The 6 Stages of Change – Which One Are You In?

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This week’s blog post focuses on your health and is written by Greg French, owner of Action Fitness in Lilburn, GA.    He and his wife, Lisa, have a fitness bootcamp which has done an amazing job helping my husband drop 20 pounds and lose 4 inches in his waist (click on the following link to see his before and after pictures:  http://www.fitness-n-action.com).

If you live near Lilburn, GA and have a weight loss goal for 2010, you need to check Action Fitness out. They are partnering with Arbonne International to host The Biggest Loser! You can join them at ACTION Fitness on Jan 27, 2010 at 10AM OR 7:30PM to find out more information about the program and reserve your spot.  [If you don't live near Lilburn, give me a call because I have connections to other trainers in the metro-Atlanta area].

Enjoy the article!  Have a fabulous day, and don’t forget to keep your eyes open for all the amazing possibilities within and around you!

Sincerely, 
Kris Cavanaugh

C.E.O. Catalyst / Speaker / Author / Coach
www.begintoshift.com

  
The Six Changes of Change – Which One Are You In?
By Greg French, RD, LD, CPT- Owner of Action Fitness
 

3…2…1… HAPPY NEW YEAR! Yes it’s that time of year again where we are throwing out the old and ringing in the new and of course making those NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS. Are you ready to fly high and succeed or are you ready to set your self up for failure…at no real fault of your own. The question is: What stage are you in? Like GI JOE says, “Knowing is half the battle” Knowing what stage of change you are in will help you on your path to achieving your New Year Resolutions what ever they may be. Most of us, at one time or another in our lives, reach a point when we know—way down deep inside—that something in our lives has to change, and that WE have to be the ones to change it. Be it spiritually, mentally, emotionally, or physically, the same old approach is no longer satisfying our needs, and it’s time to do something about it. When it comes to our self-image it is often a grueling and difficult task to make change because the thoughts that have “fed” our behaviors for so long are deeply ingrained in our psyches, and the habits of thought are hard to break.

Whether we know it or not there is a natural progression toward change. Research suggests that the adoption of a physically active and improved nutrition lifestyle as well as in other behaviors occurs in stages, and that movement through these stages is cyclical, involving a pattern of adoption, maintenance, relapse and re-adoption over time. Psychologists Prochaska and DiClemente, have developed a theory about the process of change, and the process by which we can be effective at implementing change in our lives. This model is called the Transtheoretical Model, and involves a number of steps by which people have been professionally and successfully treated and taught to manage their problem behaviors through behavior modification. As you read, ask yourself where you are in the process of change, and what obstacles are standing in your way from reaching the next level, and ultimately success.

1. PRECONTEMPLATION. In this stage, a person is unaware that he or she has a problem, or is under-aware of the problem. There is no expressed desire to make any changes, and no real concern or immediacy for anything to be different. If asked, we might say that things are fine, and that if nothing is different a year from now, it would be okay. In terms of weight loss, when in this stage, we are comfortable with our weight, eating habits, health, and activity level. We don’t notice any real problems related to our bodies and are in a state of what is commonly referred to as “denial.”

2. CONTEMPLATION. In this stage, an individual has become aware that there may be a problem, and has begun considering doing something about it. An overweight person may notice that he or she is out of breath when walking a short flight of stairs, or notices that his or her clothes don’t fit the way they used to. He or she realizes that his or her health may be in jeopardy, and is beginning to “wish” that things could be different. When in this stage we often talk about how we really should lose weight. We should go to the gym. We should say no to double chocolate fudge brownies. We should eat more fruits and veggies. We should…we should….we should…but we don’t.

3. COMMITMENT. In this stage, we have become more than aware that we have a problem. We are motivated to do something to change it. Our health is at risk. We don’t like ourselves. We are self conscious. “Damn it, I can’t take it any more. It’s time to do something about this.” We go beyond saying “I should” and begin saying “I will.” This is a difficult stage to get to. We often enter this stage and commit to change only when the alternative is no longer tolerable. The thought of NOT changing is unbearable. We can’t stand being out of shape any more. We are sick of the way we feel about ourselves. We are sick of watching life instead of participating in it. It is in this stage that change—and progress—are born.

