Weight loss seems to be an undying concern. There is often a new weight loss fad and our society is constantly sending us messages telling us what we should look like, with just as many gyms and diets offering to help us get there. The same individuals might find themselves trying the latest and greatest weight loss methods, only to find themselves at it again months or years later. Dr Judith Beck has been approaching weight loss through Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for decades, and emphasizes having the right attitude, skills and process to make changes not only for this month, but for your life.
Is losing weight worth the changes you need to make? This is a personal decision, as each individual will have different things pushing them towards change and holding them back. Take time to write out the advantages and disadvantages of the changes you want to make, and take an honest assessment if now is the right time to make these changes. One of the biggest hurdles in weight loss is how we deal with the inevitable slip, where we skip our exercise routine or eat something we had not planned on having. When we do this, we have a tendency to consider the whole day, month, or year a wash, continuing with our unhelpful habits. Dr Beck suggests viewing this as a temporary slip, and immediately focusing back on your long term goals.
The first few steps in any successful change is ensuring you have the skills to set the stage for the hard work. Dr Beck suggests by starting with index cards reminding you of the reasons you have chosen to make these changes, as well as strengthening your ability to resist. The premise of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is changing your thinking and actions, which in turn changes how you feel. If you have the ability to see your long term goals in light of momentary pleasure, you are more likely to meet your weight loss goal.
When working with clients on weight loss, I encourage them to focus on the process rather than the outcome. It’s common to hear of people making goals of losing x number of pounds by a certain date, which if not met, often leads to frustration and discouragement. Dieting has natural ups and downs, expecting and planning for these ups and downs will decrease your level of discouragement when they inevitably occur. Focusing on the process, and the things you can change in your lifestyle, you are more likely to meet with success, be encouraged and in time, lose weight and keep it off.
Karyn is a Registered Psychologist, who primarily practices from a Cognitive Behavioural perspective. She received training from Dr. David Burns, and loves collaborating with her clients to find the thoughts and actions creating obstacles in their lives, and leading them through steps to test if these thoughts and actions are true and helpful.
Beck, J (2007). The beck diet solution. USA: Oxmoor House Inc.
Beck, J (2008). The complete beck diet for life. USA: Oxmoor House Inc.