Alcoholism researchers developed this model. The model presumes that a consumer is in one phase of change at any given time. This model entails Maintenance, action, maintenance, preparation or pre-contemplation (Patrick 189). The concept is that consumers have to shift from one stage to the next. The stages prepare them to move to the next ones sequentially. This suggests that if consumers hurry through or if they skip stages they are likely to experience setbacks. In addition, different stages apply different strategies. For instance, a person who is addicted to smoking and is at the pre-contemplation stage: this means that the person is not even thinking of quitting the habit. Probably, such a person is always not ready to consider making a list of alternatives (Lucas 920).
This model has been successful in areas such as drug abuse, smoking, and alcohol. However, the model has been applied in changing health behaviors such as dieting and exercising. Health experts and clinicians have successfully used this model in counseling patients. However, this model cannot be used with health experts alone and anyone can try this model. Any consumer who is motivated to change his or her eating behavior needs to assess the situation and formulates strategies. In this section, I would recommend the TTM stages of change as well as ideas on how consumers can move through changing poor eating habits (Snooks 18).
Pre-contemplation: this is the stage where the consumers do not have any conscious attention that he or she needs a change. At this stage, the consumers believe that having poor eating habits is genetic in their family. Some may not have conscious because they might have tried in the past but failed and this might have demoralized them. Such consumers tend to avoid thinking, talking, or reading about healthy eating behavior. However, their interest and awareness may be noted by influence form other people such as emotional experiences, concerns from family members, illness, moving past pre-contemplation and the desire to live healthy until old age (Thompson and Manore 16).
Contemplation: in the studies and programs that use TTM, consumers who admit that they would like to change over a given period are categorized as contemplators. Consumer often spends too much time vacillating. At this phase, the consumer is aware that the eating behavior is not appropriate, and change is inevitable. At this stage, the consumer is still not committed to taking any action (Gurung 44). Because of ambivalence, the consumer may weigh and reweigh the costs and benefits associated with the change. Health clinicians have developed appropriate strategies of helping consumers unstuck themselves and move on to the next stage. This includes making a list of pros and cons or embracing the change. The consumers must examine the disadvantages and brainstorm how he or she can overcome them. For example, for most women, regular physical exercising is a bit in convincing and they have too little time for exercise. If this is a problem, then the consumer may separate it into small portions of time such as three sessions each taking 101 minutes. If this is impossible, then the consumer can purchase an exercise tape so that he or she can use it to exercise at home during free time (Patrick 190).
Preparation: at this phase, the consumer is aware that change is mandatory. The consumer believes that he or she can change and makes plans of changing soon. This includes joining a health club, adding calorie, or purchasing nicotine patches. At this stage, the consumer must anticipate potential setbacks. If the consumer is planning to cut down on calories, the consumer must be aware of situations that are likely to provoke unhealthy eating habits and make plans around them. If the workload is the cause of the poor eating habits, the consumer may plan his work so that by the time other people are taking their meals, he or she will also be able to take a meal. Similarly, the consumer should make a list of a realistic plan of action with realistic goals that can be achieved. If the consumer has desired to exercise more or if he has been sedentary, the consumer should begin by making his or her goal and avoid excuses. This can be effective in making a consumer work towards achieving ambitious goals (Patrick 193).
Action: at this phase, the consumer will have changed and adopted healthy eating habits. For example, this involves preparing to take an action. The consumer begins to experience the challenges of life in the context of the new behavior. It is necessary for the consumer to practice the alternatives he or she identified during the planning period. For example, if stress exerts pressure that makes the consumer to eat, healthy coping approaches can be used. Such strategies include deep breathing, exercise, or yoga. At this phase, it is vital for the consumer to be clear about the motivation. The consumer can write down the reasons why he or she is making such a change and read them regularly (Carlat 837).
Maintenance: after the consumer has practiced the new behavior for at least three months, he or she has entered the maintenance stage. At this stage, the consumer is working towards integrating the change in his or her life. This may need other changes that may trigger associations with the old eating habits. This can be tough as the consumer is focused on assimilating the new healthier eating behavior (Cummins and Lehman 224).
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