A Psychological Approach to Weight Loss

Individualised treatment specific for you

It is important to find the specific treatment plan that will work for you. Through trial and error, together we can arrive at the right balance of talk therapy, mindful eating and psychological investigation to solve your over-eating problem. Combined with healthy eating and a regular exercise plan this approach will help you maintain your ideal weight long into the future.

Talk therapy

Sometimes over-eating leading to weight gain is the result of past traumas and upset. Such traumas can lie in the subconscious, forgotten for decades only to resurface during times of crisis. During these times we can comfort eat in an attempt to distract ourselves from painful memories.Talking about difficult memories or relationships with a professional can often help alleviate the stress they cause. A greater understanding of our past and how it interacts with the present can help us understand why we eat too much and help avoid their triggers.

Mindful eating – no more eating on auto-pilot

Stress can play a major role in over-eating but with mindful eating practices, we can learn to deal with stress and eat consciously rather than on auto-pilot. Mindful eating involves paying slow and deliberate attention to what and how you eat. When we practice mindful living we slow down our reactions, particularly to stress. We can learn to resist our cravings by a process called urge surfing:

Urge Surfing– cravings rarely last longer than 10 minutes. Therefore, by sitting and paying attention to our craving we can watch it rise and fall like a wave until it crashes against the shore and is no more. Repeated practice allows us to realise that our cravings are temporary and don’t necessarily have to control us.

Obviously, this is harder than it sounds and takes practice but it does work for many people.

Why do we over-eat?

Finding out why we over eat can go a long way to solving the problem of weight gain. Do you eat when you are bored, lonely, after arguments or encountering certain people?

Over eating is part of any habit loop that forms over time in the brain and is comprised of a trigger, followed by a routine that leads to a reward. The goal of any habit loop is to satisfy our cravings.

Breaking the habit loop

Step 1 – Identify your routine

 

imagine that once 11am arrives you leave the office for the local shop or canteen. It’s important to identify your specific routine or routines that lead to over eating.

Step 2 – What is your reward?

In other words, what is the craving you’re trying to satisfy? This takes time, experimentation and a bit of detective work.

For example, do you over eat because you crave sugar, you’re bored or lonely.

Test 1: I crave sugar

Substitute junk food for an apple and wait 15 minutes. If the craving remains then sugar is not the reward you seek.

Test 2: I’m lonely

At 11am, sit with friends or colleagues in the canteen and have a cup of tea and a chat. Wait 15minutes once the break is over. If the craving remains then social contact is not the reward you seek.

 

Step 3 – Identify the trigger or triggers

This is probably the most important and difficult step. Triggers aren’t always so obvious and can come in the guise of people, places or other aspects of our environment. When the craving occurs, participants are urged to write down any thoughts and emotions under the following headings:

location, time, emotional state, presence of other people, immediately preceeding action

Over a number of weeks, the trigger will become clear; once we identify it we can either avoid it altogether or substitute another activity for over-eating at this point.


Finding out why we over-eat can be a difficult task but it is only by identifying the associatated psychological factors that we will prevent bouts of weight gain in the future and maintain a healthy physique.

Our location

2A Woodstock Street,
Athy,
Co. Kildare