Feb 16, 2010

Maintaining, in the Stages of Changes form of the word

Well, it’s been over two weeks now since I’ve created a blog entry. Two more weeks of plugging away at this new lifestyle, getting used to it. In one of my classes this semester, I’m learning about the theory of behavioral change called “Stages of Change,” and it’s interesting to see that I’ve been going through these stages unbeknownst to myself, and I have fit each one pretty well. The theory is usually applied to health behaviors like smoking, eating badly, not exercising, and doing drugs. These are the “negative health behaviors,” and the change is how close a person is to ending the behavior for good.

The Stages of Change basically start out with precontemplation, where the person is not considering changing in the next 6 months. They are pretty resistant to the thought of it, and/or are unaware of the health benefits of change, and likewise the health consequences of what they’ve been doing. When a person moves on to contemplation, they are considering making the change in the next 6 months. Then they go into preparation, then action (when they actually stop doing the behavior), then 6 months later move into maintenance.

I had basically been stuck in contemplation for several years before I moved on to action. When I was pregnant with Zene, especially, I said the whole time that as soon as he was out (at which time I would be pretty certain I wasn’t having any more babies), I would start eating right and exercising. I talked it up pretty big to myself the whole pregnancy, thinking that would make me really do it when the time came. Well, the time came and went, and I didn’t do anything. Couldn’t find time to exercise; fatty and huge quantities of food tasted better to me than the alternative.

The whole time though, I was contemplating… I had done strange little things, like I decided I would no longer buy bigger t-shirts. At first, I was just saying “I won’t move to 2XL. I will not be a person who has to wear 2XL, ever." So, I didn’t. And even though I didn’t lose any weight, I soon told myself I was no longer buying XL t-shirts either. I would buy Large shirts, and they didn’t fit me very well, but my thought was that I would eventually shrink into them. If I didn’t, I could at least be showing off my huge fatty guns, back, and belly, and in some way be proud of them. I didn’t want to be ashamed of my body, and I also didn’t want to buy XL t-shirts. True, I did have a lot of larger shirts around, and I used the heck out of them… just didn’t buy any.

I also just had a general sense that eventually in my future, I was going to be lean and healthy and feel great. I knew it was coming, I just couldn’t see ‘round the corners ahead to see when it was going to happen. I have been planning for years that when I get old I would be like Nanny. I will be in shape, riding bikes and swimming laps and whatever I could do to keep myself moving and healthy. I want to be one of those active older ladies. I don’t want to live the last several years of my life in a living room chair. Or, maybe I will, but that will be when I’m in my nineties. I look forward to those days, actually, but I just want to make sure that I live a lot before then.

So that brings me to today. With 6 months under my belt, I’m officially in maintenance, Stages of Change-wise. According to my text book, “maintenance is the stage in which people have made specific, overt modifications in their lifestyles and are working to prevent relapse ... They are less tempted to relapse and are increasingly more confident that they can continue their changes.” I am indeed increasingly more confident; I know that this is the life for me. I eat what I want to when I really really want to, but most of the time I eat smart. I love exercising, and I know that as long as I continue doing it I will continue to love it. It is only people who don’t exercise who think that exercising sucks.

And check out my new graph. I know, it’s funny to be this braggedy when I’m still many pounds over 200, which is hard for healthy (or just thin) people to imagine ever being… but this is a big thing for me. I’m getting closer and closer to the <200 mark. I’m looking very forward to it, as does everyone who loses weight after having been out of control for a long time. Here I am, maintaining in the Stages of Changes form of the word. Maintaining my lifestyle, and continually adapting to my new self. I love it. I feel great. 


Sara said...

As always, I loved reading your blog. I think the stages are very interesting. I'm guessing when it comes to weight loss, I'm probably in the precontemplation maybe even the contemplation stage. However, I feel that when it comes to not smoking I'm in the maintenance stage, and that is really awesome because I didn't think I'd be able to quit smoking. Another thing is that me not smoking is the first step I needed to take towards a healthy lifestyle. Seeing myself as a non-smoker, (which I did not think was possible), has helped me realize that I can do anything if I make the decision to do it... hmmm... we'll have to see where that leads...

Laura said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laura said...

Heck yeah, Sara! Your accomplishment so far has been stupendous. You have taken the first (and most huge) step towards a healthy lifestyle. It all starts somewhere, and unfortunately for you, you had that extra burden of smoking. I've thought of the stages of change a lot with you and CC quitting smoking. You're definitely in the contemplation stage for weightloss too, because you know the benefits of it, and you plan to do something about it in the future. One step at a time... bet you've heard that one before. (removed comment above due to a typo)

Post a Comment