Choosing a Safe and Successful Weight-loss Program

Choosing a Safe and Successful Weight-loss Program

  • Talk With Your Health Care Professional
  • Ask Questions
  • A Responsible and Safe Weight-loss Program
  • Get Familiar With the Program
  • Additional Resources

Choosing a weight-loss program may be a difficult task. You may not know what to look for in a weight-loss program or what questions to ask. This fact sheet can help you talk to your health care professional about weight loss and get the best information before choosing a program.
Talk With Your Health Care Professional
If your health care provider tells you that you should lose weight and you want to find a weight-loss program to help you, look for one that is based on regular physical activity and an eating plan that is balanced, healthy, and easy to follow.
You may want to talk with your doctor or other health care professional about controlling your weight before you decide on a weight-loss program. Even if you feel uncomfortable talking about your weight with your doctor, remember that he or she is there to help you improve your health. Here are some tips:

  • Tell your provider that you would like to talk about your weight. Share your concerns about any medical conditions you have or medicines you are taking.
  • Write down your questions in advance.
  • Bring pen and paper to take notes.
  • Bring a friend or family member along for support if this will make you feel more comfortable.
  • Make sure you understand what your health care provider is saying. Ask questions if there is something you do not understand.
  • Ask for other sources of information like brochures or websites.
  • If you want more support, ask for a referral to a registered dietitian, a support group, or a commercial weight-loss program.
  • Call your provider after your visit if you have more questions or need help.

Ask Questions
iFind out as much as you can about your health needs before joining a weight-loss program. Here are some questions you might want to ask your health care provider:
About Your Weight

  • Do I need to lose weight? Or should I just avoid gaining more?
  • Is my weight affecting my health?
  • Could my excess weight be caused by a medical condition such as hypothyroidism or by a medicine I am taking? (Hypothyroidism is when your thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone, a condition that can slow your metabolism—how your body creates and uses energy.)

About Weight Loss

  • What should my weight-loss goal be?
  • How will losing weight help me?

About Nutrition and Physical Activity

  • How should I change my eating habits?
  • What kinds of physical activity can I do?
  • How much physical activity do I need?

About Treatment

  • Should I take weight-loss medicine?
  • What about weight-loss surgery?
  • Could a weight-loss program help me?

A Responsible and Safe Weight-loss Program
If your health care provider tells you that you should lose weight and you want to find a weight-loss program to help you, look for one that is based on regular physical activity and an eating plan that is balanced, healthy, and easy to follow. Weight-loss programs should encourage healthy behaviors that help you lose weight and that you can stick with every day. Safe and effective weight-loss programs should include:

  • Healthy eating plans that reduce calories but do not forbid specific foods or food groups.
  • Tips to increase moderate-intensity physical activity.
  • Tips on healthy behavior changes that also keep your cultural needs in mind.
  • Slow and steady weight loss. Depending on your starting weight, experts recommend losing weight at a rate of 1/2 to 2 lbs per week. Weight loss may be faster at the start of a program.
  • Medical care if you are planning to lose weight by following a special formula diet, such as a very low-calorie diet.
  • A plan to keep the weight off after you have lost it.

Get Familiar With the Program
Gather as much information as you can before deciding to join a program. Professionals working for weight-loss programs should be able to answer the questions listed below.
What does the weight-loss program consist of?

  • Does the program offer one-on-one counseling or group classes?
  • Do you have to follow a specific meal plan or keep food records?
  • Do you have to purchase special food, drugs, or supplements?
  • Does the program help you be more physically active, follow a specific physical activity plan, or provide exercise instruction?
  • Does the program teach you to make positive and healthy behavior changes?
  • Is the program sensitive to your lifestyle and cultural needs?

What are the staff qualifications?

  • Who supervises the program?
  • What type of weight management training, experience, education, and certifications do the staff have?

Does the product or program carry any risks?

  • Could the program hurt you?
  • Could the recommended drugs or supplements harm your health?
  • Do participants talk with a doctor?
  • Does a doctor run the program?
  • Will the program’s doctors work with your personal doctor if you have a medical condition such as high blood presure or are taking prescribed drugs?

How much does the program cost?

  • What is the total cost of the program?
  • Are there other costs, such as weekly attendance fees, food and supplement purchases, etc.?
  • Are there fees for a follow-up program after you lose weight?
  • Are there other fees for medical tests?

What results do participants typically have?

  • How much weight does an average participant lose and how long does he or she keep the weight off?
  • Does the program offer publications or materials that describe what results participants typically have?

If you are interested in finding a weight-loss program near you, ask your health care provider for a referral or contact your local hospital.
Additional Resources
Federal Trade Commission
Consumer Response Center
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20580
Phone: (202) FTC-HELP (382-4357)
Toll-free number: 1-877-382-4357
International Food Information Council Foundation
1100 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Suite 430
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: (202) 296-6540

Helping Your Overweight Child

Helping Your Overweight Child

  • Is my child overweight?
  • How can I help my overweight child?
  • Be supportive
  • Encourage healthy eating habits
  • Encourage daily physical activity
  • Discourage inactive pastimes
  • Find more help
  • Other resources

Healthy eating and physical activity habits are key to your child’s well-being. Eating too much and exercising too little can lead to overweight and related health problems that can follow children into their adult years. You can take an active role in helping your child— your whole family— healthy eating and physical activity habits that can last for a lifetime.
Is my child overweight?

Because children grow at different rates at different times, it is not always easy to tell if a child is overweight. If you think that your child is overweight, talk to your health care provider. He or she can measure your child’s height and weight and tell you if your child is in a healthy range.
How can I help my overweight child?
Involve the whole family in building healthy eating and physical activity habits. It benefits everyone and does not single out the child who is overweight.
Do not put your child on a weight-loss diet unless your health care provider tells you to. If children do not eat enough, they may not grow and learn as well as they should.
Be supportive

  • Tell your child that he or she is loved, is special, and is important. Children’s feelings about themselves often are based on their parents’ feelings about them.
  • Accept your child at any weight. Children will be more likely to accept and feel good about themselves when their parents accept them.
  • Listen to your child’s concerns about his or her weight. Overweight children probably know better than anyone else that they have a weight problem. They need support, understanding, and encouragement from parents.

Encourage healthy eating habits

  • Buy and serve more fruits and vegetables (fresh, frozen, or canned). Let your child choose them at the store.
  • Buy fewer soft drinks and high fat/high calorie snack foods like chips, cookies, and candy. These snacks are OK once in a while, but keep healthy snack foods on hand too and offer them to your child more often.
  • Eat breakfast every day. Skipping breakfast can leave your child hungry, tired, and looking for less healthy foods later in the day.
  • Plan healthy meals and eat together as a family. Eating together at meal times helps children learn to enjoy a variety of foods.
  • Eat fast food less often. When you visit a fast food restaurant, try the healthful options offered.
  • Offer your child water or low-fat milk more often than fruit juice. Fruit juice is a healthy choice but is high in calories.
  • Do not get discouraged if your child will not eat a new food the first time it is served. Some kids will need to have a new food served to them 10 times or more before they will eat it.
  • Try not to use food as a reward when encouraging kids to eat. Promising dessert to a child for eating vegetables, for example, sends the message that vegetables are less valuable than dessert. Kids learn to dislike foods they think are less valuable.
  • Start with small servings and let your child ask for more if he or she is still hungry. It is up to you to provide your child with healthy meals and snacks, but your child should be allowed to choose how much food he or she will eat.

Healthy snack foods for your child to try:

  • Fresh fruit
  • Fruit canned in juice or light syrup
  • Small amounts of dried fruits such as raisins, apple rings, or apricots
  • Fresh vegetables such as baby carrots, cucumber, zucchini, or tomatoes
  • Reduced fat cheese or a small amount of peanut butter on whole-wheat crackers
  • Low-fat yogurt with fruit
  • Graham crackers, animal crackers, or low-fat vanilla wafers

Foods that are small, round, sticky, or hard to chew, such as raisins, whole grapes, hard vegetables, hard chunks of cheese, nuts, seeds, and popcorn can cause choking in children under age 4. You can still prepare some of these foods for young children, for example, by cutting grapes into small pieces and cooking and cutting up vegetables. Always watch your toddler during meals and snacks.
Encourage daily physical activity
Like adults, kids need daily physical activity. Here are some ways to help your child move every day:

  • Set a good example. If your children see that you are physically active and have fun, they are more likely to be active and stay active throughout their lives.
  • Encourage your child to join a sports team or class, such as soccer, dance, basketball, or gymnastics at school or at your local community or recreation center.
  • Be sensitive to your child’s needs. If your child feels uncomfortable participating in activities like sports, help him or her find physical activities that are fun and not embarrassing.
  • Be active together as a family. Assign active chores such as making the beds, washing the car, or vacuuming. Plan active outings such as a trip to the zoo or a walk through a local park.

