If you are battling the bulge, weight management psychology can not only help you to lose weight – but keep it off!
- Motivation to make changes;
- Confidence to make changes;
- Body Image;
- Emotional eating;
- Emotional drinking;
- Social eating and drinking;
- Compulsive eating and bingeing?
Did you know that research suggests that diets may not be successful and in fact may lead to outcomes including:
- lower metabolism;
- decreased energy and immune function;
- lower sensitivities to hunger and fullness cues;
- increased preoccupation with food;
- increased emotional and binge eating;
- weight gain and weight regain following the end of a diet.
Psychologists suggest that in order to maintain a healthy weight, a focus on nutritionally sound eating with everyday foods, small portions, and regular eating, is required.
How Weight Management Psychology can help
In fact, a psychologist can help you with sensible eating from a psychological perspective. Studies suggest that if the desire for trigger foods is removed, the better the nutritional foods an individual would eat naturally.
The term “intuitive eating” suggests that the way an individual selects and consumes food is based on that individual’s intuition. This method involves acknowledging the internal states of the body, including identifying feelings, and listening to the body’s hunger and fullness triggers.
By allowing an individual to eat all types of foods, it diminishes the preoccupation with favourite foods. As the individual learns to identify their feelings, it creates an awareness of when they have decreased emotional states, so as to reduce emotional eating.
Caring for the body through careful selection of food choices, creates a congruence between the food and body connection.
By eating intuitively, the individual is more likely to have higher body acceptance, self-esteem and life satisfaction – and have lower Body Mass Index (BMI), eating disorder symptoms and body image issues. This may result in an increase in physical wellness including lower blood pressure, decreases in cholesterol levels, decreased hunger, decreases in body dissatisfaction, less likelihood of depression, and increases in self-esteem.
Mindful Eating Practices
Eating intuitively can be guided through mindful eating practices. This involves being present to the food experience and not being distracted by behaviours, negative thought patterns, or influenced by social events.
Behaviours of intuitive mindful eating include being non-judgmental to eating, and being present when eating. Having the freedom to experience, savour, and take pleasure in all foods provides the state of being present.
Being aware of hunger and fullness cues in the body will indicate the times to start and stop food consumption, based on what the body needs. Being aware of your feelings by noticing and overcoming emotional eating cues helps to reduce the over-consumption of sugary foods.
Psychological techniques used to guide an individual with intuitive mindful eating include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT), relaxation techniques, mindfulness, and goal setting techniques.
The Importance of Physical Activity
Exercise interventions are effective, resulting in:
- higher metabolism;
- increased energy;
- improved immune function;
- improved mood, body image and self-esteem;
- increased mental functioning;
- improvement in sleep patterns;
- decreases in appetite;
- increased muscle mass and bone density;
- improved cardiovascular fitness and endurance; and,
- weight reduction and maintenance.
However, studies show that within 6 months, over 50% of people starting physical activity drop out.
A psychologist however can provide insights into improving adherence, and therefore the benefits of physical activity – so why not make an appointment to put weight management psychology to work for you!
Author: Cassandra Gist, BPsych (Hons), MPsych, MAPS.
Brisbane Psychologist Cassandra Gist has a Masters in Health Psychology, and is able to treat clients aged from two years old right through to adulthood. She is experienced in working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, as well as children and families affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder.
To make an appointment with Brisbane Psychologist Cassandra Gist, try Online Booking – Loganholme or Online Booking – Mt Gravatt. Alternatively, you can call M1 Psychology (Loganholme) on (07) 3067 9129, or Vision Psychology (Mt Gravatt) on (07) 3088 5422.