Wed | Oct 17, 2018

Should Natalie have weight management therapy?

Published:Wednesday | March 2, 2011 | 12:00 AM

Wendel Abel, I AM WHAT I THINK

answer is 'yes', and we will be providing support for Natalie. Cognitive behaviour therapy will be helpful here. Our thoughts affect our feelings and behaviour. Cognitive therapy helps us to identify and change our patterns of thinking, feelings and behaviour. Although we will provide short-course cognitive therapy, we hope to share with Natalie tools and techniques to help with weight management.

Tools and techniques

1 Education. Several experts are involved in this process to provide Natalie with information and support.We are taking a multidisciplinary approach — we have the nutritionist, the exercise specialist, the yoga expert, the family doctor and the mental health specialist. Managing stress is also critical.

2 Goal-setting. It is important that we are convinced of the need for behaviour change and set goals. We will work with Natalie to develop a chart to clearly state the reasons for change. She will paste this chart in place where it can be viewed every day and become a source of inspiration. Weight management is a gradual process, it is important that Natalie sets goals that are both realistic and achievable.

3 Dealing with situations. There will be many temptations. Natalie needs to identify triggers such as the sight of food which she has a weakness for, or the time of day she tends to eat. Natalie has already identified certain food as triggers and eating at night as a particular problem. Having identified these triggers, she must develop a plan to deal with them.

4 Irrational thinking. Many of us have problems with our weight and other behaviours because of our patterns of thinking. This will be an area of focus as we work with Natalie.

5 Activity scheduling. Natalie will be making changes in her lifestyle. Eating habits and exercise routine will change. It will help if she keeps a schedule of her activity and sticks to it. She should monitor her activities in regard to eating and exercising on a daily basis.

6 Coping card. This is a useful tool. It serves as an affirmation and a reminder. She should write on a sheet of paper some positive affirmations which she will read regularly. She could write, for example, "I have committed myself to losing weight. I therefore will stick to my diet and exercise three times per week for about forty-five minutes."

Dr Wendel Abel is a consultant psychiatrist and head, Section of Psychiatry, Dept Of Community Health and Psychiatry, University of the West Indies, 977-1108; email: