11 Jun 2007

Using the Transtheoretical Model to change your eating habits - Part 1.

The 'what!' you cry?

Where I am mentally and physically is a LONG way from where I started. If you struggle to get started with losing weight and lack the motivation to continue, please read on - this is good stuff! Just ignore the title (it's college for 'getting your sh*t together!).

To successfully lose large amounts of weight takes a huge amount of determination and commitment - this cannot be bought in a store - this needs to be learnt, practiced and perfected over time.

I have searching for a while for something that eloquently explains and expands on my muddled theories of weight loss motivation - looking at this model, I find that it coincides with many of my own recent conclusions and really gets to the root of what needs to be done to achieve successful change in our lives.

The Transtheoretical Model is basically a way to predict and assess the ability of an individual to affect real change in their habits. I am looking at it's suitability to assist people in reaching a mental state whereby they can begin the weight loss journey and succeed in it long term.

This is big subject so I will be breaking it down into 3 parts. This part will deal with the stages of change.

The stages of change break the process down into smaller manageable chunks.

Image - Crown Copyright

They are :-

1. Pre-contemplation - lack of awareness that life can be improved by a change in behavior (I think we can all relate to this. Me, fat? You sure?)

How many of us know people who struggle to admit their destructive habits and additions? I imagine most of us....they need our help!

2. Contemplation - recognizing and understanding the extent of the problem. This is when we start to consider what we need to do to make the changes in our life.

3. Preparation - this is when plans start to be dawn up, diets chosen, fitness regimes discussed, nutritional considerations and made.

4. Action - once plans are finalised, this is when they are implemented, calories are counted, gyms are frequented and support groups are joined.

5. Maintenance - this is the time when constant vigilance is required to prevent relapse. This is why diets don't work - they are unsustainable periods of sacrifice not a consentful life change.

6. Termination - the final destination, former eating and exercise habits are no longer perceived as desirable and make us uncomfortable.

The above graphic depicts the cyclic nature of the weight loss journey. We are all obviously desperate to get to no 6 straight away but this is simply not possible. All the other 5 have to be totally secure before we will reach Termination (this has nothing to do with Arnie by the way!) - this is the point where over eating or emotional eating becomes undesirable and we have the strength to stop ourselves before relapse occurs.

The difficult one is 3 - this is the point where you start putting thoughts into action. I believe this is the single most difficult aspect of weight loss. We can all talk about it and even join a gym but to fully mentally 'sign-on' for the journey is very difficult and should not be underestimated.

Repeated hiccups at this point are no disgrace.

To fully progress along this journey takes incredibly levels of perseverance and a distinct and complex set of processes, methods and techniques. These are known as the Processes of Change.

If you are still reading this, you are either very boring indeed or you have a clearly identified weight and/or fitness issue, so for us fat blokes and girls, we can safely say that most of us are at least at no 2 already. Right?

To get to 3 we need to start using some of the processes of change - this will be part 2 of this series. Coming soon!

Let me know your thoughts on this, if you have any!

No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk
the path. Buddha


karoline in the morning said...

No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk
the path. Buddha

wonderful quote and applicable to everything.
a good question to ask oneself is, "which is easier, walking for an hour at 4k, or just saying no thanks to that second helping of pie"

i didn't say the question was easy...


FatBlokeThin said...

Hi Karoline,

Unfortunately, I am on 'pie rations' AND have to walk 4K! That's just not fair!

how about this for a question then?

Are we unhappy because of the way we are or are we the way we are because we are unhappy?

FatBlokeThin - The Fat Blokes Guide To Losing Weight!: Thin = Happy?

Thanks for popping by.

karoline in the morning said...

someone i know once said..happiness is wanting what you have, not having what you want..

that was an incredible enlightening for me...and one that i hold close to my heart for those times when i slip..


ps..i'm on pie rations and walk five k a day too! this is preventative medicine...and a wonderful way to live well..
congratulations on your endeavors thus far...keep on truckin'!