“National Nutrition Month is a nutrition education and information campaign created annually in March by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. The theme for 2015 is “Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle,” which encourages everyone to adopt eating and physical activity plans that are focused on consuming fewer calories, making informed food choices and getting daily exercise in order to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, reduce the risk of chronic disease and promote overall health.”
If there is one thing I love to do, it’s talk (or blog) and if there’s one thing I love to do more than that, it’s talking (or blogging) about nutrition! This month I will be posting more nutrition specific blogs as opposed to my usual training updates. I really want to help encourage you readers to make informed food choices and focus more on making life-long healthy lifestyle changes. There is so much bad information out there that it can really make it difficult for someone who is ready to make changes and as we all know, change is already hard enough.
To begin my National Nutrition Month series, I want you all to think about your readiness to change. I challenge you to sit down and really think about this. Have you set any goals yet? Maybe you haven’t even given any thought to the way you eat or changing your lifestyle at all. So, I challenge you to consider it. Do you think you COULD eat healthier? Do you think you COULD use a little more exercise?
We’re all in different stages of change, all the time. First, we need to identify where we are and then take steps in the right direction. If we can create a visual map of our journey, we can create a game plan to reach our goals.
Stages of change:
Pre contemplation (May not be ready for change)
This is the stage when you really aren’t planning on making any kind of change. Either because you don’t want to or you simply don’t know you need to. It can even be that you don’t want to face the fact that you may be making some high risk behavior choices in your lifestyle. Some clues that you may be in the pre contemplation stage would include avoiding reading, talking or thinking about your high risk behaviors. You may have been described as unmotivated, unready for help, or even resistant, stubborn, or stuck in your ways.
Contemplation (Getting Ready)
In this stage you already know there is a need to make a change. Ever hear the phrase “admitting you need help is the first step”? In this stage you’ve admitted it and you’re considering making changes at some point. You may be thinking of a plan of action, visualizing what these changes would look like. “This year, I’m going to stop drinking so many sodas.”, “As soon as I have more time, I’m going get more exercise.”, “I think I need to buy more veggies when I shop.”
This is when you start to see small changes or you have intentions to start making real changes. Maybe you’ve started walking down the fresh produce aisle here and there when you shop. You’re testing the waters. Maybe you went to Zumba once with a friend and the lady in the chain skirt was a lot to handle (even gave you nightmares) and you’re just not sure you want to try again. You may have started reading health and fitness blogs to learn more about nutrition 😉
Now we’re cookin’! In this stage when you have purposely made changes in your life to get healthy. You’ve stopped buying sodas, you only eat fast food once a week as opposed to 5 days a week. You’ve joined a fitness class or local gym and you’re actually going. You’re in the game!
Ok, healthy lifestyles aren’t just about temporary changes. Rome wasn’t built in a day, right? Remember those New Year’s resolutions? In this stage we’re working on continuously applying the change. We’re building habit! In this stage we want prevent relapse which means, keep at it.
This is the holy grail. In this stage there is no temptation. You’ve seen the light and there is no going back. “Unhealthy habits are way of coping.” In this stage we have found a new way to cope and now, we prefer it!
So now that we know the stages, where do you think you fall? Do you ever feel like maybe you move from one stage back to the previous or perhaps get stuck in the same stage? Click to Test Your Readiness
I challenge you all to create a goal this week and create and action plan to get there. Maybe your still in the contemplation phase but want to move to action. How will you prepare?
Happy running friends and Happy National Nutrition Month!
Priscilla is Dallas/Ft. Worth based nutritionist and blogger.