Castle Personal Training is a Corstorphine, Edinburgh based company who specialise in weightloss/toning and Pre and Post Natal exercise.
To continue with the series of blogs about the methodology for behavioural change we like to use.
After Stage 1, inevitably, comes Stage 2; The Contemplation stage.
People in the contemplation stage are no longer in denial about their behaviour. They see that the behaviour is problematic and are able to look at the positive and negative effects. They are thinking of changing their behaviour in the foreseeable future, 6 months, but are not just yet actively pursuing it.
This is what we’re talking about.
Because they keep looking at both the negative and positive aspects over and over again it can seem like ordinary procrastination to the outsider and that can seem like a negative thing. Bare in mind that the alternative is Stage 1 and that, just because someone isn’t ready for change yet, that doesn’t mean they don’t really want to change their lifestyle. They just “don’t know it yet”.
Especially with obese people it is essential to keep stating the positive effects a change in lifestyle will bring. This is not the time to start banging on about the negative aspects of their current lifestyle as that is much more likely to set them back to Stage 1.
This is where words really matter.
I speak to quite a few people who can be classed as being at Stage 2. They are, tentatively, enquiring about how to lose weight and change their lifestyle. A typical question might well be “Are carbs really bad for me? I can’t imagine living without carbs”. If I then barge in with a “Yes, low carb is definitely the only way to lose weight” not only am I then being factually incorrect but I would also be likely to scare someone off from moving on to the next Stage as I’m throwing up another hurdle.
So this means we have to discuss future goals and positive aspects of quitting their unhealthy behaviour, aswell as realistically address some disadvantages that come with a change.
We’ll also look at any potential barriers to success and the level of resistance to change. The barriers can include many things but include defiance, fear of failure, fear of success, personal circumstances such as work environment and family, ignorance etc.
So one thing that we can do is list all the Pros and Cons of their current behaviour and then list the Pros and Cons of a change in that behaviour. Most people tend to make a list in their mind but I find that writing it out takes things to a whole new level and might offer some clarity for those sitting on the fence.
As most people with weight issues will have a history of trying to lose weight we also have to look at some of their history. Establishing why someone has not been able to make a permanent change, note how I didn’t say “Fail” here, is often very useful as it can often give us a good insight into the psyche of an individual and help us come up with way to make it stick this time. I have to make clear though that people in Stage 2 are not ready for an action plan so there is no point plotting out their road to success yet, they have’t yet decided to make a change.
Key in the contemplation stage is reassurance that changing behaviour will be a positive, and worthwhile, experience and that will hopefully help them move on to Stage 3 (Preparation).