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ARE YOU READY TO CHANGE YOUR EATING HABBITS?

Kim Hofmann Blog Banner

When was the last time you thought, ‘I should eat healthier’? Most people have thought this at one time or another, but what became of it? Did the thought disappear by the next day or did you make some changes?

All of our journeys in changing eating and lifestyle habits are different and depend on where we are in a series of stages of readiness for change. Behaviour change involves a lot of hard work and so it is important that you are truly ready to make a change. What this means is that you shouldn’t be forcing the change (doing it because you think you have to, and not because you want to), as this is not going to be very productive and will only set you up for failure.

The trans-theoretical model of change explains that there are five different stages of change that we move through when we are trying to introduce a new health behaviour into our lifestyle. The five different stages of change are:

  1. Pre-Contemplation:At this stage you haven’t really thought about changing the way you eat and you do not intend to do so. You may also be denying the need for change in your eating behaviours. To be able to move to the next stage and change your eating habits, you need to truly understand the implications and risks that your current eating habits have on your health.
  2. Contemplation:At this point you know that you need to make the change and you are seriously considering making the changes. You may think about the pros and cons of staying the same, versus changing. You also start thinking about reaching out for help and support and you may look for information online to help you decide about what you need to do to assist you in reaching your goal. For you to move to the next stage, it is necessary that you understand that the benefits of change outweigh the risks of staying the same.
  3. Preparation:This stage involves planning to make the change. It includes reaching out for help and support and figuring out why you have failed at your attempts in adopting healthier eating habits in the past so that you can change your approach to one that will ensure long term success. This plan will either set you up for success or failure. This is therefore a very important stage and requires that you spend enough time planning exactly how you are going to change your eating behaviours.
  4. Action:This is the point where you start putting the plans set in the previous stage into action. It involves you actively starting to engage in healthy behaviours.
  5. Maintenance:This is the stage where you begin to achieve long lasting results. The behaviour becomes a part of your daily life and relapsing back to your old eating habits and behaviours is prevented. Maintaining these changes involves planning ahead for potential problems or obstacles that could get in your way of you achieving your goal, as well as how to deal with mistakes. This could involve planning and learning how to handle eating out at social events for example or how to bounce back after a binge.

 

Diet culture has unfortunately made many people form very damaging beliefs around food and what the definition of healthy and unhealthy behaviour is. There is so much misinformation out there on the internet and social media that everyone is exposed to on a daily basis. So when we see a client we need to assess where they are in their psychological capacity, which will determine how long it will take to correct their perceptions around food and what it means to be healthy.

Figuring out where you fit in the series is important because it gives us an indication about the types of strategies and techniques that you may need at a specific time point. That way the personalized support that you receive will help you move through the different levels of change and ultimately reach your health and wellness goals. Keep in mind though that each person moves through the different stages at their own pace with some staying in the earlier stages longer than others. This is ok. What matters is that you keep moving forward in the right direction. We can provide you with the continued support to do so through one on one counselling in person or from the comfort of your own home via zoom meetings.

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