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Treating obesity through habits: how to lose weight without violence over your own body

13.11.2019 Author: Psychologist Pavel Khoroshutin

The problem of obesity exists and does not exist in society at the same time. We know that it exists, but we try not to talk about it openly, so as not to hurt someone’s feelings. As a result, overweight people think that they’ve just gained a little weight till the last.

This is confirmed by Olga Grigoryan, a Leading Researcher at the Federal Research Center for Nutrition and Biotechnology (formerly the RAS Institute of Nutrition), noting that while in general the diagnosis of “obesity” is very rare, complications from obesity are diagnosed much more often.

How do you know that your weight endangers your life and what kind of obesity treatment will be effective for you? We will try to understand the issue in a comprehensive way.


  1. Brought down by a disease that was underestimated
  2. What is the danger of obesity?
  3. Where to start treating obesity?
  4. How to find out body mass index and obesity rate
  5. Types of obesity and what is visceral fat
  6. Effective treatment for obesity
  7. Auxiliary methods
  8. Conscious weight loss

Brought down by a disease that was underestimated

how to lose weight

Just 10-15 years ago in Russia, it was believed that the problem of obesity is not an issue for us. But during this time Russian indicators rose close to the American ones, and the share of overweight people has increased by 30% in the last 5 years. [2] The problem is escalating to epidemic levels in front of our eyes, like a kind of payment for progress. Now people hardly ever walk, and the realities of the labor market force them to spend the day in a stationary position at the computer.

The situation is aggravated by drastic changes in the nutrition system, or it is more correct to say that the system itself has collapsed. There is too much food: sandwiches, sneakers, sweets, pizza, rolls… All this is in round-the-clock access. The obvious trend of recent years towards a proper diet does not save the situation, and the average calorie intake continues to increase. In 13 years, it has grown from 2,900 kilocalories to 3,400 [3], which can’t help but affect the average person.

Of course, the concern of scientists and physicians is not about the appearance of people with obesity, but about the fact that obesity is among the five main risk factors for death. [4]

We will teach you to adopt healthy habits

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People with increased body weight get into a real vicious circle. Being overweight impairs their quality of life and affects their psycho-emotional state, which in turn prevents them from effectively coping with the problem, no matter how much they want that. Traditional methods of obesity treatment involve primarily controlling nutrition, i.e. diet. However, this is not enough, and in recent years obesity has increasingly been referred to as a psychosomatic disease that involves deeper study. [5] At the same time, it is important to understand that the treatment of obesity in women and men requires a different approach since weight gain is influenced by different factors. [6]

Gender differences determine the attitude to the problem. Men attach less importance to the beauty of their own body and more often do not understand what an extra dozen kilograms can hurt. Although women, too, often do not associate health problems with troubling weight.

What is the danger of obesity?

According to 2018 data, about 2 billion people worldwide are overweight, and over 600 million are obese. It doesn’t seem to be true, but you can’t argue with statistics. In particular, in Russia, nearly a quarter (23% of the population) is obese, and about half (56-57%) is overweight.

Despite the frightening trend, those people rarely consult with the doctors, preferring to look for solutions on their own. They use such untested means as dietary supplements, cocktails for weight loss, creams and crash diets. They only resort to medical care when one of the systems of the body could no longer withstand the increased strain and fails. It is important to recognize dangerous symptoms in advance and start treatment of obesity because it leads to a large number of diseases.

The most common health problems in obese people are: [8]

  • Cardiovascular diseases — hypertension, heart failure, ischemic disease and thrombosis. All of them lead to strokes and heart attacks. The fact is that in case of obesity much more blood begins to pass through the heart, which accordingly puts more pressure on the walls of blood vessels. As a result, they deform, thicken, and the size of the left ventricle increases.
  • Type II diabetes — the pancreas continues to synthesize insulin, but the excess weight makes the cells stop recognizing it, resulting in serious metabolic problems.
  • Musculoskeletal disorders – such initially imperceptible, but terrible phenomena accompany almost every person with excess weight. Degenerative joint diseases (such as osteoarthritis) quickly turn them into an invalid.
  • Cancer — even though the exact cause of its occurrence cannot be named, overweight people have a significantly higher risk of developing the endometrium, breast, ovary, prostate, liver, gall bladder, kidney and colon cancers.

The scientific and medical community is sounding the alarm: obesity is a very dangerous condition that poses a daily risk to health and life.

Where to start treating obesity?

causes of obesity

A person’s condition and BMI — body mass index — determine which treatments for obesity will be used. However, any scheme will contain a complete revision of diet and eating habits. The latter is especially important! Often it is deeply rooted habits that do not allow patients to complete the course.

