Tag Archives: Health

Welcome, Michele J Gustafson, DCSW, LMSW!

 

Our newest therapist in The Anderson Method network is Michele J Gustafson, DCSW, LMSW. Michele obtained her degrees in psychology and social work from the University of Michigan.  She has been practicing psychotherapy since 1982.  In addition to being a Licensed Master Social Worker, she holds a Diplomate in Clinical Social Work through the National Association of Social Workers, which is the highest clinical credential awarded through the NASW.

In her Psychology Today listing and on her website, Michele explains:

“My areas of expertise include chronic, acute, and situational depression; anxiety and panic disorder; Weight control and Behavioral Healthcare: trauma of all types; family and relationship problems; grief counseling and life transitions.  I am experienced in therapy with adolescents, adults, and seniors and I am comfortable with men and women of any sexual orientation.

I practice traditional, insight-oriented psychotherapy as well as a variety of brief, solution-focused therapies.  With today’s busy lifestyles, most people are not inclined to spend many hours in a therapist’s office, preferring to “get better” and get on with their lives.  Clients tell me they appreciate this respect of their time.

My goal as a therapist is to create a secure environment where you can identify your issues and needs, achieve clarity, and make changes in thinking and behavior which enable you to reach your full potential.  I take a comprehensive approach to client wellness and consider multiple aspects of your life in choosing the method and direction of therapy.

I am a certified practitioner of Rapid Resolution Therapy™ and Clinical Hypnosis with Rapid Trauma Resolution™ and The Anderson Method® for lifelong weight control.  I am highly skilled in a number of effective therapy models, including mindfulness-based techniques, clinical hypnosis, and cognitive-behavioral therapy.”

Michele J. Gustafson, DCSW, LMSW
Fenton, MI 48430
810-624-5505
www.michelegustafson.com
info@michelegustafson.com

Welcome, Michele J Gustafson, DCSW, LMSW!

 

 

3 Prerequisites for Successful Weight Loss

 

Can weight loss be fun, pleasurable, natural and even easy? Yes. Many clients, patients and readers using my methods have said so. But there’s a catch. I screen my clients, and I make sure they meet the prerequisites before I’ll work with them. In my book, I make sure readers know about them.

Click here to read the whole article on The Huffington Post.

What Can a Mother do to Help Her Overweight or Obese Child?

I was the fattest kid in school all my school life. It’s a miserable way to spend a childhood, or any time, for that matter. To look at me today no one would guess it. I’ve been at my ideal body weight for over twenty years. I’m a mental health counselor. Some assume I have no idea what it’s like to be fat. But I know too well. I was obese and morbidly obese for 25 years, and I thought I was a hopeless case for a long time. But I discovered how to solve the problem 20 years ago, lost 140 pounds, and I’ve been helping others since. I know how to solve the obesity problem.

For two-thirds of us, the obesity epidemic is very personal. The physical suffering and cost of medical treatment due to obesity-related diseases is bad enough, but if you’ve ever been overweight yourself, you know that the real suffering associated with obesity is emotional —and no one is more vulnerable to that kind of suffering than children. It is painful to be made to feel defective, to be teased and tormented and criticized and judged. For fat kids, it’s every day.

But here’s the good news: Mothers are the most important and most powerful people in the world related to solving our childhood obesity epidemic. If your home supports habitual behavior that produces obesity, your obese child doesn’t stand a chance of getting better, no matter what the government and schools do. He or she will lead the life of an obese sick kid, almost guaranteed to become an obese sick adult. The only way an obese child can change is if the home and family changes, and that will only happen when mom says it will.

More good news: If you’ve been battling with weight yourself, deciding to help your child avoid or recover from obesity will not only spare your child, but it will solve your weight problem too! Here are some ways to get started:

1) Clear the house of high calorie junk food. Snacking and eating as if it was a hobby or a sport has got to go if you want to control your weight. Have plenty of fruit and diet soda in the fridge so they have something to grab when they need it, but a house full of cookies, snack cakes, chips, candy and ice cream is the house of an obese person. People who have solved their weight problem have none of that in their house.

