A Better Way Health Center (LEARN MORE)

What type of weight loss program is A Better Way?
How does the program work?
How much does it cost?
What is a typical office visit like?
How often do I come in for appointments?
Who is the program for?
When can I get an initial appointment?
Phentermine
What is phentermine?
How does phentermine work?
Who should consider phentermine?
When should someone consider phentermine?
Why use a medication to help with weight loss?


A Better Way Health Center is a preventive medicine program in the Southdale Medical Center in Edina, Minnesota with a focus on weight control through the development of permanent healthy diet and exercise habits, so that weight loss is not only achieved, but also maintained. As an aid to this process, most of our patients also use the medication, phentermine. Over the past three years, our program has helped over 1600 patients achieve healthier weights.


What type of weight loss program is A Better Way?
A Better Wayís program can be categorized as an individualized behavior-modification program, with a focus on dietary education and one-on-one coaching and problem solving. Each participant meets individually with a Registered Dietitian and a physician at every office visit, who will go through that participantís diet and weight loss history, reinforcing areas of progress and making specific suggestions for further improvement. While we do work with our participants to help them identify and alter their responses to the emotional and environmental triggers that lead to inappropriate eating, we do not practice psychotherapy or attempt to delve deeply into our participantsí private lives. Of the major commercial weight loss programs, our program is most similar to that of Weight-Watchers, emphasizing a sound diet, education, self-monitoring and the use of real foods, but without the public weighing and mandatory group discussions.

How does the program work?
The programís emphasis is based on research of individuals who have been able to not only lose a substantial amount of weight but are successfully keeping that weight off. The findings of this research indicate that certain basic habits appear to be highly correlated with long-term success at weight control. Our program focuses on the development of these habits in each of our patients, tailoring the specific behaviors to the individual in order to optimize his or her long-term weight control.

How much does it cost?
Program cost is ninety dollars per month, which includes the monthly visit with the physician and Registered Dietician, and a four-week supply of the medication, phentermine. Payment is on a visit-to-visit basis, with no contracts to sign or hidden fees. We do not sell foods or ask you to buy other products. Program costs are deductible as medical expenses or are reimbursable by employer-sponsored flexible payment plans or medical savings accounts (ìcafeteria plansî).

What is a typical office visit like?
A typical office visit takes about thirty minutes. At each visit, a participant first checks in with the front desk and then fills out a brief, easy-to-use computerized questionnaire, gathering information on each participantís current diet, physical activity level, and response to the medication, phentermine, along with questions into their general physical health. Next, each participant meets privately with our Registered Dietitian, who obtains the weight and blood pressure, and then reviews with them their diet and progress-to-date, usually giving several diet tips on what to work on over the upcoming month. Each participant then meets the physician, who also reviews the diet and physical activity, and explores in detail how the phentermine is working for that individual, making any adjustment in dosage or pill type that may be warranted. The prescription is then filled, the following appointment is scheduled and the patient makes payment on their way out at the front desk.

How often do I come in for appointments?
Our experience has been that when participants are in the weight loss phase, they should come in at least monthly in order to stay on track and make good progress, and so we very strongly encourage participants to go no more than four weeks out between appointments, although we are not totally inflexible, and most of our participants do come on a monthly basis. A good percentage of our patients prefer more frequent follow-up appointments, in order to speak with our staff and for the accountability, and for them we prorate the program cost accordingly (e.g. $50 for two weeks, $70 for three weeks).

Who is the program for?
Our physician evaluates each applicant to the program individually based on that individualís weight gain history, medical history, physical exam and benefits to be obtained from any weight loss. However, the average participant in the program is about 50-70 pounds above the upper limit of what is considered the ìhealthy rangeî (BMI of 19-25) for their height, and has tried several or other weight loss programs with poor results. About half have one or more weight-related health conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

When can I get an initial appointment?
We are usually booked out about a week to two in advance, but occasionally can fit new participants in as early as the next day. Appointments can be made or questions answered by calling our office at 952-285-8000.
Phentermine Phentermine is the most effective appetite suppressant on the market today. It has a 40-year record of safe use and in our experience remains the ìgold standardî for effective appetite control, surpassing the effects of other more heavily advertised products.

What is phentermine?
Phentermine is a prescription medication approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of obesity. It is a sympathomimetic amine (stimulant class of appetite suppressant) legally prescribed as a weight loss aid for those who are clinically overweight or obese and who are participating in a professional physician-supervised program of weight control.

How does phentermine work?
Phentermine appears to help with weight loss efforts in three ways:
Phentermineís primary effect is to reduce or eliminate the sensations of hunger and specific food cravings, so that dieters are able to follow a healthy diet without feeling starved or deprived. Phentermine also works by creating the sensations of satiety (feeling ìfullî) at much lower levels of food intake. This helps dieters to not only eat less, but also to learn to recognize and adapt to smaller portion sizes. Phentermine also produces a modest increase in the metabolism and a mild perception of ìincreased energyî, so that those taking it are more physically active and burn more calories through the day.

Who should consider phentermine?
Phentermine should be considered by those who are clinically ìobeseî (BMI >= 30; nearly one-third of the U.S. adult population) or who are overweight (BMI >= 27) with two or more obesity-related health risk factors, such heart disease, colon, breast, endometrial and prostate cancers, diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, sleep apnea, gall bladder disease, and osteoarthritis.When should someone consider phentermine? The use of phentermine should be considered after multiple attempts at losing weight without a medication aid (either through a formal program and/or self-dieting) have proven ineffective. Only after consultation with a physician, including a medical history and a physical exam, should anyone embark on using phentermine as a weight loss aid.
It should be understood by both the physician and the patient that phentermine will help to produce permanent weight loss only if combined with a program of dietary modification and increased physical activity. This program should ideally provide both professional individualized instruction (i.e., meeting with a Registered Dietitian, as well as the physician) and follow-up appointments at reasonable intervals (at least monthly).

Why use a medication to help with weight loss?
Obesity is at epidemic proportions in the U.S., and is now the leading cause of premature morbidity and mortality in the United States. The obese at are dramatically increased risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, colon, breast, endometrial and prostate cancers, diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, sleep apnea, gall bladder disease, osteoarthritis, and many other diseases. As research into the causes of obesity has progressed, it has come to be seen more as a chronic disease with both biological and behavioral underpinnings, similar to diabetes or hypertension,

While the ideal for many chronic diseases, including diabetes, hypertension, or obesity, would be for their control without medication, it many cases this goal cannot be achieved, and the alternatives become to add a medication as an aid, or else let the disease progress inadequately controlled. Just as medications have been developed and are now being routinely used to treat conditions such as depression or smoking, which were once also thought due to poor behavior or moral failings, so too is obesity being recognized as a health condition which in many cases is poorly controllable through behavior alone, and which can benefit from treatment with a medication in combination with behavioral change.

A Better Way Health Center
6750 France Avenue South, Suite 112
Edina, MN 55435 Phone:
952.285.8000