Have you ever wondered why you are an expert at losing weight but not an expert at keeping it off? If so, you are not alone. As a bariatric behaviorist, I have heard countless patients share the same sentiment. I am here to tell you: IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT!  Obesity is a complex disease requiring complex treatment. Many of you have received a lot of education on how to utilize nutrition and exercise to treat your obesity. However, could there be something missing from your treatment plan? I believe there is and I call this missing piece…Headwork.

Imagine you were getting ready to play a game of baseball. What equipment would you need to be successful? I imagine you would bring a ball, a bat and a glove.  But what if you only showed up with a bat and glove? What if you were never given the ball? You would not be successful. I have learned that many of my patients are missing the “ball” when it comes to successful management of their obesity. They show up with a bat (nutrition knowledge) and a glove (exercise knowledge) but their treatment plan is missing one integral component….tools to create and maintain the right mindset. In other words, one must move beyond answering the question HOW do I lose weight to WHY do I eat?

Think about that question for a moment; WHY do you eat?  We know the “correct” answer is to satisfy physical hunger. How many times though have you turned to food for non-hunger reasons? Bought your favorite treat to celebrate a good day. Rewarded yourself with a late night snack for surviving a hard day. Celebrating with food to just keep that good feeling going. The above examples have nothing to do with physical hunger and everything to do with stinkin’ thinkin triggering emotional eating. Eating is not an automatic behavior. If we slow down, we will realize that we all have a thought before we eat. In fact, every behavior is driven by that thought and emotion. What we THINK determines how we FEEL which determines what we DO. Can you identify with the following thoughts?

   “Just one won’t hurt”

   “I’ll start tomorrow”

“I deserve a treat”

“It’s not fair that others can eat  that and I can’t”

“I just can’t do this anymore”

The above thoughts are examples of what I call “Stinkin’ Thinkin”.  Stinkin’ Thinkin’ is powerful. Stinkin’ Thinkin’ can zap our motivation,  Stinkin’ Thinkin’ can trigger emotional eating. Stinkin’ Thinkin’ can undermine our confidence. Stinkin’ Thinkin’ could be the reason why one is an expert at losing weight but not keeping it off. Does your current obesity management treatment plan include tools to identify and decrease the power of your Stinkin’ Thinkin’? If not, losing weight and keeping it off will feel like showing up to play baseball without a ball.

Successful obesity treatment must include the missing piece of headwork. Developing and maintaining a healthy mindset is just as important as healthy nutrition and exercise. All three are needed for success, If you want to learn more about decreasing the power of your Stinkin’ Thinkin’, I encourage you to learn more about utilizing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to enhance and maintain your weight loss. You can learn more here Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy or by contacting me at lora@loragrabow.com CBT can help all of us have a healthier relationship with food.

Lora Grabow is a bariatric behaviorist who partners with medical providers to empower patients to holistically change their lives. Her approach to weight management focuses on something missing in most methodologies—a piece she calls “headwork.” Holding a Masters in Social Work, Lora has worked with bariatric surgery patients since 2003. Lora has built her expertise through serving patients, teaching countless individuals and groups, continuing studies, and extensive involvement in professional organizations as a member of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery and The Obesity Action Coalition. She serves on the ASMBS Integrated Health committee as well.  Lora is a sought out professional speaker.  She speaks regularly at yearly ASMBS state conference in Michigan and she is looking forward to presenting at upcoming ObesityWeek 2018 in Nashville, TN.

By sharing knowledge, asking questions, challenging perceptions, and delivering truth Lora empowers patients and equips practitioners. She desires that all may be healthy in body, mind, and spirit.  www.loragrabow.com

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