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The Full Mind Weigh™ to Lifelong Weight Management, a program of the Institute for Lifelong Weight Management – teaching you the skills you need to keep the weight off forever!

Thinking about Change

Are you thinking about change?

We can easily get stuck, sometimes for years, in just thinking about change, without taking any action to move forward.

Have you ever experienced this?

James Prochaska, author of Changing for Good, described a six-stage model of change which he named the Transtheoretical Model. In the first stage, Precontemplation, we may be unaware of a need for change. We are not thinking about change, and we have no intention of changing.

In the second stage, Contemplation, we are thinking about changing, but we are ambivalent about change. We are aware of both the pros and the cons of changing, but both carry equal weight for us. When people ask us about change (our physicians, for example) we make a lot of “yes, but…” statements.

There are a number of strategies that can help us move forward from Contemplation, from just thinking about change. Here are Prochaska’s recommendations:

1. Consciousness-raising: increasing our awareness, with information and education, about unhealthy eating and weight, and about unhealthy food industry practices.

Here are some suggested resources:

Documentaries, including Supersize Me, Food Inc., Fed Up, Fast Food Nation, and Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead.

Read about the health risks of carrying excess weight. Here are some sources for great information:

2. Environmental reevaluation: realizing how our unhealthy behavior affects other people in our lives, and thinking about how we can have a more positive impact by changing. For example, parents or grandparents might consider what kinds of messages their health habits (or lack of health habits) are sending to younger family members. According to the American Heart Association, about one in three American kids and teens is now overweight or obese. The prevalence of obesity in children more than tripled from 1971 to 2011. With good reason, childhood obesity is now the No. 1 health concern among parents in the United States, topping drug abuse and smoking.

Here are some resources:

3. Dramatic relief: experiencing fear, anxiety or worry because of our unhealthy behavior, or feeling inspired and hopeful when we hear about people who are able to change their behavior in a positive way.

Lots of inspiring weight loss success stories can be found on these sites:

4. Self-reevaluation: realizing that a healthy behavior is an important part of who we are, who we want to be, and where we want to be in life. This is about developing intrinsic (or internal) motivation for change. An important part of this process is taking time to explore our life goals and values. What do you want for yourself and for your life, that relies on you being healthy, being mobile, and being able to take care of yourself (rather than needing care due to weight-related health problems)?

5. An important part of moving forward is to create a “decisional balance sheet”, a diagram with 4 boxes where we examine the pros and cons of changing versus not changing. It’s important not just to make lists of pros and cons, but to give each item a weighting, or degree of importance. This allows us to not just compare numbers of pros and cons, but to assess the benefits of changing (or not changing) on a deeper level.

6. Self-talk: We can tell ourselves, “Yes, it’s difficult, but what other difficult things have I accomplished in the past?” or “I’ve handled some tough stuff, I know I’ll be able to conquer this.”

Try out these strategies and share your experience with me and with other readers by commenting on this post.

“If you don’t like something, change it, If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” – Maya Angelou

“Just stop it. Seriously. Whatever it is. Just stop it. If only for an hour, a day, a week. Stop doing it long enough to get a glimpse of what the change would actually look like.” – Mary Anne Radmacher

“Change always comes bearing gifts.” – Price Pritchett

“The most dangerous phrase in the language is, ‘We’ve always done it this way’.” – Grace Hopper

“The mind has exactly the same power as the hands: not merely to grasp the world, but to change it”. – Colin Wilson

To learn more about effective weight management strategies, join my next weight management class, The Full Mind Weigh™ to Lifelong Weight Management. For details, check my website:

For frequent updates on this topic and related topics on weight management and motivation, follow me on Facebook and on Pinterest: Institute for Lifelong Weight Management; On Twitter and Instagram: InstituteForLWM.

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With your continued health in mind,

Doreen Lerner, Ph.D.

Director, The Institute for Lifelong Weight Management

Creator, The Full Mind Weigh™ to Lifelong Weight Management

The Institute for Lifelong Weight Management provides education and training. The Full Mind Weigh™ is strictly an educational program and is not a substitute for medical or psychological evaluation or treatment. If you think you may be suffering from an eating disorder, please consult with a qualified mental health professional who is trained to evaluate and treat eating disorders.