2) Feast and party occasionally, not every day. There are no bad calories in my book, but some foods are so calorically dense and addictive that you can only have them on special occasions, and then you need to send them home with the guests. Those who have Thanksgiving every day, or party every night, are planning on being obese.

3) Help your kid find pleasures other than food. Everyone needs comfort and pleasure, but learning to use food for that is a sure fire way to create a compulsive overeater. Help them to learn how to have pleasure in healthy ways. Swimming, biking, playing with dolls and Legos, fishing, crafts, games and friends —these are all ways to make yourself feel good. And there are no calories!

4) Swim against the current. Our culture promotes overeating and obesity, and if you are going to refuse to go along with it and be obese, you’ll be rejecting the things that everybody else thinks are normal. Put your foot down with the kids, your friends, and your husband. Don’t go to fast food places unless they have healthy selections, which some are starting to have. When they whine for junk food (husband included) “just say no”, as if they were trying to talk you into letting them have drugs. (Obesity actually accounts for far more suffering and premature deaths than drug abuse.)

5) Become a calorie expert. Buy a calorie guide so you become an expert in portion size and healthy choices. There are no bad foods or bad calories in my mind, but until you get the knowledge of the caloric densities of the food you eat, there is no way to make intelligent choices. Eating without knowing the calories in the food is like going shopping at the mall and charging up all the things you like without looking at the price tags.

6) Never use the “d” word. I don’t believe in “diets” and “dieting.” Never tell a kid you’re putting him on a diet. Believe me, it will backfire—just as it does in adults.

Mom: You can take the lead by modeling and demanding a healthy way at home. Start at home, with yourself and with your family, and the schools and community will have to fall in line. You will save your child and the world by focusing on your own habits and your home. Your child and the world will follow. No one gets in momma bear’s way when her cub is threatened, even poppa bear, and mom, your child is threatened. Get my book, The Anderson Method. It can show you how to change unhealthy eating behaviors and use positive “mind control” techniques to help your whole family feel good about food, have a healthy self-image, and feel motivated and hopeful.

5 Biggest Weight Loss Myths

Does it come as a surprise that you really don’t have to exercise to lose weight? Or that it doesn’t matter whether you eat diet food or junk food? Or that you can eat at night and still maintain your ideal body weight? It certainly surprised me, because these things were drilled into me by the so-called “experts” my whole life as an obese child, teenager and adult. But with my unique education as a psychotherapist, combined with lessons that can only be learned by being overweight, dieting, and being turned into a compulsive overeater, I learned that the dietitians, phys-ed teachers and doctors who pretended to know it all were wrong. I’ve set the record straight in my groundbreaking weight loss self-help book, The Anderson Method.

If you’ve been failing at diets and exercise schemes forever and have just about given up, don’t lose hope. This can be the year you finally succeed. Believe me, no matter how many times you’ve tried and failed, no matter how hopeless it has looked, your success is entirely possible, as long as you’re still breathing and have an open mind. I know this because I lost 140 pounds twenty-five years ago, after twenty-five years of being an overweight diet failure who gave up more times than you can count. But one year, I “got it”, lost 140 pounds, ended my obesity problem, and I’ve maintained my ideal weight since, over twenty years. This could be the year you “get it”.

Today, I’m a psychotherapist who helps people solve their weight/obesity problem. I teach other therapists so they can help their overweight clients, wherever they are. We are very successful. Believe me, there is hope. You can succeed. There is a way. And here are five surprising and vitally important facts you need to absorb before you can begin on your path to recovery from obesity and dieting failure. Accept these truths and you may be on your way.

1) You don’t need to exercise to lose and control your weight.

