Type 2 diabetes is now a worldwide epidemic with 346 million people living with the condition (World Health Organisation). While health educators across the world are treating the clinical symptoms, few address the psychological factors. “Current treatment plans tend to focus on cutting calories and increasing exercise, yet for every overweight person with diabetes who can implement this advice, there are many who struggle” says Dr Jen Nash, a Clinical Psychologist who also has been living with diabetes since childhood. “When a patient falls off a treatment plan like this, it can lead to a sense of failure, hopelessness and lack of motivation to lose the weight required for optimal health.”
Diabetes patients looking for help with weight loss may find the ‘Diabetes Weight Loss Breakthrough System’, devised by Dr Jen Nash helpful. The online programme that can be used at home educates patients about the psychological reasons for overeating and gives strategies to gain control over eating behaviour, aiding participants to achieve their weight loss goals.
Traditional weight loss plans treat food as a fuel, rather than acknowledging that it can be used for pleasure, distraction and entertainment. Many people engage in thinking styles that encourage an ‘all-or-nothing’ approach to weight loss, sabotaging long-term progress.
She says, “The explosion of healthy eating campaigns along with rising obesity levels over the last decade demonstrates that making healthy food choices isn’t as simple as just knowing what we should be doing. People with type 2 diabetes are rarely given any education concerning the emotional and psychological aspects of eating behaviour. Understanding that there are psychological strategies that are simple to apply in daily life can provide a breakthrough in a person’s relationship with food, leading to weight loss results.”
Dr Jen Nash is a clinical psychologist, Chartered with the British Psychological Society. Positive Diabetes is a therapy and education service that promotes the psychological and emotional wellbeing of people living with diabetes.