Yep. It’s been that many days since we’ve gone Paleo.
And it still amazes me when during a conversation with friends they learn how we eat. Or to them, HOW MUCH WE’VE GIVEN UP. Oh good Lord. Explanation after explanation. That by choosing this lifestyle we have given up a lot of things. Yes, we gave up bread and pasta. We’ve given up excess weight. We’ve given up wheat bellies. And this is what I hear, “Oh, I couldn’t live without pasta (or bread or cheese or sugar)”.
That’s ok with me if it’s ok with you. Paleo is not politics. I’m pretty easy going that way.
A friend of mine from long ago called me yesterday for the first time in a long time and they asked about ‘this Paleo’ thing I’ve been doing. They had read my blog post announcing it here. As I began my explanation, I was interrupted time and again with arguments. I wasn’t in the mood for it and was made to feel that I needed to defend my actions for their approval. Remember, you called me? Jeez…I finally said that if they wanted any more information on it that they should read a few books written about the topic. And then changed the subject. If they still like me enough after that phone call, they will now see this blog post and put 2+2 together. I still like you no matter what or how you eat.
I received an email in January from Farie. She was going through the Whole30 challenge, a type of detox of food choices and they sent her daily newsletters examining those choices, how to combat them, etc. They are were worth keeping but the newsletter that came on Day 28 I did keep. I re-read it often to re-enforce my outlook and to better understand other’s reactions. It is all about change. Wanting to change, being able to change, only talking about change, and knowing you should change but won’t.
The Stages of Change Model was originally developed in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. The idea behind the Stages of Change Model (SCM) is that behavior change does not happen in one step. People tend to progress through different stages on their way to successful change, and each of us progresses through the stages at our own rate. Expecting behavior change by giving someone appropriate information for one stage while they’re still in another is counterproductive—they’re just not ready to hear it.
In each of the stages, a person has to grapple with a different set of issues and tasks that relate to changing behavior. Understanding where your conversation partner is in these five stages can help you tailor your message—so you’re giving them just the right information at the right time, making the conversation far more productive, and far more likely to end in successful change.
And THAT bullet point is what I have to remember whenever I’m asked about it. Someone might ask, but they might not want to hear the answer.
The five stages of change include:
- Precontemplation. Not yet acknowledging that there is a problematic behavior that needs to be changed. People in this stage tend to defend their current bad habit(s) and do not feel it is a problem. They may be defensive in the face of other people’s efforts to pressure them to quit. They do not focus their attention on quitting and tend not to discuss their bad habit with others. In some addiction circles, this stage is also called “denial.” We’ve all been there, haven’t we?
- Contemplation. Acknowledging that there is a problem, but not yet ready or sure of wanting to make a change. In the contemplation stage people are more aware of the personal consequences of their bad habit, and spend time thinking about their problem. People are on a teeter-totter, weighing the pros and cons of quitting or modifying their behavior. Although they think about the negative aspects of their bad habit and the positives associated with giving it up (or reducing), they may doubt that the long-term benefits associated with quitting will outweigh the short-term costs.
- Preparation/Determination. Getting ready to change. In the preparation/determination stage, people have made a commitment to make a change. Their motivation for changing is reflected by statements such as: “I’ve got to do something about this – this is serious. Something has to change. What can I do?” This is sort of a research phase: people are now taking small steps toward change. They are trying to gather information about what they will need to do to change their behavior.
- Action/Willpower. Changing behavior. This is the stage where people believe they have the ability to change their behavior and are actively involved in taking steps to change. This is a stage when people most depend on their own willpower. They are making overt efforts to quit or change the behavior, and are at greatest risk for relapse, so it’s key that they leverage any techniques available to stay motivated.
- Maintenance. Maintaining the behavior change. Maintenance involves being able to successfully avoid any temptations to return to the bad habits. The goal of the maintenance stage is to maintain the new status quo. People in this stage tend to remind themselves of how much progress they have made. They remain aware that what they are striving for is personally worthwhile and meaningful. They are patient with themselves and recognize that it often takes a while to let go of old behavior patterns and practice new ones until they are second nature to them. Even though they may have thoughts of returning to their old bad habits, they resist the temptation and stay on track.
Sources: addictioninfo.org; Dr. Emily Deans, Harvard Medical School
What I particularly like about this explanation is that it isn’t just about eating healthy. It could be about stopping smoking, stopping drinking, stopping anything that is detrimental to your physical or mental health; HEALTH being the key.
Now that I’m officially blue in the face….I’ll let you get on with your Friday. I hope it’s a good one.