I decided to remind myself of the so-called stages of change, as I re-focus on making changes as prescribed by the naturopath. This process of eliminating sugar and refined grains from the diet has been a process that strongly reminds me of smoking cessation. I cannot remember how many times I “quit” before that event actually occurred 12 years ago and I could call myself a non-smoker.

Behavioral changes, as my naturopath reminded me, are notoriously difficult to conduct yet, when it comes to creating good health, imperative and worth the struggle.

The “Stages of Change Model” was originally developed in the late 1970’s/early 1980’s when researchers were studying how smokers were able to give up their habits and/or addictions.

Since then, the model has been applied to a broad range of behaviors, including weight loss, injury prevention, overcoming alcohol, and drug problems, etc.

The idea is that behavior change doesn’t happen in one step. Rather, 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.

People must decide for themselves when a stage is completed and when it is time to move on to the next one.

So, as a refresher for me and for those who are unfamiliar with them, here are the aforementioned stages:

1. Pre-contemplation – One does not yet acknowledge there is a problem behavior that needs to be changed.

2. Contemplation – One acknowledges there is a problem but isn’t ready or sure of wanting to make a change.

3. Preparation – Taking the necessary steps to make the change.

4. Action – Actively changing the problem behavior.

5. Maintenance – Maintaining the behavior change.

For information and resources, visit www.addictioninfo.org/articles/11/1/Stages-of-Change-Model/Page1.html