Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

WELL, HI THERE! DID YOU MISS ME? I MISSED YOU!

It’s been a while, huh? Life has been a bit nuts, as it tends to be. A couple months back, it just got to be a little too nuts. I needed to take some time to really focus my attentions on my family and my job and ME. My chicks were totally wonderful and told me to take the time I needed. So I did. Things are more calm now, or maybe I’m just managing the storm a little better. Either way, I’m very glad to be back, AND I have something interesting to talk about.

The Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change

Say what? I know, it’s a mouthful.

I went to a seminar a few weeks ago at work on how to fit fitness into your busy life and they discussed this idea. We’ve actually had a series of these seminars, which I have organized for the company, and I’ve taken something away from each of them. But this? This really stuck with me when I left the room and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. So, I did some research. Meaning I read the Wikipedia article on it.

This model of change was developed back in the late 1970s by a doctor and his colleagues at URI. I’ll give you some more details below, but in short, it is the idea that change is a process that happens in a specific set of stages.

Do me a favor? Think about a change you want to make or are trying to make or have made, and then read through the stages below with that in mind.

The information below is taken directly from the article on Wikipedia.

Stage 1: Precontemplation (Not Ready)

People at this stage do not intend to start the healthy behavior in the near future (within 6 months), and may be unaware of the need to change. People here learn more about healthy behavior: they are encouraged to think about the pros of changing their behavior and to feel emotions about the effects of their negative behavior on others.

Precontemplators typically underestimate the pros of changing, overestimate the cons, and often are not aware of making such mistakes.

One of the most effective steps that others can help with at this stage is to encourage them to become more mindful of their decision making and more conscious of the multiple benefits of changing an unhealthy behavior.

Stage 2: Contemplation (Getting Ready)

At this stage, participants are intending to start the healthy behavior within the next 6 months. While they are usually now more aware of the pros of changing, their cons are about equal to their Pros. This ambivalence about changing can cause them to keep putting off taking action.

People here learn about the kind of person they could be if they changed their behavior and learn more from people who behave in healthy ways.

Others can influence and help effectively at this stage by encouraging them to work at reducing the cons of changing their behavior.

Stage 3: Preparation (Ready)

People at this stage are ready to start taking action within the next 30 days. They take small steps that they believe can help them make the healthy behavior a part of their lives. For example, they tell their friends and family that they want to change their behavior.

People in this stage should be encouraged to seek support from friends they trust, tell people about their plan to change the way they act, and think about how they would feel if they behaved in a healthier way. Their number one concern is: when they act, will they fail? They learn that the better prepared they are, the more likely they are to keep progressing.

Stage 4: Action

People at this stage have changed their behavior within the last 6 months and need to work hard to keep moving ahead. These participants need to learn how to strengthen their commitments to change and to fight urges to slip back.

People in this stage progress by being taught techniques for keeping up their commitments such as substituting activities related to the unhealthy behavior with positive ones, rewarding themselves for taking steps toward changing, and avoiding people and situations that tempt them to behave in unhealthy ways.

Stage 5: Maintenance

People at this stage changed their behavior more than 6 months ago. It is important for people in this stage to be aware of situations that may tempt them to slip back into doing the unhealthy behavior—particularly stressful situations.

Did you find where you are? If you thought about a chance you already made, do you remember going through some version of these stages? I was easily able to see where I am in the process.

In terms of losing weight/getting healthy, I’ve been precontemplating my ass off for a really long time. It’s funny, because the key component of precontemplation is that you’re NOT READY.

How could I not be ready? I felt ready. I felt SO READY! But, if I step back and look at where I’ve been, I really wasn’t. I have completely underestimated the pros (health, longer life, more energy) and overestimated the cons (restriction, namely to cheese and bacon).

But, this isn’t a process that you follow. It’s not like you get up and say ‘today, I will start contemplating’. It’s just a shift that happens. At some point, my precontemplating became contemplating. I started ‘getting ready’. My pros and cons became more equal. I started thinking in a less rigid manner, accepting that lifestyle change does not mean an ALL OR NOTHING mentality towards food and exercise.

And now? I’m in Preparation. Which means I’m still not ready to start today. And that’s totally okay. I’m taking small steps (last week, I tracked a full day of eating on MFP, even though I didn’t change anything I ate that day. Talk about an eye opener.) I’m setting up my support system. I’m making sure I have everything I need in place, because… I’m ready.

I’M READY.

I have 190 pounds to lose. No, that is not a typo. This won’t be easy, nor will it be fast. I’ve had the behaviors that got me here all of my adult life. Finding new ones is a challenge.

But I’m ready. So ready. And one of the notes in the Preparation stage really stuck with me.

People in this stage should be encouraged to seek support from friends they trust, tell people about their plan to change the way they act, and think about how they would feel if they behaved in a healthier way. Their number one concern is: when they act, will they fail? They learn that the better prepared they are, the more likely they are to keep progressing.

That really is my number one concern. Will I fail? Again? I really hope not. But, no one gets to define what constitutes failure except me. So, I’m going to celebrate every success, no matter how small.

And I may need help, which I am never good at saying, and I’m even worse at asking for. But this is about change. So I will let myself ask for help when I need it.

I’m ready.

Have you guys ever heard of this? What do you think? 

11 thoughts on “Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

  1. I was wonderinng how things were going with you, Bec! I’m so happy to see this post today! I’ve not heard of these stages before, but they make perfect sense. I went through them when I quit smoking almost 10 years ago. Even after all this time, I still am in the maintenance stage. Sometimes change is a lifelong effort, but it can be done, and we are all her to support you in all your amazingness! <3

  2. Love seeing this post, love the attitude in this post and love to support you, as always. 190 lbs is definitely a daunting number. I was talking to my trainer this morning and he said that he has a client that is morbidly obese and she recently did the “Wawa run” – 1.65 miles out and back. She walked more than she ran but she came back with tears in her eyes and naturally, he had to ask about it. He thought she was upset because he had her do it; she quickly corrected him and said “I’m crying because I’m happy to have done it!”

    It’s always amazing to be able to accomplish things. Even more so when we might be doubting ourselves. Moving forward with a positive attitude, a joyful heart, and a clear mind (oh hi, I think I channeled Coach there) will definitely help the process. And you’ve got us cheering you every step of the way! We can’t do it for you but YOU can do it for you.

  3. It’s funny, those are the steps that we study in med school about patients who are in the various stages of quitting smoking. I think food is just as addictive! At least, it is to me haha.

    As I have written on the front of one of my favourite tanktops, “start with heart,” Bec. Good luck! <3

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  5. Thank you for sharing, Bec! It’s so important to have an awesome support system no matter what the journey is (marathon, healthy eating, weightloss). Change certianly does not happen overnight and it’s an active proccess (which isn’t always easy!). It sounds like you truly are ready and we will be here to support and encourage you along the way! 🙂

  6. I just saw Deepak Chopra speak on his new book “What are you Hungry For?” about mindfulness and weight loss. I would recommend it. I have only read the intro but it seems like the concepts are solid and worth a shot! Good luck in your journey. It takes guts to post the number for everyone to see. 1st step in your battle – WON!

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