The dietary behaviour change (DBC) programme aims to change an individual’s relationship with food in order to achieve sustained weight loss.

Research shows that traditional diets do not work. 90-95% of individuals that lose weight on a traditional diet regain the weight lost within several years. The dietary behaviour change programme differs significantly to a traditional diet, avoiding some of the associated pitfalls - namely excessive restriction/denial, the guilt associated with eating ‘wrong’ foods, and the fluctuating blood sugar levels resulting from an erratic eating pattern. This lays the foundation for sustained and healthy weight loss, whilst fostering a healthy relationship with food.

The DBC programme will address both psychological and physiological aspects contributing to a weight problem.

The psychological component

The programme will examine the thoughts, beliefs, and emotional factors which contribute to disordered or erratic dietary behaviour. This may include a tendency to overeat when feeling depressed or anxious, or when experiencing other negative mood states. It may be that food is used as a comfort, or as a means of regulating uncomfortable or unpleasant emotions, rather than as a means of satisfying hunger. Certain beliefs about food may also contribute to an unhealthy relationship with food, some of which may have been held for many years and be subjected to minimal analysis in normal day-to-day life.

The programme uses a cognitive-behavioural approach to raise awareness of how these aspects contribute to dietary behaviour, and provides practical and structured support to enable clients to:

  • Utilise alternative methods of managing negative emotional states
  • Challenge unhelpful beliefs and assumptions that contribute to an unhealthy relationship with food
  • Use cognitive-behavioural techniques to facilitate effective behaviour change

The physical component

Typically, we find that clients struggling to control their intake of food slip into an eating pattern which makes it increasingly difficult to control intake and weight, contributing to cravings, excessive appetite or low mood. By stabilising blood sugar levels, clients report feeling greater control over what they eat, increased energy, and a marked reduction in food cravings.

The DBC programme will work to establish a structured eating pattern in order to stabilise blood sugar levels. The following methods will be used to achieve this:

  • Comprehensive exploration of eating patterns and triggers
  • Clear guidance regarding the type of foods that will assist blood sugar stabilisation, and strategies to slow the rate at which sugars are released into the bloodstream
  • A dietary plan advocating regular consumption of foods low on the glycaemic index (GI)
  • Clear and manageable goals to work towards

An awareness of portion size and satiation signals is developed over the course of the programme. Strategies to manage cravings and monitor intake are also provided. Many clients report a significant reduction in appetite and a greater ability to control their eating after the first 3 weeks on the programme.

10-14 sessions are generally required to achieve effective dietary behaviour change, although this will vary according to the nature and severity of the client’s needs. Sessions last 50 minutes, initially on a weekly basis.

If you would like to arrange an appointment you can call the clinic on 01252 734 670 between 9.00am and 5.30pm Monday to Saturday. Alternatively, if you would like to speak to someone prior to booking an appointment please call Irenie Phillips, Practice Secretary, on 07561 371 053 or e-mail Irenie on info@thepsychologyclinic.org.uk

Dr. Anna Collins is a recognised provider for BUPA, AXA PPP, Aviva, Cigna, Simply Health, WPA and Vitality Health private healthcare insurance.

“You have helped to change my life. You have helped me to address difficulties I have lived with for many years.”
Client suffering from depression and disordered eating.