Guest Post: An expert in behavior change

We are in our new house and busy unpacking! I hope you all are enjoying your weekend!

Today, the beautiful Kara of My Wellnest is sharing with us her expertise on behavior change. Kara knows her stuff — she not only has a master’s degree in health but also wrote a thesis on the topic of behavior change. If you are in the health care field or interested in making healthy choices in your life…listen up to this lady!

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Hello PreventionRD readers! It’s a pleasure to be guest blogging on PreventionRD, one of my favorite blogs! Thanks Nicole for the opportunity!  I’m Kara from the healthy living blog MyWellnest. I’m a 28 year old Vermonter on a on a quest to promote health and wellness in my own life, as well as the life of others.

Of all the health and wellness topics out there, one of my favorite topics is health behavior change, and specifically the attitudes and beliefs behind what makes us successful or unsuccessful in changing our health behavior long term.

I wanted to start a discussion about barriers to change, a concept taken from The Health Belief Model that helps explain the obstacles that come with changing a health behavior, for example exercising regularly or adapting healthy eating habits.  A few years ago I made a health behavior change, faced barriers, and overcame them. I thought I would share my story with you.

A few years ago I realized that my diet was almost entirely lacking in vegetables and I wanted to incorporate more vegetables into my diet. Even more than just add vegetables to my diet, I wanted to start enjoying vegetables as well. I soon realized I was up against two different barriers.

  1. I was afraid I wouldn’t like the taste and texture of the new vegetables I was trying.
  2. I didn’t know how to prepare vegetables in a way that made them appealing and enjoyable.

I approached the first barrier the only way I knew how; I hid and masked vegetables in foods that I already liked, green peppers on pizza, spinach in sandwiches and broccoli in a calzone just to name a few. This method worked for me, and slowly I began enjoy vegetables not only on pizza, but on their own as well.

The second barrier was a little bit trickier for me and to be honest I’m still learning how to cook and prepare certain vegetables. However, I’ve discovered that healthy living blogs, such as PreventionRD, provide a wealth of recipes, knowledge, and inspiration. Not long after I began reading healthy living blogs I discovered the genius that is the green monster, and that was life changing!

Question: What health behavior changes have you made or would you like to make? Did you come up against any barriers to change and if so how did you overcome them? Are you currently facing any barriers to change?

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Thanks, Kara!

Eat your veggies,

Share With Your Friends!

8 Comments

  1. July 31, 2010 / 5:54 am

    Yum, everything looks excellent! I love veggies, but their texture is definitely something that one has to get used to. Right now my barrier to change includes many summer parties, which keep me drinking and eating too much! We don’t go to many, but when they pop up it’s hard to say no.

    Nicole, can’t wait to see your new house!!!

  2. July 31, 2010 / 6:25 am

    One of my biggest barriers is my food allergies which makes it hard to make a lot of the delicious recipes I see. Another big barrier is cookies/sweets – I find it very hard to resist them.

    One large behavior change I have made is eating a lot less meat and trying to incorporate more beans into my diet.

  3. July 31, 2010 / 7:12 am

    Behavior change is definitely the hardest part of trying to live a better and healthier life! It’s all well and good to do something for a few days but in order to really make some permanent changes…you’ve got to change your entire way of thinking! I love your idea of incorporating things little by little…the only way to go.

  4. July 31, 2010 / 10:15 am

    Thanks for the post, it was a very enjoyable one to read. 😀
    I am constantly trying to incorporate more fruits and veggies in my diet so I could really relate to this post.
    -Erika 😛

  5. July 31, 2010 / 10:37 am

    Thanks Kara for this excellence post! I love the change and it is easy for me to change for certain period… sometime I came back to be the same…but sometime I really over come the change barrier. It’s more difficult to convince other to change though… like the way I’ve tried to change the members of the family to like certain veg or be more healthy!
    The best change I’ve ever succeed was learn to love bitterguard juice.

  6. July 31, 2010 / 12:11 pm

    Hooray for the Health Belief Model! Great post, thanks. I am not only an RD, but I have a MPH degree as well, so this is one model I have studied well. In practice, this is the hardest thing. There are always barriers and it is all about how the client perceives these barriers.

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