Behavior Modification and Obesity

Obesity is often compared to the other chronic diseases such as heart disease. Research states that if it can be caught in time, it can be treated. People who are following treatment must be consistent. Those individuals that are obese and severely obese are going to have to take a much larger effort for them to change.


It is not only a complete lifestyle change but it is also a physical and psychological change. They have to change the way they think of themselves and about food. It can be very hard for them to do and follow on a continual basis. For it to work, the individual has to want to change. No one can force the person to change. Obesity is not something that one gets over night. Obesity is the cumulative effect of years and years, sometimes one’s whole lifetime, of overeating for various reasons.

It is often recommended that those seeking the lifestyle change seek professional assistance as well. Part of a good weight loss program is behavior modification. It is often a change to the strategies one uses when one tries to get the motivation to do physical activity or eat properly.

Most of these programs include self-moderation by using a food journal. In a food journal, the dieter is responsible for writing down every single piece of food and drink they consume over a 24 hour period, every day. It is also suggested they keep an exercise journal as well, detailing walks, taking the steps instead of the elevator, and any other forms of exercise. This allows the dieter to actually see what they are eating and doing. Many people do not realize how much they eat over a 24 hr period. By keeping these journals, it makes the person consciously aware of it.

Trying to change the way you eat, the way you even think about food is hard. Millions of people try every year and fail. Some are successful, but the failures far outweigh the successes. That is why behavior modification is necessary.

People have to learn that they can no longer fall back on food as a crutch when they are feeling stressed, depressed, and/or anxious. They can turn to other ways to relieve these emotions. Hopefully this will help them to stop making unrealistic and unattainable goals. People need to realize they can reward themselves for small successes and not always beat themselves up and struggle 100% of the time.

Through behavior modification and therapy, people struggling with obesity can come up with a plan that allows for success. This plan should include things like including their own personal beliefs and history, working in conjunction and frequently with a doctor/ nutritionist/ or other health care provider, keeping personal journals, setting attainable and realistic goals, allowing appropriate rewards, and focusing on what is important. Joining a support group, such as Overeaters Anonymous or Weight Watchers, can often offer a lot of emotional support when trying to get through the hard times.