The Weight Control Program
The Weight Control Program is designed to help you manage your weight long term
and become more physically fit. The program teaches you to make reasonable and
sustainable lifestyle changes.. This is the
only professionally led program in Vermont that incorporates both behavioral and
click here for schedule, information, and program application.)
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What is the Weight Control Program?
This program is for adults who are serious about wanting to lose weight and who
are willing to make the changes in behavior and lifestyle that are required for
lasting weight control. In addition to losing weight, other goals of the program
include: self-management skills for healthy eating and exercise habits, not
letting weight interfere with activities or self-esteem, not giving-up on weight
control, learning more effective stress management skills, and dealing with
issues that underlie being overweight. We acknowledge that most people have a
lot of knowledge about changes they should be making, but struggle with
implementing those changes consistently due to a variety of obstacles. Specific
problems often associated with overweight can be addressed here, including
emotional and binge-eating, body image problems, stress and overeating, negative
attitudes about exercise, and hopelessness or anger about having to lose weight.
How does the program work?
The program is conducted with a group of about 15-17 members and
a psychologist and dietician as group leaders. Meetings are an hour and a half
weekly for 18 consecutive weeks. Not a drop-in program, participants stay with
the same group of people throughout. During the meetings, the leaders lecture
and work with the group as a whole, but also work individually with participants
to help them solve their problems. In-between the meetings you keep a diary of
all eating and physical activity. When you come to the meeting, you weigh
yourself and keep a chart of your weight and exercise time. In the group you are
expected to speak about your progress or any trouble you are having with
changing eating or exercise. We understand that on occasion a person may need to
miss a meeting for an important reason. However, we expect participants to
commit themselves to their weight control by making their weekly meeting a top
priority. People who succeed in our program regularly attend meetings and do
What is the philosophy of the program?
We do not prescribe a diet or specific exercise program. Participants are the
ones in control to develop solutions that fit with their lifestyles, so long as
those solutions produce weight loss and healthy behavior and are realistic to
continue indefinitely. We have high expectations for eating healthy and
exercise. We believe that eliminating poor food choices and increasing healthy
ones reduces risk for serious illness. That being said, we also recognize that
learning to moderate, as opposed to totally eliminating, certain foods is the
most realistic approach. We will teach you how to incorporate “forbidden foods”
into your diet in a controlled manner without compromising your health and/or
your weight. We believe that long-term weight control is only possible if a
person spends a lot of time being physically active. We believe that changing
behavior is psychologically complex and that time is better spent learning how
to control oneself in the present, rather than to dwell on experiences that
might have created bad habits in the beginning.
We strongly emphasize that long term weight control is a focus of this program.
We know that continued accountability is absolutely necessary in order for
people to successfully manage their weight for the rest of their lives. Thus we
offer free monthly follow-up meetings for anybody who has completed the program,
as well as more focused “alumni” groups several times per year. Alumni are also
invited to repeat the full eighteen week course at any time. We would like to
encourage you to think of this as joining a program (not just a time limited
group) that you can use more or less frequently depending on your needs. This
approach allows you to access support at any time and catch those inevitable
lapses before they threaten your weight control.
What is the learning process?
You learn up-to-date scientifically based information on food, exercise, and
psychological issues. You learn to use techniques of behavior therapy and
behavior modification to gradually change unwanted habits. You learn to stay
motivated by developing helpful attitudes and self-management skills. Finally,
one of the strongest points of this program is that you learn from other people
in the group who typically offer a lot of ideas and emotional support and social
pressure to do your best.
Many people in need of weight control have trouble taking care of their health,
procrastinate on health behavior change, have mixed feelings about having to
change, and have a history of giving-up after a short weight control attempt. If
we accept you into this program, we assume you are serious about improving your
health. We will hold you accountable for your behavior and will do anything we
can to help you stay committed to change.
What happens after the program?
As mentioned previously, a follow-up program is offered free of charge to all
graduates of our program. Meetings are the first Thursday of each month from
5:30 to 6:30 pm. Some graduates attend regularly and others appear months after
finishing the program for some extra help when they’ve slipped. As continued
support following weight management programs has been shown to be an important
factor in maintaining weight loss, participation in the follow-up program is
How is this program different?
At present there is no other professional control program in Vermont that uses a
group approach with a combination of psychology and nutrition. In general,
regular weight loss programs and The Weight Control Program both help people to
lose weight. But there are some important differences. This is not strictly a
weight loss program. It’s a behavior change program. This is not a temporary
“diet”. It’s a style of living that you can live with after the program ends.
This is not a quick weight loss program. It’s designed to lose weight gradually,
without unrealistic restrictions. The leaders of this program are health
professionals with scientific expertise, not lay persons or business persons.
When needed, the leaders of this program work together with your primary
physician to help you overcome health problems. Other programs are businesses
that are not integrated with your healthcare. Consistent with the research on
weight control and exercise, we encourage a high level of physical activity.
Other programs are weak on motivating people to engage in exercise and focus too
much on “dieting”. This program starts and ends with the same group of
participants, not a steady stream of different people who come in and out of the
program. The meetings are in a group, but the leaders care about participants as
What are our results?
Compared to national trends in weight control, The Weight Control Program has
excellent results, and with the exception of obesity surgery, it is the most
effective approach to weight control. Research is ongoing and is used to measure
treatment outcome and continually confirm the above statement.
Am I eligible?
To participate, you must have some weight to lose. This program is appropriate
for people who have a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or more. (Your BMI can be
calculated by taking your current weight in pounds, multiplying it by 700,
dividing this number by your height in inches, and then dividing this number
again by height in inches.) If your weight is below but close to this cutoff, we
may be able to accept you if you have mental or physical health problems
associated with your weight, if your current weight puts you at risk for these
problems, and/or if you are regaining weight. Please call and we can discuss if
this group would be appropriate for you. In addition, you would have to agree to
the conditions listed under “Agreement” at the end of the application.
How much does it cost?
The full cost of this program is $880.00, which includes the $110 application
fee. The monthly follow-up program is free once you have completed the 18 week program.
Unfortunately, we can not bill insurance directly for behavioral weight loss. However, you can generally use HSA/HRA/Flex funds towards the program.
How do I apply?
click here for schedule, information, and program application.)
Complete the application, including the two-day eating/exercise record and the
application fee of $110. Please note: Your application cannot be processed
without this deposit. You can send your application with the provider form or
have that sent separately. We don’t need the provider form to begin considering
your application. The sooner you return the application materials, the sooner we
can give you an answer and schedule you to begin a group. If you have any
questions about The Weight Control Program or your application, I would be happy
to speak with you. My phone number is (802) 651-8999 ext 2 or send me an