Dr. Kira Bartlett

Transition to a
Healthy Lifestyle

Goals
Overweight patients can benefit from different psychologically-based techniques to help them lose weight and keep it off in the long run. We now know that while dieting and exercise are vital for weight loss, the biggest key may be the overweight person’s own body image. The goal of psychotherapy with a client who is trying to lose weight is to help understand the emotional factors that led to their weight gain in the first place. The focus is on a person’s behavior and belief system.

Strategies
Some techniques include teaching clients self-monitoring. This has proven to be very useful for losing and managing weight. Self-monitoring involves regularly recording everything eaten in a day and how much exercise is done each day. Actually viewing a behavior on paper makes an impact and will allow for goal-setting. One of the things psychologically-based weight loss strategies can do is aid clients in understanding their achievements and realizing that they have not failed.

Clients can benefit from eating and living more mindfully, creating inner calm, and allowing for more self-care. Dr. Bartlett supports her clients in learning to manage their reactions and live with more peace in all areas of their lives. Read more on the right about how a meditation practice can help lead to a healthy lifestyle.

Healthy lifestyle guidance

Obstacles
A vital part of achieving a healthier lifestyle is considering ways to become more active. We know that people are more likely to drive their cars than to ride their bicycles or walk. Lack of exercise decreases the amount of physical activity a person gets each day. The popularity of television, video games, and Internet has also contributed to the growing trend of a sedentary lifestyle. We have become so used to the technology that life has become virtually unimaginable without it.

Additionally, we realize that food is often used to cope with emotional demands such as loneliness, anxiety, or depression or to celebrate life events. Psychotherapy can be useful in overcoming a long history of emotional eating.

Meditation
"Training our attention so that we can be more aware - not only of our inner workings, but also of what's happening around us in the here and now. Once we can see clearly what is going on, we can then choose whether and how to act on what we are seeing.... It teaches us to focus and pay clear attention to our experiences and responses as they are, and to observe without judging them." (Real Happiness, Sharon Salzberg) Clients use these skills to make more healthy choices and to feel less critical of themselves if they slip up. In other words, to stay in the moment instead of reliving the past.

Benefits of a Meditation Practice

  • Clients experience increased focus and concentration in many areas of their lives.
  • Clients notice distorted assumptions that are limiting their joy and success.
  • Clients become more open to all emotions - negative, neutral and positive. Meditation helps clients realize that they can better tolerate painful emotional states.
  • Clients develop an understanding that while it is not possible to change our emotions per se, meditation can help change our reactions to our emotions.

The Science of Meditation and Mindfulness Practice
Recent studies indicate that regular meditation actually creates physiological changes in the brain. Structures that aid in decision making, memory and emotional flexibility are strengthened through a regular meditation practice. Dr. Bartlett has found that meditation/mindfulness teachings in conjunction with psychotherapy have yielded many positive gains for her clients.