BODYSENSE is a life skills program to help people understand and meet their own needs for food, activity, relaxation and peace of mind. Unlike dieting, BODYSENSE focuses on the whole person. And unlike dieting, it is aimed at making people feel better rather than deprived.
In this article, we catch up with dietitian Sharron O’Brien, who has used the BODYSENSE workbook as part of her practice for many years.
What do you like about using BODYSENSE in your practice?
Sharron O’Brien (S.O.):
- It's perfect for the outpatient dietitian, as so many of our patients are overweight along with other issues.
- It does not include any "dieting."
- It's an amazing self-learning module and it is better than anything like it I've looked at in Canada or U.S.
- It's lots of fun, and people get to know and support each other [in group sessions].
- It's very well written, with lots of down-to-earth sayings and information.
- It's very simple—often people think too good to be true—then they are surprised, as I was, to lose weight on the BODYSENSE Day Schedule alone (my preferred calendar).
- It relieves the dietitian from having to say the same old thing one-on-one to people who want the dietitian to do all the work.
- BODYSENSE puts the responsibility on the clients, who are often pleasantly surprised that change is easier than they thought, as long as it's gradual.
- It concentrates on positive reinforcement.
- It concentrates on lifestyle for the rest of your life—for permanent weight change.
- It solves the mystery for many people who feel and state they are doing everything "right": they have to figure out themselves where the weight is coming from.
What do your clients get out of using this resource?
- A lifetime of getting away from yo-yo dieting with all its risks.
- Vastly improved nutrition and activity.
- True nutrition information provided by a dietitian.
- Lots of fun once we get to know each other.
- A book that they can go through several times on their own after taking the class, which helps to change habits permanently.
- A lot more self-esteem, from positive reinforcement, group support and introducing topics like stress management.
- Understanding that small changes result in permanent weight loss, and they don't have to suffer.
- Group support is paramount, so I try not to talk too much after the first few classes
What would your advice be to outpatient or private practice dietitians about using this resource?
- If you are dealing with overweight people, this is so much better for them [than other programs aimed to help people lose weight].
- You don't have to spend mind-numbing hours talking one-on-one with people who don't really want to change. (At least half of my clients started one-on-one, so they do get personalized suggestions, but the real work is for them to do, not the dietitian.)
- We only charged $25 for the whole course, as Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) covered it. But, I think more private practice dietitians should offer this and charge more, based on competitive pricing.
- It's really lots of fun. It really helps people in the long run, even if it gets them away from the dieting industry.
- Many of our patients went on after BODYSENSE to take more courses on self-improvement or activity—it really inspired them!!
- It's really simple to run, just concentrate on the workbook, and try to discourage people going off topic. It's easy to get distracted by clients who are trying to get more attention, or to avoid the work. Just keep going back to the book.
- People who are struggling should be encouraged to come for a one-on-one session.
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