Dr Eric Pugliesi
Psychology plays a big role in weight management
When I meet someone who wants to lose weight I listen to their story and try to learn about their habits, lifestyle and weight loss attempts. But the most crucial part of the history taking is understanding their psyche.
Mental health plays a pivotal role in someone‘s weight. It plays such a critical role that I am tempted to jump ahead and talk about this. Experience has taught me to be patient and it is with patience that I reach the topic of the patient’s mental health. A mix of silence, tears and frustration is reflected in people’s faces. The beginning of our doctor patient alliance tends to start with my compassion and understanding. It is only then that I understand how I can help them in their journey.
Part of your weight plan should require a pinch of introspection, coaching and CBT. A psychologist can help you with the following skills:
Helping to increase motivation to do exercise
Provide coping skills to handle any lapses in diet that the person will experience
Provide long term weight maintenance skills
Changing a person’s body image and their expectation of body image
Improving a person’s self esteem
Helping with stress management (a major reason for ‘comfort eating’)
Helping set reasonable goals for both weight loss and maintenance.
It is difficult to reach ”momentum” in your weight management journey. Losing weight is similar to cutting down on alcohol and smoking in the sense that we have developed an attachment to something and we need to modify our habits, lifestyle and most likely dependence.
Every time you feel like “giving it another go” look for guidance or coaching from a health professional and implement a plan. Use that hint of positivism that makes you want to try again.
Part of your plan should involve a review of your mental health. Introspection is the perfect tool to assess if you are ready for your journey.