Cognitive Behavioral Treatment for Obesity

Patient Expert

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive behavioral therapy is the result of the merger of behavioral therapy and cognitive therapy. The therapy focuses on the role that thoughts and perceptions play in determining how we feel and what we do.

Cognitive behavioral therapy maintains that our behaviors are the result of our own thoughts and not the result of external influences. The therapy is time restrained and sessions extend between eight and sixteen interactions.

How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Works

The collaborative goal between the counselor and the client is to discover what the patient desires in life and how to realize those desires. The counselor will help the client to recognize self-defeating thought patterns and learn more productive ways to respond to life events.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness has stated that cognitive behavioral therapy is beneficial in addressing disorders related to mood, anxiety, personality, substance abuse, and eating.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Weight Loss

Cognitive behavioral therapy can help people achieve their weight loss goals and improve self-confidence by replacing self-defeating behaviors with more constructive thoughts and beliefs.

Cognitive behavioral therapy maintains focus on what is immediate instead dwelling on the past in order to help people proactively make the necessary changes that will enhance their lives.

A Six Step Sample for Weight Loss

An example for a cognitive behavioral approach for weight loss is the following six step approach:

The first step is establishing lifestyle changes. A diet that promotes healthy eating and calories reduction will be started along with an increase in general activity. A   steady increase in activity such as walking up the stairs instead of taking the elevator is meant to increase the potential for   continued application once the initial enthusiasm has faded.

The second step is to address those instances that might** cause a person to quit her diet** such as compromised motivation, frequent snacking, frequent use of alcohol, binge eating, and comfort eating.

The third step is to address the client's perception of body image and help the client realize that there is more to a person than just appearance.

The fourth step is consideration of weight loss goals. The client is helped to understand how well she has done and to appreciate her efforts.

The fifth step begins to address goals beyond weight loss or the underlying issues for which a person is trying to lose weight.

The final step is maintenance and reinforcing the achievements that have been made as well as encouraging further success ** Family Benefits of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy**

In a study conducted at the University of Bologna, Italian researchers were curious to see if people receiving cognitive behavioral therapy to manage obesity influenced the eating and diet habits of family members in any way.

The study found that family members did, in fact, gain some benefits. Those most influenced were spouses and children. The average weight loss for family members was about two pounds, and it was also noted that they ate a bit less foods with fat and refined carbohydrates and a bit more fruit.

Obese family members fared even better, losing an average of six pounds. Seven members lost enough weight to be re-classified as overweight rather than obese.   In all, 230 out of 500 family members who were surveyed gave responses.

References:
4Therapy.com - http://www.4therapy.com/conditions/depression/child-and-adolescent-depression/study-supports-use-cognitive-behavioral-therap  - accessed 8/19/12
Reuters - http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/09/us-obesity-therapy-idUSTRE7A881720111109  - accessed 8/19/12
VirtualMedicalCentre.com - http://www.virtualmedicalcentre.com/treatment/cognitive-behavioural-therapy-for-weight-loss-cbt/120  - accessed 8/19/12

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