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The diet industry (worth BILLIONS of dollars each year) would have us believe that weight loss is simply a matter of numbers: The number of calories eaten. The number of calories burned off. The number of hours spent in the gym versus the number of treats we put into our mouths. But if the diet industry’s huge success can tell us anything, it’s that diets don’t work, and focusing on just diet and exercise isn’t the answer. That’s why we see a new fad diet or exercise machine sweep the world every year or so, and many billions of dollars spent by those desperate to manage their weight once and for all. However, if you want real and lasting weight loss, it’s time to turn to nutritional psychology.

Why diet and exercise alone don’t work for weight loss

For starters, let’s face the facts: If diets worked, there wouldn’t be a multi-billion-dollar diet industry which profits from returning customers. If weight loss was a matter of simply restricting what you eat, and exercising more (with the latest and greatest machine or gym membership!) then one diet and exercise program would solve your weight loss issues for life and the industry would crumble! The fact of the matter is, the diet industry is so successful because it relies on people coming back, time and time again, to try the latest diet craze, spend more time, energy, and money, and to ultimately never lose the weight they’re looking to lose. The industry is actually tailored to keep you coming back, year after year, for the rest of your life!

“Decades of clinical trials show that neither the type of diet nor the type of exercise program contributes to weight loss beyond the short-term. This might seem difficult to believe based on social media posts and internet headlines that regularly proclaim the latest weight-loss breakthroughs.” – Thomas Rutledge PhD (2019) ‘Why Psychology Trumps Diet and Exercise for Weight Loss’, Psychology Today

Scientifically speaking, diets don’t do the job they’re supposed to do because weight loss is not simply a matter of calories in versus calories out. They fail to address the deeper, underlying reasons for weight gain, difficulty shifting weight, and having trouble doing the things we know are good for us. Let’s face it: Whether you’re a man or a woman, you’ve been bombarded with ‘advice’ about what are ‘good foods’ and ‘bad foods’ and what  diet and exercise can mean for your health since you were a child. Weight loss isn’t a matter of not knowing what’s good for us or refusing to act on it – it’s much, much deeper than that. That’s where nutritional psychology comes in.

Why nutritional psychology is the real answer to weight loss

Do you ever find yourself eating, even when you’re not hungry? Do you have trouble determining whether you’re hungry or just thirsty? Do you find yourself having almost uncontrollable cravings for some foods? What about a severe and persistent fear of being seen working out at the gym? Each of these types of behaviours and feelings have very little to do with your willpower, and everything to do with your psychology!

“People who achieve and maintain weight loss aren’t just physically different on the outside or even in the behaviors that one can observe; psychologically, they are even more different on the inside. These include personal development areas such as improved relationships with food and exercise, new core beliefs, new values about health and fitness, and improved skills with confidence and self-motivation. These kinds of psychological changes, however, cannot be sold in pills, gyms, or diet plans and are therefore not marketed by the weight loss industry.” Thomas Rutledge PhD (2019) ‘Why Psychology Trumps Diet and Exercise for Weight Loss’, Psychology Today

Research clearly shows that no matter your weight, diets have the effect of creating cravings, making you feel hungrier, and can even result in more weight gain than loss over the long term! So, what’s the real answer? Understanding the connections between your thoughts, your emotions, and your eating patterns and behaviours, are the keys to managing your weight effectively and achieving the weight loss you’re hoping for. That’s what we call nutritional psychology!

For example, there is countless evidence to suggest a strong correlation between emotional stress and digestion, metabolism, weight, and overall health. Furthermore, chronic depression and anxiety are underlying causes of emotional eating. Understanding your emotional and psychological relationship with food and exercise can help you to overcome:

  • Binge eating,
  • Overeating,
  • Cravings,
  • Yo-yo dieting,
  • Aversion to exercise, and more.

What our nutritional psychology programs look like

Our weight loss programs take an integrative approach and look at the ‘whole you’ picture of health, weight loss goals, eating habits and behaviours, and exercise. We also take a look into your genetics, by mapping your DNA through nutrigenomics or ‘DNA profiling’, to help uncover the best approach to weight loss for you, personally.

Our cutting-edgy nutritional psychology will tap into the deeply held beliefs, thought patterns, and behaviours contributing to your eating patterns and relationships with food and exercise, before breaking down the negative and self-defeating patterns and replacing them with healthy, effective, and long-lasting solutions.

What this means in practice is first working with your conscious mind to help bring your awareness to your emotions, ingrained thoughts, and conditioned behavioural responses to eating, exercise and weight loss. Here, we help you create new, healthier conscious responses and behaviours which will serve you better in your weight loss goals by changing your emotional relationship with food and exercise. Then, we dive into your subconscious mind to tackle the inner conflict governing your eating and exercising habits, your motivation, and even your levels of energy.

Through advanced techniques in hypnotherapy, neurolinguistic programming (NLP), and emotional freedom techniques (EFT), we can delve into your subconscious mind, uncover the beliefs and emotions that aren’t serving you, and align your conscious and subconscious minds to create positive and permanent lifestyle changes to achieve your weight loss goals.

If you’ve been trying to manage your weight for years with little success, it’s time to reach out for the support you need. The complex process of nutritional psychology can only be managed by experienced and qualified practitioners, like those of us at Integrated Health Specialists. To finally overcome the things holding you back from your weight loss goals, and to have the best support on your journey, get in touch with us today.

Michelle van Namen
Author: Michelle van Namen