Love Yourself? 10 Healthy Foods!
February 21, 2017
Love yourself? Do you want to get ideas on healthy food choices? Then follow me over the next few days. Every day I will share with you one of the ten healthy food options with an explanation of their benefits. Stay tuned! #loveyourself #10healthyfoods #followme #ahealthierfuture #christiehealthcoach #healthcoachingforyou
Readiness for Lifestyle Change Model to assist with our attitudes towards change
February 14, 2017
Whether a healthcare professional needs to make a lifestyle change for themselves or are coaching/advising their patients to do so, they need to be aware of the stages of change. Change is not a straightforward process and involves several stages, based on the person mentality and readiness at the time. Based on Prochaska’s trans-theoretical model of change, (Prochaska, 1997) change is a process occurring over time, involving progress through 6 stages. These stages are:
- Termination or Adoption
The stages are explained below, giving further details about individuals’ attitudes during each of them.
At this stage the patient is not willing to make any changes for the next 6 months. This could be because they do not have enough information about a dysfunctional or unhealthy behaviour or because they have failed in the past. Any lifestyle change prescribed at this stage will be very difficult to be achieved since the patient is not ready and is also lacking motivation. What could be helpful at that point is to try and explore the reasons why the patient is not willing to work on improving an unhealthy behaviour and potentially help them become more aware of their condition.
At this stage the patient has a possibility to change over the next 6 months. They are accessing the pros and cons of new behaviours and are making up their minds on whether they should stay as they are or change. This is a critical stage for a patient where they need support to fight their ambivalence. They also require motivators so that the benefits can outweigh the drawbacks of a behavioural change. Fear is also a factor to be considered here, since fear of change could make a person stick to the contemplation phase for long periods of time.
This is the stage when the patient is expected to take action over the next month. They have already drawn up a plan and are working on gathering information, considering options, arranging substitutes and/or organising support networks. This is an ideal phase for a patient to be advised on lifestyle change and to start to work their way towards it. Healthcare professionals could support the steps already taken and begin to form mutual agreements outlining patient’s accountability too.
This is the stage when change begins to happen by trying out new behaviours. For “action” to be successful the patient needs to have specific and measurable goals in mind. For example, if they want to cut down on smoking the goal could be specific number of cigarettes per day over certain periods of time. This promotes accountability and helps the healthcare professional to measure progress and follow through delays or failures.
At this point the new behaviour has been ongoing for at least 6 months. In order to secure it, however, and to make sure that the patient will not relapse, a period of at least 12 months is necessary. Even though this seems to be long, it could be achieved since the patient gradually feels more confident and optimistic during the process of change. The healthcare professionals’ role during this time is to clarify the difference between a temporary lapse and a total relapse. A temporary lapse could occur, but if it is addressed immediately, it will not affect overall effort. In addition, continuous monitoring of performance keeps the patient on track and increases awareness.
At this stage the healthy behaviour is part of the patient’s life, they engage to it naturally and it cannot be affected by mood swings or adverse events. What a healthcare professional needs to do at this stage is to congratulate the effort and remind of the starting point and how they far they have got from there. They will also need to confirm that the new behaviour is there even when tracking has stopped.
Health and Wellness Coach
How to set goals effectively?
February 3, 2017
One of the elements defining the success of a goal is the way it is set. There is a big gap between having an idea or a new resolution and the actual attainment, if these are not planned properly. Planning needs time and consideration but it can guarantee a successful outcome, which will subsequently increase self-esteem and satisfaction levels.
If someone feels that they need to create a change in their life, apart from being focused and disciplined, they will also need to set the right foundations. This could be done by means of S.M.A.R.T. goals, which is an easy to remember acronym and each of its letters represents different characteristics.
S – Specific. This means that the desired outcome needs to be quite specific. For example, it is not helpful for the patient, to be advised to generally lose weight. This is quite generic. On the other hand, if a patient is told that they will need to lose 10 kilos over the next 3 months, this already gives them a timeframe and a particular outcome. As soon as this is set, even if conscious mind has not yet acted, the subconscious has already received a clear message and starts working on it. Having a specific focus is as important as discipline and a detailed and precise goal could assist on that.
M- Measurable. How could a patient know that he is making progress? For example, how could a patient with Diabetes type II see the effects of a healthy diet? Measurements need to be taken from the beginning when one is far from the desired outcome and need to be repeated throughout the process. Monitoring progress and seeing even small signs of improvement could act as a great motivator. Tracking the activity could also work as an indicator of how far or close someone is to the ultimate result. Having the progress charts in a visible point and easily accessible could be key to success as it keeps them present in the mind, not only the eyes.
A – Achievable. This is the most important question when setting a new goal. “Is it achievable?” Which actions does one need to take in order to reach the desired outcome? Have these actions been thought of carefully? Is there the time and resources for these to be attained? If the answers to these questions are or tend to be positive the one should go ahead and act. If not, then this means that they are still in a prior stage of change, the contemplation one and they will need to re-consider certain elements of the goal before acting.
R- Realistic. Are the expectations set realistic? Is the outcome attainable? One might want to lose weight by exercising 6 times/week, but how possible is that if they have never exercised before. How can someone who smokes 20 cigarettes/day drop to 0 in one go? Sometimes people are not willing to dedicate time and effort in achieving a goal and are looking for quick, magical solution. However, these types of solutions are more prone to fail, being unrealistic from the beginning. A long-lasting change is usually the one happening with time and continuous investment rather than overnight.
T-Timely. This part links with the measurable component. Each goal needs to have a time frame. This could be long or short term. Most of the times when an aim is long-term, it is usually divided in smaller, short-term ones. This time frame is also a good indicator of success. For example, when someone tries to increase their endurance, they could measure how many kilometres they could run in 4-weeks and following that in 8-weeks and then compare. There is always some flexibility in setting those milestones, due to unforeseen circumstances, but in general they work effectively in progress monitoring.
Conclusion: The SMARTer the goal, the more possibilities it has, to be successful.
Health and Wellness Coach
View the article on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/effectivehealthprofessionals/