Our Verdict on Calibrate Weight Loss Program
Digital metabolic health company Calibrate is on a mission to create a new standard of care for treating obesity. The company’s intensive, four-level weight loss program aims to provide long-term support to its customers. This is achieved by coupling patient education and lifestyle changes with research-backed medication. The core goal is providing sustainable results.
- A 52-week curriculum guides members through research-based content on food, sleep, exercise and emotional health.
- Offers biweekly, 1:1 virtual accountability health coaching sessions and peer-to-peer support.
- Connects individuals with doctor-prescribed medications that the company says targets the underlying biology that is most critical for weight loss and addressing metabolic health.
Origin of Calibrate Weight Loss Campaign
Calibrate was founded by Isabelle Kenyon in 2020. The aim of Calibrate Weight Loss is to help put people living with obesity back in control of their health. Calibrate’s digital metabolic health program—which is available in all 50 states—expands access to comprehensive obesity treatment. This is in order to improve overall metabolic health, according to the company’s chief medical officer, Kim Boyd, M.D.
Calibrate is unique in that it focuses on long-term outcomes, explains Dr. Boyd. While most treatment options for obesity focus on short-term weight loss, Calibrate aims to address the underlying causes of obesity. This is by combining medication with sustainable behavior changes over the long-term, she continues.
An estimated 42.5% of U.S. adults aged 20 and over are living with obesity, and an additional 31.1% are overweight, according data from the 2017–2018 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). These numbers are something Calibrate aims to change, says Dr. Boyd.
“If we can provide access to effective treatment to people [living] with overweight and obesity and give them the tools to sustain weight loss, we have the opportunity to help millions improve their metabolic health and fix our spiraling health care spend related to cardiometabolic disease,” explains Dr. Boyd.
Pros and Cons of Calibrate weight Loss Program
Calibrate at a Glance
- Who might be a good candidate: Individuals between the ages of 18 to 64 with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 and above, or individuals with a BMI of 27 or more when combined with a weight-related comorbidity such as hypertension, sleep apnea or diabetes. (You can determine your eligibility with a quick online assessment).
- What sets it apart from other weight loss programs: Calibrate’s programs are designed to ensure members have the structure, tools and support they need to sustain weight and health outcomes long-term as a complement to medication—and even when medication is stopped, according to Dr. Boyd.
- Medications: Calibrate’s doctors prescribe glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist medications, which are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for individuals living with obesity and at least one other health complication. These drugs work on the root cause of obesity and metabolic health, says Dr. Boyd. And according to 2019 research in Obesity, when combined with behavioral therapy and lifestyle changes, GLP-1s are more effective long-term.
How It Works
Calibrate recognizes that obesity is not just a matter of eating too much and exercising too little, says Donna Ryan, M.D., a clinical advisor at Calibrate and professor emeritus at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Rather, obesity is the result of genetic susceptibility to environmental forces that drive weight gain, she says.
In certain individuals, once weight is gained, the body “defends” its highest fat mass, which basically means it works against losing that weight, says Dr. Ryan. “Any time a person with obesity, or excess abnormal body fat, tries to lose weight from that set point, biologic and physiologic forces promote weight gain through increased appetite and decreased energy expenditure,” she explains.
Calibrate’s approach to weight management, the One-Year Metabolic Reset program, involves a thorough medical evaluation, the prescription of GLP-1 receptor agonist medications and 1:1 online coaching, explains Dr. Ryan.
The Metabolic Reset’s four-part program is approved by Calibrate’s clinical advisory board, made up of obesity treatment and metabolic health experts and scientific researchers, and the company guarantees weight loss of at least 10%.
Who is Eligible for Calibrate Weight Loss Program?
To be eligible for Calibrate, you must:
- Be between the ages of 18-64.
- Live in the United States.
- Have commercial or employer health insurance other than Kaiser.
- Have a BMI over 30, or over 27 and at least one medical condition, including diabetes or pre-diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, obstructive sleep apnea or PCOS.
- Not be pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Not have an active eating disorder or substance abuse problem.
- Not have cancer, gallbladder disease, pancreatitis within the last 6 months, or bariatric surgery within the last 18 months.
Steps to take after your calibrate eligibility is confirmed
After your eligibility is confirmed, you’ll go through the following steps:
1. Complete your health intake
When you sign up for Calibrate’s One-Year Metabolic Reset, you’ll receive a comprehensive intake form that should take about 20 minutes to complete. From there, you’ll be provided with a link to schedule a virtual visit with one of Calibrate’s doctors, as well as your first accountability coaching session. Be sure to schedule your virtual doctor’s visit at least five days before your first coaching session so that your lab results are available.
2. Get your lab work done
A lab order will be created and emailed to you within three days of signing up for Calibrate’s program. You’ll need to schedule and complete your blood draw locally so that it’s available to your Calibrate doctor prior to your virtual visit. This lab work entails the following:
- Kidney function test (Cr/GFR) within the past 12 months
- Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) or fasting glucose test within the past 6 months
- Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) test within 6 months
- Lipid panel to obtain cholesterol levels
- Comprehensive metabolic panel to check kidney and liver function
- Fasting insulin test to check for insulin resistance
- High sensitivity C-reactive protein test (Hs-CRP) to analyze inflammation
3. Set up your welcome kit
Your welcome kit will be shipped to your home; expect to receive it within five business days of signing up. The kit includes:
- Smart scale
- Tape measure
- Getting Started with Calibrate guide
- Food Resources folder
In the guide, you’ll find instructions on downloading the Calibrate app, how to sync your scale, as well as how to sync Google Fit or Apple Health apps. The folder includes a guide to Calibrate’s food philosophy, illustrated with four triangles which relate to each level, or stage, of the program.
