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Why I spent ten years making a weight management program that actually works!

By December 2, 2017May 24th, 201852 Thoughts for the Chronic Dieter

“Can I really change?”

This is a question that underlies all of my work with weight management clients, be it face to face, in my workshops, or online.  I mean, we all know people can change, but can you really change this?  The last couple of times I wrote to you we talked about 5 reasons why you have struggled with weight and 5 ways to begin to overcome them. I have been so glad to hear they’ve helped (and if you haven’t read them yet, I’d totally recommend it!) – but we both know a couple of articles is far from the total answer to your weight worries.

Lucky I have spent the last ten years developing the total answer.  An approach where you can take some of the emotion out of these often-stigmatising challenges, step back and understand them in a new way, and ultimately transcend them forever.  A solution where you can work through these five key issues – and many more – in a supported and structured yet tailored way.

People always ask me about this but I’ve never written about it, so let me tell you about my journey that led to creating the Twelve Month Transformation – and why I think it is just the program for your transformation in 2018.

You can learn more about me here, but after finishing my research in the psychology of weight loss I was fortunate enough find myself consulting for the best weight management clinics in Queensland*. What’s more, I was working with all types of approaches – running the psychology component for the biggest medically-based weight loss clinic in the country, seeing bariatric surgery patients (before and after surgery) for the most reputable surgeon in the state, and working with a ground-breaking Endocrinologist who specialized in weight loss medications.  After seeing the successes but also the significant drawbacks of each of these approaches, I knew I needed to learn more.  I became an expert hypnotherapist, which really helped my clients, but still they were grappling with eating, exercise, weight, and body image issues way more than I felt they should be.  I decided to explore the other side of the coin and learnt about non-dieting from Australia’s pioneer Dr. Rick Kausman and Health At Every Size® from world-leading Dr. Linda Bacon, and was surprised to learn that often approaches that de-emphasised weight worked better in the long term…but even that was not the total answer.  This approach worked well for many of my clients, but not all of them.  It was then, after 6 years of study, another 7 of working, and learning from the world’s best that it was time to move in my own direction…

So why didn’t I become a weight loss specialist, a psychologist specializing in bariatric surgery or weight loss medications, or a Health at Every Size® purist?  Because after all my research, practice, and mentoring, I don’t believe there is one right answer.  I believe there are lots of options available, and it’s our job to help you understand the science behind them and find what works for you.  What’s more, I believe psychology improves all of the answers – that’s why the Twelve Month Transformation works with whatever you are doing**.  It’s an approach that works with your existing supports, includes a range of psychological therapies that are shown to give great results (including hypnosis), and is designed for you to take what works for you, leave what doesn’t, and connect with even more support if it will help you (although you’ll find it’s pretty comprehensive when you get into it!).

In a previous article, I let you know mindset change IS possible with a story of a client who filled in her online psychological profile and found her mindset had completely turned around!  But any approach will have a few success stories.  So even though the story told you it’s possible, it didn’t tell you it was likely.  What happens to the average person doing the TMT?

Twelve Month Transformation Results:

I hear wonderful feedback all the time from our TMTers, but as a firm believer in science, I have been interested to know exactly what happens myself, so in 2018 we are having the program independently researched in a clinical trial (more on this later!).  The research group asked me to collect data from this year’s TMT as a pilot…and this is what we found:

These are the results from 10 Twelve Month Transformation participants who completed our online questionnaire in 2017.  The benefits you see have been developed and maintained over the course of a whole year (unlike a 6-12 week program which tends to see short-term improvements that reverse quickly after the program stops).  They also show a picture of what happens with the average person doing the program – people putting in more effort are likely to get better results than this for themselves.

Psychology of Eating

Change in Dieting Mindset

TMT participants’ dieting mentality reduced by 40%.
A dieting mindset is linked with weight cycling, binge eating, and preoccupation with food.

Change in Intuitive Eating

TMT participants’ level of intuitive eating “normalized”.
Intuitive eaters respond to hunger and fullness more than non-hungry cues and eat well without dieting. Intuitive eating is linked with lower weight and BMI and improved weight maintenance.

Changes in Difficulty Controlling Overeating

TMT participants started finding it more difficult to control overeating than the average person
but ended up finding it less difficult.

Change in Exercise Confidence

TMT participants’ exercise confidence increased by 57%.
Participants went from being on-and-off exercisers to regular exercisers.

Changes in Body Image

TMT participants improved their relationship with their bodies in a variety of ways.

Change in Weight

TMT participants lost weight

While almost everyone joining the TMT wants to lose weight, this is NOT the focus of the program.  We have had success stories who have lost over 40 kilograms, many who lose a small to moderate amount of weight, and even people who’s weight remains stable that we consider successes.  As weight loss approaches tend to be ineffective (and potentially harmful) in the long-term, the focus of the Twelve Month Transformation is on improving your relationship with food, movement, and your body.

Twelve Month Transformation Improvements:

These results were so exciting – they really put into numbers what we were feeling was happening – but we are always looking for ways to make the program better for you, so here’s what you can expect in TMT 2018!

  • Improved content – every year we learn more and you reap the benefits!  In 2017 I presented the entire Twelve Month Transformation content to over 500 health professionals through the peak bodies for Psychologists, Dietitians, and Fitness Professionals.  While this has been a great privilege, and it was heartening to have it amazingly well received, it also exposed us to constructive criticism and forced me to hone the material into something better than even I thought it could be.
  • TMT Online – in 2016 we developed 5 online programs to help TMTers consolidate their knowledge from the workshops. In 2017 we launched each program to the public, and with thousands of people completing our programs we learned so much about how to support you to transform from the comfort of your own home.  We have added bonus materials, made it even easier to navigate, and are including in a preseason to make sure you’re all set up for success before we start on January 22! The TMT Online is exactly the same material as our face to face group (and even includes the workshops recorded if you want to watch them, so you now have the option to transform face to face, online, or both!
  • Mini Questionnaires – on top of the Psychological Profile for Weight Management where you can measure improvements in your complete weight management mindset, in 2018 you’ll also have mini-questionnaires that measure your specific successes in each program.  For example, in the Naturally Healthy Habits program you can check that your intuitive eating and exercise confidence scores improve and you can measure the reduction in emotional eating after the Freedom from Emotional Eating program.  These mini-questionnaires will help you stay motivated and track your transformations in each of the five key areas as you go – another great (non-weight) motivator!

So you see, the reality is…

You can change – with the right support!

Four years ago I took a chance creating the Twelve Month Transformation and it’s become more than I ever hoped to dream.  I think you should take a chance as well – maybe you’ll be surprised when you get more than you wished for too!

To make it easier for you to jump on board with Christmas coming up, we’re doing the Earlybird discount not only for the Twelve Month Transformation but also for the Twelve Month Transformation Online.  We always like to help you come and work with us, so why not take the opportunity to do something for YOURSELF in amongst all the caring for others you probably do at this time.  Give yourself an early Christmas present – the gift of a happier, healthier, prouder, fitter and more vibrant you in 2018!  Then you can relax over Christmas, knowing we’ll be ready taking care of things next year.

Find out about the Twelve Month Transformation!

*I was very passionate even back then, and am lucky that not many psychs specialise in weight management – in fact, I think I coined the term “weight management psychologist”!

**Although we may ask you to tweak your current process – after all, if it had been working for you completely you wouldn’t even be thinking about our program!