The Therapy Room: Losing Weight in 2019

Posted on 17 January 2019 by LeslieM

Do you want to lose weight this year? Are you the same person who wanted to lose weight in 2018, 2017, 2016….? I am going to discuss a patient of mine we will call Miriam who discovered why she has not been able to lose weight for a number of years. This month’s Therapy Room column may help you begin a new and achievable weight loss journey.

Miriam has been primarily working with me on her hoarding disorder. This disorder is a persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions and causes distress due to perception that these possessions need to be saved. We are working on Miriam’s thoughts, feelings and behaviors that relate to hoarding and, in doing this, it allowed Miriam to see a relationship with her thoughts about holding onto extra body weight. Miriam told me that her extra weight is her protection. People do not look at her and, therefore, no one can hurt her. She cried saying that, in reality, she has not truly looked at her body for a long time and that she is hurting her overall health carrying this extra weight. Such breakthrough conversations in therapy made Miriam decide that she wants to lose weight. She then asked me, “How do I do this?”

How Miriam (and anyone who wants to lose weight) can do it is by doing the following:

Create an Action Plan

Developing such a plan is work, but even harder work will be required to act upon a new action plan. But it is worth it.

Define Goals

Sit down and write out what you want to accomplish by having structured weight loss goals. Creating three goal types is important and they can be set up as short-term, mid-term and long-term goals. This will provide a focused and workable weight loss roadmap.

Organize and Prioritize

I told Miriam that as she organizes and prioritizes her weight loss goals, she will be prepared and better able to manage and discuss in therapy any problems that may happen. I told her to keep in mind that “the art of planning helps uncover potential problems before they occur!”

Create A Journal

Planning will help you to stay focused and to keep things in perspective. I told Miriam that her perspective must be on her purpose and her future. She will then see success and be rewarded for her planning.

Miriam did develop an action plan with specific goals. She continues to work during therapy sessions on her thoughts, feelings and behaviors that relate to hoarding and weight loss. She recently consulted with a licensed nutritionist for information on food choices and an eating plan, and she began exercising three times a week at a gym. Miriam also enjoys walking along the beach at sunrise and tells me this helps her “begin her day on a positive note.”

I hope that Miriam’s story inspires you and helps you to realize “change is possible!”

Dr. Julia Breur is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a private clinical psychotherapy practice in Boca Raton. For more information, visit www.drjuliabreur.com.

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