I recently passed my fitness instructor re-certification test. I answered 40 questions right out of 44. In addition to being a certified group fitness instructor, I’m now also a certified Lifestyle Fitness Coach. The most informative part of my studies was the section on the learning process, so I thought I would share it with you. Hopefully, it will help you assess which stage of the weight loss process you’re currently in. I’m impatient and I always want things to change or be fixed right away. However, when we strive to change our behavior to eat healthy and move more, it’s a process that unfolds over time through various phases. The motivation for change usually comes from a single event or several experiences that transition us to the next phase, which is hopefully and improvement over our old way of being.
Transition 1 – Disconfirmation
Transition 1 is when some aspect of your old world, no longer works or makes sense. For some it may be a poor medical report or perhaps your 10 yr old daughter beat you in mad dash to catch the bus. In my case it was my work pants no longer buttoned and I literally busted out of them at the seams. What was your “rock bottom?”
Phase 1 – Disorientation
Phase 1 is when excuses no longer work. In my situation, I could no longer say, oh I just gained few pounds. I never dry my dress pants, so I couldn’t even blame the dryer for shrinking them. This phase is often very emotional and we experience blame, sadness, frustration or guilt. The length of this phase varies from days to weeks to months. Have you let go of excuses?
Transition 2 – Reframing
Transition 2 is when you finally confront the facts and get to what bothering you. You are able to reframe what your challenges might be without self-blame and without blaming others. In my case I have to face the facts, I have crappy genes, the only thin people in my family lost weight, I come from a culture that embraces and celebrates food, and I’m an emotional eater…. They say the truth will set you free.
Phase 2 – Exploration
Explore what you need, what did not work in the past, and what changes need to be made. You develop an intervention program and plan. In my past the low-carb, Beyonce lemonade, and cabbage soup fad diets did not work. I’ve never had long-term success without tracking my food or attending a group support meeting. Have you identified what didn’t work, and what must change for success?
Transition 3 – Reflection
In this transition, you begin to piece together thoughts and feelings to create a strategy for action. What’s your action plan?
Phase 3 – Reorientation
In this phase you try a new plan. For example I chose a 5K training plan when my goal was to become more active, and I chose to return to Weight Watchers after I explored my previous methods of success and failures.
Transition 4 – Naming
In this phase you enjoy broadcasting your success and usually want to share with other who may be trying to attain a similar goal. I reached this stage with my fitness training. I ran a 5K and finished a half marathon. I was definitely proud about it and certainly broadcast it to the world on YouTube. I even created a Wall of Fame for others to brag on their success and inspire others. It’s now obvious what my next phase is in my weight loss journey. I need to stick to my weight loss plan so that I can get the naming phase where I proclaim “look at the new improved thinner version of me!” Like I’ve said before, I finally got to the end of the beginning.
Phase 4 – Equilibrium
This phase is where you have obtained a happy healthy way of being. This is a result of hard-earned learning that has been tested, tried and proved. It shows your capacity to grow and develop when you confront challenges when your old way of life is no longer viable. Sometime when we lose a half of a pound or can only run for 2 minutes, we don’t realize how close we really are to success. Repeated good behaviors can lead to major weight loss and longer miles. What’s your action plan for success?