Overweight and obesity can lead to various health problems and increased risk for chronic diseases. While the answer may seem simple, actually achieving weight loss is not.
Prescription weight loss programs are designed to combine the more traditional approach to weight loss, like goal setting and making lifestyle changes, with FDA-approved medications that can help further improve results.
Let’s take a look at two popular prescription weight loss programs, Found Weight Care and Form Health. We’ll explore the fundamentals of each of these programs, including how coaching works, the experts involved, and results many participants experience.
Why Enroll In A Prescription Weight Loss and Coaching Program?
When trying to lose weight, some individuals may consider working with a healthcare professional and enrolling in a prescription weight loss program in order to reach their weight loss goals.
However, there are certain factors to keep in mind before deciding to use weight loss medications.
Prescription Medication Could Help Lose Weight For Those Who Qualify
Not everyone is eligible for weight loss medications. Typically, eligible individuals have a BMI of greater than 30 or greater than 27 but with weight-related health issues such as high blood pressure or diabetes.
Even if you fall into one of the above categories, weight loss medications may not be recommended. Additionally, many will be successful with lifestyle interventions and may not need medication at all.
Also, it’s important to note that these medications are meant to complement a weight loss program, not to replace them. So, taking weight loss medications won’t take the place of prioritizing your health by improving your lifestyle habits.
There are currently 5 weight loss medications that are FDA-approved:
- Phentermine-topiramate (Qsymia)
- Liraglutide (Saxenda)
- Naltrexone-bupropion (Contrave)
- Orlistat (Xenical, Alli)
- Semaglutide (Wegovy)
There are some medications, including but not limited to, GLP-1 medication for weight loss that work in different ways in the body. Some work by targeting the reward center in the brain, helping to curb cravings and emotional eating. Others work by decreasing appetite or changing the body’s digestion and absorption of certain foods or nutrients.
While this sounds like an easy fix to weight problems, it’s not without complications.
Side effects of weight loss medications can be pretty nasty and might include gas, diarrhea, constipation, dizziness, trouble sleeping, headache, increased heart rate, and more.
That being said, weight loss medications have been found to be effective and some of the research suggests participants lose as much as 10% or more of their starting weight. Additionally, participants taking weight loss medications as a part of a lifestyle program tend to lose 3-12% more weight than people in a lifestyle program who do not take medication (1, 2).
Ultimately, if your doctor prescribes weight loss medications, they have come to the conclusion that the benefits outweigh the risks for you.
Accountability is often the missing piece for many when it comes to sticking to a weight loss plan. The 1:1 coaching aspect of these programs are meant to provide not only accountability, but also support and a space for setting goals and plans to accomplish them.
Research supports the effectiveness of health coaching in conjunction with weight loss programs. One 6-month intervention study found that attendance in coaching sessions was one significant predictor of weight loss (3).
While both Found and Form involve weight loss medication, they also include 1:1 health coaching for an extra layer of accountability and support as participants work to create sustainable lifestyle changes.
Another layer of both of these programs is that of personalization.
Research supports the need for personalizing approaches to weight loss interventions by using individual data based on genetics and other factors (4).
No two people are the same, so having the ability to personalize a program is ideal. Not only is our genetic makeup different from each other, so are our habits and preferences. While you may find exercise enjoyable and you’re able to stay consistent with it, someone else may struggle to find movement they enjoy and as a result tend to stay a little more sedentary.
For this reason, it’s important for health coaches and programs to be able to tailor goal setting and plans to each individual’s needs.
Both Found and Form offer personalized programs, not only in terms of the medications prescribed (or lack thereof), but also in their 1:1 coaching programs.
A Prescription Weight Loss and Coaching Program Might be a Good Fit for You If...