What? This goes against everything all the “experts” say! Well, it’s true. Exercise may be vitally important for a lot of things, but it’s not required to lose and control your weight, and if you don’t get your eating under control, focusing on exercise may cause a weight gain! (An hour on the treadmill will be cancelled by one brownie! Eat two because you “worked out”, and you gain weight, not lose it!) When I learned how insignificant exercise was, and that controlling my intake was the solution, whether or not I exercised, I had hope for the first time in my life. I didn’t have to exercise in ways I hated! I have clients who are disabled and cannot exercise, yet they do fine at controlling their weight. Exercise is important for lots of things, but it’s not the solution to your weight problem. Controlling your intake is the solution.

2) It doesn’t matter whether you eat health food or junk food, diet food or fast food.

Your weight is a result of your “caloric balance sheet.” Eat more calories than you use (1800 per day for the “average” woman, 54,000 per month) and you’ll gain weight. Eat fewer calories than you use, and you’ll burn up stored fat and lose weight. It doesn’t matter where the calories come from, health food, “junk” food, carbs, fat, protein—- It doesn’t matter (for weight control purposes). A calorie is a calorie is a calorie. Is it better to have better nutrition? You bet. But if you eat too many calories of “health food” you’ll get fat, while someone who eats fewer calories of the “wrong things” will lose weight.

3) Diets are not the solution. Learning how to eat, strategically undereat what you like, is the solution.

Learning how to diet (eat in some abnormal way to lose weight) does no good, because at the end of the diet, we go back to “normal” or worse, and keep gaining. We got fat because we developed habits of eating too many calories, and if we go on a “diet” with the intention of going back to “normal”, we are planning on getting fat again. Success will come from learning to eat food we like in ways where we won’t get fat. Believe me, there is a way. We will need to change, and it must be a permanent change with no return to the old ways, but it needn’t be without pleasure. In fact, we enjoy eating even more! Our favorite foods are even better, and no guilt!

4) It doesn’t matter what time of the day you eat, or even what day of the week.

Read again what I said in item #2. It really doesn’t matter when you eat, even if you eat mostly at night, or skip meals during the week and splurge on Saturday night. Real science backs me up on this. If you can create a lifestyle you like, one you can live with where your “balance sheet” is correct, you’ll succeed, even if it’s not what some “experts” think is the “right” way to eat.

5) Success is not just a matter of “will power” or “just making up your mind”.

It’s not that some people have “it” and some don’t. Success in changing habitual behavior, even tough habitual behavior like an addiction, is not just a matter of “will power”. There is a body of knowledge and technique in my field of behavioral medicine that you can learn, knowledge and technique that will empower you to make changes in your life that were not possible before. It will be work. You’ll have to let go of some things that you haven’t wanted to let go of. But if being overweight/obese has been a curse on your life, and you’d like to get rid of it, don’t give up. Keep hoping and praying. Learn what you have to do. Read my book. Call one of my therapists. Be prepared to learn more from legitimate sources, and work at it. You can succeed like I and my clients have. Keep going.

 

What Should the Schools do to Fight the Childhood Obesity Epidemic?

My most vivid childhood memories are from school. They are awful memories of ugly days, too many to count. I was “the fat kid.”

Every year, the school nurse would make her way from room to room, a doctor’s scale in tow. When she got to our room, we were called by name, and we got weighed. It was like walking to the gallows. I used to think that my misery was unique, but at age 61, as a psychotherapist who has heard thousands of people tell their most intimate secrets, I’ve learned that I am far from alone. Memories of gym evoke similar stories, people learning to hate school, developing bad thoughts and feelings about themselves that have lasted a lifetime.

About 5 years ago, the school department where I live announced their plans to fight the childhood obesity epidemic. When I heard that they were going to weigh the kids, grade them, and send notes home about being overweight, it shocked me. How demeaning. How could people who supposedly understood kids think this was a good idea? Are they planning to do this to high school kids too? Appalling.

