Cognitive Behavioural Therapy & Weight Loss – What You Need To Know

It’s just about 2020, and Barcelona Bootcamp is proud to announce that we will be offering Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, in addition to a variety of other extra services, as part of our training plan for all bootcamps in 2020.

We understand that this may be a new topic for many of you. That’s why our chief trainer, Iain Bainbridge, has provided you with everything you need to know about Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. What is it exactly? And, why is it so important in reaching your weight loss and/or fitness goals.

What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (or CBT) is based on a short-term, goal-oriented psychotherapy treatment that takes a hands-on, practical approach to problem-solving (don’t be put off by the word ‘psychotherapy!’). Its goal is to change negative patterns of thinking or behaviour, that lay behind people’s difficulties, to change the way they feel. It is used to help treat a wide range of issues, from sleeping difficulties, relationship problems, and anxiety.

CBT is particularly useful in assisting people with weight-loss, as it focuses on changing attitudes and a person’s behaviour, especially long-term, habitual patterns, by focusing on the thoughts, images, beliefs and attitudes that are held, and how these processes relate to the way a person behaves. Recent studies have found that CBT is a valuable addition to people who want to diet and exercise for weight loss.

Losing Weight

Losing weight can be a hard, complex and a difficult process and there are various reasons why people try to lose weight. In our experience, we find the most common reason is that people try to lose weight to change their shape and feel more ‘comfortable’ within their body. Some people in particular often hope to improve their appearance, feel more attractive and would like to be able to wear ‘more fashionable’ clothes. Sometimes, these people will have a very negative view of themselves and are often very self conscious and even embarrassed when around others. Another reason people try to lose weight is that they lack self-confidence.

When someone starts to lose weight they are usually successful for a short period of time. The first problem is that after several months, and a 5-10% weight loss, the loss of weight slows down or even stops due to normal metabolic body processes. Generally at this point, the person has not yet achieved their ‘primary goals’ (as these are not really weight based goals). As a result people become discouraged, often underestimate their achievement , and ignore any benefits like a greater fitness level, a change in clothes size or even having much more energy.

At this point one of three things can happen:

1. Most people think that their goals are unachievable and give up on weight loss (at least for some time).
2. Some people continue to try and often do lose more weight. However, there comes a time when more weight loss becomes impossible due to a lack of motivation or knowledge in how to progress further – these people also give up.
3. A small minority do reach their goal weight but often this does not fulfill their primary goals and they give up on any form of weight control.

Regardless if the person reaches their weight loss goals, primary goals remain unachieved and therefore the person is at high risk of lapses. These lapses usually involve over-eating, which results in weight gain. This weight gain is then seen as a failure resulting in further dieting and then further lapses. Over time there develops a yo-yo-ing style of weight loss with large losses followed by weight being regained.

This is where CBT comes in….

CBT Can Help You

How can it help?

  • Helping you control your diet.
  • Helping you to increase your motivation to participate in exercise.
  • Provide coping skills to handle any lapses in diet that you will experience.
  • Provide long term weight maintenance skills.
  • Where necessary, help in changing a person’s body image and their expectation of body image.
  • Improving your confidence and self esteem.
  • Helping with stress management (a major reason for ‘comfort eating’).
  • Helping set reasonable goals for both continued weight loss and maintenance.

Body image is very important in our society but body image should not define a person. Therefore, CBT can be used to correct a person’s obsession with body image and to show them that there is more to a person than how they appear. CBT can help a person appreciate how far they have already come and show them why they should be happy with their achievements.

As discussed earlier, there are ‘real’ reasons a person wants to lose weight but are often unrelated to a person’s weight. This is where CBT is very important. CBT works by changing a persons ‘false beliefs’ and this will result in a change in the persons thoughts, feelings and ultimately, their actions.

CBT has also been shown to be very good at improving a persons mood and therefore can be used to help stop comfort eating. Nevertheless, CBT should not be used by itself to lose weight, but rather it is used to support lifestyle changes on an ongoing basis.

A Important Part of Your Bootcamp Experience

That is why Barcelona Bootcamp is completely different to the ‘normal’ run-of-the-mill Bootcamps. Not only do we support you with your lifestyle change when you are with us by including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy within your programme, we also educate you in effecting this change through; an educational nutrition seminar, a cooking demonstration showing you how to use the best ingredients and calculating the correct portion sizes, and throughout your time with us, serving you nutritionally balanced, fresh and mouthwatering food (and…..we can individualise your nutrition plan based on your goals!).

Combine all of the above with a superb and varied exercise programme along with ongoing CBT support and you have the recipe for success that you have been looking for!