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How does weight loss therapy work?

Is this you? You have just fallen off your diet again, enough, you are so fed up with this. You need and want to lose weight, but you are only able to stay on a diet for a couple of weeks before you lose weight. It’s so frustrating!

You need to do something different. You cannot continue living like this. Dieting and thinking about food is taking over your life. You are not as fit and healthy as you’d like to be. If you carry on, you will only keep on putting on more weight. 

So what do you do? Have you considered weight loss therapy?

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What is weight Loss Counselling?

Weight loss counselling is a type of therapy that helps you to make changes to your diet and lifestyle. It can help you to understand why you have struggled in the past with your weight and food and provides strategies for making better choices in the now and the future. 

It is helping you understand your relationship to food. The therapist facilitates helping you to get to know the thinking and emotions that are driving your behaviours around eating. 

The therapist provides a non-judgmental, empathetic and caring space so you feel supported in exploring your emotions and thoughts. When you understand your eating patterns and what is driving them, you will find you are able to make changes. Because the changes are made at a subconscious level, you are more likely to obtain sustainable weight loss. 

Many people also find other benefits in their life from increased confidence, better relationships and feeling lighter and happier within themselves. 

Further Reading – How to lose weight without dieting

Signs You Have An Unhealthy Relationship With Food

Do you experience any of the following? 

  • You are binge eating sometimes or frequently
  • Is your behaviour around food disordered? 
  • Do you experience emotional eating? 
  • Do you find yourself inadvertently yo-yo dieting? 
  • Do you lose weight only to experience weight gain repeatedly? 

Related reading 

How to stop binge eating in 5 easy steps

The signs and symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder

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7 ways therapy can help you lose weight

1.Reviewing your Eating Patterns

In weight loss therapy you start by discussing your weight loss goals and then exploring your current eating patterns. This might involve keeping a food diary of when you eat and why. We are looking for the triggers that are causing you to overeat or binge eat and what purpose it is serving you. 

2. Establishing Healthier Eating Behaviours

When we can understand your triggers and how you are responding to those triggers, we can start to manage them better. The therapist will help you to process and cope with your emotions so you can respond in a different way, instead of reaching out for food to help. The therapist may help you to see your past patterns of using fad diets and help you to have a different approach to weight loss. 

3. Healing from past trauma

Often the way we eat has come from trauma or many minor traumas in the past. Trauma changes our chemical responses. Especially in childhood, were we learn to manage and live with the trauma, our brain develops to deal with the trauma. We may deal with social interactions differently, or our relationships with adults may become distorted. As children we do not know how to deal with this and quite often, food is the thing we turn to. 

With therapy for weight loss, we learn to process the hurt emotions from childhood and this helps us to change our relationship with food. 

4. Introducing intuitive eating 

The weight loss therapist may now start helping you to be aware of your own body’s signals. These could be hunger and fullness signals. Learning what hunger feels like and not being scared of it. Exploring your fullness so you can learn to stop when you feel full. The therapist will help you be confident with those signals so you know how to respond when you feel them. Being confident in knowing your body, helps you get to your healthy weight in a way that is healthy for you. 

5. How to Control Your Mind about What You Eat

When you are aware of your body’s signals and all of the thoughts and emotions that are contributing towards your eating, the weight loss therapist can help you control your mind. This could be in the form of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Where you learn to instantly recognise old patterns of behaviours around food and you are able to change them straight away, resulting in less food cravings. This helps you to get to your ideal body weight.  

Further Reading – Train your brain to lose weight

6. Changing your language around food. 

Another principle of intuitive eating is calling off the food police. We often have language around our eating such as;  We are bad, I have been good today, I mustn’t eat X, I’m only allowed Y. This language shapes what and how we eat and is not necessarily healthy. We learn to be mindfully aware of language and change it to one of allowing yourself what you want, only you are choosing healthier foods out of choice not out of necessity. 

7. Changing your feelings about food. 

Many of us experience a love/ hate relationship with food. Another intuitive eating principle is finding peace with food. The weight loss therapist will help you explore the relationship you have with food. The relationship you have with food is often an extension of the relationship you have with yourself. We are working on building a more positive relationship with food, yourself and your body. 

Related Reading – How to stop dieting even when you have put on weight

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Weight Loss therapy is for you if: 

  • You want to get to the root cause of your eating issues
  • You are ready to take responsibility for your own eating and patterns. 
  • You want to and are prepared to make the changes necessary to change your eating habits. 
  • You are prepared to go within and work through any suppressed emotions. 
  • You are open-minded to thinking differently and feeling differently

Weight loss therapy is not for you if: 

  • You want a quick fix to your eating
  • You want someone to tell you what to eat and when
  • You want someone else to fix it for you.
  • You do not want to talk about your thoughts or feelings
  • You do not want a healthy lifestyle. 

Further Reading – What to expect from Binge Eating Therapy 

What’s the difference between a psychologist, a psychotherapist, and a counsellor?

A psychologist is a mental health professional who has a doctorate in psychology. They are not medical doctors but will have studied psychopharmacology. They tend to be scientifically based. And they may help with minor disorders to severe mental health disorders and complex issues. It may be more behavioural therapy that is based on research. 

A psychotherapist will help you to overcome your underlying issues in your past to help you change your present and future. They focus on the issue and help you to heal the origin of your issues. It is working on a deeper level than a counsellor. They cannot diagnose but will help you with eating disorders and other issues. Psychotherapists may use a variety of psychotherapeutic tools from Hypnotherapy, CBT, DBT, Gestalt, Transactional Analysis, psychodynamic therapy and talking therapies. Some therapists will specialise in one modality and others will integrate all of the modalities. This would be called an integrative approach. 

A counsellor will be trained in talking therapies, such as Person centred therapy. They will focus more on the here and now and help you overcome your issues by talking through them. It is helping you become aware of your thinking patterns to help you choose different ways of thinking so you can think of the solutions to your issues. 

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What type of therapy is right for me?

If your eating issue is not complex and you prefer to talk it through, a counsellor may be a good option. 

Do you want to focus on behavioural change? A psychologist might be a good option

If you know your eating issues are due to issues in your past or childhood, a psychotherapist may be a good option. 

Hypnotherapy sessions offered by a hypnotherapist can offer support alongside other health practitioners like a nutritionist, who may offer a nutrition plan. 

In reality, any modality could be a good option. The key that helps therapy progress for you is the therapeutic relationship between you and the therapist. You may need to try a few therapists and how they work to find the right person for you. When you do find the right person, it can really unlock what you have suppressed for years. 

Further Reading – Cognitive behaviour therapy for Binge Eating 

What psychological therapy is best for you

Is online therapy a good option?

It is possible to have online therapy for your weight management. So long as you are in a safe and confidential space to talk. Ensure your therapist has done extra training to hold therapy sessions online. 

How can I find a therapist in England?

There are many directories which detail therapists’ specialisms and their qualifications. I would recommend a therapist who is associated with a recognised board, to ensure they are working to high standards, they are insured and work in supervision. 

Here are some directories below. 

Hypnotherapy Directory




About Vanessa McLennan

Vanessa is an emotional eating expert with a passion for natural health, superfoods and psychology. She helps women from all over the world to successfully lose weight by escaping the diet cycle and end their emotional eating patterns. She holds a diploma in Hypnotherapy as well as qualifications in EMDR, EFT, Emotional Eating, IBS therapist. Check out her free guide to help you break free of the diet cycle www.vanessamclennan.com/lp/break-free