Online therapy for weight loss
Weight management can be extremely difficult in a world where obesity rates, sedentary lifestyles and access to unhealthy convenience foods are ever increasing. Most people report dissatisfaction with their weight at some point in their life but struggle to find an effective option that helps to achieve their long-term goal.
The traditional method for weight loss typically involves a combination of reduced calorie intake and increased physical activity over a sustained period, dependent on ‘Body Mass Index’ (BMI). Calculating your BMI can be done online or via your local health service and is one way of finding out whether you are at a healthy weight, are overweight or obese. If you are overweight, BMI can be used to create realistic weight loss goals and plans instead of imagining an ‘ideal weight’, which may be unrealistic and reduce your motivation. It is important to acknowledge that healthy weight loss requires time and effort; therefore, patience and motivation are necessary in order to meet your goals.
People choose to lose weight for a variety of reasons, often to improve their quality of life in some way. Research suggests that people who are physically overweight are at higher risk of experiencing both physical and psychological health issues, some of which are listed below:
- High blood pressure
- Sleep issues
- Kidney and Liver disease
- Infertility or issues during pregnancy
- Eating disorders
- Substance abuse
- Low self-esteem
- Relationship issues
- Sexual issues
- Negative affect including sadness, guilt and shame
If you have been considering weight loss, are overweight and/or experiencing any of these issues, you may find online therapy supportive on your journey to improved health and fitness. Research evidence suggests that therapeutic approaches such as CBT for weight loss are particularly effective for sustainable results in comparison to following certain diet trends or intense physical fitness programmes.
Unfortunately, many people in pursuit of weight loss often adopt extreme methods or ‘diets’ that promote fast results instead. However, engaging in these behaviours increases the likelihood of ‘yo-yo dieting’, which is characterised by a pattern of weight loss and subsequent weight gain due to entering in and out of various unsustainable diet trends to lose weight.
Restraint theory indicates that unsustainable dieting often involves food restriction and deprivation and is far likelier to result in a ‘What the hell effect’. This effect occurs mostly when dieters experience a breach of dieting behaviour, for example, eating ‘forbidden food’ such as chocolate. The breach triggers a short-term pleasure response, often followed by negative emotions and unhealthy cognitions including ‘I’ve broken my diet now, so what is the point, I may as well eat more chocolate’.
If this sounds familiar, you may have also experienced ‘counter-regulatory eating’- a psychological tendency to eat more after recently eating or feeling full, followed by feelings of guilt and over-compensatory behaviours such as skipping the next meal. These dietary behaviours are extremely common and can be worked through successfully in online therapy according to your needs. Online therapy does not focus solely on weight loss, as you may also learn how to break unhealthy relationships with food and/or address any related issues of esteem and confidence.
Please note, if you are experiencing significant issues with depression, addiction, eating disorders or body dysmorphia, it is recommended that you address these with a professional prior to engaging in therapy for weight loss- please see the other sections on our website for further information.
How online therapy can help you lose weight
Online therapy for weight loss is for those who want support with overcoming unhealthy cognitive, behavioural or emotional patterns of eating. Throughout online therapy, you and your therapist will be able to collaborate on a realistic goal and start working towards it using evidence-based approaches that assist weight loss.
Online therapy can introduce you to healthy coping mechanisms for food cravings and/or any other emotional triggers you may experience that result in turning to food for comfort. With your online therapist you will learn how to adopt a healthy and flexible eating plan that you can keep up for life. Acceptance techniques can facilitate the process of making permanent changes and maintaining a realistic weight for a lifetime.
In therapy, examples of how you might learn to take control of your health and wellbeing include:
- Breaking Self-Sabotage patterns: For example: “I ate something I wasn’t supposed to, oh, well, I might as well eat whatever I want for the rest of the day and start again tomorrow”.
- Solving diet-related problems: Diet Traps include emotional eating, food pushers, special occasions, stress, feelings of deprivation, discouragement, lack of motivation, disappointment, and other hurdles that interfere with your weight loss efforts.
- Acknowledging Cyclical behaviours: Building your awareness of triggers and repeated patterns that involve under-eating, healthy eating and over-eating. You may learn to contextualise your patterns and avoid entering a cycle when a trigger presents i.e. an upcoming family event.
- Focusing on personal growth and development: Building healthy habits such as setting and sticking to a meal plan and giving yourself credit for things you have accomplished.
Overall, online therapy can enable you to understand, challenge and overcome emotional eating and stay focussed and motivated. Please remember that perfection is not the aim and most clients experience their greatest success with weight loss after creating a lifestyle that permits a balance of healthy foods and treats with regular physical activity that they enjoy.
Free initial telephone discussion
If you are looking for online therapy for weight loss please contact Teresa Lewis for a 15 minute no obligation discussion. Teresa is a BACP Senior Accredited Counsellor and Psychotherapist so she will be able to briefly discuss your issues, answer questions and explain more about how online therapy can help you lose weight. At this time you can decide whether you would like to book an appointment. The discussion is conducted without any obligation to book an appointment.
Make an appointment for online therapy
If you would like to speak to one of our therapists regarding online therapy for weight loss please call: 01902 827808. Alternatively, fill out our online contact form and we will contact you within 24 hours.
Medical disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice by a qualified doctor.