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Behaviour

Why is it that even after spending weeks or even months losing weight, it is so easy to fall back into old behaviours? 

Emotional eating, boredom eating, because-it's-there eating, unhealthy eating, fast-food eating, reward eating - all of these are behaviours that many of us have spent years cultivating. Studies have shown that it takes between 6 and 18 months before new behaviours become habits. What happens to so many of us is that life throws us a curveball and we respond according to our old habits. These old habits were formed from decades of unhealthy behaviours and not according to our few weeks or months worth of healthy living. Old habits, like old shoes, are comfortable and suddenly while we might no longer be eating healthy, life suddenly feels comfortable again.

In order to successfully lose weight and maintain weight loss, you will need to develop strategies to overcome your behavioural urges by life-layering new behaviours over your old habits. For example, if you are an emotional eater, you need to have a set of alternate behaviours that you can access if the urge to emotionally eat tugs at your stomach. If you can life-layer successfully for 6 to 18 months, your behaviours will no longer be your alternates but rather your new habits. For emotional eaters, alternate behaviours may be as simple as going for a walk, writing a journal entry, calling a close friend or weight-loss support buddy, cleaning a part of your home, developing or cultivating a new hobby, taking a shower, or running through a to-do list instead of having that emotional snack. For because-it's-there eaters' alternates may involve simple planning such as making a healthy snack to take to the movies rather than munch on the theatre's popcorn, or watching television while doing some low-impact home exercises. Because we are all individuals, there is no one simple instruction or set of life-layers that we can give you, and what works for you may well not work for someone else.

Another key to successfully losing weight and keeping it off is learning how to accept setbacks. Obesity is a disease, not a state of mind or a failure of willpower, and diseases have relapses and remissions. Where state of mind becomes important is in deciding how you deal with setbacks. It is always easier to give up when faced with a setback, than to dust yourself off and start fresh. You need to have another series of behaviours to life-layer to deal with your setbacks and to reclassify what you might have once thought of as failure as simply a normal and expected complication of your disease.

At the Bariatric Medical Institute, not only will you work alongside our physicians, dietitians and trainers to develop new life-layers, they will always be there as your own personal support group. We recognize obesity as a disease and therefore we will never scold you or be upset with you. On the contrary, it is through setbacks that we gain a better understanding of your behavioural makeup and will allow us to more effectively individualize your life-layers. During the 12 weeks, you may explore such topics as motivation, body image, goal setting, communication, eating, activity, stress, peer pressure, binge eating, self-esteem, attitude traps, rewards and many more - which topics you'll face will depend on you. Everyone is different, and everyone has different behavioural traps that need to be addressed.. You will explore both the why behind your behaviours and the how to make changes. As well, you will enjoy a group session with BMI's clinical psychologist that looks at the 9 most common roadblocks to weight loss.

In short, the Bariatric Medical Institute will guide you on your own personal journey towards understanding yourselves and conquering the behaviours that have haunted your weight-loss efforts in the past. You have all lost weight before only to put it back on as old habits pushed aside your healthy behaviours. Life-layer your alternates and put yourself back in control!

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