Weight Loss Counseling: FSA Eligibility
What does weight loss counseling accomplish?
The reality of long-term weight loss is that one must adopt better habits and learn a new set of life skills, often accomplished through weight loss counseling. There are many types of programs both clinical and commercial to help achieve weight loss goals, and finding the right one starts with evaluating individual needs (American Psychological Association)
What are some cognitive therapy or counseling techniques for weight loss?
First, it is important to set realistic goals, both short-term and long-term on improvements. When modest goals are achieved, patients feel encouraged and confident they can meet long term goals. Cognitive-Behavioral principles of planning what to eat, scheduling the food to be consumed in a given day, arranging the environment to support weight loss and planning for "high-risk" situations are all important starting tactics.
How does self-monitoring work?
Perhaps the biggest behavioral strategy is self-monitoring, or being conscious about what one is eating and how much one is exercising. Often counseling requires that patients keep a food diary of sorts and also keep track of the minutes they exercise. Accuracy is not the goal, as long as patients adopt a sense of self-awareness regarding their intake and energy expenditure.
What is stimulus control?
Stimulus Control is about identifying and modifying the problems contributing to dietary and exercise lapses. This will help find particular barriers or challenges the patient faces such as late-night eating habits, traveling and seeing restaurants, or maybe opportunities at the workplace, and help to craft customized solutions to this problem situation.
What are some weight loss strategies for preventing relapse?
Stress is a major predictor of relapse from healthy lifestyle patterns so teaching a patient how to manage stress can be particularly helpful in improving well-being. Meditation and progressive muscle relaxation can help reduce stress. Cognitive restructuring can also help patients change the way they think about themselves. Losing weight is not a magic antidote to happiness so cognitive restructuring helps patients develop self-enhancing, self-affirming thoughts.
Support from a family that eats the same healthy foods together and exercises together, or friends and similarly minded individuals can also help (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
The expenses for weight loss counseling only qualify if there is a Letter of Medical Necessity (LMN) that establishes that the patient is obese.