LEARN® Weight Management Program

The LEARN® Program for weight management is found to be an effective approach for addressing binge eating disorder and obesity. LEARN uses a collaborative, psycho-educational model of treatment, and meetings alternate between short periods of didactic instruction and periods of discussion and problem-solving. Mount Sinai clinicians offer this program as either group or individual sessions.

LEARN is an acronym that represents the five essential components of the program:

  • Lifestyle
  • Exercise
  • Attitudes
  • Relationships
  • Nutrition

These five areas complement each other with the aim of helping individuals make lifestyle changes that will support weight loss and maintenance. A special emphasis is placed on managing the environmental triggers to overeating and helping to reduce blame and stigma associated with weight status. The overall goal of this emphasis is to have each individual engage in healthy participation in his/her environment and to take the opportunity to change the environment when possible to support their individual and community’s overall health.

As an add-on to the LEARN program, and in cases where there is evidence of strong physiological or emotional responses to food—cravings—our team will use specific strategies developed from the substance abuse field to manage these cravings. This strategy is applied in a specific module termed “cue exposure”, whereby we train individuals to maintain behavioral regulation in response to strong triggers, whether it's food, emotions, situations, or other circumstances. This may involve putting oneself in these situations or exposing oneself to these cues repeatedly until the psychological/emotional response is extinguished.

Cognitive Behavioral Treatment for Obesity

Cognitive Behavioral Treatment for Obesity is designed to achieve weight loss with an emphasis on weight maintenance. Therapists first teach patients how to establish and maintain weight loss and then help prepare them in preventing weight regain by indentifying unrealistic weight goals, overcoming body image concerns, and identifying patients’ primary goals. The three distinct element s of CBT for Obesity involve recognizing the difference between weight loss and weight maintenance, preparing for the potential obstacles of weight maintenance, and developing the behavioral skills and cognitive responses necessary to effectively control weight.