Behavioural Therapy for Obesity

Changing your behavior is a key component to conquering obesity. Crash diets that cause people to lose weight drastically almost always backfire because there is no change in behavior and habits. Surgical procedures are a last resort. Obesity is a lifestyle, and conquering obesity is a lifestyle also. Losing focus is a common problem with those who are trying to lose weight and keep it off.

Most of us do not have goals, and are generally not in the habit of goal setting. Many of us think we have goals, because we have stated what we want. However, if we have not written them down in completely positive language, and eliminated goals that conflict with each other, then we do not truly have goals.

What is positive language? A statement that uses positive words and not negative words toward achieving a goal. An example of a positive statement would be, “I weigh 150 pounds. I am fit and trim, and full of energy.”

Negative Statements

To the contrary, examples of negative statements are, “I will not be fat anymore. I will not overeat. I am sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. I will not eat fattening foods.” While these negative statements appear to say what you want at first, they truly only say what you don’t want, and the subconscious mind does not know the difference between want and not, it only focuses on subjects.

Therefore, if you speak of not being fat, it only hears being fat; if it hears you speak of not overeating, it only hears overeating; and if it hears you being sick and tired of being sick and tired, it only actually registers being sick and tired.

The subconscious is very literal, so use positive language at all times. Notice I also made the statement in the present tense, even though I may currently be 210 pounds and not 160. The subconscious mind does not register the words I will either, because it has no concept of past and future.

Think of dreams; have you ever dreamed of something and it seemed like it was an episode that took forever, yet when you awoke you realized the entire dream sequence took place in minutes while you dozed off? Or have you experienced a dream where people you know may look as they did many years ago? This is because the subconscious is simply storing images and words as they happen, not in past or future tense. It is important therefore to speak into your life what you want, and not what you don’t want.

Developing Goals

Developing your goals is a process, and will help you in your quest to becoming motivated and staying that way. Ask yourself why you want to lose weight. Carry around a notepad and pen for a few days and write down every benefit you can think of that relates to weight loss. You will use these to develop not only a goal, but also a mission statement.

Some common examples are wanting to have more energy to spend quality time with family and friends, being able to fit into all your clothes, improving your health for longevity, wanting to feel comfortable in public, desiring to climb stairs or perform daily tasks without becoming breathless or fatigued, wanting to be more active with your children, or wanting to wear a nice outfit you saw.

In a few days, you should be able to write a statement similar to this:

“By August 31st I weigh 150 pounds. I eat foods that are healthy for me, and I enjoy them. I am able to fit into that nice bikini I saw at the beach shop last month, and I look awesome in it. I am able to run and play with my children and have boundless energy. I remain energized throughout the day and am very alert at work. I feel great while following my new meal and exercise plan, and am happy that I am making changes that will improve my health and longevity, so that I am alive and healthy for myself and my loved ones for a long time.”

Of course you will customize your statement to fit your life, but you get the point. Make sure all of your statements are positive and in the here and now.

The next step is to keep focused on your goals. Once you write your statement down, keep it posted where you can see it daily, such as next to your bathroom mirror, or stuck on the refrigerator door. You must keep your goals literally in front of you in order to maintain focus.

The mind begins to steer you in the direction that you are focused on, just as you steer a car down the road. Letting your goals out of your focus is like looking down or away while driving, or letting go of the steering wheel: eventually you will crash. Lets avoid the crash and plan for success.

The first week is always the hardest regardless of what your eating plan is, whether it be low fat, low carbohydrate or anything else you will no doubt feel the uncomfortable feeling of hunger pangs at first. The good news is that if you can make it through the first two weeks you will have a significantly better chance of meeting your goal. Your appetite will become significantly smaller, which will likely escape your notice at first.

Realize that you aim to succeed by all means, but not meeting your goal does not mean total failure. If you end up cheating or missing a scheduled workout its not the end of the world. Beware of beating yourself up and deeming yourself a failure, and instead accept that everyone makes mistakes and get back up on your horse and right back on your plan. We’re all human and we are bound to fail once and awhile.