Losing weight is hard, because it’s rarely just a matter of eating fewer calories and exercising more. In order to successfully lose weight, you also need to change your thoughts and feelings about food and the habits you’ve developed surrounding food. You’ll need to develop new habits, learn to deal with cravings, and find a way to cope with setbacks while minimizing damage to your diet plan.
Making the many changes necessary for lasting weight loss is a long and discouraging process. It’s easy to become overwhelmed. A weight management counsellor can help you overcome the detrimental thought processes that hold you back in your weight loss journey, and come up with an individualized weight loss plan that’s realistic for you.
Education About Weight Management
You probably already have a pretty good idea of what foods are healthy and how much exercise you need to get to maintain a healthy weight. But you may not know as much as you think you know, and you may not know how to incorporate this knowledge into your daily life in a realistic way. A weight loss counsellor can teach you more about managing your weight, and can teach you realistic techniques for losing weight, including scheduling time to buy and prepare healthy foods and how to establish realistic weight loss goals.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Weight Loss
When you go to school online to earn a Master’s in clinical mental health counselling, you’ll learn how to administer cognitive behavioural therapy for a range of issues, including weight loss. Cognitive behavioural therapy for weight loss involves identifying overeating triggers and obstacles to weight loss, and coming up with strategies to combat them. Emotional eating is a common issue; people who struggle with emotional eating use food as a way to cope with stress, loneliness, anxiety, or depression. A counsellor can help you develop healthy ways to cope with these emotions. If you’re struggling with a mood or anxiety disorder that’s contributing to your weight problems, counselling and perhaps medication can help you recover.
Cognitive behavioural therapy is also a good way to deal with unrealistic and counter-productive negative thoughts about food and dieting that make it hard to lose weight. These can include such thoughts as “I’ll never manage to slim down,” or “I deserve to eat this chocolate bar, I’ve had a bad day.” By learning to deal with thoughts like these, you’ll be more successful in losing weight and keeping it off.
Mindfulness-Based Eating Awareness Therapy
Mindfulness-based eating awareness therapy, or MB-EAT, is a type of therapy that teaches people to pay attention to their own physical signals of hunger and fullness and to pay attention to the tastes and textures they’re craving as well as the tastes and textures of the foods they’re eating.
Through MB-EAT, you’ll learn to slow down and appreciate the food you eat, and to eat only as much as you need to feel full. By taking the emphasis off of dietary restriction and placing it on enjoying food, MB-EAT allows emotional eaters to reform their relationship with food without feeling deprived.
Feedback, Motivation, and Support
You might have plenty of internal motivation to lose weight, but it’s still helpful to have someone else encouraging you to reach your weight loss goals. A counsellor can give you valuable feedback that will let you know how well you’re achieving your goals, and can keep you on the right track with diet and exercise. Feedback from a counsellor ensures that your diet and exercise plans are safe, realistic, and not too ambitious. Your counsellors support can be a motivating factor.
A counsellor can also be of immense help when other life issues arise that might derail your success. Changes at work, relationship problems, issues with friends and family, and other life problems can all make it hard to find the time, energy, and motivation to stick to your weight management plan. While it can be tempting to use life problems as an excuse to put your weight loss plans aside, it’s important to learn how to stick with your weight management goals even in the midst of trying times.
If you’re one of the many Americans struggling to lose weight, a weight management counsellor can help. In addition to offering realistic strategies to help you lose weight, a counsellor can offer you the outside support you need to stay motivated over the long haul. Losing weight is one of the hardest things a person can do; don’t try to do it alone.