Maintaining a healthy weight and implementing good eating habits are two central steps in improving physical health and quality of life. Yet more than a third of adults in the US struggle with obesity. “Overweight” and “obesity” are both labels used to describe ranges of weight that are greater than what is generally considered healthy for a given height; these ranges of weight have been shown to increase the risk of certain diseases and health conditions.
Combatting obesity and achieving an ideal weight can be challenging. That is because food and our eating habits are fundamentally connected to so many aspects of our history, our lives and our sense of self. For many of us, our identities, emotions, families, culture, and coping mechanisms are tied to our food choices and eating behaviors. While there can be biological contributors to obesity and being overweight, the good news is that for many people effective weight loss and weight management strategies rely almost entirely on modifying behaviors that are within your control to change.
At Endeavor Psychology, we understand the challenges of weight loss and weight management. We use psychoeducation and a number of therapeutic techniques (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, behavior modification) to help clients understand the mechanics of weight loss and explore their thoughts, beliefs and feelings about food, weight and health. We work with clients to set achievable goals, implement lifestyle changes, and build support networks to maintain long-term health strategies.
What causes obesity?
Obesity is a complicated health issue – that’s because so many factors contribute to weight, including genes, metabolism, behavior, environment, culture, and socioeconomic status. When broken down into the most fundamental mechanics, being overweight or obese results from an imbalance in energy – too many calories consumed and too few calories expended.
Because behavior and environment play a significant role in contributing to weight management and obesity, these are the areas that are the primary targets for prevention and treatment.
What are the health consequences of being overweight or obese?
Research has found that as weight increases to reach the levels referred to as “overweight” and “obese,” risks increase for the following conditions:
- Coronary heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon)
- High blood pressure (Hypertension)
- High total cholesterol or high levels of triglycerides (Dyslipidemia)
- Liver and Gallbladder disease
- Sleep apnea and respiratory problems
- Degeneration of cartilage and its underlying bone within a joint (Osteoarthritis)
- Gynecological problems (abnormal menstruation, infertility)
For more information about health problems associated with being overweight or obese, visit the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s Clinical Guidelines on the Identification, Evaluation, and Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults.
How can Endeavor Psychology help me achieve my weight loss and weight management goals?
At Endeavor Psychology, we use psychoeducation, psychotherapy and psychological assessment to support clients with weight loss and weight management. Specifically, we help clients:
- Set weight loss goals
- Understand the mechanics of weight loss
- Identify positive factors that can be motivational in maintaining weight loss as well as “negative” triggers and barriers that can undermine weight management goals
- Implement healthy weight loss and weight management strategies (healthy diet, exercise)
- Institute strategies to counteract unhealthy triggers and address barriers to weight loss, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy strategies addressing maladaptive thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors, stress reduction and management strategies, environmental control, strategies addressing unhelpful relationships that may sabotage weight loss goals
- For clients considering surgical intervention (bariatric surgery) we can help assess psychological readiness for surgery and provide pre- and post-surgical counseling
- Cope with and manage other physical health conditions (diabetes, cardiovascular disease, other health conditions)
- Treat other psychological needs that may be contribute to weight loss/weight management success (depression, anxiety, other mood disorders)
If you or someone you care about needs help losing or managing weight and would benefit from the assistance of a clinical health psychologist, please contact us.