4. PREPARATION. So we’ve decided to change. Perhaps we’ve decided to lose weight, or be more active, or change our eating habits, or stop telling ourselves negative thoughts. So how do we go about doing that? We need a plan. This is our “could” stage. We think of every possible alternative and resource. We could join a gym. We could hire a personal trainer. We could eat nothing but lean cuisines. We could go on a grapefruit diet. We could consult with a dietitian. We could exercise an hour every day. They may be realistic, or downright crazy, but we’re brainstorming. We look at our options, and we choose the ones that will work for us. We prepare for battle. We buy the workout outfits with the matching headbands. We invest in expensive home gym equipment. We buy unproven supplements from professional looking models on TV. We rid our homes of dangerous temptations. We devise a plan, and are intent on following it through. We are ready! As the old proverb goes “you FAIL to PLAN, PLAN to FAIL!”

5. ACTION. Or Should I say the ACTION FITNESS STAGE! We’ve committed. We’ve prepared. We are physically, emotionally, and spiritually ready to embark on a journey by which we will improve our lives. And we follow our plan. The action stage is the “I am” stage. I am working out 3 days a week. I am following a sound nutrition plan. I am catching myself and the negative things I say to myself about food and my weight. I am feeling better. I am proud of myself. I am doing. I am acting responsibly. I am changing and I feel it. This stage, when engaged consistently, will result in the changes for which we have prepared and desired for so long. Is it easy? No. Is it always fun? No. Does it take a great deal of motivation, support, desire, and tenacity? Yes. Is it worth it? Yes. If you stick to it, will it happen? Yes. The key is to enjoy the doing as much as the results of doing. Take pride in the fact that you are behaving better. You deserve respect. You’re doing more than most. You’re way ahead of where you were in the game back when. The secret is to keep doing. It takes a week or less to form a bad habit; it takes at least 30 consistent abstinent days to break one. Give yourself time to form good habits that will last you long after you’ve reached your weight loss goal. Just keep doing.

6. MAINTENANCE. Whew! You’ve been working out. Your clothes fit differently. You feel proud when you look in the mirror. You hold your head higher. You have more self confidence. The danger of this stage, after we’ve made some big changes, is that we slide into complacency. We’re no longer so uncomfortable that we MUST change, and we are at high risk for relapse into past unhealthy and ineffective behaviors. Research shows that people who are able to maintain healthy changes for a minimum of six months have a great chance of success. If we can maintain—not the weight, but the behaviors that have helped us lose it—then we are on our way to lifelong changes. All those good habits that were hard for us at times—working out, watching what we eat, encouraging ourselves, getting support from others—have become part of our lifestyle. It’s just what we do, and the alternative is not an option.

When we have gotten to the point where we have implemented healthy lifestyle BEHAVIORS into our daily living, and continue to engage in those healthy behaviors regardless of the fact that we have reached a weight loss goal, it is THEN that we will have been truly successful at changing our life. When it becomes unthinkable to BEHAVE differently, then we will have reached the point where weight is no longer the focus of our goals, and will no longer be a source of low self-esteem. After all, we will be managing our lives in a way that demands respect from others, and it will show not only in the fitness of our bodies, but in the confidence and pride with which we greet the world. And THAT is where real success is measured. Now you know half the battle is won! Now the other half is up to YOU! No matter where you are in the stages of change, it is possible to make lasting changes in your life.

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Greg is a Registered Licensed Dietitian and Certified Personal Trainer. In addition to working with renal and diabetic patients, he has served on several committees including the Childhood Obesity Prevention Board for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and is Certified in Adult Weight Management. Greg has over 17 years of experience in the health and wellness industry. To learn more about the programs ACTION Fitness offers, call 404-921-4366 or click on www.fitness-n-action.com.  To learn more about The Biggest Loser contest starting soon, contact Greg today!

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Kris Cavanaugh, owner of ShiftTM, is a Speaker, Author, and Coach who specializes in helping others cultivate a C.E.O. mindset in every area of their life so their businesses, careers, and personal lives thrive. She is an expert strategist with an amazing ability to pull her clients through difficult challenges to obtain the life they truly want personally and professionally. If you have a desire to live your life “on purpose” so you wake up every day excited about the possibilities and maintain an unwavering belief that you will overcome any obstacles to achieve your personal and professional goals more easily and consistently, then click on the following link (http://begintoshift.comto receive her C.E.O. Shift Ezine.  You can also schedule a complimentary meeting to learn more about how a coaching program can help you stay on track to achieve your 2010 goals.

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