Because his or her body is not ready yet, do not encourage your pre-adolescent child to participate in adult-style physical activity such as long jogs, using an exercise bike or treadmill, or lifting heavy weights. FUN physical activities are best for kids.
Kids need a total of about 60 minutes of physical activity a day, but this does not have to be all at one time. Short 10- or even 5-minute bouts of activity throughout the day are just as good. If your children are not used to being active, encourage them to start with what they can do and build up to 60 minutes a day.
FUN physical activities for your child to try:
Riding a bike
Climbing on a jungle gym
Swinging on a swing set
Jumping rope
Playing hopscotch
Bouncing a ball
Discourage inactive pastimes
Set limits on the amount of time your family spends watching TV and videos, and playing video games.
Help your child find FUN things to do besides watching TV, like acting out favorite books or stories, or doing a family art project. Your child may find that creative play is more interesting than television.
Encourage your child to get up and move during commercials and discourage snacking when the TV is on.
Be a positive role model
Children are good learners and they learn what they see. Choose healthy foods and active pastimes for yourself. Your children will see that they can follow healthy habits that last a lifetime.
Find more help
Your health care provider
Ask your health care provider for brochures, booklets, or other information about healthy eating, physical activity, and weight control. He or she may be able to refer you to other health care professionals who work with overweight children, such as registered dietitians, psychologists, and exercise physiologists.
Weight-control program
You may want to think about a treatment program if:

  • You have changed your family’s eating and physical activity habits and your child has not reached a healthy weight.
  • Your health care provider has told you that your child’s health or emotional well-being is at risk because of his or her weight.

The overall goal of a treatment program should be to help your whole family adopt healthy eating and physical activity habits that you can keep up for the rest of your lives. Here are some other things a weight-control program should do:

  • Include a variety of health care professionals on staff: doctors, registered dietitians, psychiatrists or psychologists, and/or exercise physiologists.
  • Evaluate your child’s weight, growth, and health before enrolling in the program and watch these factors while enrolled.
  • Adapt to the specific age and abilities of your child. Programs for 4-year-olds should be different from those for 12-year-olds.
  • Help your family keep up healthy eating and physical activity behaviors after the program ends.

Other resources
MyPyramid Plan can help you make healthier food choices from every food group and find your balance between food and physical activity. MyPyramid replaces the Food Guide Pyramid. Available from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) at
Tips for Using the Food Guide Pyramid for Young Children 2 to 6 Years Old can help you teach your young child what to eat to grow and stay healthy. Available from the U.S. Government Printing Office, 202-512-1800 and at
Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Across Your Lifespan: provides healthy eating and physical activity tips for kids and parents. provides information about nutrition and fitness for kids. answers kids’ health questions about body and mind. encourages kids to get physically active.

What You’ll Eat Afterwards

Post Operative Period

The LAP-BAND® System should be considered to be a permanent medical device. Eating healthy food, exercise and behavior modifications are very important in the post-op period.


It is important that patients comply with specific dietary and other instructions after the LAP-BAND® System is in place. These instructions include the following:

  • Eat 3 smaller meals per day
  • Avoid snacking between meals
  • Eat slowly and chew food well
  • Stop eating as soon as you feel full
  • Do not drink liquids during meals or for one hour before and one hour after meals
  • Drink plenty of non-caloric liquids such as water in between meals. (at least 8 glasses per day to avoid constipation, to maintain normal kidney function and avoid kidney stones)
  • Avoid alcohol which is high in calories
  • Avoid high calorie foods (fats, sugars and carbohydrates) and eat primarily protein, i.e. fruits, vegetables and whole grains
  • Avoid aspirin and anti-inflammatory drugs (can cause stomach erosion)
  • Do not use a straw since it can put air into the stomach

Immediately after surgery, patients will start on a liquid diet and then progress to a soft diet. Patients should continue progress to a regular diet at approximately 6 weeks after surgery.*
* Results may vary. Complications are possible with any medical procedure.

Results may vary.
Dieting Following Lap-Band® System Surgery (5 minutes)

Exercise: We believe the Post-op LAP-BAND® System Patients who adhere to a consistent exercise program after surgery may lose the most weight and will also lose it faster.*
*Typical results. May vary from person to person.
Aerobic Exercise: Aerobic exercise burns calories and causes fat loss and also strengthens your heart.  In our opinion, this should be done 30 minutes every day. Examples of aerobic exercise are walking, swimming, bicycling, treadmill, stair climbing, tennis, etc. High impact aerobic exercise such as running, can cause injury to your joints.
*Typical results may vary from person to person.
Anaerobic Exercise: (weight training) Burns calories and causes fat loss and also builds muscles and bones. Anaerobic exercise should be done for 20 minutes every other day only. When performing anaerobic weight training exercise, patients should remember the following:

  • Each time you lift a weight is called a repetition (i.e. up and down) and the number of repetitions in a series is called a set.
  • Repetitions should be done slowly and smoothly
  • Pick the proper weight so that you can do 8 to 12 repititions before fatigue or muscle burn sets in. This will be your 1st set.
  • Rest a few minutes and then perform a 2nd set.
  • Rest again for a few minutes and then do a 3rd set.

