Weight Loss Program Questions and Answers (FAQs)
The Mount Sinai Morningside Weight Loss Program is actually two programs: a 52-week program for people who have 50 or more pounds to lose, and a 26-week program for people who have less than 50 pounds to lose. The programs are lifestyle-change, out-patient, self-pay, hospital-based weight loss programs offering weekly closed-group sessions. Group sessions are led by a team of health care professionals in nutrition, behavior change, and exercise. The treatment team and approach are the same in both programs.
In adherence with COVID-19 precautions, all our programs are run online using the Zoom application. You can participate in any of our programs from the safety and privacy of your own home from anywhere in the country.
Our offices are located at Mount Sinai Morningside on West 114th Street and Amsterdam Avenue (adjacent to Columbia University), on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in New York City.
We frequently hear common weight loss questions about our program and are happy to provide answers here.
We will help you determine your healthy weight loss goal. We use Body Mass Index (BMI), a ratio of your weight to height, as a general guideline. We look for participants with a BMI under 30 for our 50 pounds and under group, and a BMI 30 or above for our 50 pounds or over group. However, these are only general guidelines, and we will help you decide which group is right for you. The National Institutes of Health website offers an online tool for calculating your BMI.
Think of our program like weight loss school. We’ll share research-based nutrition, behavior changes, motivation, exercise strategies, and information necessary for you to lose weight and keep it off. We also have a behavior therapist on our team to address the emotional issues related to weight control. It’s not group therapy, but we do address the emotional issues and relationship that you have with food in order to help you control food and eating.
Our weight loss groups are closed, which means you’re with the same people for the entire 26 or 52 weeks, which creates an environment of consistent support for losing weight. We don’t know of any other program that offers this level of commitment to help you lose weight, especially for 26 to 52 weeks and beyond.
No, once you start the program you remain in the same group at the same day and time each week for the entire 26 or 52 weeks. In addition, you cannot attend another group as a make-up session, even if you miss your own group during any particular week.
Group sessions are 45 minutes long and start at 6:00pm and 7:30pm EST Monday through Wednesday. Times are based on availability. We do not have groups in the morning or early afternoon. You attend only one group per week.
Yes. There are virtually no medical conditions that would prevent you from joining.
Yes, we have a team of endocrinologists on our staff. An endocrinologist is a medical doctor and specialist trained to evaluate, diagnose, and treat disorders of glands, hormones, metabolism, thyroid, and other conditions that might make it difficult for you to lose weight. Physicians’ fees apply and are paid by you separately from the program. You are not required to see one of our endocrinologists to join the program.
We won’t give you a strict diet plan. Instead, we’ll teach you a variety of skills, techniques, and options for making the changes to your diet that are necessary to live in your world and still lose weight without feeling hungry, restricted, or deprived. The goal is to educate you on all the facts about nutrition and health so that you no longer have to go on a diet. The food options will be the foods that you choose to eat.
We recommend losing one to two pounds per week. We are more interested in having you lose weight at a sensible rate that is sustainable in the long run rather than a quick fix where you lose quickly but then regain quickly.
Our average weight loss is 9.1 percent of initial body weight (approximately 32 pounds) with a range up to 45 percent (more than 100 pounds). Our “biggest loser” was a woman in her 50’s who lost 112.5 pounds in 52 weeks. In our 26-week program for people who have less than 50 pounds to lose, the average weight loss is 8.8 percent of initial body weight (approximately 21 pounds, ranging up to 55 pounds). Attendance is one of our best predictors of who loses the most weight, so showing up is important. Your persistence, commitment, determination, hard work, resilience, and patience are other factors that will contribute to how much weight you lose.
Absolutely not. We want you to learn how to live and eat in your world. Our approach is practical. Eating out, and take-out, is part of many peoples’ lives, so we will teach you how to manage eating out and still lose weight. Again, our program is lifestyle change, which means you continue to do the things you like to do, but this time you’ll learn enough about your relationship with food to cope with all sorts of everyday high-risk situations. You’ll learn how to gain control over food and eating rather than have it control you.
Our program understands people don’t lose very much weight with exercise. We won’t discourage you from exercising if you’re already working out, but we’ll spend more time on nutrition and behavior during the first weeks of the program to help you maximize weight loss. Then we’ll introduce exercise once you’ve lost some weight.
The average age of our participants is 47 years. You must be at least 25 years old to join.
Seventy-five percent of our participants are women and 25 percent are men.
No, weight loss medication is not a core feature of our lifestyle change program. But we are not opposed to weight loss medication and will refer you to one of our endocrinologists if you would like to explore that option.
No, but we can refer you to one of our bariatric surgeons if you want to explore this option. We are not opposed to surgery; it’s just not a core feature of our lifestyle change program.
Yes, our body composition lab is world class. We offer participants testing for resting metabolic rate, body fat measurement (Bod Pod), and maximal and sub-maximal exercise performance.
Yes, that’s our Rainbow program, which runs continuously in three-month modules at a time. Once you graduate from the 26- or 52-week program you can join the Rainbow program and repeat the modules as many times and for as long as you like. You may continue into the Rainbow program right after you graduate or “fly on your own” for a while and then return if you ever feel the need for support.
No, but you have the option of joining the Rainbow program described above once you complete the program.
Our approach is unique due to our professional staff and our groups that consist of the same participants with similar weight-loss goals who are together for 26 or 52 weeks. Everyone in the group relates to each other the moment you start talking about weight loss. The support and camaraderie among participants, and the guidance from trained and experienced health professionals is invaluable.
The first step is to attend one of our free-of-charge, 75-minute online orientations, where we formally present the program and answer all your questions. We work on a first-come, first-served basis and recruit first from people who attend the orientation, so it is important that you attend this meeting. If you are interested in joining after the orientation, make an appointment for an individual screening with one of our staff. All individuals must have a screening appointment. You sign up and then start group sessions after that.
Our fee is $65 per week, payable out-of-pocket at the beginning of each month. Our one-time fee for the screening appointment is $90. We accept credit cards (such as Mastercard and Visa), and flex spending may apply.
Yes, you pay for every session, including religious holidays, even if you miss a session for any reason, unless your group falls on Christmas, New Year’s, Memorial Day, Labor Day, July 4th, or Thanksgiving.
We do not accept insurance. Your insurance company must reimburse you directly if they cover weight loss.
To find out the date of our next orientation, or for more information about the program, contact Robyn Hersh at email@example.com Many of our orientations are on the first Thursday of each month.