Canadian Obesity Network Welcomes Craving Change

This week, the Canadian Obesity Network welcomed a new parter – Craving Change, a small Canadian ‘start up’ that has become an almost overnight success with providers and patients.

The founders describe it on their website as follows:

Created by dietitian Wendy Shah and clinical psychologist Dr. Colleen Cannon, Craving Change™ provides a missing piece to the puzzle of helping people change their eating habits. Craving Change™ translates behaviour modification and cognitive-behavioural theory into appealing and practical strategies that a variety of professionals can use with groups or individuals.

What the program really does, is break down the cognitive-behavioural-theory (CBT) approach to dealing with emotional ‘overeating’ into a stepped-program that can be administered by health professionals (e.g. dieticians, nurses, etc.) with minimal prior expertise or training in psychology.

Craving Change does not provide dietary advice, nor is it psychotherapy – rather, Craving Change focuses on the “why” of eating – it is designed to help patients who struggle with what they eat, when they eat, and how much they eat.”

As Colleen, herself a clinical psychologist is quick to point out, Craving Change does not attempt to replace psychologists or diminish their importance in an obesity program. However, it does address the reality that many health professionals called upon to manage obesity, do not have ready access to psychologists that will see their patients (indeed there are simply not enough psychologists around to help everyone who would require their help).

If you have limited access to psychosocial resources, the stepped care approach of the Craving Change™ workshop can be invaluable for reaching more clients. Self-awareness of eating triggers can be achieved in a group setting using Craving Change™ workshop activities. Clients can then be encouraged to try a variety of strategies, based on behaviour modification and cognitive-behavioural theory, to improve their eating behaviours. Craving Change™ also helps clients learn skills that promote long-term adherence to new behaviours.

So, far Wendy and Colleen have trained over a 1000 health professionals to administer their program – their ‘clients’ include Alberta Health Services and a growing number of providers across Canada.

Wendy and Colleen are also long-time members and enthusiastic supporters of the Canadian Obesity Network and have generously agreed to donate a proportion of their ongoing proceeds to sustain the Network.

I am sure several of my readers will either have delivered or attended Craving Change sessions, here in Alberta or elsewhere – I certainly look forward to hearing from you.

Edmonton, Alberta