Then move on to other weight exercises and do #3 sets for each exercise. It is ok to weight train both upper and lower body on the same day. Try to gradually increase the weight that is being lifted as your muscles become stronger. Some soreness after weight training is normal. Do not arch your back when lifting weights and do not hold your breath.
You can do both anaerobic and aerobic exercises the same day. If you are in your 40’s or older or have a medical condition such as heart or lung disease, check with your physician before starting any exercise program. It is important to warm up with gentle exercise and stretching before starting your exercise routine each day. Try to have a goal to exercise daily and if you don’t reach that goal, then 3 to 4 times per week should be adequate. The daily 20 -30 minutes of exercise does not have to be continuous. Research shows that the exercise can be done in multiple five to ten minute sessions with the same beneficial results. Try to vary your exercise program to avoid boredom. Also during exercise, remember to do it with enough vigor and effort to get your heart beating more rapidly.

Benefits of Exercise:

  • Adds muscle (More in men than in women. This results in an increase of your metabolic rate or the rate at which you burn calories. So you burn more calories and have better control of your weight)
  • Reduces cholesterol
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Strengthens your joints
  • Reduces the risk of osteoporosis by building strong bones
  • Increases your energy.
  • Curbs your appetite.
  • Strengthens your heart and decreases heart rate and heart disease
  • Decreases your risk of cancer, diabetes and arthritis
  • Decreases anxiety, depression and stress.
  • Improves your self-esteem.
  • Improves your body tone and flexibility.
  • Improves sleep patterns.


You will require adjustments of the LAP-BAND® System after surgery so that the band is just tight enough to allow gradual and steady weight loss. * The adjustments are made in small increments and can usually be done as an office procedure and do not require additional surgery. If the LAP-BAND® System is correctly adjusted, you should be able to eat (3) smaller meals per day and feel full so you don’t feel the need to snack in between meals. The first adjustment is done at 6 weeks post-op. Subsequent adjustments are usually done at 4 – 6 week intervals. If patients are not losing adequate weight, the patient may need a fill (tightening of the band by injecting saline). If nausea and vomiting and reflux or heart burn symptoms occur then an adjustment will be necessary to decrease the saline fill amount.*
* Results may vary. Complications are possible with any medical procedure. Know your risks and talk to a medical professional.

Post-Op Appointments

Patients need to be seen at 6 week intervals during the 1st year and then every 3 months for the next 2 years. It will also be necessary for post-op patients to have follow-up appointments with a family doctor for medication adjustments and also follow-up appointments with a dietician and a support group.*
*Results may vary.

Cosmetic Surgery

Most patients need to have post-operative plastic surgery to remove excess skin and fat on various areas of the body after they have achieved their desired weight loss.* Our physicians and our practice is dedicated to providing our patients with any needed plastic surgery procedures, such as abdominalplasty (tummy tuck) and other various body lifts. Financing is also available for these cosmetic procedures. Please contact us if you have interest in financing your post-op cosmetic procedures.
*Results may vary.

Support Groups

Support groups are very important after the procedure is performed. These groups are available to assist patients in achieving the optimal weight loss result during the post-operative period. Please ask us for information regarding our support group or support groups in your area.

Miscellaneous Information

Postoperatively if you take any large pills that you have difficulty swallowing, you may cut or crush the pills.
If pregnancy or severe illness occurs after the LAP-BAND® System has been placed, the band may need to be deflated temporarily to assure adequate nutrition.*
It is very important to avoid vomiting during the post–op period because this can cause the stomach to slip upwards above the LAP-BAND® System and enlarge the new stomach pouch.*
* Results may vary from person to person.

Gastric Banding May Reduce Diabetes Symptoms*

Gastric Banding may Reduce symptoms of Diabetes & Improves Health*
“The fastest growing operation in the United States today is the adjustable laparoscopic gastric band. Banding is far more effective in the treatment of diabetes than the best medical care with existing medicines, diet & exercise, according to an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The resolution of diabetes marches in time with the resolution of body weight. Patients lose weight gradually over a period of a few months and diabetes gradually goes away over a period of a few months.” Dr. Neil Hutcher and Dr. David Cummings discuss the gastric band, which has been shown to produce weight loss for surgery patients, and its effect on diabetes:*
* Results may vary from person to person

The weight loss is gradual and not sudden. This is also the safest way to lose weight. As a result of the surgery, patients lose weight because they eat less. The smaller stomach pouch becomes full after eating smaller amounts of food and causes a feeling of fullness, which persists until the next meal. The feeling of the need to snack food between meals is thus eliminated.*
On average patients we have seen our patients lose 2 pounds per week during the first year and thereafter the weight loss will still continue at a gradual rate.*
Many of the medical complications of obesity are reversed as a direct result of the weight loss. By five years patients will have lost on average 60% of their excess weight, which is equivalent to the weight loss realized by patients who undergo more complex weight loss surgery procedures, such as gastric bypass.*
* Results may vary.