That’s the all-important question. People succeed with their dietary goals much more often when they have the support of a coach. However, we do know that change is most likely to happen when people are “ready”. And that’s a hard state to define.

For example, some habits take more than one “try” to break. Take the average smoker, who may try to quit seven times before stopping for good. Despite the fact that those early attempts feel discouraging, they probably do contribute more to the quitters’ success, in the end, than most of us give them credit for. In other words, people’s efforts to change sometimes prepare the ground—the mind, the body—for the lasting change that’s so important.

It’s a Process

In fact, current research suggests that change happens in stages: in the first stage, a person isn’t even thinking about changing. Then that person may start to consider change as a good option. Getting ready to actually make the change—getting information, thinking about methods, trying different ways of doing things—comes next. Finally, a person takes the action needed to break the habit or engage in the new behavior as targeted.

Prepare for Something Different

Thinking of change this way suggests that our efforts, even if at first they don’t succeed, may well be helping to prepare the mind and body for doing something in a completely new and different way. When it comes to eating, this is particularly important, as our habits are often very long-standing and strong. And efforts to change may not have succeeded for many reasons. Sorting out these reasons and aiming to develop new habits that will last a lifetime is what’s required if you are to eat, and keep on eating, sanely.

Feeling Ready vs. Being Ready

Ideally, you will be ready to take action when you first connect with your coach. If you are not, however, you still may benefit from the learning and preparation that can occur. Some of the questions below will help you think about how “ready” you are. You can discuss these issues during your initial evaluation with a coach, or use them as a guide in your goal-setting for the coming weeks and months.

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HOW READY AM I? (These are general areas to think about when looking at changing your eating habits for good—you don’t necessarily need to be “very ready” in every department to get started—use your responses to see where the work ahead may lie.)

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