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Having Trouble Losing Weight? How Behavior Analysis Can Help

July 6, 2015

Do you have goals that you want to achieve? Perhaps you are trying to lose weight, increase your exercise, and/or manage your stress levels? You have tried countless diets, joined numerous gyms, and have read many self-help books that seemed useful in the moment. While you may have the proper knowledge of how to eat right, exercise, and balance your lifestyle,you have yet to experience true wellness success. Why? Because it is extremely difficult to make and sustain results without behavioral change.

Behavior science helps individuals change their behavior for the better. Research has proven systematic behavioral changes and modifications will lead to long-lasting successful results. Board Certified Behavior Analysts are trained in the science of understanding and improving human behavior. Utilizing evidence-based principles behavior analysts help individuals to increase desired behaviors to achieve their goals. Sessions include educating and assisting you in overcoming challenging barriers that may be preventing you from reaching health and wellness goals. Examples of goals include: weight management, exercise and physical activity, lifestyle balance, and stress reduction.

Let’s take a look at an example: Robin is a 35-year-old female with a husband and young daughter. Robin recently quit her full-time job to start her own business. Robin had the goals of wanting to lose weight by eating healthier, decrease her snacking, and increase her exercise. Robin had previously tried a restrictive weight loss plan, purchased passes to a yoga studio, and owned a membership to a local gym. She had also declared numerous ultimatum statements such as “this week will be different and starting tomorrow I will stop eating chips”. While experiencing success professionally, she was feeling overwhelmed and defeated with her health and wellness. While working with Robin, behavior analytic methodologies were utilized (examples including, differential reinforcement of high rate behavior, stimulus control, and shaping) to create for her an individualized success plan to increase the frequency of exercise and increase healthy eating.  After just a few sessions, Robin provided a testimonial stating:

Wow. I want to thank you so much for your help and listening to me.  Since working with you I feel less overwhelmed, I have exercised everyday on my plan (even being sick), and I have been making good food choices!  You are so good at what you do.”

Behavior analysts help clients examine the function of their behavior and why their behavior actually occurs. Once it has been identified why the behavior occurs, this information is used to help create action plans to increase desired behavior and/or decrease undesirable behavior.  Behavior Analysts will then examine the influence that the surrounding environment has on behavior.  For example, what are the events occurring prior to the behavior?  What happens after the behavior occurs? By altering the before and after events, behaviors are shaped into goal-oriented positive behavior. Goals and ultimate outcomes are objectively defined, hence they become obtainable. Furthermore, goals are measured to effectively monitor progress for long-lasting results.  The goals set are SMART goals!

Specific

Measurable

Attainable

Reinforceable

Timely

Laura is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and Educational Specialist.  She also holds a Weight Management Specialist certification. Laura is currently practicing out of the Integrative Health Center of Maine located at 222 Auburn St, Portland, ME 04101.  Laura’s webpage can be found at: http://maineintegrative.com/laura-manuel-ma-eds-bcba/. If you have goals you want to achieve, contact Laura Manuel to make an appointment at lmanuel@maineintegrative.com or 207-200-6155.

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