Behavioral Therapy for Weight Loss

April 14, 2009 by  
Filed under Health Department Weight Loss Tips

Behavior therapy provides methods for overcoming barriers to compliance with dietary therapy and/or increased physical activity, and these methods are important components of weight loss treatment.

In order to lose weight you need to be ready to follow through the weight loss program; you need to be motivated. That’s why assessing motivation and readiness to lose weight are parts of the behavorial therapy.

Setting achievable goals is a part of this process. This is a collaborative activity where you have to work together with the health care provider to set your goals.

Together you should be able to select what changes will likely to have the greatest impact on your weight loss process. This can be based on your past experiences, complete willingness to follow through the process and the ability to do so.

Once goals are selected, an action plan can be devised to implement change. Effective goals are specific, attainable, and forgiving (less than perfect). Thus, “exercise more” would become “walk for 30 minutes, 3 days a week, for now.”

Shaping is a behavioral technique that involves selecting a series of short-term goals that get closer and closer to the ultimate goal (e.g., an initial reduction of fat intake from 40 percent of calories to 35 percent of calories and later to 30 percent).

Once you have selected the goal your health care provider will address briefly what has to be done to achieve it.

Make sure your goals are specific. For example, if you are planning to walk 3 days a week, try to determine all the details in advance by asking yourself:

What are the best days for you to take your walks?

What time of day is best for you?

What arrangements will you need to make for child care (for example)?

When you are clear on your weekly goals the health care provider will prepare a written behavioral “prescription” for you listing the selected goals.

Follow up visits are important for monitoring health and weight status. They also provide the opportunity to assess progress toward the goals selected at the previous visit, to receive the necessary support and additional information, and to establish goals for the next visit.

Remember that you don’t have to be perfect – nobody is. Imperfect goal attainment is often the norm. Focus on the positive changes, and adopt a problem-solving approach toward the shortfalls.

Weight control can be quite challenging that’s why it is important to adopt problem-solving responses to goals that are not fully met.

Try to analyze why you weren’t able to achieve the previous week’s goals and see if you can develop more effective strategies with the help of your health care provider.

Weight control is a journey, not a destination, and some missteps are inevitable opportunities to learn how to be more successful.

U.S Department of Health and Human Services

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One Response to “Behavioral Therapy for Weight Loss”
  1. George says:

    Very interesting article about involving a mentor in controlling weight

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