Credible Weight Loss Clinic include:

  • Operated and run by licensed and trained healthcare professionals
  • Advertisements are honest about weight loss being a gradual, long-term process
  • Focus on behavioral treatment and lifestyle counseling, tackling issues such as:
    • How to make healthier eating choices
    • Stress management
    • How to incorporate exercise into your regular routine
  • Offer ongoing supervision or support during your participation in the program.
  • Numerous positive reviews

Some Warning Signs that a Weight Loss Clinic may NOT be Trustworthy include:

  • Lacks active oversight by a licensed and trained healthcare professional
  • Advertisements claim a certain number of pounds lost every week, or promise a quick fix
  • The clinic claims to help you lose weight through medication alone
  • Offer prescription weight loss pills without a thorough health screening or further medical advice to address issues that initially led to weight gain
  • Multiple complaints from former patients or other medical organizations.

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At-home Weight Loss Programs

There are plenty weight loss programs to choose from.

Diet-based Programs

top view of cherries laid down in columns and rows with a spot of a missing cherry in the middle Diet-based weight loss programs focus on reducing your caloric intake and balancing your diet. These subscription programs are typically online and/or through mobile apps that allow you to track your meals. Some of them allow you to create your own diet and track calories, while others involve pre-prepared, individually portioned meals. Others may involve a combination of both.

Programs typically offer different pricing tiers, with varying levels of counseling and coaching available. Some plans require you to meet one-on-one in person for your first few sessions, while others are entirely remote. Tiers can also be categorized based on your weight loss goals, with plans differing depending on whether you are trying to lose weight or maintain your goals.

Online Weight Loss Programs

The best online weight loss programs offer tools to help you learn healthier habits. These subscription programs offer both coaching and community support along with resources to learn healthier habits. They may be accessible online, via mobile app, or both. Though these programs mainly focus on building healthier habits overall, most also include food intake tracking.

These programs may also have various pricing tiers based on your needs and goals. You can choose to follow the program along on your own, or you can get more hands-on coaching to help keep you on track.

DIY Weight Loss options

If you are not interested in any sort of commercial weight loss program, you can try to create your own weight loss program. You should consider not only your diet and activity level, but also behavioral changes you can make in your day-to-day routine to help you reach your health goals.

You may benefit from using an online or mobile app for food and hydration journaling. It may also be helpful for you to seek out community support on social media and other online forums. You should talk to a healthcare professional for tips on weight loss, especially if you have any preexisting health conditions, about what options may be best for you.

a person pouring oil on a white plate full of healthy vegetables and some pieces of chickenMany people struggle to stay on track using DIY methods, as the knowledge and accountability of working with a coach or clinician is a powerful motivator. Some people find it useful to adhere to health-based diets that do not require subscriptions to follow.

Some examples of these diets include:

Are In-person or Online Weight Loss Programs better?

Choosing a weight loss program is a personal decision based on a number of criteria that may be unique to you. However, there is scientific research demonstrating some approaches may be more effective than others. A 2018 study[3] compared results of a 12-week program on 4 groups. The control group did not receive any information or counseling. One group received exclusively face-to-face information and counseling. The second group received the same information solely through a mobile app program. The third group received the information via a combination of face-to-face counseling and use of the mobile app program.

Results demonstrated that significantly more people in the three groups receiving counseling lost at least 5% more of their starting weight than the control group. Also, while the results of the combination group and the face-to-face group were roughly the same, 19% more participants in the combination group lost 5% of their starting weight when compared with the app-only group.

Another review study[4] found that app or web-based programs were more effective than no program at all but were ultimately more inconsistent when compared to in-person options. However, it is also worth noting that web-based programs were overall more effective in helping people maintain weight, versus as a weight loss intervention.

In-person versus Online Weight Loss Programs

thumbs up and thumbs down photo of 2 handsLet’s see the advantages and disadvantages of both kinds of weight loss programs, so you can have a better perspective on what suits you best.

In-person Weight Loss Programs


  • Comprehensive counseling in person
  • Accountability through regular appointments
  • Access to prescription medications


  • Inconvenience of attending appointments
  • Higher costs
  • Lack of support after initial weight loss to keep weight off

Online Weight Loss Programs


  • Convenience of remote access
  • More affordable
  • More resources to help maintain weight after initial loss


  • Easier to get off track without attending appointments
  • May lack access to prescription medications

Regardless of which weight loss program you choose, you should ensure you are working with licensed and trained healthcare providers. Doctors can fully evaluate your health and determine the safest, most effective ways for you to lose weight. Assessing your overall health not only allows them to craft more effective ways for you to reach health goals, but also to make sure your weight loss efforts do not negatively impact your body.

The medications or supplements you take may affect your metabolism. They may also negatively interact with prescription medications for weight loss that you may consider taking, so make sure to fully disclose everything to your weight loss health care provider.

