I have gone through several changes in my life, most of which have been easier to recognize and change. However, I have been overweight for much of my adult life. The most I have weighed was about 215, and that is very high for someone who is only 5’4’’. Today, I weigh about 180, try to exercise everyday, and eat fairly healthy. However, I do eat sweets and junk food much too often. I do lose some weight, maybe five pounds at a time, but I usually procrastinate or give myself a break.
I end up going through a yo-yo pattern; lose some, gain some, and then repeat. In order for me to change this behavior, I need to change myself from the inside out by going through John Kotter’s eight steps for change.
For change to happen, I need to see that there is a need to change my thinking and behavior. Doing a personal SWOT analysis will make me better aware of what I want to accomplish.
My strengths are that I know how it feels when I do lose weight, I am able to use exercise equipment at home, and I have lost 30-40 pounds before and continue to keep that weight off. Other people, including my family and other classmates, have seen that I have been successful with challenges I have faced before. However, my weaknesses include not always being sure of myself and sometimes putting off exercise and healthy eating until tomorrow. Or I will not exercise for a couple days and think I will pick it back up in a couple days or when I am not busy.
Some opportunities that are available to me are to seek out a fitness trainer or go to the recreation center every time I am at the Main Campus. Threats that I encounter are having assignments and such for school and taking care of my brother, who needs constant care because of brain cancer. Because of this, I get burned out and think negatively about myself, which impacts whether I exercise or not.
In any case, I need to act immediately in order for me to lose weight. If I do not act now, then I will keep getting the same results or get worse. I do not want to go back to where I was when I was 215, because I remember how often I got short-of-breath and thought negatively about myself. My father’s side of the family has a history of high blood pressure and heart disease, so if I do not take care of this now, I will be eventually feeling the effects of me being overweight. If I act on these behaviors now, I will be able to move better and have a more positive attitude toward myself. Other people may look at me different in a good way as well.
I know I cannot go through this process alone. I need a support system to keep me accountable and on track. I could talk to family members that value my efforts to exercise regularly, eat healthier, and lose weight. I can receive help from a fitness trainer who can show me how to exercise effectively. I could also start going to Weight Watchers meetings where I can talk to people going through the same issues and struggles I have. It would also be beneficial for me to have someone to exercise with so if I do get off track or feel unmotivated, that person can reenergize my thinking and behavior.
My mother and I share caregiver responsibilities to my brother. Whenever she works, I take over the caregiver role. After I am done tending to his needs, I am often tired or busy doing other things. I am fairly busy doing chores and such until after lunch, at which time there are a couple hours for me to relax. I usually watch TV and have a snack or two, albeit an unhealthy snack. I will change this habit into some more productive by eating healthy snacks, such as fruits and vegetables. When I am at school, I usually get something from the vending machine or purchase an unhealthy item from a fast food restaurant for convenience. I plan on making a salad or a sandwich and bring that to school
I have been able to exercise regularly, but that has been very minimal. Or, I will want to exercise for a large amount of time, say 45 minutes to an hour, but as I exercise, I lose the motivation to exercise that long, only working out for about 20 minutes. Currently, I have been lax on exercising because of coming back to school and all the demands that come with it; commuting, class time, and coursework.
So, instead of waiting until after I am done with everything, I will exercise beforehand. What I plan on doing is exercise for about 25-30 minutes right after I wake up in the morning. When I am done with chores or coursework, I plan to exercise for about fifteen minutes at a time. I plan to get to Kent State earlier so that I can walk outside or go to the fitness center before class and exercise right after class for about 15-20 minutes. When I am working on coursework, I will only do it in 30-45 minutes intervals so that I can take a break to stretch my legs and exercise.
In order for this change to work, I need to effectively communicate this to myself and to my support system as much as possible. I will tell myself every day that I look and feel better and say affirmations, like “I will feel better when I exercise”. I will communicate through meeting face-to-face with family members and other people supporting me, allowing them to give me constructive criticism on my progress and show me how to improve. This should be done multiple times to let them know that this change and their opinions matter.
I will put the strategies I developed into action. I will allow myself to do these actions because thinking about will not get me anywhere. Buying and eating healthy and staying away from unhealthy food will help me see that I am progressing. I know I cannot have several cheat days in a row, because if I do, that will undermine my progress. I know I will slip up at some point or give myself an opportunity for a cheat day, so I need couple this with exercising more to counteract with this.
I allowed my support system to start giving me feedback on my plans and progress. If they see me being lax with eating healthy, they should call me out on it and keep me accountable. Sometimes, they noticed that I am not eating right, so they are encouraging me to eat an apple, orange, or a salad as an additive to a meal. They are also encouraging me to exercise if they notice that I am being sedentary for more than an hour at a time.
I started making salads at home and buying fruit and bringing that to school instead of always buying fast food. I did go to a fast food restaurant last week, but I purchased a salad instead a burger and fries. I bought a calendar and started making an hourly schedule, so I know when I need to do things and when I have free time. I am giving myself a timeframe, such as 30 minutes, to work on assignments, then giving myself a break to exercise. I also started writing down how long I exercise and how many times I exercise daily.
My plans to further produce results are to wake up 30 minutes earlier every morning so I can exercise before I get ready for the day. I plan to go to sleep not as late as I do now. I will also set an alarm to wake up and get up at the first alarm. I plan to exercise more before and after class. I will make this happen by leaving my house earlier so I can arrive on campus earlier. I will go different ways to class so I will not feel complacent and the walk will not be mundane. Since this class ends around lunchtime and is close to downtown Kent, I plan to sometimes walk there and then walk back to campus.
I will hold on to this change, making sure this new way of losing weight works and not going back to old patterns. I will continue to allow my support system to give me feedback. I will accept this feedback, be open to new ideas, and have an open mind. When I get discouraged and want to not exercise or give up, I will contact a support member and let them know how I am doing.
My goal is to make healthy eating and exercise a lifestyle. I will continue to have fruits and vegetables with meals, but I plan to mix it up so I won’t become disinterested in this plan. I will have a mixture of fruits and have different ingredients in salads. I will continue to find ways to be unpredictable with my exercise routine so I won’t be complacent. I will also make I am monitoring how much time I am spending away from exercise by continuing to document my progress and keep a schedule.
Through this process, I can see that I will be able to change to way I exercise and eat. Most times, I was able to see small changes, but I went back into old patterns. Now I see I can push through that by not being complacent, more positive, and having people who will rally around and encourage me.