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I'm a behaviorist....

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Old 06-05-2009, 09:19 PM   #1
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Angry I'm a behaviorist....

...Literally. It's my job, and I'm good at it. So why, when I clearly understand the cycle I am stuck in, can I not change my own behavior? It is insanely frustrating. I know what I need to do to change, so why can I not just do it?


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Old 06-05-2009, 09:24 PM   #2
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Very Frustrating- I understand but as a behaviourist you already know the answer to that question. The one thing I always knew about myself was don't even bother starting on that diet until I wake up one morning and know I can do it. For me it usually takes about 2 months from the time I start seriously thinking about it til that morning when I know it is the right time to start. Mind and body synergy! Good luck!!!
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Old 06-05-2009, 09:26 PM   #3
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You can. Don't beat yourself up, just get started today--make a different choice. And then another. They add up into habits... behavior.

I don't mean to be patronizing. I know (do I ever) that weight loss is hard. But sometimes it's good to boil it down to the simple truth of "just do it".
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Old 06-05-2009, 09:41 PM   #4
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Million dollar question. I think the answer is different for each of us.

You can change. It just depends on why you're not willing to. Is it too much work? Too good eating treats everyday? You hate exercise? Once you figure it out and decide it won't stop you, that you'll fight against it, you're good to go.
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Old 06-05-2009, 10:08 PM   #5
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You don't change for the same reasons that lots of MDs smoke and lots of RNs have weight issues and lots of marriage counsellors are divorced, and lots of lawyers have legal troubles, and why lots of fundamentalist religious leaders have extramarital affairs and financial "issues".

Knowledge does NOT equal action.

Being a behaviorist might give you insight into other people, but it doesn't follow that you will as a result of this insight be perfect yourself! You are only human, after all.

You have to figure out if you really want to change your behavior, and if you are willing to do what it takes to lose weight (not what you think it will take...). And then, you just need to get to it and take action. You can do it!!!

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Old 06-06-2009, 12:16 AM   #6
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Kira'a response is amazing and absolutely correct. Knowing something in your head and committing it to action is the great divide of the human condition, and surpassing it tends to be a matter of committing a goal or dream to action, and then committing the action to habit through good old fashioned perseverence. Easier said than done, but there is no great secret or magic pill, just working at being consistent with your behavior change and picking yourself back up when you stumble. You'll only fail if you give up, otherwise there is always hope
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Old 06-06-2009, 12:19 AM   #7
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What does a behaviourist do as a job? That's the part I don't understand.

That you're not ready to change--I get that. I really do. It's taken me, oh, 87 years to get this point. (i.e., when I stopped nursing my daughter, I startyed thinking, "I should lose this weight." But other things had to happen first before that became a reality. Are there other things which you feel have to be done first?)
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Old 06-06-2009, 12:23 AM   #8
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I'm not sure what a behaviorist does exactly either LOL I'm a therapist with children and youth, and use some CBT strategies but like someone pointed out already -- KNOWING and DOING are two vastly different things...sometimes being a smartie is of no use, you just have to boil it down to A + B = C, one foot in front of the other...that first step is a total BEYATCH tho
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Old 06-06-2009, 12:30 AM   #9
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Typically behaviorists operate with theories of conditioning: classical and/or operant. The idea is that all of our behaviors are learned, and therefore old behaviors can be unlearned and new behaviors learned. All animals seem to utilize these kinds of learning principles. It's how I can train my dog, or reward myself.

But I wonder if that's ALL there is to it -- radical behaviorism doesn't give any credence to thought processes, for example. I think so much of weight loss is mental, even though it seems to be physical.

And how about just how HARD it can be to change certain biologically based behaviors? I've been on a "new lifestyle" for 4 years and can still be felled by some of the OLD learned behaviors I'm trying to extinguish.

Perhaps we just don't figure on how hard it can be to change certain behaviors, especially those that come with their own rewards...Speaking of which, where did I put that donut...
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Old 06-06-2009, 10:19 AM   #10
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You might want to look into Judith Beck's work. She's a cognitive behaviorist who has written books on changing your mind set around food.
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Old 06-06-2009, 10:44 AM   #11
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I'm with you too, prior to being a SAHM I spent 10 years working with autistic adults and developing ABA programs for them. Even though I can do that, it doesn't mean that I spent the time on myself to figure out why I eat when I'm bored etc. I actually found this line of work really draining, although fufilling and wonderful but sometimes when I wasn't coping well with all the stress it lead me to a lot of unconscience eating.

The up side is that once you get that mental part of the journey into the forefront of your mind you really can use your strategies to rework your behaviour patterns. I did some pretty extensive behaviour modification on myself to stop smoking so I figure why not tackle the weight this way too.

Like others have said it really is mental so I would start there.

Good luck.
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Old 06-06-2009, 11:20 AM   #12
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I highly recommend the book "The Four Day Win". It really gets into detail about how we deal with change, especially as it relates to diet and lifestyle changes. It's the book I turn back to whenever I get discouraged... and it has some great, practical exercises that have completely changed how I deal with food and cravings.
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Old 06-06-2009, 11:47 AM   #13
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But you can. You can totally do this. Don't overthink it, just do it! Find a plan you can live with and do it. Really, that's all it takes. I'm OCD and I had to just pretend to not obsess at the beginning in order to succeed. It seems so difficult and overwhelming and it's so not. You can totally do it.
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Old 06-06-2009, 01:13 PM   #14
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I enjoyed The Four Day Win as well. He work is based upon the principles for change outlined in the book "Changing for Good." by James Prochaska and John Norcross. I'm reading it now.

The major phases are:
Precontemplation
Contemplation
Preparation
Action
Maintenance
Termination

You're simply in the process of change--according to this book--and you may not be quite reay for the "action" stage just yet.

Only you know whether you're ready to move on--or you're just making excuses. You can get stuck at any stage. like preparation or contemplation.
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Old 06-06-2009, 01:41 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heather View Post
The idea is that all of our behaviors are learned, and therefore old behaviors can be unlearned and new behaviors learned.
More so the latter than the former. The conditioning and extinction literature strongly indicates that learned behaviors can't really be unlearned so much as inhibited. My graduate mentor has been at the forefront of this research, and has shown pretty conclusively that associations that have been seemingly "erased" are actually robust enough to survive the extinction process and contribute to a number of relapse effects. It's really fascinating stuff.

By the way, being a behaviorist can mean a number of different things depending on the context. Also, while having a greater understanding of the laws that govern behavior can definitely help with weight loss, it certainly doesn't make it easy!
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