The Pillars of Treatment for Obesity (RETHINKING OBESITY Series Part 4 of 5)Oct 23, 2023
In today's blog post, I'm excited to continue the discussion about a topic that's often misunderstood and surrounded by stigma: obesity.
Welcome back to the "RETHINKING OBESITY" podcast series.
This is part four of five of this month's series where I'm covering everything from defining obesity as a medical condition to conversations with your family doctor to effective treatment.
If you or a loved one is living with overweight or obesity, this would be a great series to share. Together, we can change the narrative around obesity and lift the shame and stigma. Because obesity isn't a character flaw, it isn't a lifestyle choice. Obesity is a medical condition.
It's not just a matter of willpower or self-discipline but a complex interplay of physiological, psychological, and behavioral factors. Where there is a medical condition, there is also medical treatment. That’s what we’re talking about today.
The Three Pillars of Obesity Treatment
In my latest podcast episode on this topic, I introduce the pillars of treatment for obesity. These pillars form a comprehensive approach to addressing obesity and fostering sustainable weight management.
Let's dive into each one:
Pillar 1: Behavioural Skills and Tools
The first pillar focuses on equipping individuals with the practical skills and tools needed to make lasting changes in their lives.
I want to share some of the key tools I teach:
Next Best Choice
This strategy encourages individuals to make healthier choices even after a setback. It emphasizes progress over perfection, advocating that even small steps can lead to significant changes.
Mindful eating promotes awareness of hunger and fullness, ensuring that eating is driven by the body's need for nourishment rather than habit or convenience.
Self-monitoring through tools like food tracking or journaling fosters personal accountability, a crucial element in successful weight management.
SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) is a good starting framework for setting realistic and attainable goals.
Pillar 2: Behavioural and Psychological Interventions
This pillar emphasizes the importance of addressing psychological factors that often hinder weight management.
If you want to change your behaviours, it all starts with your beliefs. For instance, the belief that it's morally wrong to leave food on the plate can lead to overeating. These beliefs need to be recognized and challenged.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a powerful tool for reframing thoughts and emotions that drive unhealthy behaviours.
Addressing mood disorders, low self-esteem, and a lack of self-compassion is also crucial in overcoming weight-related challenges. That’s why my signature program, Best Weight, primarily focuses on emotional processing tools to replace the behaviour of self-soothing with food.
Pillar 3: Pharmacotherapy
It’s time to debunk common myths surrounding anti-obesity medications and highlight their potential benefits and proper usage.
Understanding that pharmacotherapy is not a one-size-fits-all solution, but an option for many individuals who have this chronic medical condition. I will be covering anti-obesity medications in the final episode of my RETHINKING OBESITY Podcast Series.
A holistic approach is crucial to effective obesity treatment. This approach considers individual needs and circumstances, recognizing that advising people to eat healthier and exercise more isn't enough. Real change requires addressing the underlying factors that prevent healthy behaviours.
Most people already know what they should be doing to be healthy. The challenge lies in taking action.
Providing tools, skills, and psychological interventions equips you with the means to overcome obstacles and make healthier choices.
Our beliefs, whether conscious or unconscious, profoundly influence our behaviours. To achieve sustainable weight loss, we must identify and challenge beliefs that hinder our progress. Recognizing that flawed belief systems can be changed opens the door to a more positive and constructive mindset.
The ancient part of our brain known as the limbic system, is responsible for three core survival instincts: seeking pleasure, avoiding pain, and conserving energy. In modern society, these instincts can lead to overeating, emotional eating, and a lack of motivation for exercise. Understanding these primal instincts is the first step to overriding them and making healthier choices.
Every person's journey to healthier living is unique. What works for one may not work for another. Recognizing this diversity is key to tailoring treatment plans that are both effective and sustainable.
Ultimately, the aim of the three pillars of obesity treatment is to help individuals achieve their healthiest lifestyle. This encompasses healthy eating, regular physical activity, stress management, adequate sleep, and overall well-being.
I invite you to challenge the stigma surrounding obesity and embrace a more compassionate, comprehensive approach to treatment. The journey to lasting weight management isn't about quick fixes or one-size-fits-all solutions. It's about understanding ourselves, our beliefs, and our behaviours and making sustainable changes that lead to a happier, healthier life.
Join me next week for part five of the RETHINKING OBESITY Series where I dive further into which obesity medications are available in Canada.
Listen to the podcast on obesity treatment: HERE
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