The third blog in this series involves the step of contemplation when we are diagnosed with a new illness or disease. The question is what are the steps involved in the contemplation process, what comes first?  Do I move into the preparation stage just by changing my diet?

There is no doubt you have some decisions to make moving forward. Diet and lifestyle change, what type of medical treatment to utilize, what kind of pharmaceutical drugs and/or supplements you need to take, and what other modalities you may need or want to use to help you steer through your situation with what will give you the best fighting chance at overcoming your current health obstacles.  It can be quite overwhelming at first to know what it is that you need to be doing. The key to succeeding is all in your approach. 

Make positive goals that surround your day-to-day eating decisions. If you are working with a dietitian, chances are just as we talked about in the last blog, there are going to be baby steps involved, and goals for you to work towards, so you are prepping. The contemplation stage of your illness is distinct from the preparation stage. The important part is not to allow yourself to get overwhelmed during this stage. There are so many places you need to go to prepare for the action phase which is what is going to bring upon your long-term positive health and wellness changes. Supporting your body through all the processes is key. Whether to this point you have already hired a dietitian or you have been doing research and working through the process on your own, staying diligent, and on top of what you put in your body truly is what is going to be the golden egg for you moving forward. 

Supports for Your New Diet

Let’s face it, we all know that support is where you will have the best success. Whether that is from the help of a close friend or family member, help from a community association, disability programs and grants, there are many options out there to get the people you need to on your side fighting for your better health.  Setting up these supports are key to success and are strong indicators that you are progressing through the preparation stage. 

The reason for this is they can help to keep you accountable in terms of what you are eating. If you spend a lot of time over at Mom’s house, or your best friends. Them understanding what your new diet changes look like, they can help to keep you accountable, and also ensure that whatever you are eating when you are over there is empowering your lifestyle changes, not going against them. Help from the community association closest to you, government or disability programs could help to give you additional financial support for food, or even for working alongside a dietitian. You may not make any changes yet, but you are preparing to make the change.

We then have to decide what we are, and what we aren’t willing to do in terms of what changes we are willing to make. Whether what we want to do, and what it is we need to do. As was stated in the first blog of the series, many times we don’t want to give up certain part of our lifestyles, certain foods, certain habits. Some of them we may be able to have in little bits and pieces, like certain foods, and others not at all. Some diet changes may require one to reduce sugar intake. This is a big part of the contemplation process, as we start to shuffle around our lives to decide what is important to us, and what is not, so we can finally get to that place of being ready to heal our bodies. When we can stand up and say “Okay, I am ready, let’s do this!”

The Takeaway

The preparation stage is a hard one but hopeful. This is where people have many doubts and why that support system is so important. If you can have someone on your side who understands all the ins and out of diet changes, and what is needed for your body in order for you to have the positive health results that you truly need to reach your health goals, and heal you from the inside out. Dietitians can be a support to you in a way no one else can. They can maneuver with you through all the stages of your illness, to ensure you are getting adequate nutrition, in a way that will work for you. 

You are not in this alone. It takes a village, and even when it is your body, the more support you have fighting for your better health and wellness, the better your chances are at receiving the best care possible with the best chances of regaining your health and in many times survival. 

With one step at a time, a lot of deep breaths, and believing with every ounce of your being that you are going to be okay, and finding your support team, is your first step in the journey to your recovery.

In our upcoming series, we will be discussing action, as you begin to really embark on your journey, and what a diet and lifestyle change might look like for you.

Take a step back from the nutrition confusion and get a clear plan of what’s the right way to eat for your needs. Clear your nutrition confusion and live the life you want. Until next week, get wise about what you eat and remember to be kind to yourself as you deserve nothing but the best. 

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Additional Information

The Transtheoretical Model (Prochaska & DiClemente, 1983; Prochaska, DiClemente, & Norcross, 1992) is an integrative, biopsychosocial model to conceptualize the process of intentional behavior change. Whereas other models of behavior change focus exclusively on certain dimensions of change (e.g. theories focusing mainly on social or biological influences), the TTM seeks to include and integrate key constructs from other theories into a comprehensive theory of change that can be applied to a variety of behaviors, populations, and settings—hence, the name Transtheoretical… Traditionally, behavior change was often construed as an event, such as quitting smoking, drinking, or overeating. TTM recognizes change as a process that unfolds over time, involving progress through a series of stages. While progression through the Stages of Change can occur in a linear fashion, a nonlinear progression is common. Often, individuals recycle through the stages or regress to earlier stages from later ones.