When you make the decision to lose weight, you probably think about cutting calories, reducing fat or carbohydrates and increasing your daily exercise. While these are all excellent strategies for getting rid of those excess pounds and many doctors recommend them, we continue to be a country plagued by obesity and the health problems that are associated with it. This leads us to the conclusion that diet and exercise alone are often not enough. This is where CBT for weight loss can help.
While a lot of people who begin a diet are intensely focused on watching calories, many forget to consider the underlying issues that may be causing them to overeat or lack energy and motivation in the first place. They also forget to focus on modifying unhelpful thoughts and behaviors that often stand in the way as they attempt to eat better or exercise more. While they may be successful in the short term, their bad habits tend to creep back in over time, and this often results in a rebound effect that once again increases inches and pounds.
Summer is right around the corner! Weight loss has many benefits, and CBT can help you learn the tools for long-term change
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a highly recommended therapeutic practice that focuses on changing self-perceptions, actions and behaviors. It is very effective for a wide range of problems and has helped many individuals to make permanent lifestyle changes and lose those last few pounds or overcome obesity.
To understand why cognitive behavioral therapy helps people to lose weight, it is first important to understand the strategies a therapist will use when including it in a treatment plan.
Setting Goals for Weight Loss
The first step in losing weight is to learn how to set goals. While this might seem simple, goals involve more than just stating that you would like to lose 20 pounds or lower your blood pressure. They should include both short-term and long-term ambitions and be clear, concise and easily obtainable. In cognitive behavioral therapy, the psychotherapist asks you what you hope to gain from treatment and from your weight loss plan and helps you to design goals that are specific and attainable. The therapist also checks in with you during sessions to gather important feedback about your progress and help you to make any necessary modifications that will result in improved outcomes.
Increasing Positive Expectations
After you have set clear and concise goals, it is next important to boost self-belief. For weight loss to be effective, you will learn believe that your weight loss plan will work and understand the skills you already have to take the necessary steps to make it happen. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps you to realize that unhelpful thoughts exist and replace them with more useful ones. It also provides you with strategies that can be used when your mind begins to wander back to negativity and mental exercises to practice every day that help you to stay positive. Changing how you think naturally lends to increased hopefulness about the future, and it causes many clients to begin to believe that they are capable of moving forward toward a new level of health, making it easier for them to ultimately reach their weight loss goals.
Changing How You Act and React
In addition to changing how you think about yourself and your ability to lose weight, CBT also helps you to focus on altering the behaviors that have previously sabotaged your diet and exercise plans. This involves self-monitoring your own individual experiences and recognizing barriers, physical cues that you are heading toward a setback and challenges that have been standing in the way of your success. Your therapist may recommend that you keep a food and exercise log or journal about daily thoughts and feelings. This information is then shared during sessions, helping you to recognize the barriers you are faced with and think through ways in which you can change your behaviors and cause different, more positive outcomes.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Feedback and Your Ability to Lose Weight
Cognitive behavioral therapy for weight loss is typically short term, and many clients only attend sessions for a few months before seeing results. During this time, your therapist acts as an external measuring stick by providing you with feedback about your progress, thoughts, actions and goals. This type of support is quite motivating and helps many to maintain expectations that are both ambitious and realistic.
Losing weight involves more than just mindlessly following a plan that cuts calories and increases exercise. It involves making a conscious choice to change your lifestyle, setting realistic goals and believing in yourself enough to accomplish them. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a beneficial tool that helps individuals to alter their mindset and address negative behaviors that are sabotaging their weight loss efforts. If you are struggling to lose weight, constantly finding yourself rebounding from diet after diet or facing dire health consequences because of extra pound, CBT for weight loss may be the solution you have been searching for. As a licensed psychotherapist in San Diego, I have helped many to enjoy the benefits of cognitive behavioral therapy, reach their weight loss goals and enjoy a happier, healthier life. To learn more, contact me and schedule a consultation.
Can Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Treat Anxiety?
Anxiety is a feeling of worry, restlessness or uneasiness that typically occurs when we are faced with an imminent situation or one that we have little control over. While it is normal, and even helpful, to experience some level of anxiety from time to time, problems occur when anxiety is out of control, causes phobias or makes it difficult for you to live a productive and healthy life, hold a job or maintain important relationships.
