While much has been written in the field of weight loss in general, and specifically behavioral training for weight loss, what the majority of approaches share is the association between the thoughts, feelings and behavior. Certainly these programs have enjoyed some success for those who have ascribed to their beliefs, however, the amount of money spent on weight loss programs in this country evidences the disparity between the success of these approaches and a successful approach for the problem of weight loss. Despite the amount of research and time that has been spent on the development of these programs, we are still without a successful approach. In thinking about what a successful approach might mean, we can begin with what these programs in general, have been lacking.
While these programs do give a considerable amount of attention to managing the psychological responses associated with thoughts, feelings and behavior, what the majority of behavioral approaches for weight loss fail to focus on are the underlying reasons for the psychological state the person is in. What the person is left with is a failure to understand the reasons for the psychological condition she finds herself in. As the psychological condition that a person finds herself in is a byproduct of her underlying psychological patterns in general, without uncovering these patterns, the psychological condition will continue to appear. In order to uncover these patterns, the person will need to not only, expose them, but also identify the underlying causes for them. While psychological patterns can take on many forms, the underlying causes for them are frequently not obvious.
Therefore, in order to uncover these causes, the person will need to be observed more closely than typical behavioral training approaches allow. To do this, the person will need to be observed in many different settings, environments, and groups of people. Clearly, the only way to do this, is to utilize a weight loss camp program, that requires that the person live on sight. From this focused approach, a comprehensive understanding of the person begins to emerge. As all of the facets of the person’s personality arise in the many different settings that she is exposed to, behaviors, characteristics, and traits provide indicators of the underlying reasons for the person’s behavior. The weight loss camp approach then can offer not only behavioral training for weight loss, but also an understanding of the root causes of her behavior. In this way, the person is provided not just the understanding of the underlying reasons for her psychological responses, but also, management tools for them. There are many reasons weight loss camps may be more effective in treating the rising problem of weight loss.
To begin, let’s assume that the client has no previous experience with behavioral training. In this instance, the person may have a very limited understanding as to the value and efficacy on this approach. To be sure, most people who look for solutions to their weight loss problems have already looked, unsuccessfully, for solutions. Inherent in this search, is the ultimate hope that there is some magic cure for the predicament they find themselves in. As each new attempt promises to finally offer solution to their problem, yet fails to deliver, the hope that there is a magic solution is strengthened. As this hope is strengthened, and the litany of tried and failed attempts accumulates behind them, the sense of desperation about this situation escalates. This desperation clouds their judgment to the point that almost any approach, regardless of how safe, or unrealistic, it may seem, appears attractive to them. Certainly we have seen many approaches of this nature. The grape fruit diet, juice fast, stimulant weight loss pills, and carb-blockers, are just a few. As the person continues to search for the next new diet plan, or pill, to offer solution to their problem, she exposes herself to undue amounts of incorrect, and faulty information. This exposure only adds to the confusion that the person suffers, and makes subsequent decisions about weight loss all the more confusing.
The combination of confusion, desperation, and repeated failed attempts, results in a person who is not only reticent to try yet another promising approach to weight loss, but also, will almost certainly sabotage her own success. As she has searched unsuccessfully, and has yet to find a solution to her problem, as evidenced by the fact that she is still searching, she is likely to hold a negative view of almost any approach, and in her determination that this new approach will fail as well, will act to ensure that it will. In this situation, if she has yet to understand the underlying causes for both her feelings, and her behavior, she is likely to avoid taking responsibility for behavior, and instead act to shift the responsibility to the approach itself. Blaming the approach for her lack of success not only moves her further from success, but also does nothing to expose the underlying dynamics that are contributing to this lack of success.
In using a fitness camp, then, these underlying dynamics are exposed and defined as the framework from which the person’s behavior, thoughts, and feelings are determined. As these dynamics are rooted in the person’s past, they cannot be avoided, and the responsibility for them cannot be shifted elsewhere. Instead, as the weight loss camp collaborates with the person to develop an understanding of these dynamics and the role they play in her attempts at weight loss, the interplay between the underlying causes for her behavior thoughts and feelings, and their management becomes much more clear. As this understanding increases, it not only gives value to the behavioral training approach itself, but also continues to illuminate the person’s particular response to this approach. In this way, the weight loss camp helps to increase her understanding of behavioral training, but also, her understanding of herself. The psychological state that she finds herself in can now be seen as a byproduct of the psychological patterns that color her life.
As these patterns developed very early on, and often in response to early parenting experiences, they can now be understood as adaptations to the stresses that were experienced in this early period. These adaptations, albeit unhealthy, were a way for the person to survive. At that particular period, they were needed, as the resources for handling these stresses that the person had at that particular time were overwhelmed. However, these adaptations are no longer needed as the person is not experiencing the stress that she experienced at the time these adaptations developed. Additionally, she is now much better equipped to handle these stresses, as her resources, both psychologically, and otherwise, are much more developed. The comparison of the child that needed these adaptations to survive, and the adult that no longer needs them, is a very powerful place from which to begin behavioral training. Often, in understanding the reasons for these underlying psychological patterns, and beginning to see them as necessary adaptations to stress, the weight loss camp approach will allow the person to take responsibility for them, as they are no longer seen as negative behaviors, but merely adaptations to stress that were needed at the time, and are no longer necessary.
As they are no longer necessary, and also, are seen in a much more objective light, taking responsibility for them, and accepting the behavioral approach to begin to change them is a much easier process. Additionally, in understanding that it is these underlying psychological patterns that are the framework from which the behaviors, thoughts, and feelings are determined, the weight loss camp, also provides understanding for the behavioral training that will be used to address these behaviors, thoughts, and feelings. Therefore in understanding how this behavioral training will work, the acceptance of it is fostered. As previous attempts have failed to give understanding as to their efficacy, often because they were not, inherently effective, when behavioral training in a weight loss camp setting is used, the person not only understands the efficacy of this approach, she experiences it. As she begins to understand the underlying reasons for her behaviors, thoughts, and feelings, and consequently, understands the development of these early psychological patterns, the effects are instantaneous. Bringing clarity to any situation that has not been previously understood inherently provides relief.