Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to some common questions we hear at PCW.

Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to some common questions we hear at PCW.

Ask and We’ll Answer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some questions that we are frequently asked at Physician’s Choice Wellness. Please select a question to read more about it. If you have a question that is not listed here, please contact us or attend one of our orientations.

In Illinois, we are a preferred provider organization provider (PPO) with Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, Coventry, and Medicare.

Most insurance plans have coverage for the Physician’s Choice Wellness program. If you have insurance through a provider that is out of network, it is likely the plan has some level of coverage for the Physician’s Choice Wellness program. Call today to register for one of our free orientations and the Physician’s Choice Wellness team will help you to determine your coverage.

The PCW program is very similar to the former DMH weight loss program in which they previously used the New Direction® line of products. However, their use of the New Direction® product line has been discontinued at their facility. In addition to the products that had been used by this facility, Physician’s Choice Wellness (PCW) incorporates protein bars, salty crunchy snacks as well as a variety of additional snacks our patients are allowed to consume while on our weight loss program.

We have found that using the New Direction® snacks allows our patients to continue to have that “chew” factor that is often missed while on our level 1 all meal replacement program.

PCW is a comprehensive healthcare team that has the tools to help anybody lose weight and keep it off. It is up to our participants to utilize these tools to be one of our success stories. No matter if you choose gastric bypass, gastric banding, Jenny Craig, WeightWatchers, hypnosis, PCW–anybody will regain weight that they lose if they do not make the appropriate lifestyle changes necessary to keep it off.

PCW understands that losing weight can be the easy part, keeping it off is when the hard work begins. We offer the accountability, support and education you need to be a life-long weight management success*. Take advantage of our passion to help you.

Complete the program in its entirety and you become a “lifetime member” so you can come back as often as you like. For free.

There are several factors that “weigh into” answering this question. There is more than one level of weight management that we offer. Depending on the level most appropriate for you, you can adjust the cost simply due to required medical monitoring. Another important factor is insurance. Depending on how your coverage is detailed, your insurance may help pay toward this medical monitoring. Please see our billing specialist with any specific questions you may have.

When considering the costs, which are explained in detail at a free informational session, also look at other factors: what is your current quality of life? What is your participation in life? What is the worth of an investment in yourself and your health? We factor into the Level 1 (all beverage) financial consult portion of the screening process four things: What medications are you on that we are confident we can get you off of? How many times a week do you eat fast food (including Subway)? How many times a week do you have a sit-down restaurant meal? What is your average weekly cost of groceries?

If we are providing all of your nutrition for you, a lot of that expense goes away. Just a little “food for thought.”

Our meal replacements are approximately $3.50 per meal.

Getting anybody to their goal weight is a journey. No two paths are the same. On our Level 1 program, weight loss averages 3-5 pounds* per week. Level 2 has an average of 1-2 pounds* lost per week. These averages are based on participants that are 100% compliant, take to heart all the suggestions from the team, and that have limited setbacks.

At Physician’s Choice Wellness (PCW), we are with you to help with any “lapses” that happen. These are also called “life.” We prepare you for a perfect journey, but understand that those are rare. Lessons are always learned when a person has a setback. Taking that lesson and moving forward is how we know you are going to be one of our success stories.

For Participants Needing to Lose 40+ Pounds*
What is a Level I: VLCP?

  • VLCP = Very Low Calorie Plan
  • A safe and effective, medically-supervised weight loss solution.
  • 800-1000 calories a day for men; 600-800 calories a day for women.
  • Pre-program comprehensive medical evaluation to determine if this program is appropriate for you.
  • Weekly health status monitoring.
  • Weekly clinic and class for support and accountability.

Why a VLCP?

  • All of your nutritional needs are met.
  • The program is medically supervised by a team of healthcare professionals.
  • Rapid results inspire you to keep moving towards your long-term goals. Average weekly weight loss is 3 to 5 pounds*.
  • “Burn” FAT as a fuel source.

