Friday, June 1, 2012

How Ready Are You to Change?

Almost half way through the year- June already!!!!!  How are your fitness goals coming along?  A friend posted something on Facebook that made me think about the "stages of readiness to change", also known as, the "psychological aspect of personal training"!  After more than ten years of research, the stages of readiness to change were introduced.  How ready are you to change your fitness level?  Let's see where you're at!

Stage 1- Precontemplation:  no change is being thought of.

Stage 2- Contemplation:  change is being thought about sometime in the next 6 months.

Stage 3-  Preparation:  change is being planned within the next 30 days and some type of change in behavior is being attempted.

Stage 4- Action:  the behavior that produces positive outcomes has been started within the last 6 months

Stage 5- Maintenance- the behavior that produces positive outcomes has been  done for at least 6 months.

So obviously, the change and behavior I am talking about here is:  exercise!!!   Which stage do you think is the most critical and difficult to achieve?  Stage 5!!  Most people don't believe that, but it's true.  A lot of people  "fall off the wagon" in Stage 4.  Life gets busy with kids, careers, spouse, traveling (especially in the summer) etc.  Many behaviors become a habit after doing them for 3 weeks, but, with exercise it takes 6 months.  Getting to that crucial Stage 5 is so important, because that means it has become a habit.  If you do travel, really, really try to keep exercising, even if it is just a walk on the beach, bicycle riding, outdoor sports, etc.  And, many of us see a vacation as a license to eat whatever we want.  One study has shown that 60% of people gain weight while on vacation.  And, especially if you take a cruise where there are open food buffets 24 hours a day- that is just very tempting.  If you don't already do it, start a food journal or use, it also comes as an app on your phone.  You can use it to log your exercise as well.  If you are traveling and eating out all of your meals at a restaurant, you are almost guaranteed to go over in your calories.  Restaurants prepare foods in butter and oil, even foods that you wouldn't think, so make sure you ask your server how your meal is being prepared.  Take healthy snacks with you so that you know how many calories you are consuming there, since you may not be sure how many you are eating with your restaurant meals.  Choose foods that are grilled or steamed; fresh fruits and vegetables; items without a lot of cheese or heavy dressings; and clear broth soups, not creamy ones.  And, steer clear of buffets for a couple of reasons.  One, I am just a germaphobe and buffets are just a big vat of bacteria, and two, you tend to over indulge at them.

Take advantage of school being out to spend time together outdoors with your family.  You can be the positive influence that your family needs to get moving.  Go on hikes, bike rides, walks,  the pool to swim laps, or to the gym together!

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