Calibrate is not a diet, and you won’t be restricting calories. Instead, you’ll learn to eat less sugar and processed foods, focusing instead on healthy, whole foods in the right proportions. This way, you’ll make changes that are sustainable long-term.
4. Enter your baseline metrics
Record your starting waist circumference and weight in the Calibrate app (instructions are available on the app and in the guide).
5. Read your Calibrate Fundamentals class
You’ll receive an email two days prior to your doctor’s visit with instructions on how to download Zoom and a link to the first three Calibrate lessons, which should be read before your appointment.
6. Complete your virtual doctor’s visit
Discuss your lab results and the Calibrate program with your doctor. At this time, your doctor will ensure that you’re a candidate for a GLP-1 medication, and prescribe the best option for you based on your individual circumstances.
7. Begin your metabolic reset
The One-Year Metabolic Reset includes four levels of accountability coaching that break down into sessions with Calibrate’s coaching team, focus classes on topics you choose, sessions focused on setting healthy daily habits and learning techniques for long-term success. Goals may include getting 7-9 hours of sleep each night, learning stress reduction techniques, making healthier food choices, and logging 150 minutes of exercise each week.
Customer support is available to new and existing customers from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday.. Existing members can contact the support team via the app or email.
The Cost of Calibrate weight Loss Program
To use Calibrate, there is a one-time fee of $1,649, or $138 per month for 12 months with Affirm. Lab work and prescription medication are not included in the membership cost, but Calibrate’s team works with your commercial or employer insurance to get them covered, the company says.
Calibrate’s digital program, combining medication and behavior change, is the first outcomes-based model in obesity treatment, according to a spokesperson for the company. “Being outcomes-based means we don’t make money on medication; rather our success is determined by delivering health outcomes over time. This is why we developed the Calibrate Results Guarantee, which states that eligible members are guaranteed a minimum of 10% weight loss at the end of the Calibrate Metabolic Reset,” says the spokesperson.
If you don’t achieve a 10% weight loss, Calibrate will refund the cost of your program minus a $250 fee for your Metabolic Health Assessment. The cost of medication and third-party services are not refundable.
What Experts Say About Calibrate Weight Loss Program
Calibrate’s use of GLP-1 receptor agonists, seemingly the best medications available for weight loss in most people, is what sets them apart, says Arti Thangudu, M.D., a triple board-certified endocrinologist at Complete Medicine in San Antonio, Texas. “Access to weight loss medications is poor. Most people cannot see an endocrinologist (the type of doctor most comfortable prescribing these medications), because there are so few of us,” continues Dr. Thangudu. In this way, Calibrate improves access for people living with obesity, she says.
To date, Calibrate has helped more than 20,000 people, with members losing an average of 15% of their weight and sustaining outcomes beyond their first year in the program, claims Dr. Boyd.
Twenty-one customers on Consumer Affairs rated Calibrate’s Metabolic Reset program 3.8 out of 5 stars. One of the reviewers, who gave the program 5 stars, says, “I haven’t had any problems with getting my medications and it is teaching me a healthy way to be mindful of what I eat, get my fitness in and how important taking care of yourself overall is!”
Another 5-star reviewer says Calibrate’s philosophy of making small changes over time really worked for her, writing, “For the first time I feel in control of my weight and my health. This empowerment feels better (almost!) than losing the weight!”
On average, six Trustpilot reviews ranked Calibrate 2.6 out of 6 stars. One reviewer, who lost 12% of his body weight, rated Calibrate 4 stars and said, “The program has been good for me. It has taught me I need more motivation for water intake and (like most people), I need to work on exercising more.”
A less satisfied customer complained about the customer service, claiming it was nonexistent, and the majority of dissatisfied customers were concerned over not receiving their medications and having difficulty contacting the company.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Who is a good candidate for Calibrate Weight Loss Program?
Good candidates for Calibrate are individuals who have struggled with lifestyle interventions alone for weight loss and who are fairly self-sufficient as far as needs from their doctor, says Dr. Thangudu
How Do I Reset My Metabolic Set Point?
The medications used by Calibrate (GLP-1 agonists) work in the brain centers that regulate hunger, satiety and food intake, says Dr. Ryan. When the medication is started, weight loss begins and can continue until your weight hits a settling point, she says.
According to Dr. Boyd, our set point is determined by the interaction of our biology, genetics and environment and is regulated by our brain. “When trying to lose weight, our metabolic system is so committed to keeping us at what it perceives to be our “target” weight that if we simply reduce the amount we eat for a sustained amount of time, our body responds by doing everything in its power to defend its set point,” Dr. Boyd says.
What Drug Does the Calibrate weight Loss Program Use?
Calibrate uses clinically-tested GLP1-medications including Ozempic (semaglutide), Saxenda (liraglutide), Mounjaro (tirzepatide) and Trulicity (dulaglutide).
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Originally posted 2022-10-10 12:35:39.