Forget the diets, change the behaviours

DietIf you are thinking of going on a diet programme, perhaps you are deciding which one to choose, 5:2, Dukan, Low GI, Low GL or calorie counting. Part of the decision process is trying to work out which is the best one for losing weight. Basically, you have to ignore the term diet and just focus on changes in lifestyle, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

In an editorial published on 20th August, in JAMA, researchers state that there is no perfect diet, because they are all equally as good or as bad in helping people reduce unwanted weight.

“We really wanted to shine a light on the fact that there seems to be this focus in the media and in the scientific community on the pursuit for the ideal diet,” stated Dr. Sherry Pagoto of University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, Mass. She adds that none of the diet research is “game changing in terms of obesity management, but we’re spending a lot of time talking about it and we are spending a lot of time researching it.”

Together with Dr. Bradley Appelhans of the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Pagoto also recommends calling an end to the diet wars and focusing on our way of life, instead of which diet is best to reverse the weight gain and curb the risks of long-term illnesses.

“We need to shift our conversation away from what exactly should people be eating to how do you change behaviour, how do you get people to make long-term changes.” Pagoto stated. “Why are we focusing on exactly how many carbs, protein, and fat grams people are eating and why aren’t we focusing on the bigger picture of why are we eating so much and how do we change behaviour?”

“And when it comes to weight, diet isn’t the entire story — we also have physical activity,” she added. “We should understand the contexts and factors that go into how people make behaviour changes around physical activity, too.”

Their strategy is to concentrate on a few lifestyle changes: finding out how to regulate food portions and lower high calorie, fatty foods; teaching themselves to establish exercise objectives, and understanding how to remain motivated and also to have an understanding of hunger.

Pagoto said that the top five challenges to weight reduction are having little time to cook food or exercise, being stressed, loved ones bringing unhealthy food home, not having an exercise partner or feeling uncomfortable when exercising, and feeling hungry all the time.

By using their weight loss hypnotherapy programme it not only helps people to make the initial behavioural change but, as a rule, because the changes are made at a subconscious level, they tend to be longer lasting. This allows weight loss clients to get used to the new behaviours and after a while they become normal behaviours.

Paul White, the behavioural change specialist at the Surrey Institute of Clinical Hypnotherapy and former Chairman of the National Council for Hypnotherapy, said “Motivation is the key aspect behind long lasting weight loss. The ‘beach body’ is too short-term a goal, especially as it is all too common for people to report that they put back on all they lost and more, which means they lose all the advances they have made. This is very de-motivating and does not bode well for the coming years.”

“Contrast that with a recent client that we had been working with for a while to change behaviours that said ‘Back from holiday, first thing I did was jump on the scales (and no they didn’t break!!). Surprisingly lost 2lb, not sure how but I’m not complaining!!’ This sort of statement is not unusual when clients use our hypnotherapy for weight loss programme. Because the change is in their thought processes and mental responses and this causes changes in their behaviours.”

By replacing negative behaviours with positive ones, clients start to see changes with eating habits and improvements in feelings of well being. They will then not only feel better about the food they consume, but also begin to feel happier.

At the Surrey Institute of Clinical Hypnotherapy in Surrey we seek to change our clients’ relationship with food. Your hypnotherapist will work with you to change the way you view food, even the way you think about food, so you start to eat to live, rather than live to eat. By doing we remove the guilt, reduce consumption and feel happier around food.

Paul White was Chairman of the National Council for Hypnotherapy for five years. He has been a Director of The Surrey Institute of Clinical Hypnotherapy for 12 years. He has a special interest in weight control and problem behaviours (addictions).

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