Are you ready for weight loss?


How to assess your readiness and take the next step

By Lizzie Streit, MS, RDN, LD

Are you ready to change your life and lose weight? An honest assessment is key to success. If you’re not ready for the lifestyle changes that will help you lose weight, you will be less likely to succeed. On the other hand, if you are fully prepared and committed to losing weight, you can begin reaping the benefits of Healthy For Life Meals. 

But how do you know if you’re ready? And what if you’re not ready? You can assess your readiness to lose weight by using the Stages of Change Model. And no matter where you find yourself on this readiness scale, you can take steps to move forward on your weight-loss journey.  


The Stages of Change Model

1. Level One: Pre-contemplation

Weight loss is a distant goal, and making intentional changes is not in your sights for at least the next six months. Even if you do understand the advantages of healthy eating and exercise, you may struggle with adjusting your mindset to appreciate the importance of weight loss for your overall health.

2. Level Two: Contemplation

You are open to change and are thinking about how you may make lifestyle changes within the next six months. You probably have not taken any steps to start losing weight, but you foresee that you will make changes soon and have started to resolve any barriers to change. Perhaps you have identified your social support network and the people and resources who will help you succeed. 

3. Level Three: Preparation

You intend to take steps within 30 days. You most likely have already made small changes. You are engaging in activities such as signing up for a weight-loss challenge, purchasing a gym membership or saving healthy recipes on Pinterest. Perhaps you have even created a meal plan or started logging your meals on a smartphone app.

4. Level Four: Action

You are consistently taking steps to lose weight. You are committed to eating healthy meals and have a schedule for your workouts and you stick to it. You have taken realistic steps to reach your weight loss goals and are starting to reap the rewards. You have cultivated social support from your friends and family, and may have joined healthy eating communities online or in person.

5. Level Five: Maintenance

You have been taking actions to lose weight for more six months. During this time, you have identified difficulties and challenges to losing weight and sticking with your plan, and you continue to come up with realistic solutions to overcome these barriers. You are now establishing your healthy eating and exercise routine as an integral part of everyday life for the foreseeable future.

How to Advance to the Next Level

If you find yourself in the pre-contemplation or contemplation stages of change, you may be wondering if you will ever be ready for weight loss. The good news is that you can certainly take steps to advance to the next level!

In the pre-contemplation stage, you will benefit from learning more about the advantages of weight loss, by reading websites and articles, seeking guidance from a doctor or dietitian, or listening to the supportive advice of a friend or family member. Discussing how your life would be different if you were successful with weight loss may also help you in this stage. 

In the contemplation stage, you may find yourself understanding the benefits of weight loss but struggling with ambivalence about adopting lifestyle changes. To get past this ambivalence, try to identify possible barriers to change and develop solutions to these challenges. For example, if you live alone and struggle with fresh produce going rotten before you can use it, think about alternatives such as purchasing frozen vegetables and fruit. You should also start to identify a support network of friends and family members who you can rely on in the later stages of change. 

After reaching level three, you will begin to feel as if you are at a turning point and should no longer feel ambivalent about losing weight. In this stage, try to engage in preparation activities that will make you feel as ready as possible to start taking action. In other words, set yourself up for your success. You can begin to write down small, attainable goals about diet and exercise. For example, you may set a goal of swapping out chips at lunch for an apple — a very specific and realistic goal.

After developing these goals, begin to take steps that will help you reach them, such as throwing out tempting foods and filling your kitchen with healthy items, or purchasing new workout gear and committing to an exercise class. Posting about your goals on social media, or sending a note to your family and friends about your intention to lose weight are other ways that you can prepare for weight loss.

In level four, you will start to take action. To maintain this action, continue to set small, realistic goals and lay out the steps to achieve them. In this stage, you will benefit from support from your social networks and loved ones, and may even enjoy joining online or in-person communities. You can also begin to consider reward possibilities. If you reach your diet and exercise goals for the week, make a point to get your nails done or relax with a massage. 

Finally, at level five, you will be working to maintain your success with weight loss. Maintenance activities include identifying scenarios that could hinder your plans, such as long days at work, weather changes that affect workout routines or social gatherings surrounding food. For each possible scenario, come up with realistic ways to troubleshoot and problem solve. If you get off track for a moment, do not get discouraged. Instead, reset and focus on realistic goals to keep you going. 

Note from Healthy For Life Meals: Have you identified your level of change? If you find yourself in the pre-contemplation or contemplation stages, make an effort to try some tactics to advance to the next stage. For those of you in the preparation phase, getting started with Healthy For Life Meals may be the final push you need to start taking action towards losing weight. If you have assessed your level of change as action or maintenance, our programs are an ideal way for you to continue your success! Our menus are designed to help you lose weight while enjoying nutritionally complete meals that taste great. Don’t hesitate to get started today. Let us handle the work of sticking to your healthy eating plan, so that you can reap the benefits!

Success StoryStef Keegan