Image by Robert-Couse Baker
This is a guest post by Alison Gamble of psychologydegree.net
Psychology-Based Tips for Weight Loss The physical aspect of weight loss is simple, eat fewer calories than you burn, but the process of losing weight and keeping it off is often hindered by a slew of psychological roadblocks. In fact, obesity is a predominantly psychological problem.
After all, people who binge eat are not doing so because they are physically hungry – their minds are causing them to harm themselves with food to the point where their bodies are in physical pain. Thankfully, modern science has developed a few powerful methods to combat mental obstacles, and you don’t even need a psychology degree to reap their benefits.
The best time to thwart obesity is when the patient is young. With proper guidance, children can develop healthy eating habits that can help prevent drastic weight gain throughout their lives.
Unfortunately, it is much more difficult to create healthy eating habits with adults, since their eating patterns have been developed over many years of unhealthy eating behavior. In fact, adults may need cognitive-behavioral therapy to help them drop the weight and the employment of proven techniques like neuro-linguistic programming, self-monitoring and hypnosis.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy deals with the negative emotions that cause a person to eat too much food. Once these negative emotions are dealt with, the patient may find it easier to concentrate on the task at hand, taking those extra pounds off and keeping them off for good.
In fact, according to the American Psychological Association, one of the most successful cognitive-behavioral therapies for losing weight is self-monitoring. When using this method, the patient pays close attention to caloric intake, being careful not to exceed a certain number of calories in any given day and counter balances caloric intake with daily exercise. However to be most effective, self-monitoring must be practiced by the patient at least 75 percent of the time to achieve successful and long term weight loss.
Another big problem for overeater’s is instant gratification. They may feel the desire to eat an entire cheesecake, even though they are not hungry for it, because it will taste good for a few minutes. This desire for instant gratification has zero regard for the consequences of this destructive action and only serves to create a fleeting moment of pleasure.
Luckily, this behavior may be controlled with neuro-linguistic programming. According to Holistic Online, the purpose of neuro-linguistic programming is to convince the patient that the long term benefits of resisting instant gratification are worth much more than the taste of whatever food the patient is craving. Thus patients will learn that while the cheesecake may taste good during the moment, it won’t be worth the body damage and feelings of guilt that result from over eating.
Finally, some people attempt to use the principles of psychology to hypnotize themselves into being a healthier eater, but it is unclear whether or not weight loss method is actually effective. The Mayo Clinic reports that weight loss hypnosis has been neither scientifically proven nor disproven. In other words, this method of weight loss is mostly neutral. It However, appears that there are some merits to hypnosis. When coupled with another more effective technique, hypnosis may add an extra incentive to help get rid of at least a few pounds.
Clearly exercise and diet are the most important parts of weight loss, but following through on these things is easier said than done. Focusing only on the physical aspect of weight loss can lead to crash diets and drastic gains and losses. However psychology-based therapy can help the patient understand the true inner process of getting into an excellent physical condition and those special mental tools can be used throughout the patient’s lifetime.