Weight loss is a subject that is at the forefront of practically everyone these days. As a result, many fad diets that promise quick results hit the market and sell because so many want to shed extra pounds. While many of these diets produce results in the initial stages, all too often they end sadly with the dieter gaining back the unwanted weight and even more. This is why weight management and not just weight loss is the answer for those who want a real solution for shedding extra pounds.
Weight Management Overview
Weight management concerns itself with finding the optimum weight for an individual. It focuses on slow weight loss and taking small steps to achieve interim goals. It holds the position that large weight loss in a short time means that the weight will return and sometimes even more than before.
The program of weight management is usually overseen by a trained and certified nutritionist, doctor, nurse, or other medical professional qualified in the field. They can manage all sorts of situations where patients in their programs are not at the optimum weight because of:
• Being underweight
• Eating disorders
• Being obese
• Needing surgery to reduce weight
• Needing dietary education
• Needing lifestyle changes
Features of Weight Management
Weight management programs have at least 3 key features as follows:
• It is a lifetime commitment
• customized for the individual
• integrates emotional, psychological, and spiritual
Weight management is a lifetime commitment rather than focusing on quick weight loss or gain for one period of time. Advocates of weight management recognize that placing an emphasis on dieting only is rarely successful. New eating behaviors must be learned to include such things as meal planning, monitoring consumption, and integrating sound exercise programs to finish the complete circle.
Programs such as these are also customized to the individual because each person’s circumstances are different. Tailoring of the individual’s plan to reach optimum weight is based on age, living situation, current eating habits, exercise habits, and other unique circumstances.
Furthermore, nutritionists and healthcare facilities leading these programs recognize that obesity or underweight conditions have their psychological, emotional, and spiritual roots. For example, eating disorders such as anorexia stem from an intense fear of becoming too fat.
Oftentimes, you will see this where one person in a family develops an eating disorder when seeing others in the same family who are obese.
Likewise, every obese person knows what it is like to be made the object of jokes and ridicule. Many times this just spawns continued over-eating.
The Psychology of Weight Management
As mentioned before, weight management is more than just about dieting. It also uses proven methods that address the psychological aspects of eating disorders and how to overcome them. Nutritionists and counselors in this area have tools at their disposal to include:
• Medications when appropriate
• Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
• Support Groups
When necessary, medications may be in order to combat excessive weight. However, today, medications are safe compared to older diet prescriptions that were dangerous for the cardiac system. Medications to treat mental disorders such as anxiety and depression are also used if the person’s eating disorder stems from them.
Then there is CBT which focuses on changing behaviors that lead to out of control weight conditions. Patients in the program learn about keeping diaries and recording what they ate as well as what triggered them to eat what they did. CBT also works to change any negative attitudes associated with going through a weight management program.
Support groups have been recognized as effective in other areas that seek to change behavior. For example, Alcoholics Anonymous has been an icon in getting those struggling with alcohol addiction together in a group setting where they can learn from each other as well as the facilitator.
Weight management promotes the same approach with support groups for those struggling with weight issues and eating disorders. In these groups, they are given helpful instruction that they can take away and apply to their daily lives. They are also among others who have the same struggles and they can learn from one another as well as make new friends.
If you believe that you could benefit from a structured weight management program, locate a hospital or nutrition center that runs one. It is a way to gradually reach your optimum weight and learn new lifestyle behaviors to keep it there.
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