Psychological Treatment for Obesity & Weight Control
Dr. Stephen Stotland
Get to the roots of your problem
Explore new parts of yourself
Change your habits for good
Reduce stress & anxiety
Create a more satisfying way of life
There are many approaches to treating obesity, including diet and exercise prescriptions, weight loss medications, and surgery. The psychological obesity treatment approach is for individuals who understand that their bad habits and weight problem are connected to issues such as a stressful or unsatisfying way of life, a negative self-image, and unhelpful ways of coping.
While most people recognize that behavioral and emotional disorders and addictions require psychological treatment, when it comes to weight problems it is common for people to think the solution is just to “eat less and exercise more.” However, this is like suggesting that alcoholism can be cured by simply telling someone to “drink less,” or curing depression by telling someone “don’t worry, be happy.” If it was that simple there would be a lot fewer overweight people (or problem drinkers, or depressives).
People want to lose weight to improve their health, prevent future health problems, to develop a more active lifestyle, and to feel better about themselves. With so many good reasons to make the change, what stops them? That is one of the key questions to be addressed in psychological treatment.
Obesity is not a mental disorder, and being obese does not imply that one has any emotional or personality problems. Such problems occur with similar frequency in people of all weights. Living with obesity can be difficult, however, and for many people the burden of obesity is as much if not more emotional than physical.
Therefore, it is not because an overweight person is mentally disturbed that he or she needs psychological treatment, but because it is a complex behavioral pattern, with deep roots in automatic habits, core beliefs about one’s weight and oneself, relationships issues, and ideas about the past, present and future. New habits need to be learned, new mindsets adopted, and a new chapter of one’s life to be written…
Are you a candidate for psychological treatment for obesity? If you are a good candidate and decide to embark on this path, you will need to commit yourself to a minimum of 6 months of regular meetings. In most cases, it takes 18 – 24 months to achieve the desired behaviour and emotional changes and for these changes to be firmly established. That’s how long the journey takes, and there is no shortcut. But remember, this is an exciting process of self-discovery, a real adventure, in which better weight control is one (important) part of your story of transformation!