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CBT weight loss programme in Wolverhampton, West Midlands

The Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) weight loss programme is for those who want to improve their relationship with eating and work towards a healthy weight goal in consideration of BMI and any existing medical conditions. 

If you have a history of entering into phases of dieting and trying various methods that are considered extreme, such as liquid diets or food elimination; you may have lost weight quickly but put it back on due to these methods being unsustainable in the long term.  Similarly, if you have experience of losing weight healthily but notice a ‘yo-yo’ dieting pattern whereby weight still fluctuates every year, you may have noticed that there are factors beyond healthy eating to consider in order to maintain the weight that you feel comfortable and healthy at.  

Sometimes, we get into rigid routines with ‘good eating habits’ which can easily become derailed when we have a special occasion or stressful event, which often results in guilt and/or shame and can even cause complete abandonment of those habits due to feelings of failure.  Other common reasons for abandoning a diet or healthy/balanced eating routine include the following:

  • Finishing all of the food on your plate but feeling unsatisfied (leading to snacking)
  • Feeling upset and thinking that eating will make you feel better, particularly foods that you may have ‘forbid’ on a strict diet such as chocolate or fried foods
  • Feeling ‘too tempted’ by the sight of certain foods whilst shopping or in your office
  • Feeling ‘too tired to cook’ and opting for convenience foods instead
  • Attending a party and the only foods available are what you consider ‘treats’
  • Going on holiday and being unable to maintain typical eating and exercise routine
  • Stepping on the scales and seeing no weight loss resulting in discouragement
  • Feeling deprived or restricted by the requirements of your diet
  • Feeling stressed by other life problems

Over time, people who experience any of the above are more likely to engage in disordered eating behaviours in attempt to control their weight rather than develop a less restrictive, consistent lifestyle of balanced eating and some activity (level determined on an individual basis).  If what you have read so far resonates, you may be a suitable candidate for the CBT weight loss programme, which will teach you how to cope with food cravings, stress and strong emotions without turning to food for comfort. Most importantly you’ll discover how to change the way you think about food and dieting so that you can lose weight successfully and healthily. 

Please note that if you suffer from certain mental health disorders including eating disorders, body dysmorphia or depression; this programme is unsuitable, however, we offer various other services that you may find more beneficial such as counselling, psychotherapy or CBT.  Weight gain can be associated with other difficult experiences such as bereavement, trauma and relationship issues, therefore it is important to identify and explore the underlying cause prior to engaging in a weight loss programme.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) statement

We continue to operate face to face appointments as mental health services are exempt from lockdown.  We have asked all staff to take additional precautions to safeguard the health and wellbeing of our employees and customers.  Please view our Coronavirus (COVID-19) Statement for detailed information.

Skype, Zoom and telephone sessions are available from our sister company, Lewis Psychology Online.

How the CBT weight loss programme works

The CBT weight loss programme is based on the CBT principle that our thoughts, feelings and behaviours influence one another; therefore, we can use certain methods to target these (particularly thoughts and behaviours) when unhealthy patterns develop and start to impact negatively upon our lives.   Please note that this is a psychological programme, not a food plan.  Your therapist will not tell you what to eat – you can choose any nutritious diet you want and explore your relationship with certain foods to ensure that you are not following dietary myths.

In addition to ensuring that you are not implementing unhealthy dietary rules for yourself, CBT helps you to solve both practical and psychological problems and learn new thinking and behavioural skills – skills you’ll be able to use for the rest of your life.  It is important to note that any balanced diet will work for you if you have the right mind-set and the right information to guide you, for example, people often assume that they need to drastically cut calories to lose weight, which simply isn’t the case because a weight loss calorie deficit is determined by your current weight, height, activity level and Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). It can actually be dangerous to cut calories without knowing what is recommended for your specific bodily needs. 

Your therapist can help you go through the relevant information and calculations in order to ensure that you are eating enough, as it is common for weight loss to plateau when dieters have cut too many calories.  The NHS currently recommends a daily calorie intake of 2000 for women and 2500 for men with a minimum of 1200 and 1500 respectively, which is useful to consider if you are trying to lose weight but eating too many or few calories.   

As well as some of these practical considerations, the CBT weight loss programme teaches you how to challenge any negative self-talk that often accompanies dieting. Your therapist can introduce you to evidence-based techniques to reduce the frequency or intensity of common unhelpful thoughts such as ‘I can’t do this’, ‘it’s not working’ or ‘I’ll always be fat’.  Research indicates that positive thinking is like a muscle that needs to be exercised regularly and consistently over time to become a stronger force within your life and help you achieve your goals.  Unfortunately, there is no ‘quick fix’ and committing to this programme helps you to develop a more appropriate and realistic pace in comparison to what you may be used to on extreme diets.  

