How We Help
Emotional concerns like sadness, anxiety, guilt, and feelings of failure tend to occur together with losing weight. People usually find that reaching their goals can be very difficult and take a long time, with multiple setbacks. Finding Your Way Psychological Services understands these concerns and creates individualized plans for improving your outlook on life and minimizing the impact of setbacks. Here, you will find support, caring, and assistance in helping you accomplish your dreams of losing weight, being healthier, and being able to do the things you want.
Weight Increases in America, Alaska and California
American Obesity Facts:
Approximately 165,000,000 adults are obese or overweight in America. These numbers are staggering. According the Center for Disease Control, obesity-related care accounts for approximately 21% of all healthcare each year, or roughly $149 billion dollars per year.
Alaska Obesity Facts:
According to recent data from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, more than 28% of adults and 17% of youth are currently obese. Adult obesity rates in Alaska have more than doubled in the past 20 years and continue to rise. Medical care related to obesity costs Alaskans $459 million annually. The US Department of Health and Human Services estimates that almost 50% of Native American/Alaskan Natives are obese (https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis/shs/tables.htm); for comparison, 30.4% of Non-Hispanic Whites are obese in Alaska. Alaska is well-known for its multiple opportunities to explore and be outside in nature, and this is a unique attribute that other states may not have, so it is a great opportunity to go out and develop a healthy lifestyle.
California Obesity Facts:
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 25% of adults in California aged 18 years and older are obese (4,625,000 adults). Another 35% of adults are overweight. Approximately 14% of adolescents living in California are obese and 15% of adolescents in California are estimated to be overweight. Perhaps the most troubling data are those children aged 2 to 4 years old. Fifteen percent (15%) of children aged 2-4 are obese and an additional 15% are classified as overweight. Therefore, it is imperative that parents educate their children about the diseases associated with obesity and provide their children with information regarding healthy eating habits and a healthy physical lifestyle.
More information can be accessed here to better understand national and state trends regarding obesity: https://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpao/data-trends-maps/index.html.
What Type of Counseling Do You Provide for Weight Management?
The psychological research related to weight management has grown over the last decade in an effort to keep up with the obesity epidemic. While all types of counseling orientations are usually equally effective for most concerns, the type of therapy known as cognitive-behavioral therapy—or CBT, for short—has been shown to be most effective for helping clients lose weight and change their way of thinking. Recent research shows that CBT is more effective for weight management than standard behavioral therapy (Fabricatore, 2007). Dr. Fabricatore published his research in the peer-reviewed American Journal of the Dietetic Association.
The following is an example of what a strictly behavioral counselor might employ to help you manage your weight: A client goes to see a counselor with the goal to lose weight. As a way to help lose weight, the counselor suggests that the client should utilize self-monitoring, which is being aware of what the client eats. The client can either estimate or write things down in a food log. However, the client can’t remember to write the food down at snack or meal times, so the client estimates what was eaten. The next week, the client comes back to the counselor and says, “I didn’t lose any weight and I did what you said. Let’s try something else because that didn’t work for me.” The counselor who just suggests behavioral tasks by themselves can run out of things to try rather quickly if the client keeps on saying that those suggestions do not work.
This situation sounds familiar and for a lot of people, it is a lifestyle. People try to keep track of what they eat, find it is extremely hard to monitor all of that, and give up prematurely. So changing these behaviors is difficult because they can’t be maintained all the time. Making behavior changes in and of themselves is not a bad idea, but it is only a part of the equation. If you asked a random person on the street how many calories they had consumed that day, they would be off anywhere from 8% to 34% (unless that had specifically written everything down). Likewise, a person who is trying to lose weight, but doesn’t, underestimates their calories by 50% (2007). Therefore, it can be extremely difficult to just use behaviors as a means to change your lifestyle.
In the above examples, the italicized words are part of a type of thinking pattern known as cognitive distortions, or easier to remember, thinking errors. Every single person on Earth has them. They are a part of our everyday lives, and they can be hard to monitor because we naturally believe our own thoughts without examining them.Cognitive-behavioral therapy, on the other hand, takes the behaviors one step further. What CBT does is really a type of “behind-the-scenes” work that looks at the why of the behavior. What, for example, is a person thinking when he or she stands in front of the refrigerator? Perhaps the thinking is similar to “I exercised a lot today, I deserve…no, I should have more to eat” or “I just broke up with my significant other. I’m sad, so I have the right to eat a pint of ice cream, that always makes me feel better.”
A CBT counselor will use both behavioral and cognitive techniques that are combined to provide you with a better understanding of what is going on with both your physical behaviors and your thoughts that are attached to the behaviors. The idea is that, basically, if you can change the way that you think, that has an effect on how you act, and can ultimately change the trajectory of your behaviors. This idea is the foundation for how CBT works.
One of the hallmarks of counseling is the principle of empathy and relationship. At Finding Your Way Psychological Services, this means (1) your counselor accepts you as you are; (2) your counselor does his or her best to see your concerns from your perspective; (3) a counselor supports you; and (4) a counselor offers opportunities to connect with you and help provide you with a safe space. CBT and other therapy will not be effective without a foundation of empathy and relationship, which are crucial to working together with as counselor. Empathically grounded CBT is the most effective when the counselor and client working collaboratively to solve problems, as another core tenet of CBT is that of equality between counselor and client.