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At Specialist Weight Management Service (SWMS) we understand that losing weight is not just about diet and exercise.
To lose weight, and sustain weight loss successfully, we have to change our behaviour and mindset.

Not all patients are required to be seen by the Weight Management Psychologists on a 1:1 basis. However, all patients can access our Psychology Educational Talks (offering self help advice,) on a series of weight related topics.

Psychological Approaches to Weight Management

SWMS uses Cognitive Behavioural principles. Adding a behavioural approach to dietary interventions leads to more weight loss than dieting alone.

Behavioural or Psychological approaches may include; understanding and coping with feelings, changing unhelpful thinking patterns, as well as addressing habits and behaviour cycles that can contribute to lapses in our efforts to lose weight. Some psychological approaches to weight management involve:


This involves keeping a record of information such as; your food intake and activity levels, but also; your emotions, thoughts and how these relate to situations in your daily life.

Understanding Triggers

It is often useful to understand and overcome the triggers to unhelpful behaviours and habits such as over eating.

Thinking Patterns

Our thoughts often affect our behaviour and how we feel which can influence our weight and lifestyle habits.

Goal Setting

Goal setting is a powerful tool for motivating yourself to turn your vision of an ideal future into reality. This is helped by setting short, medium and long-term goals.

Problem Solving

Is the act of defining a problem: understanding the cause of the problem: Identifying, prioritising, and selecting alternatives for a solution, and then implementing a solution.

Learning To Be Assertive

Being assertive means being able to stand up for your own or other people’s rights, in a calm and positive way, without being either aggressive or passive.

Relapse Prevention

Relapse prevention skills help us to anticipate triggers for lapses. Lapses are a normal part of a weight management journey. Preventing lapses where possible, and responding to them in a healthy way, helps us get back on track.

Are You Ready To Change

Most people who want to lose weight are motivated for many different reasons. However, there will be costs as well as benefits to making changes.

Successful change requires long-term commitment to lifestyle changes and ‘motivation’ has to hold up over time. If you have already tried to lose weight you will know how difficult changing your lifestyle can be.

Stage of Change

SWMS Psychologists use the ‘Stages of Change’ model to help with the process of behaviour change.

Take some time to carefully consider the costs and benefits of weight change now. It is better to begin the program when you ready to commit to the changes that are needed to make this a success.

Remembering your own personal reasons for weight loss will help to increase motivation and keep it strong over time.

What is Disordered Eating?

Disordered eating can prevent successful weight loss and can be a combination of the following factors including:

  • eating large amounts of food
  • fast paced eating
  • eating when you are not feeling hungry
  • eating until uncomfortably full
  • eating late at night
  • eating unusual food e.g. raw or frozen food
  • secret eating
  • hiding or hoarding food

This can also be associated with feeling out of control, feelings of guilt, shame and self disgust.

Types of Disordered Eating

There are many different types of disordered eating patterns:

Binge Eating

Eating a large amount of food
Eating quickly
Do not feel in control
Feeling upset or guilty afterwards

Emotional Eating

Using food to help us cope with emotions
Can trigger binge eating


Eating throughout the day

Compulsive Eating

Eating when not hungry
Eating all of the time

Impulsive Eating

Eating without thinking about it

The SWMS psychologists provide additional support for patients who meet disordered eating criteria for our service.

Those who feel they have disordered eating patterns should visit the MIND and BEAT websites for further information.

Psychological Educational Talks

Patients who have psychological issues related to their eating and weight such as; anxiety, depression, disordered eating, body image issues or low self-esteem, may be offered a Psychology Assessment. After a Psychology Assessment we may recommend:

  • attending the Psychology Educational Talks
  • self-help material
  • 1:1 therapy within SWMS
  • attendance at a Disordered Eating Group (DEG)
  • support from another service
  • or no support may be required and patients can access the standard programme

Psychology Education Talks – “Healthy Mind Health Weight”

The “Healthy Mind Healthy Weight” talks help you learn skills that can help you to cope with common psychological problems that can affect your weight.

For clients attending the SWMS lifestyle programme, we offer Healthy Mind Healthy Weight “Virtual Talks” covering 4 topics, over 7 sessions.

During the talk, you will not be asked to speak. Where talks have two parts, attendance at both parts is highly recommended.

You do not need to attend all topics, only the sessions you feel are relevant.

Psychology Education YouTube Videos:

The Psychology Education “Healthy Mind Healthy Weight YouTube Video Links” have been created as an alternative to our “Virtual Talks” for those who are unable to attend, or wish a refresher on certain topics. 

You can download copies of the slides and relevant handouts. Or, you can request printed paper copies from your group clinician. 

Psychological Education You Tube Video topic links:

Psychological and Wellbeing Resources

Disordered Eating, Self Esteem and Body Image Resources

The BEAT website offers advice on overcoming Eating Disorders as well as offering a helpline to those wishing support and advice about their eating disorder: Tel: 0808 801 0677.

Has a large range of helpful self-help resources, for example on body image, self esteem, assertiveness and disordered eating.

An NHSGGC Service “Wellbeing,” has a leaflet about binge eating.

National Mental Health Resources

Offers a confidential service to patients in Scotland on Tel: 0800 838 587 (calls from landlines are free of charge; charges may apply to mobile users). If you are depressed or experiencing low mood, you can speak to a Breathing Space advisor weekdays: Monday – Thursday, 6pm-2am, and weekends: Friday 6pm to Monday 6am.

Offers a confidential telephone service for people with low mood or anxiety, using cognitive behavioural interventions. Tel: 0800328 9655.

Samaritans is a crisis line for patients who feel in despair and in need of emotional support. The telephone lines are open 24 hours per day on Tel: 116 123. Calls are free anytime from any phone.

CRUSE bereavement services offer free, confidential counselling. Tel: 0800 808 1677.

Relationship counselling services. How to improve the important relationships in your life.

A range of mental health support.

Scottish Government advice and resources for coping emotionally during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Scottish Association for Mental Health work with adults and young people providing mental health social care support, services in primary care, schools and further education, among others.

Shout 85258 is the UK’s first free, confidential 24/7 text support service. It is a place to go if you’re struggling to cope and need mental health support.

Advice on dealing with low mood, anxiety, phobias, stress and where you can get help.

The UK’s leading support service for young people.

Find out how to get help if you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse.

Glasgow Based Resources

Sandyford services is a sexual, reproductive and emotional wellbeing service for people living in the GGC catchment area. Tel: 0141 211 8130. 

Wellbeing Glasgow provides freely available downloadable leaflets, they have more services for people living in the South side of Glasgow catchment area.

East Dumbartonshire Association for Mental Health, EDAMH, offers a range of mental health services for those living in East Dumbartonshire. Tel: 0141 995 3040.

GAMH (Glasgow Association for Mental Health)

GAMH offers Glasgow based support for people experiencing mental health difficulties.

RAMH (Recovery Across Mental Health)

RAHM provides personal care and services to those living in Renfrewshire affected by mental ill health – depression, self-harm, bipolar disorder, anxiety and other conditions.

Offers confidential counselling in the Glasgow city centre. Tel: 0141 221 1535.

MWRC (Muslim Woman’s Resource Centre)

Offers a responsive approach to addressing key issues and needs for Muslim women. Helpline Tel: 0808 801 0301.

Offers support to people who are struggling to cope with everyday stress or who are feeling anxious or depressed. Issues such as debt, bereavement, addiction, self-harm/suicide and problems with relationships or family can all interfere with a persons quality and experience of life.

NHSGGC’s mental health page providing advice and information on mental health conditions, about how you can support yourself or the people you care for, the service available for you and the range of interventions you may participate in.

Useful Books

  • Melanie Fennell (2009). Overcoming Low Self-esteem. A Self-help Guide Using Cognitive Behavioural Techniques.
  • Ken Gross (2011). The Compassionate-Mind Approach to Beating Overeating: Using Compassion Focusses Therapy.
  • Christoher Fairburn (2013). Overcoming Binge Eating.
  • Jason Lillis (2014). The Diet Trap.
  • Geneen Roth (2004). Breaking Free From Emotional Eating.
  • Jan Chozen Bays (2017). Mindful Eating.
  • Lynne Henderson (2010). The Compassionate-Mind Guide to Building Social Confidence.
  • Dennis Tirch (2012). The Compassionate-Mind Guide to Overcoming Anxiety.
  • Paul Gilbert (2009). Overcoming Depression.
  • Deborah Lee (2012). The Compassionate-Mind Approach to Recovering from Trauma; Using Compassion Focussed Therapy.
  • Thomas F Cash (1998). The Body Image Workbook.

Psychological and Wellbeing Apps

Psychology and Wellbeing apps can be downloaded onto your smart phone. Some apps are free and very easy to use. Some examples are listed below: 


Is a free self-help anxiety relief app that helps you reduce worry, stress, and panic followed by evidence-based strategies.

SAM Self-help Anxiety Management

Is a friendly app that offers a range of self-help methods for people who are serious about learning to manage their anxiety.

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Happify’s science based activities and games can help you overcome negative thoughts, stress, and life’s challenges. Developed by leading scientists and experts, who’ve been studying evidence-based interventions in the fields of positive psychology, mindfulness, and cognitive behavioural therapy for decades.


Is a guide to mindfulness for your everyday life. Learn meditation and mindfulness skills from world class experts. From managing stress and anxiety, to sleep, focus, and mind-body health.


Calm is the perfect mindfulness app for beginners, but also includes hundreds of programs for intermediate and advanced users. Including guided meditation sessions and sleep stories.

Smiling Mind

Is a free mindfulness meditation app to assist people in dealing with the pressure, stress, and challenges of daily life.


Buddhify is here to help you bring more calm, clarity and kindness to all parts of your life. Whether you are looking to reduce stress and anxiety or get a better night’s sleep, Buddhify has easy to follow guided meditations to help you live happier and healthier.

Stop Breath Think

Relax, sleep better, get happier and be healthier with guided meditations, soothing music, nature sounds, master classes and much more.

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The sleep improvement app. Includes; a sleep improvement program, your own personal sleep expert, personalized help, day and night, incorporating a healthkit and device integration.

Worry Time

To help manage the symptoms of anxiety, worry and rumination. Worry Time interrupts repetitive thinking by setting aside worries until later, so you don’t get caught up in them and can get on with your day. This means you can deal with worries once a day, rather than carrying them around with you 24/7.

Insight Timer

Guided meditations and talks led by the world’s top meditation and mindfulness experts, neuroscientists, psychologists, and teachers from Stanford, Harvard, the University of Oxford and more. To help calm the mind, reduce anxiety, manage stress, sleep deeply and improve happiness.

NHS Mindfulness App

Mindfulness Based Approaches within NHSGGC, legally known as Greater Glasgow Health Board. This App includes access to national guidelines.