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Behavior Modification Techniques for Weight Loss

By Stephanie Dube Dwilson ; Updated July 18, 2017

Behavior modification is the process of determining why you participate in an unhealthy or self-damaging behavior and changing that behavior. Many people find that stopping a bad habit entirely is nearly impossible, but replacing it with something positive is a little easier.

Using Behavior Modification

Someone who comes in and collapses in front of the television with a bowl of ice cream every night will have trouble cutting the ice cream out of her day. By using behavior modification, she may determine that she crashes in front of the television with food because she is miserable and exhausted with her job. It will not be enough to stop eating ice cream, because she will want to replace it with something else. Instead, she should update her entire evening plan. Perhaps she bypasses the living room entirely and goes to the bedroom, changes into some comfortable clothes and heads back outside for a long walk. When she returns, she is ready to start dinner. Not only has she cut the calories from the dish of ice cream but has also added some activity to her day.

On Your Own

Working on your own is important whether or not you also work with a counselor. With discipline, it is possible to gain many benefits from behavior modification therapy while working on your own. It is important to be honest with yourself and invest effort into determining why you are overweight, the reasons that you overeat and how you feel about exercising. The process can be painful, because you will need to consider every habit that you have, what your motivations are for that behavior and how it affects your weight.

Invest in Counseling

A trained counselor has the skills necessary to guide you through the behavior modification process. She can explain some common reasons people overeat or don't maintain an exercise program. Getting to the root of your behavior is important so that you can make changes. For example, if you don't exercise regularly because you never felt athletic, signing up for fitness classes or taking up a hobby such as hiking may allow you to change your mindset. If stress is a trigger, you may decide to pamper yourself with a pedicure when you're feeling low.

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