Have you tried to lose weight but just can’t seem to find the perfect formula to drop the weight and keep it off? The first thing to know, is that weight loss is a unique journey for each and every person. There is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to weight loss. Meaning, what worked for your co-worker, may not be the best method for you.
Because every one’s body is different, weight loss must be different too. And this means we have to look beyond just calories in (food) and calories out (exercise).
Looking deeper isn’t always easy (or fun), but if a healthy weight is truly important to you, you may need to look at your readiness to change. Recent findings show us that only 20% of people needing to change an unhealthy behavior are actually prepared and ready to do so.
If you've had a hard time getting motivated to take better care of your body and make lasting changes, the Stages of Change is a tool you can use to move forward towards your weight-loss goals.
"Research shows that if we can get someone to move just one stage forward, we double their chances of being successful six to 12 months down the road.”
Check out the stages of change below and ask yourself where you are today. If you find yourself at a particular stage, follow the practice listed below under “This is Me” to help you move forward.
People in this stage may wish to change an unhealthy habit, but for the immediate future have no plans to do so.
→ "This is Me" At least once a day, think about all the benefits you would expect from changing whatever behavior you're trying to stop or start.
Those in the Contemplation stage are thinking about taking action, but aren’t quite ready or don’t know how to get started.
→ "This is Me" Spend some time visualizing what your life will be like after the change. Ask yourself 'How will I look, act and feel when I’ve made this change? What will I be doing differently?'
People in this stage are getting ready to take action. They are more decisive, confident, and committed; they’re developing a plan and may have already taken small steps.
→ "This is Me" Pick a specific day on which you will officially begin your planned change. Make real adjustments to your environment and schedule (make healthier foods readily accessible, change meal times to support your energy & sleep, use smaller plates to control portion sizes, schedule times of activity, sleep, and rest).
Beyond just thinking about it or preparing to act, a person in this phase has actually begun doing something/somethings differently.
→ "This is Me" Consciously focus on substituting your “old ways and old habits” with healthier environments, situations and people.
Individuals in this stage have managed to stay in "action mode" for at least six months.
→ "This is Me" Be on the lookout for your triggers (stress, crisis, boredom, a loss of support, or a frustrating plateau). These can quickly derail motivation. The key here is to not give up on your ability to change.
When people in the Maintenance stage continue their healthier behavior for at least 2 years, they enter into Termination (aka, 'Adoption').
→ "This is Me" Until you enter Termination, hitting a wall or falling back into an earlier stage is very common. So don’t be too hard on yourself. As long as you know the stage you are at, you will always know what you need to do to get back on track.
Want more information on how making the right changes ensures a healthier future? Read our blog "The Link Between Weight & Cancer" below: