Cognitive behavioral therapy for weight loss

Cognitive behavioral therapy for weight loss

Obesity is a serious health problem that affects millions of people worldwide. Being overweight or obese can lead to many health problems. These include heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, obstructive sleep apnea and arthritis. It is estimated that 70% of Australian men and 50% of Australian women are overweight or obese and rates continue to climb. Obesity is a long term problem. It is caused by consuming more energy (eating too much food) than is being used through exercise and daily activities. Over a long period of time the excess energy (stored as fat) builds up and begins to cause serious problems.

Treatments for losing weight

There are many different programs available to help people lose weight. Obesity may seem simple but is in fact a complex long term problem and therefore no single treatment will work for all overweight individuals. There are several categories of treatment for obesity. The most important is lifestyle modification, which requires a reduction of energy intake and an increase in physical activity. This should be included as a part of any attempt to lose weight. Then there is medication that can help with weight loss. While there are some drug treatments available they often have nasty side effects. The third main category is surgical treatment. This treatment is usually only considered in severe cases and the risks and benefits must be carefully considered. For more information click here.

What is cognitive behavioral therapy?

Obesity treatments Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychological therapy that is used to treat many different problems, ranging from anxiety to weight loss. CBT should not be used by itself to lose weight, but rather it is used to support lifestyle changes.

CBT can help a person to lose weight by:

Helping a person control their diet

Helping to increase motivation to do exercise

Provide coping skills to handle any lapses in diet that the person will experience

Provide long term weight maintenance skills

Changing a person’s body image and their expectation of body image

Improving a person’s self esteem

Helping with stress management (a major reason for ‘comfort eating’)

Helping set reasonable goals for both weight loss and maintenance

Recently a large study was released that brought together many of the smaller studies that involved CBT for weight loss. It was found that CBT is a valuable addition to diet and exercise for weight loss. Those people who had both CBT and lifestyle changes lost more weight than those who only had lifestyle changes. CBT alone (i.e. with no set diet or exercise changes) was also found to be slightly effective in some patients who had problems with binge eating. However CBT alone will not work for everyone and in any case when CBT is combined with lifestyle changes the results are always better than with CBT alone.