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Discovering your individual pathway to successful weight management

The challenge

Our bodies and brains have evolved to survive in an environment with limited access to food and the need to use our physical energy for essential tasks of daily living. We now live in an obesogenic environment that was not designed with the health of our bodies in mind. Our lives are packed with cars, escalators and remote control everything to maximise speed and comfort and minimise the physical effort needed to get through the day. We are surrounded by food everywhere we go that is relatively cheap and highly processed and calorie dense. Our lives are often filled with responsibility and expectation, leaving little time to spend on taking good care of ourselves with quality meal preparation and time for good rituals around eating. Our bodies that were designed to move all day and survive with limited availability of food have struggled to cope with these changes and there has been a steady increase in the weight of the population of Australia.

At the same time there has been a growing pressure for women and sadly increasingly on men, in terms of appearance and body shape and size. Few areas in life are loaded with as much judgement as a struggle with weight. Being overweight is associated with greater risk in terms of some physical health issues and the social pressure to be a certain size adds additional risk of other mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.

And just to add more complication to the issue, our bodies have evolved to retain weight and we are just starting to understand the range of complex physical and psychological mechanisms that make it tremendously difficult to lose weight and keep it off.  We are bombarded with sales pitches for weight loss strategies that are destined to fail us in the long run and there is a lot of truth to the saying that diets (in the traditional sense of the word) don’t work. There is no silver bullet in terms of psychological strategies or dietary change that can guarantee weight-loss.

Our approach to weight management

Your relationship with food and your body is highly personal and our practice does not subscribe to any single treatment model or philosophical approach. We endeavour to provide treatment that is backed by research and is also judgement-free and centred around you. Some people find that working on self-acceptance and their overall health is most important and other people want to include more direct focus on healthy weight management as part of their goals. We consult with you to understand your particular concerns and goals and provide you with the research information and therapeutic work that will be most useful for you. Here are some of the components of therapy that might be included in your work with us:

  • Identification of any eating disorder behaviours that might require treatment before addressing weight issues including binge-eating and emotional eating.
  • Greater understanding of the current research on the influence of the brain and body on appetite, food choice, weight loss and regain.
  • Cognitive and behavioural strategies that work with your brain and body’s mechanisms to achieve changes in eating behaviour.
  • Guidance to access quality support from other professionals such as a dietician or GP with particular knowledge and skills in weight management to give you up to date advice on specific food choice.
  • A forum for you to reflect on the pros and cons of bariatric surgery that is non-judgemental and evidence-based should you wish to explore that option.
  • Psychological work on body-image issues particularly where there is a negative body image or over-focus on body-image as a source of self-esteem and identity. Therapeutic work to promote your sense of well-being and self-acceptance as a whole person beyond body-image and weight.
  • There can be a disproportionate amount of self-blame and shame with a history of weight issues which can be distressing and also lead to missed opportunities to achieve change. It can be useful to improve the understanding of wider lifestyle, social and psychological issues that might be contributing to the struggle with weight and setting goals around change in those areas.
  • For some people a complex relationship with food developed in response to difficult experiences earlier in life or in adulthood. Identification and treatment of those more complex underlying issues can be an essential part of a treatment plan for difficulties with food and weight.
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