Assess YOUR readiness to CHANGE
Working as an RN in a weight-loss clinic, I often come across several different struggles that our patients face. One of the most common struggles seems to be getting started. Making that decision to make a change and decide where you are going to draw the line, cross it, and never look back.
With any struggle in life, like weight loss for example, not only are there physical struggles, but there are mental struggles as well. These mental struggles appear to be more prevalent in those that are obese or on their way to becoming obese. Was it initially the mental struggles that caused the obesity? Was it the obesity that then later caused the mental struggles? Before working in the clinic, I never realized how much the mind plays a role. I now am more aware than ever that there is more than what meets the eye. It goes deeper than blaming it on laziness or genetics.
Having this experience as an RN in this type of setting has helped me become more aware of this and identify the struggle and cry for help. I do often recommend that our patients see the psychologist if I feel that there is that mental block or struggle going on that is hindering their success. Some people will just come out and say it. Others it is a reoccurring pattern of not sticking to the meal plan or placing blame, coming up with excuses, becoming teary-eyed and overwhelmed. I am now carrying this awareness over into my personal training. As a personal trainer, I am limited as to what I can do with this, but I can assess the situation, using my experience as and RN, and make recommendations to guide my clients in the right direction.
There are so many reasons behind the mental block. Some may be abuse, neglect, feelings of not being good enough, failure or fear of failing, etc. There is always a story. Until that underlying reason comes out and you learn how to deal with it, you will not solve the issue and learn how to cope with it. Several use food as a coping mechanism, whether it is because they are feeling guilty or lonely. Coping with food sends signals to the brain that causes a chemical reaction, much like that of drug use.
When you are tackling a world that is in an obesity crisis, with children and adolescents following suit, personal training becomes more complex than physical activity. There is more to be aware of and more to look out for. There are different approaches and paths to take. We aren’t just attacking the physiological side of the spectrum now. To fight obesity, the person needs to be treated from every angle to ensure their success. This will be a life-long battle and struggles will always be there. Success will come in learning new coping mechanisms and overcoming those struggles and hurdles along the way.
Are you ready to make a change in your life? Are you ready to take that step forward, cross that line, and never look back? Assess your readiness with these 5 stages. Which stage are you in?
1. Pre-Contemlpation – Not planning to change a particular behavior in the foreseeable future. This stage, much like a denial stage, where you may find yourself angry about lifestyle changes, pushing against the fact that you have been newly diagnosed with an obesity related condition (such as hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, etc.). OR not making changes in lifestyle habits because none of these conditions are going to happen to you.
2. Contemplation Stage – Seriously thinking about changing your habits within the next 6 months. In this stage, you have taken a step back, assessed your life and what needs to change. You are contemplating making these changes but maybe do not know how or when to make this happen.
3. Preparation Stage – Intending to change behavior in the next month. You have now decided that it is time to make this change, so you set a date, maybe reach out for help in starting, and you are determined to get it done.
4. Action Stage – Already modifying behavior. This is the early stages of making lifestyle changes. You may have decreased your portion sizes or cleaned up your diet. You have started making some effort toward exercise. The plan has been set and is in progress.
5. Maintenance Stage – continued in action stage for at least 6 months. This stage is the hardest for those trying to lose weight. Most struggles like to show back up here and you may resort back to your old habits. Maybe you are comfortable with the weight you have lost and get lax with your program. Weight loss is on-going, just like treating any other medical condition. It is important in this phase to have accountability.
Remember, it is a JOURNEY. There are going to be people to help you on your way. Don’t be afraid to make that decision to get started, when YOU are ready to do so.
If you find yourself ready to take action, but don’t know where or how to start, I am here to help