Tips for Choosing a Weight Loss Program

a question mark made of green leaves placed on green glass with a background of the sky and half the moonWhen choosing a weight loss program, you should start by making a list of reputable programs. One of the best places to start in your weight loss program search is your primary care physician (PCP). They may be able to offer suggestions for reliable local or online weight loss programs.

You should also search “medical weight loss clinic near me” on Google and research which ones are credible. If you have any interest in online weight loss programs, you should also make a list of best-reviewed options. Remember that a weight loss program should involve at least one licensed and trained healthcare professional to oversee services.

Here are some questions that can help narrow down your list:

  • What am I willing to do to achieve my goals? – How much time are you willing to commit, what changes in diet and activity level are you willing to make, and how much are you willing to spend? Be realistic.
  • Is the program adaptable to fit my lifestyle? – Seek out a plan that fits your schedule, health, medications, and other individual factors.
  • How long is the program? – Making drastic changes may help you lose weight short-term, but you may regain the weight if you are unable to maintain them.
  • What kind of equipment do they have that I will need? – Consider the cost comparison between weight loss clinics with gym facilities vs. starting a gym membership alongside a different program option.
  • What kind of training does the staff have? – Look into the training requirements the center requires for the staff who are NOT medical professionals.
  • Does the program use medications or supplements? If so, which ones? – The weight loss medical specialist should conduct a thorough health screening before prescribing any weight loss medication.
  • How does the program measure my progress and stats? – Programs that aim for slow and steady progress, are more forthright and safer considering the final results.
  • Is the program sustainable long-term? – You will be less likely to succeed if the cost and accessibility of the program is unsustainable.
  • Are there any risks when using the program? – Choose a different option if the medications or supplements are incompatible with your health or current medications.
  • What is the duration of the training sessions and are they safe for me? – Make sure that you are physically and mentally ready to invest time in your injury-free training sessions.
  • How much will the program cost me? – Consider the overall impact to your budget. In addition to the cost of the program, you may also have transportation costs to any in-person program.
  • Is the program supported with evidence? – See if they have published any peer-reviewed research in any medical journals or if their evidence is based on science and case studies.
  • How will my end results look like? – Getting an idea of previous program participants’ progress can help you avoid setting impossible expectations for yourself and motivate you to do the work.
  • What are some major red flags that indicate an unreliable program? – Avoid programs that make unrealistic promises or guarantees in their advertising that do not require you to do any work. Additionally, you should look out for:
    • HCG injections or pills – these treatments are designed to address fertility issues, and there is no scientific evidence supporting their use for weight loss.
    • Mandatory supplements or medications – It’s important to make sure that a program is offering evidence-based guidance with optional supplements and medications. This prevents them from taking your hard-earned money and leaving you less healthy than before.

How to Prepare for Your Visit with a Weight Loss Specialist

a woman sitting on a couch with her headphones and black eyeglasses on her head, her laptop on her lap, writing notesThere are a few steps you can take to prepare for your first visit with a weight loss specialist, such as:

  • Create a list of your health goals – Including any other health reasons influencing your goals can help your provider create a plan that is effective, realistic, and safe.
  • Make a list of which methods of weight loss you’ve tried – This can give your provider insight on what your biggest challenges are and allow them to design strategies to address them.
  • Bring a list of all medications and supplements you are currently taking – which may have negative interactions with any supplements or medications the program might otherwise suggest. Some medications and supplements change the way your body absorbs food, which may influence your weight loss strategies.
  • Create a list of questions to ask your weight loss program provider. Some questions you might consider asking include:
    • How flexible is the program meal plan? Can I make changes based on preferences, food allergies, or food intolerances?
    • Does the program include a physical activity plan?
    • What kind of counseling is offered? Is there any community support?
    • Does the program offer any counseling to help maintain a healthy weight after initial weight loss?

At-home Medical Weight Loss Service

Achieving your weight loss goals in the midst of a busy lifestyle can feel overwhelming, especially if you have a busy schedule.

If you want the medical expertise and detailed counseling of a weight loss clinic with the convenience of an online program, then consider trying a concierge at-home medical weight loss service. These programs offer services via telehealth and visits to your home or office.

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  1. Stierman B, Afful J, Carroll MD. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2017–March 2020 prepandemic data files development of files and prevalence estimates for selected health outcomes. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published: June 14, 2021. https://stacks.cdc.gov/view/cdc/106273 
  2. Ward ZJ, Bleich SN, Long MW, Gortmaker SL. Association of body mass index with health care expenditures in the United States by age and sex. PLoS ONE. Published: March 24, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0247307
  3. Hurkmans E, Matthys C, Bogaerts A, et al. Face-to-face versus mobile versus blended weight loss program: Randomized clinical trial. National Library of Medicine. Published: January 11, 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5785684/
  4. Sorgente A, Pietrabissa G, Manzoni GM, et al. Web-based interventions for weight loss or weight loss maintenance in overweight and obese people: A systematic review of systematic reviews. National Library of Medicine. Published: June 26, 2017. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5504341/