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how can we help :: overweight / obesity

In modernized countries like the United States, there is a crisis of obesity. The ‘obesogenic’ food and activity environment, including relatively inexpensive, highly palatable processed food relentlessly marketed to consumers, as well as all kinds of labor saving devices and little incentive to exercise, appears to be putting us at great risk for overweight and obesity. The North Shore Center for Weight Management provides state-of-the art treatment to help you lose and maintain a healthier weight.


According to the National Institutes of Health, people who are more than 20% over their ideal body weight (or have a Body Mass Index, or BMI, of greater than 29.9) should seek treatment for obesity. In the United States, obesity affects over one quarter of all women and just under one quarter of all men. Risks of obesity include high blood pressure, adult-onset diabetes, sleep apnea, certain types of cancer, osteoarthritis, and high cholesterol. At higher levels of obesity, life expectancy is shortened.

We do not completely understand all the causes of obesity; however, research suggests genetics, the environment, the forces of evolution, eating and activity habits, food marketing, and psychology all play a role. Overweight and obesity have been increasing rapidly since about 1980, so environmental factors seem to be playing a particularly important part in creating the current crisis. Putting the numbers above another way, close to 70% of the US population is now overweight and/or obese.


For people who have anywhere from 10 to 100 lbs to lose, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has repeatedly been shown to be quite helpful. Notably, CBT is typically more effective than both medication that curbs appetite and various popular dietary treatments. At its core, CBT consists of learning to monitor and change key eating and exercise behaviors, as well as how you cope in an environment designed to make you gain weight. As such, keeping food and exercise records often forms the basis of treatment. Records may be used to:

  1. Help change the way you eat; for example, learning to eat in fewer places and eating more slowly
  2. Change to a heart-healthy diet by decreasing the amount of processed carbohydrates and increasing fiber
  3. Increase activity levels
Outside of records, other skills you will learn to successfully lose weight may include:
  • Sitting with cravings and emotional discomfort without turning to food
  • De-emphasizing the role food plays in your life
  • Continually motivating yourself to make healthy eating and exercise a priority
  • Quickly rebounding from mistakes
Losing weight and keeping it off is very hard work. Unfortunately, there are no quick fixes. Only those who accept the reality of changing key behaviors, and continue to practice them over the years, lose weight and who keep it off. Using CBT, you can expect a weight loss of anywhere between .5 and 2 lbs per week, with an initial goal of decreasing your presenting body weight by 10%.