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Vtrim® Frequently Asked Questions

What do you mean by research-based?
The Vtrim protocol was developed by Dr. Jean Harvey-Berino of the Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences at the University of Vermont and is founded on over 20 years of clinical research on obesity. It is based on the principles of behavior modification therapy, which is widely accepted as the gold standard for obesity treatment and has been validated by numerous research studies. Research shows that people who participate in behavior modification programs are not only successful at achieving a clinically significant weight loss, defined as 5 – 10% initial body weight, but have the highest potential for maintaining that weight loss.

Backed by $8 million dollars in NIH-funding, Dr. Harvey-Berino was able to take this research-backed, behavior modification, protocol to the web and perfect a model for “internet assisted obesity treatment.” Through her continued research she continues to demonstrate that web-based behavior modification programs like Vtrim can be as effective as in-person treatment options.

That’s all to say that every layer of the Vtrim program is based on sound clinical research.

How do I know I will lose weight in a Vtrim program?

The program is designed to produce a weight loss of approximately 1-2 pounds per week. Although we offer no guarantees, the research shows that participants who complete the 24-week program (both Vtrim I and Vtrim II) lose an average of 24 pounds.

Will I have a weight loss goal?

The Vtrim program does not require you to set a specific weight loss goal. However, your facilitator will work with you to help set health, wellness, and weight loss goals that are specific to you and consistent with your overall objectives. The Vtrim program does include specific weekly caloric intake goals, and sets gradually increasing caloric-based exercise goals, based on whether your goal in participating a program is weight loss or weight maintenance.

Do I have to attend every class?

Attendance at every class is not mandatory, but strongly encouraged. Research shows that the more classes you attend, the better you’ll do. Moreover, we encourage all participants to attend class regularly not just for their own benefit, but to maintain the strong peer group support and sense of community that develops throughout a Vtrim program. This group support dynamic and is one of the research-proven components of a Vtrim program that leads to better weight loss outcomes. We realize that you may miss a class: that’s life! We just ask that you make it the exception and not the rule.

What will I learn in Vtrim®?

Vtrim® is about more than just cutting calories. It is about changing behaviors and establishing a healthier way of life. A variety of topics are covered, all designed to equip you with the tools, knowledge and skills you can use for lifelong success. Topics include everything from setting healthy goals, problem solving, and motivation, to reading labels, shopping smart, and making good choices when dining out. Vtrim will help you create a new awareness of how your environment and your choices impact your health and how to create the healthiest environment to foster a healthier you.

What type of support will I get in Vtrim®?

Vtrim’s closed group format means you will work with the same facilitator and the same 15-20 participants throughout each 12 weeks of the program. This allows you to get to know your group and build supportive relationships. In addition to the weekly 1-hour class, your class website includes discussion boards to facilitate participants staying in contact between classes.

Your Vtrim facilitator will provide individual support and guidance via feedback in your food and exercise journal each week. Facilitators are also available via email between classes to offer additional support as needed.

Will I have to count calories or anything else?

Calorie goals are prescribed to encourage a 1-2 pound weight loss per week. But each participant will lose weight differently, with individual patterns and pace. Your facilitator will monitor your rate of weight loss and work with you to adjust goals as necessary. The calorie goal formula gives a starting point, but is not set in stone. Typical calorie goals in the Vtrim program range from 1200-2100 calories per day. Additionally, we set a fat gram intake goal to help facilitate weight loss. Research shows that limiting fat intake helps achieve better weight loss because you are more likely to meet your calorie goal on a regular basis. The online journal makes tracking calories and fat throughout the day easy and convenient.

Is there a printed diet I have to follow?

Unlike other popular diets Vtrim® does not require any special diets, or counting points. We do encourage participants to make nutritious and well-balanced food choices that are consistent with USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans and MyPlate recommendations. But Vtrim does not make food choices for you.

Instead, your facilitator will help you figure out how to make food and exercise choices that you enjoy and that fit into your lifestyle. Your facilitator will offer suggestions and guidance for making healthier food choices, but ultimately these choices are yours. Vtrim wants to help you achieve lifelong behavior change and maintain permanent weight loss success. This means teaching you how to create a food and exercise plan that works for you. Past participants will tell you that learning to deal with real-life situations, that involve making your own food choices, while maintaining weight loss efforts is one of the key elements that makes Vtrim so successful.

Why do I have to journal?

Research shows that self-monitoring is one of the best predictors of successful weight loss. Participants get out of self-monitoring what they put into it. The more detail included, the more you learn about what influences your food choices, how that affects your weight loss progress, and how you can make changes that will help you meet your health goals. Your facilitator will review your food and exercise journal each week and offer you feedback and guidance to assist your weight management efforts.

What about exercise?

Exercise is an important component of the Vtrim program. Exercise is key for both weight loss AND maintaining weight lost. Establishing a regular exercise routine is a part of the lifestyle change that will help you to be most successful. Vtrim uses an exercise program supported by the most current research in weight management. The Vtrim program builds this goal up gradually over the course of the program to give you time to build exercise into your lifestyle.

Does Insurance cover the cost of Vtrim?

We cannot bill your insurance company for your Vtrim tuition. People who have Flexible Spending Accounts or Health Savings Accounts may be able to have their Vtrim tuition covered with pre –tax dollars. We suggest you check with your plan’s administrator directly to find out if you can be reimbursed.

What happens when the class ends? Can I take Vtrim more than once?

The Vtrim program is based in a 24-week protocol so we encourage participants to complete both Vtrim I and II to maximize their weight loss potential. Participants can then choose to enroll in the Vtrim maintenance program to benefit from continued expert guidance and social support. We encourage participants to remain enrolled in the maintenance program for at least 6-months to maximize potential for maintained success.

Some people who have more weight to lose after finishing Vtrim I or Vtrim II (the average weight loss for the combined 24 weeks of Vtrim programming is approximately 24 pounds), or want the continued benefit of intensive facilitator guidance and group support, take a second round of classes. Although the lessons are the same, enrolling in a class with a different facilitator will provide a fresh perspective and new ideas.

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