Behavioral Intervention for Weight Loss at NYM

Jul 25, 2012

Brooklyn, NY

Photo of Dr. Yen Ling Chong

Yen Ling Chong, MD, psychiatrist in the Department of Neurosciences at NYM

New York Methodist Hospital (NYM) now offers short-term cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for patients who want to lose weight. CBT is a component of NYM's Comprehensive Weight Management Program for adults. While other medical and surgical services of the Weight Management Program are available to treat overweight or obese individuals, CBT is a supplementary, drug-free tool that can help those who want to address the mental hurdles that stop them from keeping the pounds off.

"About seventy percent of dieters who are initially successful at losing weight will regain it all-and then some-within a few years," said Yen Ling Chong, MD, psychiatrist in the Department of Neurosciences at NYM. "Mental blocks, such as stress and disappointment, are the most common barriers to successful weight loss, and CBT can help patients address those issues and achieve the long-term results they need."

The CBT weight loss program at NYM is an individualized, one-on-one collaboration between doctor and patient. Over the course of ten to twelve 30-45 minute sessions, the doctor works to help overweight individuals identify the causes of unhealthy eating and weight gain.

"The goal of CBT is to help patients identify their negative 'trigger thoughts'-thoughts which trigger emotions that ultimately have negative consequences," said Dr. Chong. "As many dieters have experienced, even well-planned diet and exercise regimens can be derailed by a single deviation, such as impulsively eating a chocolate chip cookie, missing a day or two of exercise because of work, or developing a temporary illness. Such simple setbacks may cause dieters to become discouraged and throw in the towel."

During the sessions, Dr. Chong helps patients alter the way they think about food and their eating habits, while they remain in control of their individual nutrition and exercise regimens. Serving as a coach, Dr. Chong's goal is not to eliminate trigger thoughts; it is to give dieters the awareness and discipline to identify triggers, change the behaviors that result from them, and break the weight-gaining cycle.

"After the sessions, patients will have the ability to recognize when they're acting in a way that is counterproductive to their weight loss or weight maintenance," said Dr. Chong. "Ultimately, they will be in greater control over their diet, and won't allow unhealthy thoughts or bad habits to keep them from reaching their goals."

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please contact NYM's Comprehensive Weight Management Program at 718-780-3771.

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