So you’ve determined you’re going to do something about your weight. But what? Being overweight is not, in itself, a behavior. You don’t get overweight. Being overweight is an outcome of many behaviors that add up to consuming more calories than you’re expending. (Yes, there’s a genetic component too, but you can’t change that.) …
The good thing is that this gives you lots of places to start moving toward your goal of losing weight. The challenge is sorting through them all and finding what will work best for you. So here’s the question: What are you most ready to change?
Behavioral researchers have identified five stages in behavior change:
1. Precontemplation: You’re not even considering it. No way you’re going to give up your pizza and beer. Gym-going is not for you. Why walk when you can ride?
2. Contemplation: Well, maybe you could live without pizza and beer “every” week. The gym is out, but you always liked swimming, so maybe a pool. Last weekend, the walk in the park with your friend was pleasant. Maybe you could do it again.
3. Preparation: Next week you’re going to skip that pizza. You found out the local Y has a pool and their family rates are affordable. You talked to your friend about going for more walks sometimes.
4. Action: Two weeks and no pizza. You joined the Y and you’ve swum laps there a couple of times. You and your friend have gone walking for the past three Saturday mornings.
5. Maintenance: The weekly pizza has been a thing of the past for six months. Swimming is so much a part of your daily routine that you don’t feel right if you skip it. Those Saturday walks are a don’t-miss tradition.
In fact, this readiness to change model is behavior-specific. That is, you might be in the action stage with the pizza, but you are still in contemplation of that exercise stuff. You’re not likely to be very successful if you flog yourself for not swimming laps every day, what you want to do is move yourself to the next stage: List the pros and cons of regular exercise and guess what, you’re thinking about it and that means contemplation.
So think about the behaviors you can change to lose weight. What stage are you in for each of those behaviors? In each case, what can you do to move yourself to the next stage? What are you most ready to change?
About the Author Michael Hallinan, Michael Hallinan is a personal coach helping clients find their healthy way to their healthy weight.
If you are like most Americans, you are embarking on a new fitness program about now. Within 6 weeks, many people will drop out; half will quit within 6 months, and less than one-third of those who begin a fitness program will still be exercising by the end of their first year…
The following are 10 simple tips to get you started on making the transition from fitness drop-out to a person who will get fit, feel fabulous, never have to diet again, and have fun in the process.
1. Don’t work out too hard, too fast; you will end up sore and uninspired. It’s better to work out 2-3 days a week for life than to work out 6-7 days a week for a couple of weeks every now and then. Consistency is key.
2. Schedule your workouts on your calendar as if they were any other important appointment. This way, you will be able to balance your exercise program with family, work, and social activities. Again, you will be more successful if you fit fitness into your current lifestyle. A little is always better than NONE.
3. If possible, workout in the morning. You will get it done, feel energized all day, and will avoid “life” getting in the way of achieving your fitness goals.
4. Stay off the scales. As you get fit, lose fat, and gain muscle, you will actually drop inches and dress sizes and not move the scales all that much.
5. Choose a role model. Ask an instructor or fitness professional for suggestions and advice on how you can most effectively reach your goals. There are also a variety of other resources on health and fitness available.
6. Keep a fitness journal. Chart your progress and accomplishments.
7. Give yourself a little leeway – if you miss a workout or an entire week, get back on track as quickly as possible. Setbacks and challenges are normal. The quicker you get back on track, the quicker you will achieve your goals. Remember, fitness is not about being perfect, but about a series of healthy choices that you make consistently. It is not an all-or-nothing proposition.
8. Evaluate your progress every 6 – 8 weeks and increase the intensity of your workouts to stay challenged and inspired.
9. Feel like skipping a workout? Get yourself to do something for at least 10 – 15 minutes. Most likely, once you start you will complete your entire planned workout (If not, don’t fret, 15 minutes is better than nothing)
10. Bored? Unfocused? Change your routine a bit. Add a yoga, aerobics, or Pilates class. If you don’t care to join a gym, there are many wonderful classes at the local rec centers. Try a new exercise video or machine. Or, try an outdoor activity such as biking or a beach walk.
Article was written by Dianne Villano, President of Custom Bodies Personal Training and Weight Loss Programs. Dianne is a personal fitness instructor certified through the National Academy of Sports Medicine with over 16 years of experience who specializes in weight loss programs and programs for beginners.