Hello and welcome to PREKURE’s weekly snippet of science, where on a weekly basis we share emergent research related to extending the human healthspan.
As a health coach, given our current global statistics, it is likely that you will work with clients who have goals related to weight loss. How can you best support them to achieve their potential and maintain behaviour changes well beyond your final coaching session? What tools do you have at your disposal to augment your client’s strengths and support them to live the life they truly want to live?
The gold standard treatment for obesity to date is a multi-disciplinary approach that includes advice aimed at modifying nutrition and physical activity. Alongside these two important lifestyle factors sits psychological support which is intended to assist individuals in diving into their emotional and psychological state and how this impacts their behaviours. Today, the mainstay of psychological support is CBT, commonly prescribed by psychologists.
However, while CBT is aimed at the reduction of symptoms, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy or ACT’s goal is to change the way we relate to our thoughts and feelings so that their impact on our behaviour is lessened. In ACT, the goal is to foster psychological flexibility. Psychological flexibility is defined as: “being in contact with the present moment fully as a conscious human being and, based on what the situation affords, changing or persisting in behaviour in the service of chosen values”.
This week we wanted to introduce you to this powerful psychological tool: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, or ACT for short. A body of emerging research illustrates that ACT can be successful in the treatment of obesity in both adult and adolescent populations. By fostering psychological flexibility which is characterised by openness, awareness, and engagement to experience all emotions and feelings, individuals are able to experience lasting behaviour change. They are no longer driven by their thoughts but understand that they are the objective observer of their thought, not defined by them. This open, willingness to experience the internal while remaining grounded in the present moment has application to several disorders both psychological and physical.
Recently, an RCT protocol was released to examine how ACT can be used to create long-term and meaningful change for individuals with obesity. A fascinating read, we can’t wait to read the results of this trial! Click here to read the article.
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