Making changes to your lifestyle is difficult. If it weren’t, we wouldn’t have an obesity epidemic in the USA, nor would our estimated health care costs for physical inactivity be exorbitant. Did you know that physical inactivity accounts for roughly 8.7% of America’s health care expenditures or approximately $117 billion per year?
According to recent data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), adult obesity rates in the United States now exceed 35% in 9 states, 30% in 31 states, and 25% in 48 states in September of 2019. Also, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), childhood obesity is a severe issue in the US, putting children & adolescents at risk of poor health. Obesity Prevalence among children & adolescents is still too high. The CDC states that the Prevalence of Childhood Obesity in the United States is 18.5% and affects about 13.7 million children & adolescents. Specifically, the Obesity Prevalence is 13.9% among 2- to 5-year-olds, 18.4% among 6- to 11-year-olds, and 20.6% among 12- to 19-year-olds.
We often think about what we eat, when we think of weight loss. The questions we pose ourselves tend to revolve around how much fat, protein, and carbs to eat, or whether what we consume will help take off the pounds. Plus, diets are flaunted all over the media as optimal ways for weight loss, yet we remain a nation with an obesity epidemic. What we tend to neglect, when we think of weight loss, is how we are approaching & managing the course of change. As essential as it is to focus on what we eat to lose weight and keep it off, equally vital to consider is our physical activity & maintaining lifestyle changes over time.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), also known as talk therapy, is a type of psychological treatment that is used to treat many different problems, ranging from anxiety & depression to weight loss. Patients/Clients work with a mental health counselor (psychotherapist or therapist) in a structured way, attending several sessions. CBT helps us become aware of inaccurate or negative thinking so we can observe challenging situations more visibly and respond to them more constructively.
CBT can be a handy tool ― either alone or in combination with other therapies that work to treat mental health disorders, such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or eating disorders. However, CBT is not just for mental health conditions, and can be an effective instrument to help anyone learn how to handle demanding life situations better. Please note: CBT alone is not enough to lose weight, but rather it is used to help support lifestyle changes.
It has been found that CBT is a valuable addition to diet & exercise for weight loss. Individuals who have both CBT & lifestyle changes lose more weight than those who only have lifestyle changes. Health experts say CBT alone (i.e., with no set diet or exercise changes) has also been found to be slightly effective in some patients who have problems with binge eating. However, it’s important to note that CBT by itself will not work for everyone; combing CBT with lifestyle changes will provide better results than when using CBT alone.
CBT focuses on changing how we think about ourselves and how we act. The circumstances that surround how we behave is an effective treatment for a wide range of problems, including weight loss. The key is to focus on making changes & sticking to them.
What strategies we use to adhere to new ways of eating & increasing, and how we make behavioral changes, physical activity cannot be ignored.
When it comes to changing behavior, especially long-term, habitual patterns, and getting ourselves to do something different, even when we know it’s good for us, it depends mainly on what we tell ourselves: that is, on our thinking. That’s the tremendous & righteous remedy to CBT!
To learn more about cognitive
Dr. Elena Eustache is a specialist in neurofeedback and hyperbaric oxygen therapy, with a Ph.D. in Psychology and Cognitive Behavior Therapy. Dr. Elena Eustache helps her patients reach their full potential so they can live the life they’ve always dreamed of. You can follow the Eustache Institute on Instagram and Facebook.