A quarter of adults in Germany rise under obesity. This means that more than nine million people in this country have a BMI over 30 and impending health consequences such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure or fatty liver. Despite health education and low prices for fresh fruit and vegetables, many attempts to lose weight fail. Why is that? And can cognitive behavioral therapy help?
What is cognitive behavioral therapy?
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a non-drug method of treating mental and emotional illnesses. CBT is used, among other things, for depression, anxiety disorders, addictions and eating disorders. Obesity is not yet recognized as a disease in the German health system. Nevertheless, it causes considerable limitations and an enormous amount of suffering in everyday life. Many institutions such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Parliament have therefore been calling for obesity to be officially classified as a chronic disease for years.
This is how cognitive behavioral therapy helps against obesity
Cognitive behavioral therapy is based on the assumption that our thought patterns and everyday behaviors to be learned throughout our lives. This occurs in the form of feedback loops, e.g Eating as a reward or encouragement to serve in times of trouble. This imprints the learned behavior pattern of compensating for bad feelings with food. In cognitive-behavioural therapy, a therapist monitors the person’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors with a view to replacing them with healthier patterns over the course of therapy.
Recognizing automatic eating patterns
Learned nutritional patterns usually run completely automatically in stressful everyday work, as this saves more energy for our brain. If we thought for a few minutes before every snack and every big meal and weighed the advantages and disadvantages of the respective food, this would be very time-consuming, on the other hand extremely energy-consuming. Therefore, the first step in losing weight is to get your automatic feeding pattern and to make more conscious decisions about what and how we eat in the future. You can start with a food diary on your own.
Acquire new behaviors
The second step is to practice new behaviors with the aim of integrating them into everyday life for longer as automatic, healthier routines. You should set aside one or more relaxing days for planning. Replace your unhealthy meals with healthier alternatives bit by bit – and don’t suddenly change everything from one week to the next. Also, make yourself so-called “If-Then Plans”. These help make healthier behaviors a routine, such as, “Next time I get cravings between meals, I’ll have black coffee or ginger tea instead of a snack, or do 10 squats to take my mind off things” .
Get professional help
If you cannot manage to lose the excess weight on your own, do not be afraid to seek medical and therapeutic help. Consult your family doctor, a nutritionist or a nutritionist. With the help of techniques that make it easier for you to switch to a healthy, balanced diet.