Term Paper: Behavior Modification Techniques Applied to Overeating

Pages: 5 (1336 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Psychology  ·  Buy This Paper

¶ … behavior modification techniques that can be applied to overeating. The writer explores overeating and produces a workable list of behavior modification techniques that might apply to a patient who has difficulty controlling food consumption. There were three sources used to complete this paper.

Almost nightly news reports across America tell society that it is overweight. Commercials for diet plans, exercise equipment and pills "guaranteed" to take off pounds feed a multibillion dollar industry designed to help people become thin. Yet, the nation as a whole continues to grow. The basic premise to maintaining a healthy weight is not to take in more calories than one expends with physical energy. On the surface it sounds like a simple concept however, when factors such as emotional problems, cravings, and sedentary lifestyles are added to the mix it is not difficult to understand why America is growing. "One-third of the U.S. population is currently considered obese, with a body mass index of 30 kg/[m.sup.2] or greater, and more than two-thirds are overweight, with BMIs at or above 25(Tucker, 2005)."As these statistics continue to rise the medical community continues to discover the long-term health issues that being overweight can cause. Within five years of losing large amounts of weight 90% of Americans gain it back. The key to permanent weight loss is not in a new drug, or piece of exercise equipment of a fad diet. The key to permanent weight loss and weight management is behavior modification.

BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION

Behavior modification is a tool that is widely used in the mental health field to help patients break the overeating habits they have developed.

Overeating is often caused by underlying psychological concerns or issues that can include:

Self-worth and satisfaction.

A sense of wealth or ease.

Safety and distance.

Sedation.

Sense of identity (Mulcahy, 2003)."

Understanding these benefits that overweight people gain from overeating is important as it can help set the stage to reduce overeating through behavior modifications.

Using behavior modification to prevent overeating involves the use of techniques to include self-monitoring, cognitive restructuring, social support, stress management and stimulus control. When these techniques are used effectively the incidence of overeating will be reduced and the chances of becoming overweight will be reduced.

For one to understand how behavior modification can work to reduce overeating one needs to have an understanding of behavior modification and how it works in general. Behavior modification is a technique used in the mental health field and classrooms around the world to change one's undesirable behaviors.

It promotes the belief that if one changes behaviors then desired results will soon follow which will in turn enforce the benefits of behavior modifications thereby strengthening the resolve to continue those behaviors (FOREYT, 2000).

There are many ways that behavior modification can be incorporated into the problem of overeating.

Overeating is often a difficult problem to address because the behavior modifications cannot include things that will help a person stop the activity completely. Unlike drug use, smoking cigarettes or chronic tardiness, one cannot completely stop eating and thereby remove the undesirable activity from their life completely. One must have food to sustain life therefore there is no way to completely remove it. It will always been needed and necessary and for those who have difficulty controlling their impulses it will always be there as a temptation for the undesired behavior to continue, in this case overeating. While this makes it a difficult behavior to change it can be done through the implementation of behavior modification techniques.

One of the first steps in behavior modification is self-monitoring. This requires the person to become aware of their target behaviors by keeping a diary or journal about their eating habits. Initially the only thing that is required of that person is that he or she record everything eaten. In the journal they are to write it down, when they ate it, why they ate it and what they were doing at the time they ate it or just prior to… [END OF PREVIEW]

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