Monday, June 12, 2006

Stages of Change

Prochaska & DiClemente’s (1983) Transtheoretical Model of Change proposes a theoretically rich sequence of stages involved in the process of behavioral change. In laymen’s terms, it’s a model that helps us understand how people make changes in their lives. The model predicts that there are five stages that people typically pass through:

1) Pre-contemplation: You have no intention of making a change, at least in the next six months or so.
2) Contemplation: You’re planning on making a change, sometime within the next six months. (Ready!)
3) Preparation: You’re going to make the change soon, sometime within in the next month. (Set!)
4) Action: You make the change. (Go!)
5) Maintenance: You continue to work on new behaviors and try to guard against relapse.

It’s a model that’s usually used when discussing health behaviors—getting rid of negative behaviors (cigarette smoking, alcohol/drug use) and integrating positive ones (exercising, using sunscreen). I think that we can easily apply this to our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors related to food and our bodies.

-Thinking about addressing your food restriction/obsession/compulsion?
-Willing to love yourself with 10, 20, etc. extra pounds?
-Do you want to give up the idea of dieting?
-Would you like to return food to its natural role (as sustenance) and remove its powers to alternately calm you down and stir up anxiety?
-Are you ready to accept your body the way it is right now?

Where are you?

And, what allows you to prepare for action? In my experience, it’s being fed up (no pun intended) with the alternative—thinking about food/what you’ll eat/your weight uncontrollably, compulsively eating/exercising/weighing yourself, and generally despising your body and yourself.

In a body image workshop I led a couple of years ago, one participant spoke about her self-hatred as a painful, but necessary process. She alluded to the fact that if she were to stop hating herself, she’d let herself go and, consequently, gain weight. The potential illogic of her argument aside, it was clear that in her case, her self-hatred was not as painful as the possibility of gaining some weight. When it does become painful, when it becomes absolutely unbearable, and when you realize that there’s so much more to you than what you eat and what you weigh, you might be ready to move.


PalmTreeChick said...

Hey Drstace!

Okay, if you haven't read my blog lately, you're completely freaking my out because we are so on the same wavelenght here.


drstaceyny said...

PTC--much of what I post I wrote a while ago and am taking from my book file (except for the breaking-news celebrity stuff). I'm glad that this seems to speak to what you're dealing with. I will read your blog!

PalmTreeChick said...

Well, you're posting is on the same wavelength then, even if you did write it a while ago.

Haley-O said...

Palm, you feel like you're on the "same wavelength" because the Doc is speaking to your issue exactly. You might then say, you found her blog now because you need it now, because it speaks to you as "awomanwhohasaneatingdisorder." Sounds like you're at least in that precontemplation phase, and that's a good thing. :) Hi Doc, fascinating post. It's amazing how one's weight can become completely synonymous with, or a determinant of, one's identity or idea of oneself. It's so sad that our culture promotes this so avidly....

PalmTreeChick said...

So Haley-O, (I feel like singing the OOOOOO part).

You think I have an eating disorder? I like how you put that, by the way.

ps22 said...

I agrew with what Haley-O suggested about finding this blog and needing it now. And I think that is what's helpful about this blog and the general point Dr. S is trying to make - that everyone, on some level, can identify with these ideas and can reflect on how they have influenced our lives no matter what the level of severity.