Anxiety causes emotional strain on the individual, and it can also manifest physically in a variety of ways including causing shortness of breath, an irregular heartbeat, gastric and intestinal distress, insomnia, sweating, trembling and dizziness. In some cases, these physical conditions can only be controlled with medication, but in most cases, they can be effectively treated by managing your anxiety by enlisting a cognitive therapist.
When a cognitive behavioral therapist addresses anxiety we approach the problem from many different angles and target three areas in particular:
In addition to addressing the biological and environmental components of one’s life, Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an effective intervention that addresses all three of these areas. It helps individuals to become aware of their negative thought patterns and self-doubt, learn how to behave proactively when faced with anxiety-inducing situations and feel empowered to utilize their most effective coping strategies as well as develop new ones.
Cognitive Components that Impact Anxiety
Cognitive behavioral therapy provides clients with opportunities to openly examine their own thoughts and uncover beliefs that may be unhelpful. Examples of this include realizing that you think you will fail at a job interview before it begins (catastrophization) or believing that a car crash is imminent anytime you get behind the wheel (fortune telling). This discovery process provides opportunities for change which through confronting one’s faulty logic. Cognitive recognition also provides clients with a clearer understanding of how beliefs influence their mental and physical state when certain situations present themselves. It can also alter ‘self-talk’ and replace it with kinder, more loving and forgiving dialogue that decreases anxiety and increases opportunities for success.
Behaviors and Anxiety
Cognitive behavioral therapy examines how individuals act when faced with a specific situation. The goal is to identify and shift maladaptive habits that people with social anxiety or other anxiety disorders tend to repeat and sabotage potential. Clients are then provided with behavioral experiments to change behavioral patterns and adopt effective coping mechanisms to use in a variety of anxiety-inducing situations.
Cognitive behavioral therapy offers opportunities for clients to consider how their thoughts and actions make them feel. By changing how you think about an anxiety-provoking situation and how you act when faced with it, you can change the way that you feel about that situation and sometimes, turn it into a situation that you can turn down the volume of your anxious feelings. This can be a powerful discovery and one that teaches clients how to actively participate in choosing how they will react and what their path will be.
Reach Goals Sooner with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
With cognitive behavioral therapy, clients often see results in as little as a few sessions. This is a major advantage because it has the potential to increase their confidence level and cause them to believe that they can overcome unhealthy anxiety. With their newfound hopefulness, many move forward in a more positive direction and achieve a sense of calm when faced with situations that previously triggered intense anxiety.
Trust and a Strong Client / Therapist Relationship
For cognitive behavioral therapy to be the most effective, it is important that the client is comfortable with the psychotherapist. This is especially true for clients who are prone to extreme anxiety when situations leave them feeling uncomfortable. The highest level of comfort often develops naturally when the therapist treats the client as an equal and an integral part of the healing process. Effective therapists include clients in developing their treatment plan and ask for feedback after every therapy session. Therapists must also realize that each client is an individual, and no one treatment plan will work for every person. This type of attitude fosters mutual respect and cooperation between the therapist and the client. It also increases feelings of hopefulness and curiosity about the potential for therapy that can reduce the number of sessions it takes to reach the client’s goals of reducing or eliminating anxiety and increase opportunities for success.
Anxiety disorders can take over your life and have a crippling effect on your ability to realize happiness but are also one of the most treatable conditions in the mental health spectrum. You can take positive steps to change how you react to stressful situations. As a licensed psychotherapist in San Diego, cognitive behavioral therapy is one solution that I most often recommend to help clients with anxiety walk the path toward happier, more productive lives. If the time is right to realize positive change in your life, contact me to schedule a consultation.
Think about the last encounter you had with a friend or co-worker where you discussed sleep. You probably said something like, “You wouldn’t believe how tired I am! I only slept for five hours last night.” Your friendly likely responded with, “That’s nothing! I only got three hours of sleep.”
Examining this interaction, one would be led to believe that getting just a couple hours of sleep is worthy of a badge of honor. On the other hand, I’ll tell you something quite different.
What are the consequences of sleep deprivation?
When I have a client come into my office, one of the first questions I ask them is “How much sleep are you getting?” Have you ever thought about your sleep habits might affect your mental health? Sleep deprivation is clearly linked to increased anxiety, depression, and even psychosis in patients. In my experience clients who are suffering from any mental disorders will typically see symptoms improve remarkably with adequate shut eye.
Arguably the most dangerous consequence of sleep deprivation is a slower response time. The adage that a tired driver is more dangerous than a drunk driver is has been established over and over again in studies; cognitive effects of sleep deprivation may lead to mistakes, errors in judgment, and even psychosis. This relates to memory storage and even the decision-making process. If you haven’t been getting enough sleep, you are probably missing details at work or working on projects for school.
