Weight Loss Coaching
“You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.”
— Margaret Thatcher
I specialize in the use of psychotherapy and behavioral coaching to obtain lasting weight loss. Many of the clients I help are actually quite good at losing weight – they have done it over and over again. The difficulty comes when they are unable to sustain the weight loss they worked so hard to achieve.
A two-fold approach
I coach behavioral modification strategies combined with insight-oriented therapy. The idea is to be actually working to shape new behavior while at the same time gaining insight about those psychological motivations, urges and cravings that lead us to compulsive overeating.
A personalized plan
I don’t endorse any particular diet or plan of eating but rather, use a solution-focused approach to learn what has worked and not worked for you in the past. Using your past diet and exercise history we will collaborate on an achievable goal. From there I will suggest strategies to get you to your goal and we will modify our plan as needed.
The neurobiology of habit
Many people have a great working knowledge of food calories and macro nutrients but most people don’t know much about changing behavior. I teach concepts and techniques that are effective in helping to support a new way of relating to food that becomes habit. I provide easy to understand information on the neurobiology of craving and the physiology of weight loss. For those who do need information about nutrition, portion sizes, calories, etc., want to be weighed regularly or want assistance with a personalized meal plan, I can suggest a nutritionist to collaborate with us.
Clients find it helpful to have someone to whom they can be accountable. I can provide that mechanism of accountability whereby there is never any shaming and every lapse is used as a learning experience rather that as an excuse to give up. I do not weigh clients and although they are free to weigh themselves, it is often helpful to take a break from the scale altogether.
Many people get easily discouraged when they are unable to meet their own high expectations. They slip into hopelessness and despair, thinking they are too undisciplined or broken to change their dysfunctional relationship with food. When I explain how habitual patterns are formed, clients begin to understand that their obsessions and compulsions are not about their character but are grounded in neurobiology. Additionally, I provide information about how the process of behavior modification works (imperfectly and not in a linear fashion) and how to get back on track. I am there to help uncover motivation for change and to coach the creation of new patterns of behavior.
Even after weight loss or fitness goals have been achieved we will have a plan in place to maintain your results. Having the support around maintenance is often where people fail themselves. I strongly encourage clients to focus on maintaining their new habits with continued (although less frequent) check-in sessions.
Pre & post bariatric surgery support
Metabolic surgical procedures (Gastric Bypass, Gastric Banding, Sleeve Gastrectomy) are life-changing events. Dealing with significant changes in body size, giving up “comfort eating” and/or “comfort foods” and dealing with the reactions of others can be overwhelming. I can help you with these emotional issues. If are contemplating or decided on having bariatric surgery, we will discuss your food/weight/family history in detail. We will then identify those factors specific to your psychology/personality, biology and lifestyle that have kept you overweight. I will then provide psycho-education about the neurobiology of habitual patterns and the dynamics of behavioral change. If you had your surgical procedure sometime ago and have experienced complications such as weight (re)gain or other addictive behaviors, psychotherapy can help you understand and address these issues.
Overeaters Anonymous (OA) is a support group or fellowship of individuals who, through shared experience, strength, and hope, are recovering from compulsive overeating. They welcome everyone who wants to stop eating compulsively and there are no fees or dues. For more information, visit www.OA.org. To find out about meetings in Middle Tennessee, visit www.oanashville.org.
The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) at www.nationaleatingdisorders.org is a resource for information about the treatment and prevention of eating disorders. Note: The Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA) merged with NEDA in 2018.