As I was thinking about the actual phases I went through to get to where I am now, I could not help but relate it to the Stages of Change proposed by Prochaska. I'm sure you didn't come here to be educated about psychology theories but I'm fresh out of grad school, studying intently for my license exam, and several of my text books were by the guy-- this is just the way I think!His theory was developed for substance use, but it applicable in other areas, like, changing eating habits!
Here's a brief visual. It's pretty simplistic.
So, here's a brief documentation of my cycle of change. Derek's was a little different. I'll share his later. (Don't you feel sorry for the guy that he's always subject to psychoanalysis?)
Pre-Contemplation (all my adult life):
The was my entire life up until about two years ago.
Contemplation (2ish years):
This was a long process. Somewhere around two years! It began when we had a speaker in my MOPS group about eating "real food." It all sounded good and all, but it sounded complicated, and well a little crazy. Geesh. I mean, we are mothers of preschoolers--Ain't nobody got time for that!! Besides, my food is easy, yummy, and it works with our budget. Why all the fuss??
What I see now is that the little seeds that were planted in my thoughts that started to question what foods I put into my body. Those seeds blossomed as time went on. I acquired knowledge here and there-- sometimes from blogs, books, friends! On facebook, I followed along as several friends made similar switches to diets that are distinctly opposite of the Standard American Diet.
Preparation (6 months):
Now this one process overlaps with the latter part of the previous category. I didn't fully take six months to actually prepare for our September menu, but the information that I absorbed into that time was necessary to prepare for the change! If I would've tried to make the switch prior to seeking as much information, tips, recipes, etc I can imagine that we would have failed. It was toward the end of my last semester and internship that I fully began to formulate an timeline on how to implement. I remember sitting at a Buffalo Wild Wings in July talking about how I wanted to test this new eating habit during the month of September because it'd be the first time I'd have to pour the time and energy into making it happen!
Action (6 weeks, current stage)
The actual change happened seemingly overnight and almost on accident. One day, Derek's mom watched the kids and we decided to hit the farmer's market and Whole Foods and we haven't looked back! We completely cleaned out our cabinets, our pantry, and our refrigerator and restocked with "real foods".
I'm not entirely certain how one progresses from action into maintenance regarding a change in eating habits. I'm in control of what I eat. I don't succumb to cravings-- I don't even have cravings which is the most foreign part of this new eating change. I feel like we're in a good grove, past the hardest part of the learning curve-- but six weeks still seems too new. Giving an actual time period is arbitrary, but I'll say that after day 100 we'll cross over to the maintenance stage.
A note regarding relapse:
Being that this model is mostly due to substance abuse and behavior change, relapse is a big deal. With our change in diet, I hardly feel it applies. I would define a relapse as a complete abandonment of our new "real food" lifestyle and embracing the standard american diet once again. With the knowledge that I have acquired and am still learning, I just can't comprehend a future when I want to go back to eating "food like substances" because the real stuff is just so much better, anyway.
Will we enjoy a treat, yes! Will I buy regular milk instead of waiting a week until I can go to a store for organic milk, yes! Will we go out to eat sometimes-- yes, oh yes, and I won't beat myself up for it either. Life happens. I will make the best decisions with the options that I have before me and I am comfortable with that.Derek's Cycle of Change
Now, the thing about the Cycle of Change is that the cycles are as unique as the individual. This is me speculating on Derek's behalf, but I bet I'm pretty close.
- Pre-contemplation (all of his adult life)
- Action (6 weeks)
- Contemplation (couple of weeks)
He is such a supportive husband that he dove right in with whatever I came up with! We had multiple conversations along the way, but he was in his supportive role as opposed to a personal desire to make a change. However, once we have made the switch he has done his own research and come to his own conclusions, which are similar to mine. Thankfully. :)So this was our process. I wanted to share because the concept of "real food" was very weird and so foreign to me once! (It's okay if you think that about me, now. I completely understand.) I guess I just thought the people were just born crazy or paranoid or maybe had too much free time!
But eventually that all changed and it changed because of the blogs and the books I read. I am by no means an nutritionist nor an expert in anyway. Click here to read about the changes we made as a family. Again, I'll direct you to 100 Days of Real Food, Food Babe, or any of Michael Pollans books for articles explaining the purpose and benefits of real food.
Here, I just wanted to share the journey-- the behind the scenes before we finally made the plunge. We're happier and healthier because of it!
I had more comments, emails, facebook messages and questions from friends in real life regarding our "real food" change than anything I've ever blogged about. Feel free to ask away and I'll do my best to answer! If there's something you'd like me to write about-- let me know!