FAQs

Our Medical Weight Management Program

How much weight should I expect to lose?

On average, participants in our program lose 1 to 3 pounds per week during the program, with an average of 40 pounds of weight loss by week 17. You can expect to continue losing weight until you reach you own desired weight.  


Do I need to be a Kaiser Permanente member to sign up for the program?

The Kaiser Permanente Medical Weight Management Program is open to Kaiser members and non-members. Whether you are a member or non-member, you will receive the same level of high-quality care.


Is the Medical Weight Management Program covered by my Health Plan benefits?

These services are not covered by Kaiser Foundation Health Plan; however, Kaiser Permanente does offer other programs to help support and facilitate weight loss.

You may use your employer-provided flexible spending account (FSA), health savings account (HSA) or medical savings plan (MSP) to help pay for the program with pretax dollars. Consult your employer’s health plan administrator or tax advisor for details about FSAs, HSAs and MSPs.


How much does the Medical Weight Management Program cost?

The program cost includes:

  • Your initial comprehensive health assessment with a Kaiser Medical Weight Management provider.
  • Required meal replacements for the Active Weight Loss and Transition phases of the program
  • Weekly behavior modification sessions for 82 weeks.
  • Regular medical checks with a doctor, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant during the Active and Transition phases of the program.
  • Regular lab tests during the Active and Transition phases of the program.
  • An initial electrocardiogram test.

For detailed pricing information, please attend one of our complimentary orientations or call your nearest location.


Do I need a referral from my primary care physician before attending the online orientation session?

No. You may contact any of our locations directly to attend an upcoming orientation session.


Are there physical benefits from losing weight besides looking and feeling better?

Yes! Research has shown that for many people weight reduction can have a positive impact on:

  • Lower your risk of heart disease
  • Lower your blood pressure
  • Lower your cholesterol and blood glucose levels
  • Manage diabetes
  • Relieve joint pain from excess weight

Is a full meal replacement program medically safe?

When medically supervised, the use of a full meal replacement is safe and effective for weight loss.


Will I feel weak or fatigued while on the meal replacement program?

You should not feel weak or fatigued as a result of the meal replacements. The meal replacement program is designed to eliminate hunger and fatigue by:

  • Preventing caloric deprivation
  • Providing complete nutrition
  • Stimulating your body to derive most of your caloric needs from its fat stores

Is rapid weight loss bad for my health?

Rapid weight loss using full meal replacement in combination with medical supervision is safe and healthy. However, rapid weight loss produced by unsupplemented fasting or fasting with inferior products can cause your body to use lean muscle tissue as a source of fuel, which can jeopardize your health and make weight maintenance difficult. The products used in our program are formulated to protect lean muscle mass and to use fat stores as fuel, thereby eliminating these risks.


Are there negative side effects from using a full fast weight loss plan?

Most people who use OPTIFAST® and Robard meal replacement products experience no negative side effects at all. A small number of people experience minor and temporary hair-thinning during the Active Weight Loss phase. Like the temporary hair loss that often occurs during pregnancy, this is almost always reversible. Some people experience episodes of lightheadedness. In some cases, the full fast can lead to an increase in uric acid levels. People with a history of gout are monitored carefully so that appropriate treatment can be initiated, if needed.


Does the Kaiser Permanente Medical Weight Management Program offer treatment using medications?

Weight loss medications are not part of the standard program. You will be evaluated individually before you enter the program. Your physician may make the proper referrals to receive further treatments, if they are right for you.


May I declare any part of this program as a tax deduction?

Consult your tax advisor for details.


Once I lose my weight, what can I do to keep it off?

There are 4 crucial steps to successful weight maintenance. The stronger your commitment to each of these areas, the more likely you are to maintain your weight:

  • Participate in group meetings and follow through with recommendations made by program staff about addressing the reasons you overeat.
  • Regularly attend another support program after completing the Kaiser Permanente Medical Weight Management Program.
  • Be aware of when and what you eat. This can be done most successfully by planning meals and snacks ahead of time or by keeping records of what and how much you eat.
  • Maintain some form of regular physical activity. Physical activity doesn’t just burn calories, it can also help you manage stress, which decreases the need to use food to relax.

Some people find it easier to maintain their new weight if they use a limited number of OPTIFAST® and Robard products on an ongoing basis.


Are the OPTIFAST® and Robard mealreplacement products vegan / vegetarian / gluten-free?

  • The Robard Robard Fudge bar is not gluten free
  • OPTIFAST® Products are gluten free

Regarding Vegetarian/Vegan appropriate (from Nestle Medical Affairs)

  • The OPTIFAST® products are appropriate for lacto-vegetarian diets, but not for vegan diets.  
  • All the products contain some milk-based protein, but none contain meat-based ingredients. 
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