How Therapy Can Help You Lose Weight and Keep it Off

Chances are that if you’re reading this article, you’ve already tried countless times to lose weight on your own—and you’ve probably had some limited success, too. However, losing weight and keeping it off is hard—so hard, in fact, that many people who do manage to drop the pounds struggle to keep them off in the long term. According to a 2017 study published in the journal Obesity, more than three-quarters of dieters regain their lost weight within three years after they stop dieting, and more than half regain it within one year! Why does this happen?

I was so nervous

I had never met a psychologist before, let alone someone whose job was to help me work through my emotions. I walked into her office, fidgeting with my hands and barely able to say hello. As we started talking about my life, though, I began to feel more comfortable. Her questions were gentle yet specific; she wanted to understand what led me here—to weight loss therapy—and why it was so important for me to overcome my struggles with food.

Why do I need therapy?

Everyone needs therapy. No matter how great you are, how well adjusted, or how mentally healthy you think you are, talking to a professional helps bring a fresh perspective that can benefit your life in countless ways. Mental health is just as important as physical health – actually more so! – since so many of us are slaves to stress and anxiety that can literally ruin our bodies if left unaddressed. And while therapy isn’t always easy (especially if you haven’t had it before), studies have shown that those who go regularly tend to be happier overall with higher self-esteem than those who don’t. So if you feel like something might be off in your head, look into working with a mental health professional!

Am I doing enough?

If you’re in therapy for your weight loss, there’s a good chance you struggle with what many people call the voice of self-criticism. It is that nagging feeling in your gut that reminds you just how much work needs to be done before you can feel satisfied or happy. This little voice can turn into an outright scream if you let it get out of control. For example, let’s say you set a goal to lose 20 pounds by June 1st. After hitting a roadblock, like skipping workouts due to illness or stress, that little voice may get loud: What’s wrong with me?

The most difficult part about therapy for weight loss

For me, I think one of most difficult parts about going to therapy for weight loss is finding a good therapist. But once you do find a good therapist, make sure that you are honest with them. If you go into therapy wanting to change something but then just sit back and accept your thoughts as they are, your therapist won’t be able to help you reach your goals. The point of therapy is to make you confront how you feel so that you can learn how to fix it. A good therapist will keep pushing until they get what they want out of their patient or until they decide that there isn’t enough potential in their patient.

Setting Goals with My Therapist

I’ve been going to therapy for several years now. The experience has been, in short, invaluable. The therapist I first started seeing told me—with no small amount of kindness—that she didn’t think I needed her help with my weight. She was right: At that time, nothing could have helped me because I wasn’t ready to change anything.

Coping Strategies that Worked For Me

When I first started therapy, I was worried that my therapist would blame me for being fat. When I met with her for our first session, however, she took a very different approach. She didn’t judge or blame me for my weight; she simply asked me questions about how I felt about myself and my life. It was an incredibly positive experience that encouraged me to continue opening up to someone who didn’t have any preconceived notions of who I was supposed to be or how long it should take me to lose weight. As therapy continued, we began addressing issues that had kept me from losing weight in a more active way than just complaining about them.

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