Programme overview

The cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) weight loss programme is conducted on a one-to-one basis with an experienced and registered therapist.  When you first meet your therapist, they will explore your experiences thus far with weight, dieting and assess for any risk factors that may prevent you from starting this programme.  Once you have established whether you are suited to the programme and feel comfortable with your therapist, you will start to engage in a series of steps, tailored to your needs and depending on whether your goal is to lose a specific amount of weight, improve your relationship with eating, or maintain your weight loss over time.  

You may disagree with your therapist on what a realistic goal might be, however, it is important to collaborate on this to ensure that your expectations do not put too much pressure on the process and negatively impact your progress.  Alternatively, setting too low of an expectation can reinforce negative self-talk that you are unable to challenge yourself or succeed; therefore, finding an appropriate balance is key.  You and your therapist can also collaborate on which steps you focus on first depending on your existing thoughts, feelings and behaviours.  Some of the options you may be presented with to help achieve your goal(s) include:

  • Preparing your mind and environment for healthy weight loss/maintenance 
  • Identifying healthy diet plans in consideration of individual factors
  • Learning how to eat mindfully and respect the eating process
  • Changing your relationship with eating for comfort to fuel and nutrition 
  • Improving your reactions to personal temptations or environmental triggers
  • Developing a suitable activity level (an appropriate exercise regime) 
  • Identifying common self-sabotaging thoughts/behaviours and learn helpful responses
  • Monitor and address hunger and cravings as well as your progress with eating and exercise
  • Finding useful methods for reducing negative self-talk and increasing positive attitude
  • Discovering how to resist urges and improve self-control 
  • Exploring barriers to weight loss such as alcohol intake and developing an action plan
  • Learning how to prepare for changes in routine (travel and going out)
  • Overcoming difficult feelings such as discouragement and deprivation
  • Finding ways to stay motivated to maintain weight loss for life

The research and evidence base

Historically, CBT has demonstrated the effectiveness of cognitive therapy for weight loss (Stahre & Hallstrom, 2000).  In Sweden, those who enrolled in the cognitive therapy programme lost an average of 18 pounds over 10 weeks of treatment.  When the study participants were evaluated a year and a half after treatment, nearly all of them – 92% – had not only maintained their weight loss, but had lost even more weight. 

In recent years, evidence increasingly supports personalised CBT as an effective treatment to achieve, accept and maintain healthy weight loss and adopt a lifestyle conducive to weight control, particularly for those who are overweight or obese (Dalle Grave, Sartirana & Calugi, 2020).  In addition, research supports the integration of CBT and Mindfulness interventions to aid weight reduction and maintenance (Tiffany, 2020).  In a study involving participants who had all been unsuccessful in weight loss programmes previously, results following a combined CBT and mindfulness intervention showed that all participants succeeded in weight loss and achieved further weight loss during the 18-month follow-up period (Ogata et al., 2018) 

Overall, research indicates that individually tailored CBT improves outcomes (Sasdelli et al., 2017), as opposed to generic programmes for weight loss.  This is what sets our CBT for weight loss programme apart from other types of therapy and weight loss programmes.  We ensure that your individual eating behaviours, thoughts, mood, emotions, physical activity and social life are explored at the start and throughout therapy, as recommended for ‘real’ cognitive change (Grave et al., 2014).  The development of this personalised plan is considered a positive factor in successful treatment for weight management, which can hopefully increase the likelihood of you incorporating what you learn into a healthy, happy and sustainable lifestyle.

Make an appointment for the CBT weight loss programme

If you would like to arrange an appointment or require further information regarding our CBT weight loss programme please telephone our Wolverhampton practice on: 01902 827808.  Alternatively fill out our online contact form and we will contact you back. We are now open seven days a week. 

Fees and Payment

CBT for weight loss is £85 for an hour appointment. We accept a variety of payment methods including cash, bank transfer or credit/debit card.

Initial telephone discussion

You are welcome to contact us for a 15 minute initial telephone discussion.  This will be with a BACP senior accredited psychotherapist who will use this time to gain an understanding of how you could benefit from the services offered at Lewis Psychology. During this discussion the practitioner will help guide you towards the service that is most suitable. There will also be an opportunity to ask questions and find out more about the process. At this time you can decide whether you would like to book an appointment however the consultation is conducted entirely without obligation on your part.