Since the main cause of obesity is excessive food intake at low levels of physical activity, then it is worth starting with the formation of nutrition and movement culture. Starting treatment, accept for yourself the fact that weight loss is not a temporary measure and not a task for 4 weeks; it is a change of the whole lifestyle for the sake of your future. Situational measures such as non-consumption of white bread or the prohibition to eat after 6 o’clock give only a short-term effect or do not bring results at all. Besides, in the case of obesity, individual methods are powerless and a whole set of measures is required.

How to find out body mass index and obesity rate

The Body Mass Index (BMI) clearly shows the ratio of a person’s weight and height. It’s an easy way to understand whether the excess weight has transferred into obesity or not. The same indicator is taken into account when determining the degree of obesity for the selection of treatment.

It is worth clarifying: this formula is used only for adults — men and women. For children, athletes, the elderly and pregnant women the results of the calculation will be unreliable and contradictory.

BMI is calculated as follows: body weight (in kilograms) should be divided by growth (in meters) squared.

The average values will allow deciphering the results:

> 18.5 kg/sq.mLack of body weight
18.5-24.9 kg/sq.mNorm
25.0-29.9 kg/sq.mExcess body weight. At this stage, people usually do not feel any problems with health, but note increased fatigue and shortness of breath;
30.0-34.9 kg/sq.mFirst-degree obesity. Physical activity is difficult, there is a high risk of atherosclerosis, diabetes and other diseases. Treatment of the first-degree obesity does not yet require medication;
35.0-39.9 kg/sq.mSecond-degree obesity. There is a high risk to health. The state of health sharply worsens even with a little physical exertion, breathing is constantly lost, rapid heart palpitations, pains in the region of the heart and headaches. The condition is characterized by low performance and depressive mood;
< 40 kg/sq.mThird-degree obesity. There is a very high risk of disability since a person can already attend to themselves with great difficulty. At this stage, in case of a life threat, the surgical treatment of obesity may be prescribed to the patient.

As it became clear, if your BMI is above 30 — you need help, since the excess weight has turned into disease and, unfortunately, the fat will not melt by itself. Moreover, first-degree obesity in women can be negated in a few months with treatment, but if it is not stopped, it can develop into the second- and third-degree obesity within the same time.

Types of obesity and what is visceral fat

According to the localization of fat tissue, 3 types of obesity are distinguished: android, gynoid and mixed. The type is usually determined to identify related pathological conditions.

1. Android, or as it is more often called, abdominal obesity, is characterized by fat deposition in the abdomen, chest and shoulders. Usually, a person with abdominal obesity is like an apple with thin legs. It may be accurately defined by measuring the circumference of the thighs and abdomen: with a hip size of 1 m, the waist circumference will be 1 m for men and 85 cm for women.

This type is believed to be more common in men, and treatment of abdominal obesity in women should start with a test of testosterone levels.

In the abdominal type, fat is deposited on the anterior abdominal wall, which leads to intra-abdominal pressure and breathing disorders. In neglected cases, person suffers from interruptions of breath during sleep because of the increased strain. Without treatment, obesity in men negatively affects potency and generally significantly increases the risk of hypertension, ischemia and stroke, as well as second-degree diabetes.

A particular danger of abdominal type of obesity is the appearance of visceral fat inside the abdominal cavity around vital organs (pancreas, liver and heart). This causes irreparable harm to the body. It is worth noting that visceral fat is removed only by a correction of nutrition and increased cardio loads.

2. Gynoid obesity is less dangerous than the previous type, as fat is not stored viscerally. It is inherent mainly in women and characterized by gluteofemoral cellulite, and, often in the case of the gynoid type, the figure of person suffering from it resembles a pear. Less danger to health is deceptive: relatively good health leads to the fact that the problem is not noticed for a long time and, in many cases, the advanced gynoid third-degree obesity is diagnosed in women, treatment for which takes more than a year.

3. There is also a third mixed type when the fat is evenly distributed throughout the body. Most often it happens in children and adolescents. Nowadays, 18% of girls and 19% of boys are overweight. The obesity treatment in children should be started immediately, without hoping that the child “will grow out of it.”

Effective treatment for obesity

excess weight problem

The search for a magic pill from excess weight has not been successful, so you will have to accept that you can cope with obesity only through your hard work, self-discipline and control. You have to start with the head, not the body. The fact is that almost every adult has eating habits that provoke weight gain. For instance:

  • You love junk high-calorie food — fried food, fast food, sandwiches, semi-finished products.
  • You cannot give up sweets, and constantly eat chocolates, candy, pastries and cookies. If you try to limit yourself, you feel nervous, have a headache, etc.
  • You don’t have a clear diet — you eat where possible, often have snacks, buy ready meals and eat the largest meal in the evening.

In many cases, people who have similar eating habits experience guilt and shame. However, it should be understood that this behavior does not mean that you are a bad person; in most cases, parents have taught you to eat this way, or the circumstances have forced you to behave in this way. Most likely, the wrong nutrition system has been developing for years and it won’t be possible to change it in one day. That is why all sorts of diets fail: a person tries to break his deep-rooted habits in few days. It results in disruptions, emotional eating and return to the starting point.

