Post Pregnancy and Cognitive Therapy Weight Loss
Cognitive therapy is a technique for managing negative thoughts and emotions and empowering patients to face life challenges head on. Cognitive therapy is often practiced in conjunction with behavioral therapy techniques. Whereas cognitive therapy helps you to pin point the source of your negative thoughts, behavioral therapy encourages you to take practical steps towards conquering your fears.
Weight Loss and Cognitive Therapy
Cognitive therapy can help you achieve weight loss after pregnancy, if, for example, your negative thoughts or lack of self-esteem are preventing you from effectively implementing a dieting and exercise regime. Behavioral therapy techniques will encourage you to face your apprehensions about feeling hungry while dieting, or going for a run in public, by helping you to move in manageable steps towards doing those things. A properly trained cognitive or behavioral therapist will never judge you or laugh at your fears - he or she has probably seen it all before, and takes every patient's case seriously.
The human mind is a complex thing, and even humans who are very rational and capable in other aspects of their lives can still harbor irrational, negative thoughts about certain issues connected to their body image, professional ability, relationships, etc.
Women these days are under so much pressure - the pressure to look good all the time, to give birth without using pain medications, to breastfeed, to lose the baby weight immediately and then to get back to work and be a fantastic mother for the next 18 years. Really, it's little wonder that some of us develop distorted, negative images of ourselves. Two examples of typical cognitive distortions include, for example:
Disqualifying the positive - (e.g. ignoring the fact that your husband complimented you on your new hairstyle, and instead focusing in on the fact that he didn't seem to notice you've lost 3 kilos of baby weight this week - in his eyes, you're clearly just as fat as you were before, so what's the point losing weight?)
Catastrophizing - predicting the absolute worst possible outcome to any given situation (e.g. developing a huge phobia about going to the gym, because you think you're so heavy, you will break the equipment there, everyone will laugh and you and the owner of the gym will throw you out).
These examples may seem over simplified and even humorous, but these kinds of thoughts are anything but funny to the people who experience them. Suffering from cognitive distortions doesn't mean you're crazy or stupid - you just need help to control this spiral of negative emotions. Cognitive behavioral therapy may help you to do this. The technique may be as simple as recognizing the triggers for these thoughts, and when they begin, diverting your attention from them to another (perhaps physical) activity. This can free up your body and mind from the emotional baggage that stops you achieving your weight loss and fitness goals.
Of course, cognitive therapy is not the only available means of support - let's take a quick look at some of the other therapies used to support people who are trying to lose weight.
Interpersonal therapy is a very structured, time-limited psychotherapy which employs techniques similar to cognitive behavioral therapy (homework, specific tasks, and assessments) to help patients over come difficulties in their interpersonal relationships which may be causing negative emotions or depression. A woman who's upset because of her partner's distancing himself from her (whether real or perceived) as she struggles to lose weight and care for her baby after giving birth, may benefit from interpersonal therapy.
Rational Emotive Therapy
Rational emotive therapy is another form of psychotherapy, similar to cognitive therapy, which helps patients to begin determining whether their negative emotional responses to certain situations are based on rational causes - i.e. real events viewed from a rational perspective - or whether they are allowing themselves to be overcome by negative, self-defeating thoughts which are not warranted by the circumstances of their lives. When patients learn to tell the difference, they can begin nipping negative thought patterns in the bud as soon as they start.
Gestalt therapy is a psychotherapy developed in the 1940s and 1950s, which aims to help the patient to analyze how she thinks, feels and acts. The goal is to find ways to bring about change, but to achieve self-acceptance at the same time.
Reality therapy is form of non-judgmental psychotherapeutical counseling which aims to help the patient identify her goals, and determine whether all aspects of her actions and behavior are effectively leading her towards achieving those goals. If not, she will be encouraged to identify positive steps she can take towards her own success.
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