How much sleep do I need?
Truth be told, there really isn’t a specific amount of sleep that each person should aim for. Some people operate just fine with six hours, but some people need more than eight. Generally, you should always wake up feeling refreshed just a few minutes before the alarm rings.
What can I do to avoid sleep deprivation?
Sometimes going to bed earlier seems like an impossible feat, especially when issues like stress, temperature and diet come into play. You can create a bedtime ritual that gets your mind ready for sleep. Shut off the television and keep the electronics out of the bedroom for better sleep, and consider practicing good sleep hygiene.
In today’s society, adults face many challenges in their daily lives. With demanding schedules, the struggle to maintain a work-life balance and increasing mental health concerns, a greater number of adults are reaching out for therapeutic assistance to help them cope with their day to day lives and break down their barriers to happiness. With the help of a qualified mental health professional, many are able to work through the problems they are facing, recognize their coping techniques and use their established resources and strengths to live healthier, happier lives.
Adult Therapy – A Journey Toward a Healthier, Happier Life
While some individuals shy away from therapy because they associate it with weakness or feelings of inferiority, seeking the assistance of a qualified mental health professional is actually a testament of strength and displays a willingness to take responsibility for life’s most difficult events and seek out positive change. An adult therapist provides a high level of support and insight into challenging situations and assists clients in honing in on existing strengths in order to overcome obstacles to happiness.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Explained
When it comes to adult therapy, one method that has shown particular effectiveness in various clinical studies is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT as it is often referred to, is a collaborative effort between a therapist and her client that incorporates empathy, warmth and genuineness. The initial goal of CBT is to develop a clear understanding of the problems or barriers at hand and devise a path toward remedying those barriers and breaking down maladaptive patterns. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is goal oriented, directive and time limited, meaning the individual seeking therapy is assisted in understanding the specific purpose of their sessions in order to direct their attention toward resolving or adjusting negative thought patterns with a clear end in sight. For many, CBT sessions are more effective than other forms of therapy, such as psychoanalysis, in a much shorter period of time. Several clinical studies have shown that adults participating in CBT often see significant improvement in 16 sessions or less. The end result of successful CBT is positive life changes that incorporate the adult’s strengths and lead to a happier, more fulfilling lifestyle.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Adults – Past and Current Uses
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy was initially used for adults facing depression and anxiety. While this style of therapy is still a top choice for therapists assisting clients with these concerns today, it has also proven effective in treating other conditions including eating disorders, substance abuse problems, sleep disorders, post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, in adults. Basically, CBT works by helping a client to identify a problematic way of thinking. In the case of ADHD, this might mean that a client realizes he believes he is stupid because of poor grades and progress in his educational career. In the case of an anxiety disorder, this might mean the person comes to the realization that she always believes she is in danger. Once this line of thinking is established, the therapist works with the client to challenge thought patterns and paint a more realistic picture of why life experiences are the way they are. Next, the client is taught to recognize strengths and reshape feelings, thoughts and associated actions. This leads to the individual learning how to adapt thinking patterns and develop more productive behaviors and a healthier self image.
CBT is an effective adult therapeutic tool for individuals of all ages and in all walks of life, but it is important to seek the assistance of an experienced, trained therapist to gain the greatest results in the shortest amount of time. A qualified therapist will conduct an initial consultation and understand any barriers the individual is facing before therapy begins. The therapist will then tailor future sessions to assist the client in overcoming any barriers and empower the client to feel comfortable and successful in the therapeutic relationship.
Approaches to CBT for Adults
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for adults is sometimes a stand-alone treatment, and it is sometimes combined with medications for those who require them. Consulting with a qualified mental health professional is the best way to decide how this course of treatment should be used in your particular situation and what, if any, additional medications or therapeutic practices you might also benefit from.
As a professional psychotherapist in San Diego, I have witnessed the many benefits that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy offers adults. I believe in empowering clients to recognize their own barriers to happiness and overcome them with the strengths that exist inside them, and that is a primary reason why CBT is one of many therapeutic approaches I use in my daily practice. If you are seeking a San Diego adult therapist to assist with any of the obstacles that life has thrown your way, contact my office today to schedule a free, no obligation CBT consultation. Together, we can work toward improving your outlook on life and moving toward your happier tomorrow.