The weight management team reserves the right to discharge or put anyone on hold at any time if conditions arise that could lead to medical complications.
Risks Associated with VLCP

  • Cardiac Risk- Prolonged QT interval (abnormal heart rhythm, related to electrolyte abnormalities)
  • Caution with Procainamide, Quinidine and Phenothiazides
  • Electrolyte Abnormalities (magnesium, potassium, phosphorus)
  • Gallbladder Disease (cholelithiasis, cholecystitis)
  • Elevated Liver Enzymes (temporary, first few weeks mostly)
  • Gout (increased uric acid levels first four to six weeks)
  • Foot Drop (peroneal nerve palsy) (compression peroneal nerve)

Side Effects of VLCP

  • Constipation Dry mouth
  • Dry skin
  • Fatigue
  • Bad breath
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Hair loss/Thinning
  • Diarrhea
  • Hypotension
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Hypokalemia
  • Hypomagnesemia

Call our office to sign up for a free, informational session. We hold 3-4 a month and it is a requirement so that you completely understand your commitment as well as any medical risks and side effects you are facing. After the orientation we can set up your screening appointments.

Expect 1-2 weeks* to complete the screening phase and get you officially started on the program. We understand that being excited and motivated is important when coming into any weight loss program, but we also understand the importance of making sure you are in a healthy state to participate in an aggressive program such as PCW. We will provide a checklist of steps you can take while you wait to get through the screening process that can improve your chances for success.

Our medical team will help you in determining a realistic/healthy weight rather than an ideal weight.

“A healthy body weight is the size a person naturally returns to after a long period of both non-compulsive eating and consistent exercise commensurate with the person’s physical health and condition.”

Emphasis will be on reducing medical risks – not necessarily what you consider your ideal weight.

Once you reach your goal weight, you will work one on one with the dietitians to incorporate nutritious foods back into your lifestyle. Emphasis will be placed on making smart decisions and monitoring portions to ensure weight maintenance*.

Keeping your body in a constant hydrated state is a key component to weight loss. You must drink lots and lots of water. You can also drink coffee, tea, diet pop or crystal light. Ask our dietitians for any clarification on particulars.

Drinking water on a regular basis is one of those important lifestyle changes some people need to make that will help them better conquer their battle with obesity. Ketosis promotes dehydration.

In addition to water, our program also includes New Direction® products.

Ketosis is the modern trend in medical weight loss. When on a Very Low Calorie Plan and keeping under your carbohydrate threshold, your body enters this state of ketosis. In this state, we know several things are happening. Your fuel will come from your fat storage. Lean muscle tissue is preserved, and it is important that you hold onto that muscle through this experience. Also, while in ketosis your body will release endorphins. When you think you will have no energy, once in ketosis (3-5 days) you have a surplus of energy due to the release of the hormone endorphin.

Finally, medical research has shown that when a person is in ketosis and is still receiving all of the vitamins, minerals, and calories necessary to still be healthy, any hunger you feel is a psychological hunger and not a physical hunger. A lot of people can deal with a mental hunger more easily knowing that physically they are receiving everything they need to lose weight safely and quickly.


For Participants Needing to Lose Less than 40 Pounds
What is a Level II: LCP?

  • LCD = Low Calorie Diet
  • Less than 40 pounds* of weight to lose for women and less than 50 pounds* for men.
  • There is a slower rate of weight loss than with Level 1 (about 1-2 pounds/week).
  • You will have two meal-replacing beverages per day and one modified meal according to the food exchange system.
  • 1000-1300 calories consumed per day.

Nuts and Bolts of a LCP

  • Same screening process as for Level I (will be discussed in detail at that time).
  • Weekly clinic and class for support and accountability.
  • Success correlates with ability to adjust lifestyle choices.
  • Not as closely supervised by medical team.

Not just “that Liquid Diet”

Sign Up Now for a FREE Orientation

PCW has different program options to fit into most any budget and lifestyle. Regardless of how much weight you have to lose, we have a program that is just right for you!

Explore our PCW Programs, or contact us for an orientation to discuss your journey towards better health.

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