Saturday, January 23, 2010

Cycling through the Stages of Change

Ok, so let's start with the truth of today.

I didn't go exercise as planned.

I got distracted by a visit from a friend, the UConn game, You Tube and my new books that arrived from So sue me. There's worse things that I could have been doing I suppose, like calling in for pizza or Chinese food. But I didn't do those things. I snuggled up in the corner of my couch, laughing at You Tube video of Conan's last time hosting the Tonight Show (omg hysterical), diving into my new books, (trying to decide which one to enjoy first), and cheering for the UConn men's basketball team to destroy #1 ranked Texas (hell yeah they did!).

It seems that what is happening is that I am currently willing and ready to make a positive change based on my eating habits, but not so much with my physical activity. In the past, and hopefully in the future, I have approached exercise as an exciting new venture and began a regular routine with passion and excitement. Not so now.

This disparity in being openly willing and ready to change one aspect of my life, and somewhat reluctant to change another aspect is very familiar to me. In my counseling experience I have been fortunate enough to be introduced to something called 'Stages of Change' (thank you geniuses Prochaska and DiClemente!). These stages were developed intially as a gauge for those with problems with addiction, but the true beauty of the stages is that they can be easily applied to anyone, anywhere at any time with a 'problem'. Furthermore, the stages can be utilized whether the person is ready to make a change or not.

First stage: Precontemplation. This stage is marked by the quote, "I don't have a problem". In the past, the following has been a portrait of me in precontemplation about my weight and eating habits. "I'm not gaining weight. It's just bloating!" The surreptitious glances in the mirror only from the waist up, or concentrating on my 'skinny' body parts (oh what a lovely shoulder blade you have!).

Second stage: Contemplation. "I know I have a problem, I'm not sure what to do." Now, in my personal opinion, with dieting the 'dont know what to do' part may not really apply. This country is obsessed with presenting us with literally hundreds of products, foods, equipment, you name it to lose weight or stay fit. (Oh yes that infomercial for the 'Ab Roller' is truly going to solve my years of fat ass disease! Lucky thing I was up at 3AM shoving cold pizza in my face so I could find out about such a product!) Therefore, for me the contemplation stage has more or less been a frustration with being overwhelmed and left wondering what will work for me. (Hint hint: It's not the 'Ab Roller'.)

Third stage: Preparation. "I've cut down already. I've made a few changes." This is me in regards to exercise. I've made some changes that should make it easier for me to go and exercise, but I am still reluctant to jump headfirst into an exercise program. I think the best thing to do at this point is to try try again. Tomorrows another day, and who knows when I'll decide to move to....

Fourth stage: Action. "I'm willing to do what it takes to change and maintain that change." Here I am! Well, in relation to eating I am. At the moment. The trick is....

Fifth stage: Maintenance. "I've made the changes, but maintaining the change is harder than I've thought." This phase is achieved after six consecutive months in the Action phase. Some popular diets, such as Weight Watchers already have this phase built in to their plan, and others such as South Beach allow for 'relapses' and have a structure so that the dieter can go back to 'Phase One' once they digress from the plan. I could go on about popular diets and cycling through the phases, but in the interest of not making this post longer than it already is, I will spare you. Perhaps in a future post....

But for now, in regards to exercise, I'm just gonna fake it till I make it.

1 comment: