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CBT for Weight Loss

Losing weight and keeping it off can be very difficult. Although the equation seems simple, staying on a balanced diet and exercising regularly, in practice most people falter. The problem is that people often lack the skills necessary to effectively maintain a new diet or exercise regimen. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for diet and natural weight loss can help people develop the skills necessary to be more successful with lasting behavior change. CBT for weight loss generally incorporates the following components:

Motivation: People often begin dieting or exercising due to a short burst in motivation. Unfortunately, if you are unable to maintain the motivation, the changes become short-lived. CBT as a natural weight loss option often involves increasing motivation, along with learning and practicing skills to sustain it.

Coping with craving: Because our bodies quickly become accustomed to the amount of food we eat, usually losing weight involves dealing with low-level hunger or cravings for high-calorie foods. CBT helps people learn thinking skills to better tolerate the urges to go off diet that often permanently derail the weight loss process.

Recognizing and eliminating emotional eating: Eating can be a way we cope with painful emotions or difficult situations. When we restrict our diet, we eliminate this way of coping, resulting in having a more difficult time dealing with life’s challenges. CBT can help people more effectively cope with tough times, thus replacing the function of food as a coping mechanism.

Learning from slip-ups: It is unrealistic to expect 100% compliance with a new diet or exercise plan. If you’re a human being, you’re going to make mistakes. Normally when dieter’s make a mistake, they throw in the towel, giving up their new routine entirely. CBT can help people to more effectively recover from lapses, and more importantly, learn from them to decrease their future reoccurrence.

Identify realistic goals: The effects of dieting and exercising often take a while to surface. This delayed gratification can be difficult to tolerate, prompting people to adopt extreme diets for immediate effects. Of course, this is often responsible for the see-saw phenomenon of people losing weight in a short span of time, and regaining it in an equally short time. To lose weight and keep it off, you have to adopt the marathon perspective: slow and steady wins the race. Adopting more realistic goals actually results in less suffering in the short-term, and better results over the long-term. Through CBT, people learn to identify achievable goals and realistic goals.

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