Helping Obesity And Weight Problems With CBT

helping obesity with cbt Helping Obesity And Weight Problems With CBTHelping obesity and weight problems with CBT

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, or CBT, is a short-term talking therapy that combines behaviour therapy and psychotherapy. CBT is a psychological treatment that can help with overcoming problems where anxiety or depression is the main cause and CBT is particularly effective with people who are obese. Obesity and weight problems have negative cognitive processes (thoughts, beliefs and images) that can psychologically lock people into unhealthy eating and a lack of exercise or activity. CBT helps obesity and other weight issues by changing how people think and react (the cognitive and the behaviour) to their problem.

Traditional weight-loss programs try to alter a person’s eating habits and level of activity. Some diets focus on just one food group to help someone lose weight. What these ‘trendy’ diets don’t take into account are the thoughts and feelings associated with obesity that are found deep within a person’s psychological make-up. CBT identifies the eating behaviour of someone who is obese and then helps them to link it to their thoughts and feelings.

Using Cognitive Behaviour Therapy to help obesity

Obesity and weight problems occur because of patterns linked to thoughts and feelings. Over-eating has associated signals that are emotional and physical. When someone has a physical signal they are hungry they eat something. With a weight problem such as obesity, there is an emotional signal that triggers the desire to eat. People who are overweight or obese have difficulty separating the two different signals. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) can help to identify an emotional signal and find ways to meet the needs of that signal in new and healthier ways.

CBT also helps people suffering from obesity or weight issues become aware of their automatic thinking processes. Understanding how to monitor thoughts means that any negative patterns can be challenged and altered. Automatic thought is where habit resides and in the case of obesity and weight problems it can hinder any attempt at losing weight and becoming healthy again. CBT examines how a person perceives their body image, motivation, coping mechanisms, thoughts about food and dieting beliefs. These all reside within the automatic thought process and if these perceptions are negative then obesity can occur.

CBT uses tailored individual strategies to help interrupt, challenge and alter the negative thought patterns associated with over-eating. CBT breaks down eating problems to manageable parts making it easier to understand how those parts connect and affect a person both physically and emotionally. Obesity can be overcome with CBT by developing new patterns of thinking that lead to healthier ways of eating, dieting and exercise.

CBT boosts self-esteem in people who are overweight

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy can help increase self-esteem by gaining an insight into how overweight people view themselves and how that affects their motivation to lose weight. Increasing self-acceptance boosts motivation to treat the body in a healthier way which in turn leads to further weight-loss and feelings of well-being.

CBT sessions for obesity are structured as opposed to other talking therapies where patients are able to talk openly about any issues they have. A CBT practitioner will give homework to help the individual identify any incidents that provoke over-eating and also to monitor their progress in dealing with it. CBT uses achievable and realistic methods to overcome obesity and other weight issues where other dietary techniques fail.

Article Submitted By:
Daniel Alexander, GoToSee Journalist

Date Published:
22/07/08


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