Behaviour Change

Precontemplation For Weight Loss

Precontemplation is the stage in which a person has no desire to lose weight in the foreseeable future. They might be resistant to change, not ready for it, it may frighten or daunt them or they might not even have considered it at all. Some may fear failure, they may have tried before and weren’t able to stick to a healthy eating plan and a big barrier we feel is that they just lack information.

For example, some older adults may believe that exercise is not good for a variety of health conditions (running bad for knees?) and that exercise should decline with age. Some could be overwhelmed by barriers to exercising, such as embarrassment, or low confidence – it’s a big deal to join a class or group.

We feel that more quality information, such as the impact of their own weight on other family members or having a large number of inspirational role models (to give belief/confidence) may help to move more people out of this stage and onto the next, which is ‘Contemplation’.

Contemplation for Weight Loss

Everybody at Be Strong has been here. This is where you have decided to check out some information and advice to help you lose weight or become healthier and fitter. They might not be ready to change right now but are giving serious thought about it in the very near future.

If you know anybody who is at this stage you can help them. Talk to them about what you’re doing. Tell them about people at our group, give them that confidence and self-belief that they can be successful. Share with them your reasons for change and more than anything else steer them away from expensive miracle shakes and pills – there is no magic fix.

People in this stage just need a ‘nudge’ in the right direction to get to the all-important next stage – Preparation.

Preparation for Weight Loss

Preparation is the stage when people are actively planning to make a change which is imminent. The first steps start to take shape, possibly a pair of trainers might be dusted down, the gym kit comes out, lettuce, veg, fish and chicken jump into their shopping trolleys and they may even sign up for a group like Be Strong.

Unfortunately, at this stage many people are lost in the first weeks. We’ve lost count of the number of conversations we’ve had with people who are going to change their lives, this is the time, there’s no going back, they’re giving it everything they’ve got – then we don’t see them after a couple of sessions as they’re not able to stay motivated, committed or the mind isn’t strong enough to make sacrifices.

You know what the single common denominator here is? Time. They just didn’t give it long enough. If I have a message for any of you here who are in this stage it’s to stay connected. If it doesn’t happen for you straight away I can guarantee at some point in the very near future it will. If you don’t stay connected you are not giving up on the group – you are giving up on yourself. You’re too important for that.

And you know what, if you stick around, even if it’s not going to plan you just progressed to the next stage, the most exciting one of all – the Action stage!

Action for Weight Loss

This stage is where you agree what your motivation is – you want to make your children proud and you want them to follow your example.

You will make some commitments to try new things (you’re all here for starters!), and then you MUST commit to those new things for long enough for them to make a difference.

Your new commitment might be to eat balanced meals according to your body’s calorie needs. If you have 4st to lose and you do it for 2 weeks then that’s good. But if you stop after 2 weeks and go back to your old ways will it make a difference? No, because you didn’t dedicate yourself to the task for long enough.

You will also need to fully understand the concept of making sacrifices. There are some things that you’re doing now that will have to change, or stop completely. They could be simple things, like drinking more water, or more difficult things like controlling a food addiction. You all know about my own love affair with packets of custard creams washed down with a 6-pint container of full fat milk!

We want all of you to move to the final stage – Maintenance.

Maintenance for Weight Loss

This isn’t where you have achieved your target or goal. This is where you have consistently, for at least 6 months, changed your behaviours and you, and we, are happy that if you continue doing that, then you will be successful at whatever that target or goal is. There are still risks. It can be simple things like winter – extremely relevant of you exercised outdoors all summer. Have a plan! Try and avoid relapse.

It’s easier maintaining new behaviours than starting them from scratch again. If relapse come then don’t beat yourself up about it. It’s to be expected. It’s a rollercoaster of a journey, I haven’t met a single person whose journey has been anything else. We need to make sure we’re in the right place when this happens so you can bounce straight back. Stay connected, Be Strong is for life – it’s not a programme or a plan, it’s just how it is.

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