Castle Personal Training is a Corstorphine, Edinburgh based company who specialise in weightloss/toning and Pre and Post Natal exercise.
As promised in my last blog about the methodology I try to use to enable people to make permanent changes to their lifestyles, I’ll go into a bit more depth over the next few blogs. As I mentioned previously; I shall mainly relate this to obesity and weightloss but the methodology goes for any change, really.
I’ll try to keep it all as straightforward as possible, so if you’re a psychology major, please don’t send me emails saying “but you forgot about the effects of XYZ” etc. Unless, of course, you have some very cool ideas on the subject, in which case I’d love to read them.
Blog one deals with stage 1; Precontemplation.
People in the Precontemplation stage have no intention of changing in the next 6 months. Quite often the person is in denial or actually unaware that their behaviour is problematic. In the case of the obese person it’s mainly down to denial rather than being unaware. I have yet to come across an obese person who does not know deep down that they are too heavy for their health, they just deny that there is a problem as a coping mechanism.
What bothers me most is the missing N.
Denial is a simple way to minimise and rationalise any problem. It’s a defense mechanism that shifts the blame away from the denier, in this case the obese person, and hands it off to anyone accepting responsibility.
“I would eat healthy but my partner always buys biscuits” is a statement I hear a lot. This sort of comment is common from someone who is not accepting that they, ultimately, are responsible for eating the biscuits. Yes it’s easier to not eat rubbish if it’s not readily available, but you are the one who chooses to eat the stuff. The same goes for alcohol, fast food etc. What you put in your body is your responsibility and not somebody else’s.
Here’s another thing I come across regularly; “I’m not as big as some of my friends are, so I’m OK”. With most of the population of the UK now being overweight, and an astonishing 28% being obese, it’s easy to point at other people and pretend you don’t have a problem. But that sort of thinking doesn’t really stand up to any scrutiny.
The world obesity map from 2014 from my friends at metrocosm. Here’s a cool dynamic map they did showing the changes in the past 50 years.
Denial is nothing more than an ego defence mechanism and it wards off feelings of discomfort but it’s also a major obstacle on the journey to making a permanent positive lifestyle change. It, most definitely, is not a long-term solution to any problem.
Most people in the Precontemplation stage are inwardly focused and mainly think about how changing their behaviour will negatively impact their lives. Very little consideration is put into the idea that change might bring about positive effects.
“But if I start cutting out alcohol and fast-food, I will become a social pariah” is an often heard cry. This sort of statement only focusses on a, potentially, negative aspect of change. Note how often the fears associated with change are imagined rather than real. There is no reason why you can’t socialise when not drinking, only an alcoholic would not accept that sober people too can be quite entertaining.
When we come across someone in the Precontemplation stage we work a lot on making people see the positive side of the changes they make; You will feel better, stronger and healthier. You can wear nicer clothes, you are much less likely to get a whole host of horrible diseases. You know, stuff that REALLY matters.
Obviously it’s important to acknowledge that change is scary and dificult and that, for most obese people, there are often one or two emotional issues that have to be dealt with to enable them to decide to take real action and move on to the next stage, Contemplation.