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How ready you really are to CHANGE - Part II

So the summer is ticking along and you are all working hard. Are you all feeling focused this week...have you banked some decent activity so far? There’s still plenty of time to get up and get moving. There’s still a chance to concentrate on eating a bit better and drinking a bit more water know you can always try a little harder. Are you up and moving...have you done some activity already today? What would you tell me it positive or do you need some support? Are you thinking about trying something new or changing a routine or habit? Perhaps you’ve had a relapse and it’s time to get back in the saddle? So this week team I’m talking about how ready you really are to CHANGE. It’s a lengthy topic so I’ve split the email into last weeks and next week’s emails. Changing any behaviour, whether it’s giving up smoking, changing eating habits, beginning to exercise or handling stress, is difficult and requires a great deal of determination, effort and commitment. We know this right!

Here are the final stages... Action People are: • Starting to make changes such as coping skills that will result in long term change to behaviour. • Trying new recipes, writing down eating habits & buying different foods during the weekly shop. Here we’d continually asses the goals and aim to keep the plan on track. Encouragement and education when it comes to difficult situations or potential problems. Keeping positive and building a support of friends and family. Now the emphasis shifts to the behavioural process of keeping you on track. We can do this with reassurance about your decisions to change, increasing your self-efficacy and stimulus control (reducing the number of prompts to return to our old behaviour). Counter-conditioning is learning to respond differently to the stimulus. So have a plan to practice relaxation techniques when stressed rather than reaching for something to eat or varying the exercise routine when it becomes boring. Reinforcement through positive experiences and limited negative experiences will increase the frequency of the behaviour. Seeing progress, positive comments from others and praise from me can all help. Maintenance People are: • Attempting to continue or sustain the progress that they active during the previous action stage. • Usually very anxious about avoiding slips or relapses to less desirable behaviour. • Now have heightened awareness of their eating habits. • Still thinking carefully about what foods they eat. • Usually in maintenance for 6 -12 months before they relapse or hopefully maintain a stable, safer lifestyle. • They may happy to remain here and not peruse any further challenges. • Pressure to follow further challenges may decrease stick ability. • If you want to progress you’ll need further support and new goals. Here we identify any warning signs and prevent a relapse before it happens. We re-evaluate and set new goals and review positive aspects of the new behaviour. We make changes to reach stable, safer lifestyles and recognise any high risk situations that may threaten our chances! Relapse People are: • Reverting back to previous behaviour or failing to stick to their plan of action. • Using a celebration day or weekend to let their eating habits take a nosedive. • Then lead back to the contemplation stage. • Planning an intended relapse such as a birthday or illness. • Feeling guilty and annoyed with themselves for relapsing. It’s important to allow for relapses and pick ourselves back up and start again. Throwing our hands up and shouting “I’ve failed” won’t do any good. Acknowledging that these relapses occur and that they are vital to a successful change process will allow a greater chance of eventual success. Even though it’s important to avoid relapses we can talk about what went wrong, making ourselves aware of the reasons why and how to forewarn for next time the situation crops up. We then devise a plan to make sure it doesn’t happen again so we learn from our mistakes. For example, an evening out to dinner with friends in a restaurant you’re not familiar with and drinking a few glasses of wine results in a loss of will power when ordering. We’d suggest researching the menu before you go and deciding what you want and then drinking alcohol only after the first course. What stage are you at?

Fitness Fact of the week Body fat isn’t a redundant depot of unwanted calories. It’s a fuel store, helps function your brain, nerves and bone marrow, cushions your internal organs & warms them, keeps your hair, nails and skin healthy, regulates your hormones and your immune system. Quote of the week “Focus all your energy on not fighting the old but building the new” Keep active & see you soon Rosie

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