What Stage of Change Are You In?
When you want to change a behavior (like getting in shape), most people thinks it starts with taking action, but according to the transtheoretical model, there are five stages of change.
Stage 1: Precontemplation. People in this stage have no intention of changing and don’t want to in the next six months either. So there!
Stage 2: Contemplation. People in this stage are thinking about getting healthier in the next six months. They are aware of the pros and cons of changing their lifestyle and are mentally preparing to change.
Stage 3: Preparation. People in this stage exercise occasionally and are planning to begin to do so regularly in the next month. They know the benefits of exercise but aren’t sure what results they can realistically expect yet.
Stage 4: Action. People in this stage are actively exercising and making healthy choices. They are working on overcoming any obstacles in their fitness journey.
Stage 5: Maintenance. Please in this stage have maintained change for six months or more. They need to focus on keeping their healthy lifestyle interesting to avoid old habits.
At any stage it is possible to relapse to a previous stage or all the way to the beginning, so the goal is reach Stage 5 and live there happily ever after. The thing that most people forget is that being fit is not a one-time destination; you have to keep up those good behaviors.
I’ve been through all five stages plus relapse, especially during my days of wild yo-yo dieting in my 20s and 30s. Stage 1 (Precontemplation) for me was the worst, because I essentially gave up on myself.
Have you ever done that? I felt like nothing I did ever worked and it was frustrating as hell. When I was wearing size 14, I remember finding one of my old crop tops that Brittany Spears wore back in the day and I actually sneered, “Oh shut up!”…to the shirt. Talk about displaced anger, lol.
If you’re in Stage 1 you might see your friend lose weight and get healthy and think, “Yeah, that’s great for her, but I could never do that. Not me.” I know that’s what I thought. I kind of looked at my fat cells as super-evil genetically altered villains working against me.
Stage 2 (Contemplation) was kind of exciting/scary. I got a membership to a gym. I didn’t ever workout there or anything, but I did take my kids to the pool and look at the fit people through the glass window and think, “Someday…”
My Stage 3 (Preparation) was very quick because this was around the time my whole life went to hell in a handbasket. I sat in my car in my daughter’s nursery school sobbing over my life and praying for God to fix me and then pretty much moved into Stage 4 (Action) later that week when I cashed in my last maternity check for personal training sessions. That’s when I discovered bodybuilding and the rest is history.
I’ve been in Stage 5 (Maintenance) more or less for the last seven years, other than a brief regression four years ago when my mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer and I cried into a box of chocolate chip cookies. Bodybuilding pulled me back into a healthy lifestyle again (thank God) and my mom was able to see me get my act together.
Depending on your stage of change, you will be interested in different things, so this month I’ll be writing about different topics keeping each stage reader in mind. The topics will be based on my SLI Method (which stands for “She’s Losing It” Method), which is everything I learned bodybuilding these last seven years. The method covers three main areas: Belly (nutrition), Body (exercise) and Brain (motivation).
If you have a preference, or a topic you’d like to ask me about, I’d love to hear from you! Just leave me a comment below and maybe your question will be turned into a blog post.
Lisa Traugott is a personal trainer, Mom’s Choice Award writer, original cast member of FOX/John Cena’s “American Grit” and has a monthly fitness column on Bowflex.com. She won Ms. Costa Rica Sports Model 2017 and her transformation story was featured in Muscle & Fitness Hers, Good Day Austin, Great Day Houston and Austin Woman Magazine. She blogs at ShesLosingIt.com and is passionate about her clients.
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