President’s Corner for Early April, 2016
By Dr. Freda Bush
You know what doesn’t sound like fun? Changing my lifestyle to become healthier. In 2015, I cut out meats, sweets, sugar added drinks, and junk foods. I also began an exercise routine that entailed cardio exercise and strength training for an hour 3 mornings/week before coming home, taking a shower, then preparing to be at work by 8 am.
But can I tell you what does sound like a lot of fun…. Losing over 35 pounds and toning and strengthening my muscles, which increased my energy and stamina. Because of the lifestyle change, I was able to get back in some of my favorite clothes that I had held on to, but had not been able to wear in years. I even bought new clothes. I received compliments from family, friends and acquaintances, even telling me that I looked younger. As I look back over how I succeeded, I realize it began with someone presenting to me the need for change with pertinent information, in the right tone and with the right attitude.
In the last Medical Advisory, the Science Department began a series, “Creating a Desire for Change” based on the Transtheoretical Model of Health Behavior Modification. Several years ago MI developed a program to assist young people in changing their risky sexual behavior. The program called “Clinical Intervention” was presented to professionals who work with teens and young adults, including physicians and abstinence and health educators. Using the Transtheoretical model, professionals learn to identify individuals who desire to avoid sexual risk and help them bring about the changes needed to remain abstinent or return to abstinence. For several years, I have incorporated the change model into my medical practice and teachings.
Let me share the story of a young woman I had seen for several visits who had made the decision to “take a break” from sexual activity to sort out her relationship with her boyfriend. When she talked to her boyfriend about her decision, he was not receptive to the idea. He actually told her “Women are like gas stations. There is one on every corner.” His response was all she needed to confirm her reason for reevaluating their relationship and to strengthen her decision toward secondary abstinence. She then replied to him, “Well, this service station is closed.”
She said she now feels better about herself and that she would consider not resuming sex until she was sure of the relationship, perhaps even waiting for sex until marriage. A follow-up visit was then planned with her to assist her in developing her next steps to success. Only she can plan where she wants to go in her life by considering the next steps before she makes them.
Do you know what else sounds like fun? Presenting behavior change information with the right tone and the right attitude sounds like fun to me.