- Your doctor recommends it
- Medical guidance from healthcare professionals including physicians and registered dietitians
- A prescription that could potentially help you achieve your weight loss goals in conjunction with improving overall lifestyle habits
- An extra layer of accountability from coaching
- A focus on long-term sustainable habits rather than calorie counting and tracking
Comparing Form Health vs Found Health: Understanding The Differences
Meet with registered dietitian
(2x per month)
$99/mo (6 month commitment) or $149/mo without commitment
$99/mo (no commitment required)
(most insurance providers)
(1x initial intake only)
(patients meet monthly with a board certified doctor)
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4.7/5 (30+ reviews)
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How to get started
Join Found Overview
Found focuses on the importance of biological, psychological, and environmental factors when it comes to weight loss, rather than just considering calories in vs. calories out.
The program is based on mindful eating, nutrition, movement, stress management, and sleep. It also takes into account genetics, hormones, and gut health for a holistic approach to weight loss.
The mission of Found is, “to improve overall wellbeing by making a science-first, holistic approach to weight care accessible. We aim to dismantle societal stigmas around weight and obesity, ultimately leading to a healthier, kinder world.”
Prescription Weight Loss Plan
Found offers three different plans, the Rx Path, which includes weight loss prescription, as well as the Wellness Path, and the Non-Prescription Path.
The first step in getting started with Found is completing an evaluation with a board-certified medical provider who can determine which medication will work best for you, or they may determine you’d be a better fit for a program without medication.
While the specific medications are not listed on the website, Found does share that all medications used are FDA-approved.
Next, you’ll begin your prescription. Depending on the medication prescribed, it may work by decreasing appetite, curbing emotional eating and cravings, or helping to stabilize blood sugars.
According to the website, around months 2 or 3, you’ll start to see improvements in energy, sleep, and fitness. By months 4 to 6, you’ll start seeing positive changes in biomarkers of health like blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.
Throughout the program, you’ll have access to Found’s educational materials that are meant to help give you the tools and education you need to be successful in the long run.
Accountability and Coaching Plan (Wellness Path)
Health coaching is a big component of the Wellness Path and Rx Path program. You will work 1:1 with your coach via text, email, and video calls to set goals and build healthy habits from nutrition to sleep and mental health.
Through coaching, you’ll focus on whole foods and better nutrition, rather than stressing about tracking food and calorie-counting.
You’ll also get access to a community that includes other participants. This can be helpful when you’re looking for social support and just someone who can relate to your experience.
Health coaches at Found are not necessarily Registered Dietitians (RDs), but they are required to have a health-related degree such as nutrition, psychology, public health, exercise physiology, health education, or similar.
Top Benefit You Will Enjoy With Join Found
According to the website, the average Found member in the Rx Path loses 5% of their body weight by their 3rd month and 10% by their 6th month in the program, and they keep it off.
A 10% reduction in weight loss can have big impacts on health as it has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic disease (1).
Form Health Overview
Form Health also places an emphasis on developing sustainable lifestyle changes, but takes a more clinical approach by pairing each patient with a dedicated clinical team of a doctor and Registered Dietitian who both specialize in weight loss. This clinical team works together to develop a personalized weight loss path for each patient.
This program focuses on nutrition, physical activity, mindset shifts, and FDA-approved medication, as appropriate.
Prescription Weight Loss Plan
The prescription weight loss plan through Form Health involves working with a doctor to first determine which medication will be most appropriate for you.
From there, you will continue to meet with your doctor through video visits every month for ongoing guidance and medication adjustments, if needed.
Form Health doctors may prescribe FDA-approved weight loss medications if deemed appropriate for the patient. Form Health doctors consider a range of FDA-approved medications when determining which is the best fit for you.
In some instances, your doctor may recommend the program without the use of medication.
Alongside medication, you’ll have access to the Form Health app that includes educational materials, tracking tools, and access to the community of other participants for an extra layer of support and accountability.
Accountability and Coaching Plan
Throughout your program, you’ll meet regularly with both your doctor and Registered Dietitian (RD), who serves as your health coach.
During your bi-monthly meetings with your RD, you’ll work on building healthy habits as you work towards your goals. You’ll also be able to message your RD any time through the app, in addition to your bi-monthly meetings.
Again, the community of other participants also serve as an additional layer of accountability and support during the program.
Top Benefit You Will Enjoy With Form Health
According to the website, Form Health patients typically see a 10% reduction in weight after the first 6 months. However, there is also a claim that participants often lose 15% of their body weight in the first 6 months.
