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Obesity: Losing weight with behavioral therapy

A quarter of adults in Germany suffer from obesity. This means that more than nine million people in Germany have a BMI above 30 and are at risk for health consequences such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure or fatty liver. Despite health education and low prices for fresh fruit and vegetables, many attempts to lose weight fail. Because? And can cognitive behavioral therapy help?

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a non-drug method for treating mental and emotional illnesses. CBT is used for, among other things, depression, anxiety disorders, addictions and eating disorders. Obesity is not yet recognized as a disease in the German health system. However, it causes significant limitations and a huge amount of suffering in everyday life. Many institutions such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Parliament have therefore been asking for years that obesity be officially classified as a chronic disease.

Here is how cognitive behavioral therapy helps against obesity

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is based on the assumption that ours thought patterns and every day behaviors to learn for a lifetime. This occurs in the form of feedback loops, e.g. Eating as a reward or encouragement serve in difficult times. This imprints the learned behavior pattern of compensating for bad feelings with food. In cognitive-behavioral therapy, a therapist helps analyze the person’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors to replace them with healthier patterns over the course of therapy.

Recognize automatic food patterns

Learned eating patterns usually work fully automatically during stressful daily work, as this saves more energy for our brain. If we thought for a few minutes before every snack and every big meal and evaluated the advantages and disadvantages of the respective foods, this would be time-consuming on the one hand and extremely energy-consuming on the other. Therefore, the first step to losing weight is getting yours automatic food schemes in mind and to make more informed decisions about what and how to eat in the future. You can start on your own with a food diary.

Learn new behaviors

The second step is to practice new behaviors with the goal of integrating them into everyday life as automatic and healthier long-term routines. You should set aside one or more relaxing days for planning. Gradually replace your unhealthy meals with healthier alternatives – you don’t have to suddenly change everything from one week to the next. Also call yourself that “If-Then Plans”. These help make healthier behaviors a routine, such as “Next time I have cravings between meals, I’ll have black coffee or ginger tea instead of a snack, or I’ll do 10 squats to take my mind off things.”

Get professional help

If you can’t lose the excess weight on your own, don’t hesitate to seek medical and therapeutic help. Talk to your family doctor, nutritionist, or nutritionist. With their help, you will learn techniques that will make it easier for you to switch to a healthy and balanced diet.

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