I’ve written before about how much I love my gym. In addition to the wonderful services they offer, I also get regular emails from them with motivational items, coupons, and other tips. Today’s message resonated with me:
In our behavior modification classes, we discuss the Stage of Change model. It consists of Precontemplation, Contemplation, Preparation, Action, Maintenance, and Relapse. I currently lie somewhere between Action and Maintenance. Let’s talk about each…
This is when you’re either unaware of a problem, or you’re in denial. “I had no idea how big I had gotten until I saw that vacation photo.” “I know that smoking gives some people cancer, but it’ll never happen to me.” I was in precontemplation for a long time. I like to call that phase “my twenties.”
This is when you’re weighing the pros and cons of a decision, but you’re on the fence. “Yeah, I could do that weight loss thing, but it’s expensive, I don’t want to give up one night a week, and there’s no way I’m going to have shakes for weeks.” “I could give up smoking — I know it’s bad for me — but I’ll gain weight when I quit, and that’s equally bad for me.” This is where my new resource, Weight Loss 101 is so helpful. By following the steps listed there, you’ll be able to work through the decision making process.
This is where you dip your toe into the pool to test the waters. In my case, I bought a pedometer and signed up for Walk With Walgreen’s months before I considered joining the UAMS Weight Loss Program. I didn’t really increase my activity level, but by wearing the pedometer it was at least on my mind. If you’re considering losing weight, this is where you should do some research, establish your goals, and decide how to proceed. For me, my visit to the free UAMS Weight Loss Orientation Class gave me the information I needed in order to decide to join.
This is where I’ve been for over a year. “Walking the walk.” For the first 6 weeks, I ate a regimen of meal replacements. Some were shakes, but other meal replacements were made into muffins, waffles, pancakes, potato chips, Easter bunnies, and even a pizza. My first six weeks were anything but “a liquid diet.” From week 6 on, I incorporated fruits and vegetables into my daily meal plans. I ate out at places like Panera Bread, my nearby Mexican restaurant, and even Hard Rock Cafe. Once I reached a weight of 225 pounds, I began incorporating one traditional meal and a snack into my meal plans. These included Broccoli Tofu Stir-Fry, Vegetable Beef Stew, and Chicken Pasta Primavera. The experience I gained in planning, shopping for, and preparing those meals made my transition into maintenance a breeze.
This is where I am today. I avoid emotional eating due to boredom, I reward myself for behaving properly, and I identify and implement coping strategies to deal with issues that come up. Whether it’s not buying trigger foods, sharing my daily food journals with the world, or going to sleep early on days when I’ve consumed all of my calories, I’m holding strong.
Anyone who has tried and failed to lose weight (or quit smoking, or save money, or anything else) knows what this phase is. It’s that negative place of failure that we’re all too familiar with. For some, it’s the fear of relapse that keeps us from starting in the first place. I’m not afraid of relapse today. I feel strong and confident in my ability to reach my weight loss goals and to keep the weight off for a lifetime. My confidence comes from the knowledge I’ve gained from the UAMS Weight Loss Program, the support they provide through weekly weigh-ins and classes, and my own experiences of having lapsed and regained control.
So what does this have to do with the quote my gym sent? I talk to people every day who come to me with questions about how I’ve managed to lose nearly 250 pounds. I happily answer their questions. I share with them recipes, meal plans, and the systems that work for me. I encourage them to consider programs like the one that has been so helpful to me. I hurt a lot inside when someone sees that they need to change, asks for help in changing, and then refuses to take action.
I’ve written about this before in my New Year’s Resolutions post, “Do You Want It?“
Only you can determine whether you succeed or fail. I can’t want it for you. I can’t do it for you. Only you can take your journey. I can show you resources that I find helpful. I can check up on you to see how you’re doing. I can help you see ways around barriers to your progress that you might have overlooked. I can facilitate, but you must do.