Behavioral psychology, for example, a patented method based on the theories of I.P. Pavlov, B.F. Skinner, A.A.Ukhtomsky, etc. — the 7Spsy behavior modification technique,. helps to get out of this circle without physiological discomfort. It is a remote course with a psychologist, which helps to identify what the constant craving for food is associated with and what attitudes and habits drive a person. It will take only 6 weeks to relearn a positive and weight-loss behavior model. Changes that occur during this time play a huge role: a person not only consciously abandons the bad habit, but also replaces the old destructive model of behavior with another — new and positive one.

This is effective because on the subconscious level the habit is fixed at the level of sensory channels: hearing, smell, taste, touch, and vision.

The three major changes after the 7Spsy behavior modification course include:

  • Awareness of how much easier it is to live without rewarding or punishing yourself with food, as well as not “eating away” personal problems.
  • Feeling emotionally calm without being dependent on food.
  • Increased tone, a surge of energy and a cheerful mood attitude towards further actions.

Personal therapy with a psychologist and exposure to positive attitudes goes case-by-case for each person, but as a rule, the weight loss begins already during the course and continues after the completion thereof.

The main advantage of this approach of behavioral psychology is that getting rid of obesity takes place easily, without stress and violence against the body. Your body is controlled by the brain: you will be able to fix the problem of excess weight for yourself by making it learn new habits.

Auxiliary methods

профилактика ожирения

All people know that physical activity is important and necessary. But if a person is not used to playing sports and in general led a passive lifestyle for a long time, the probability that he will start to practice in the gym from next Monday is very small. This is still possible with the first-degree obesity, but if we talk about 2nd and 3rd degrees, the sick person will immediately have a lot of problems during workouts.

When developing a physical activity program for obese people, it should be taken into account that they cannot run, jump and squat. Such exercises will only be harmful. It is best to choose simpler methods.

Swimming or water aerobics

It gives a charge of positive emotions, does not exhaust, does not cause discomfort to the person with excess weight. They can do all the most effective exercises in the water without straining the joints. At the same time, swimming is quite energy-intensive – you can burn about 600 kcal per hour.

Stretching, Yoga, Pilates

Soft fitness seems easy only at first glance, but, in fact, all muscle groups are involved in the exercises, giving a person a feeling of control over their own body.


Breathing-based workouts bring incredible results when done correctly. The fact of the matter is that the retention of breathing for a few seconds contributes to the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the blood. Extra oxygen helps the body to get rid of excess weight more easily


Massage and even self-massage, during which there is an outflow of lymphatic fluid and venous blood, is very useful. Massage has a positive effect on psycho-emotional state and skin tone.

Folk treatment of obesity

We should note that on the Internet you can find a lot of folkways that are popular, but their effectiveness is not proven. They include food additives, herbal broths, light/magnet/energy treatment, etc. and may have a small effect, but obesity cannot be cured by them.

If you cannot cope with excess weight on your own, only a doctor may prescribe drugs for the treatment of obesity. Products and tablets based on guarana, green coffee, l-carnitine, sold without a prescription, do not affect appetite suppression or a steady process of burning, and in some cases can harm health.

To get rid of excess weight you need to work on psychological settings, competently rebuild your eating behavior and constantly engage in moderate exercise, instead of using remedies that promise you lack of appetite for 24 hours.

Conscious weight loss

Getting rid of excess weight is a long journey, but don’t fixate all your life around it and deprive yourself of all the pleasures. Often the problem lies in the fact that an obese person finds an outlet in bad habits, and if that’s the case, it would be enough to just shift the accents to change your life for the better.

We will teach you to adopt healthy habits

Make for consultation WATCH VIDEO

In recent years, there has been a tendency for increased referrals to specialists on this issue, in particular to psychologists. So, the level of awareness is growing, there is an understanding that the problem lies deeper. This collaboration leads to the fact that true causes will be found and the treatment of obesity will finally bring results. Do not be afraid to start, because a journey of thousand miles begins with a single step!


1, 2  https://www.rbc.ru/newspaper/2018/07/24/5b519ee49a7947f2d4d7fa9b

3 https://www.the-village.ru/village/people/city-news/339005-intervyu-o-diabete

4 https://www.rmj.ru/articles/endokrinologiya/Socialynaya_i_ekonomicheskaya_znachimosty_izbytochnoymassy_tela_i_oghireniya_v_Rossiyskoy…

5  https://cyberleninka.ru/article/n/ozhirenie-kak-psihosomaticheskoe-zabolevanie

6 http://www.sib-science.info/ru/institutes/uchenye-vyyasnili-chto-lechenie-ozhireniya-u-muzhchin-05122018

7  https://www.the-village.ru/village/people/city-news/339005-intervyu-o-diabete

9  https://www.who.int/ru/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/obesity-and-overweight