Behavioral therapy for obesity

Obesity is a complex disease having too much body fat. Being obese is different from being overweight, which means weighing too much. The excess body weight may come from muscle, heavy bone, excess fat, and/or body water.  When a person’s weight is greater than what’s considered healthy for his or her height it’s obesity a disease which has tripled globally in last three decades.

Obesity is a disease which takes place over time when you eat more calories than you consumption of calories. The rightful balance between calories-in and calories-out differs for person to person. Factors that might causes obesity include genetic makeup, overeating, eating high-fat foods, not being physically active, unhealthy life-style etc.

Obesity increases risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, depression, loss of self-esteem and confidence and some cancers.

According to Dr(Prof) R K Suri leading clinical psychologist of India “Behavioral therapy is a method of assisting individuals in developing a set of skills to help them achieve a healthier weight”. It is more than just advising people on what to change. It is also advising them on how to change, self-monitoring, goal setting, and problem solving all help to facilitate the behaviour change process. Obesity behavioral treatment arose from the belief that obesity was caused by maladaptive eating and exercise habits that could be corrected using learning principles. Observers now recognize that factors other than behaviour influence body weight. These include genetic, metabolic, and hormonal influences, which may directly affect some people to obesity and may limit the range of weights that an individual can achieve. Despite challenging efforts to change eating and activity habits, some people may never be thin.

However, behaviour therapy can assist such individuals in developing a set of skills (such as eating a low-calorie, low-fat diet) to achieve a healthier weight, even if they are unable to achieve an ideal weight.

  1. It is goal-oriented. It defines very specific goals in easily measurable terms. This is true whether the goal is to walk four times per week, extend meals by 10 minutes, or reduce the number of self-critical comments. Specific objectives allow for a clear assessment of success.
  2. This treatment is process-oriented. It is more than just advising people on what to change eating, physical activity, and thinking habits. It is also advising them on how to change. As a result, once a goal has been established, patients are encouraged to investigate factors that will help or hinder goal achievement. When the desired behaviour is not implemented, problem-solving skills are used to identify new strategies to overcome barriers. According to this viewpoint, successful weight management is based on skills that can be learned and practiced, just as an individual can learn to play the piano with regular practice. It aims to foster various skill power, not will power, is the key to success.
  3. The behavioral approach supports for small changes rather than large ones. This is based on the successive approximation learning principle, in which incremental steps are taken to achieve more distant goals. Rather than attempting huge changes that are typically short-lived, making small changes provides patients with successful experiences on which to build.

Popular Behavioral Therapy Factors

The majority of the following factors are found in common weight-control behavioral packages.

1. Self-monitoring

It is an important component of a behavioral therapy package. Maintaining food diaries and activity logs are examples of self-monitoring. In a food diary, the participant records everything they eat, the calories they consume, and the situation in which they eat. Keeping these diaries for the first six months predicts weight loss success. Even in a placebo versus pharmaceutical agent trial, those who successfully kept a food diary lost twice as much weight as those who did not.

Stimulus control

 The emphasis here is on changing the environment that activates eating and modifying it to help avoid overeating. Stimulus control includes proper food purchases, excluding energy-dense processed foods from the shopping basket, and increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables consumed. Others include changing the amount of food served at the table or reducing the size of plates and containers, concentrating on eating without being distracted by television or reading material, and moving closer to food.

Slower eating

Slowing down your eating speed to allow fullness signals to come into play. Techniques include paying attention to flavors, pausing between meals, and drinking water.

Goal setting

Setting realistic goals for the patient who wants to lose weight in terms of weight loss per week or month

Behavioral contracting

 It is important because it reinforces positive outcomes or rewards good behaviour. Small tokens or even financial incentives could be used as rewards.


Food and Nutritional or diet  education is an essential component of any successful BT package for obesity treatment. A structured meal plan designed for an individual patient in consultation with a dietician result in greater weight loss than the absence of a structured meal plan.

Increasing physical activity

Increasing physical activity is another important component of a successful Behavior Therapy (BT) package. Self-monitoring and strategies to increasing physical activities like engagement in running, sports, gym etc., have been linked to better long and short-term outcomes in numerous studies.

Social support

 In the presence of social support, behavioral modification is more long-term. One of the most effective ways to achieve this is to increase social support by including spouses and family members.

What exactly is intensive behavioral treatment for obesity?

Obesity is treated with intensive behavioral therapy. This treatment teaches you how to change you’re eating and exercise habits. This aids in weight loss. Intensive behavioral therapy can be very effective. It focuses on reducing bad habits that lead to obesity. These may include understanding unhealthy eating habits and a lack of physical activity. The treatment employs interventions to correct these bad habits. The diet counselling or food and nutrition counselling can be taken by best counsellors of India.

It is a collaborate approach of engaging with a best online therapist, and can be done individually or in a group therapy. You will learn how to alter your lifestyle in order to lose weight. May specifically learn how to, keep a food diary, change surroundings to avoid overeating and increase the level of activity. Make a workout plan, set attainable objectives.

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