It’s difficult to estimate these types of numbers as each person is so different and will likely have a different experience as well. That being said, by entering a program that is personalized and offers the accountability of coaching, you are giving yourself an amazing opportunity to succeed!
Major Difference and Which Is Better: Found or Form Health?
One of the biggest differences between Found and Form is insurance. Form Health has two options: with insurance, which is $99 each month, or without insurance which is $199 each month.
Found does not accept insurance at this time and has two pricing options: $49 each month of the wellness plan, without medication, or $99 each month with a 6 month commitment for the prescription plan, or a base price of $149 per month without the 6 month commitment. Form Health does not require you to commit for 6 months, which is the main difference between the two in terms of pricing.
Another key difference is the coaching aspect of the programs. Form Health includes structured check-ins with both your doctor and RD throughout the program. Found, on the other hand, works a little differently. While your doctor will monitor your care throughout the plan, you’ll only work directly with your health coach. Additionally, health coaches at Found are not necessarily RDs as they are at Form Health.
Bottom Line: Which Prescription Weight Loss Program Is Right For You?
Ultimately, I’ll always recommend a more conservative approach by focusing on improving lifestyle habits like eating better, moving more, hydrating, and prioritizing sleep.
However, if you qualify as a candidate for a prescription weight loss program and your doctor recommends it, then it may be the right fit for you. Don’t forget to advocate for yourself and ask questions and do your research to understand what to expect, along with any potential side effects of medications.
Similarly, think about the long-term and don’t be afraid to bring it up with your healthcare practitioner.
What will things look like a year after you’ve completed the program? Will your results be sustainable? These are important questions to ask!
When comparing Found and Form, think about what’s most important to you. From a pricing standpoint, they are nearly identical, if you use insurance alongside Form Health.
Perhaps consider the level of accountability you’d find the most beneficial for you. Would you prefer to have direct communication with your doctor and regularly scheduled meetings with your RD? If so, Form Health may be the better fit.
Considering results, they are very comparable based on the information shared on both websites. However, it’s important to keep in mind that your results could be different and will depend on a number of factors including your genetics, your consistency with the program, and more.
Sustainable Weight Loss Tips
While these may not be the most exciting tips, the very best way to lose weight is to focus on improving your overall lifestyle habits. This includes:
- Eating better. Instead of becoming hyper-focused on eating less, I encourage you to focus on eating more good stuff. Try to shift your meals to include more vegetables and try to get more water throughout your day. When we become worried about eating too much, it can become obsessive, which can in turn lead to a number of complications, including disordered eating habits.
- Moving more. This can be achieved in so many different ways! If you hate running, don’t run! You’ll stick with the type of movement that you enjoy the most. So, if you love to dance, try making it a regular part of your routine. Movement should be joyful!
- Sleeping better. Sleep is often overlooked when it comes to our health. Do your best to establish a regular routine of getting to sleep and waking up around the same times each day, including weekends if you can. A bedtime routine can make a big difference when it comes to quality of sleep too. So design one! It could be taking a warm bath or shower, brushing your teeth, climbing into bed, and reading a few pages of a book. Remember, screens can interfere with sleep, so it’s a good idea to avoid them close to bedtime.
- Managing stress. Stress can affect the body in many different ways and it can affect our choices throughout the day. Try to prioritize de-stressing each day, even if it’s only for a few minutes. If this doesn’t do the trick, it may be time to look at the bigger picture and consider if you need to make changes to your overall routine or schedule to allow for less stress in your day to day.
- Surrounding yourself with support. Trying to lose weight can feel isolating. Surround yourself with the people who love and support you!
- Making it sustainable. If a plan is requiring you to take super drastic measures, ask yourself how likely you’ll be able to keep it up in the long run. Small changes may not feel like much, but they add up and will allow you to create a lifestyle that is sustainable and works for you.
Above all, remember that it’s almost never going to be a linear path to success. You will experience ups and downs and it’s going to take time. Be patient with yourself and focus on tackling one day at a time.