Today, in my psychotherapy practice, I specialize in weight control. By luck and grace, at age 33, because of my unique “education” and training, I lost 140 pounds and solved my obesity problem. More importantly, I discovered an extremely rare body of knowledge about obesity, its cause, and its solution. With this knowledge, I have helped thousands to solve their weight problem with my therapy, my book that explains it, and with the therapists I have taught my method. With what I now know, it’s become painfully apparent to me that most doctors, therapists, nutritionists, teachers, and trainers don’t know what the problem is or how to solve it.

It’s terrific that Mrs. Obama, the nation and the schools have decided to fight the obesity epidemic — but let’s declare war on the disorder, not the people who have it. As an expert on the subject, I’d offer the following recommendations regarding how schools should (and should not) respond to our growing obesity epidemic:

1) First, admit that while you know the science related to biology and nutrition, you do not understand all the mysteries of human behavior, self-control, habit management, or exactly how to solve obesity. Don’t talk to the kids as if you do. This is the domain of a small set of highly specialized clinicians in behavioral medicine. Few people have their expertise. Tell the kids that you can teach them about science and the obesity epidemic, but you can only teach them what you know. They need to take what you can teach them and keep learning.

2) Don’t weigh the kids. Don’t send notes to the parents about their child being overweight. Don’t do anything that would shine the spotlight on them because they are fat. They already know it and feel bad about it. They will be advised about their weight, individually, at their regular medical check-ups, and if check-ups aren’t happening, address that as a separate health issue.

3) Instead, teach them about science and health. Teach them about personal responsibility. The kids need to know who and what to believe and how to separate reliable sources from unreliable. They need to understand that no one else will make them healthy and happy if they don’t take on the job themselves. They need to learn to discount diet gossip and nonsense “news.” They need to learn how to learn, and they need to learn real science.

4) Children are often powerless to alter the food at home, but instead of singling out the parents of the overweight kids, send a notice to all parents about the obesity epidemic. Remind parents that the schools’ responsibility is education, and does not overstep or relieve them of their responsibilities as a parent. Then, offer all parents the help you are planning to offer the parents of the overweight kids. Concerned parents will accept the help, and the ones who are not concerned won’t, whether or not you single them out.

5) Stop perpetuating the myth that lack of exercise is the cause of the obesity epidemic and that exercise is the solution. Our obesity is due to our over-eating, to our love affair with consumerism as a way of life. A hard workout may burn the equivalent of one coke, so it is common to exercise and then negate the effects when you have an extra coke (or more.) People who start to exercise will often gain weight instead of losing it. Exercise is vitally important to health, an issue as important as obesity, but it is a separate issue.

6) Get the “junk food” vending machines and merchants out of the schools. There is no justifiable reason for exploiting the kids by selling them a lifestyle that is killing us. Get the money to run the schools somewhere else.

7) Teach the kids about the forces and rules of the marketplace. Teach them that some advertisers and merchants will mislead them, even into scams and dangers like cigarettes, unhealthy food, and weight loss quackery, when they can make money doing it.

8) Have your schools “model” healthy behavior and thinking. Your dieticians and cafeterias can present healthy foods and portions instead of the unhealthy things that we think are normal. School personnel should be required to advocate a healthy lifestyle instead of endorsing the American norm of celebratory gluttony. Faculty and staff would be terminated, I’m sure, if they were to openly advocate sexual debauchery or alcoholic binge drinking. Holiday-superbowl-party-picnic gluttony should be held in the same esteem. It’s no less life threatening.

9) Most importantly, develop an ongoing program to draw kids into the pursuit of health and happiness. Our social institutions need to develop a “health culture” to counteract the consumer culture, and the schools are the backbone of our social institutions and culture. If we can rally kids to promote school spirit, to be patriotic, to support the troops or the United Way, we can certainly rally them to be committed to their own highest potential and best health. Rather than focus on obesity and find kids to fault, let’s champion success and health, and pull all the kids into a lifelong campaign to have their best health and best life. In their hearts, they all really want that. We all do. If you hold it out for them to aspire to, they will reach for it.