My diabetes Kit, Desang Diabetes Magazine, Vanessa Haydock diabetes personal trainer

21

LIVING

Body talk

Vanessa Haydock shares her advice on how to make

positive changes in everyday life without necessarily

having to break into a sweat to do so.

Before founding her company

www.vhhealthcoaching.co.uk

Vanessa Haydock studied for a

degree in psychology then a Masters

in Applied Behaviour Analysis

(ABA), becoming a board-certified

behaviour analyst (BCBA), and a

consultant in changing human

behaviour. She is particularly

interested in how our environment

impacts our behaviour.

One of Haydock's primary

concerns is how people can develop

strategies to modify behaviours so

that they increase positive habits

and reduce negative habits. Here she

explains her attitude based on her

learnings both of living with diabetes

and her studies of how to affect

positive behaviour change to improve

health outcomes.

Behaviour relates

to everything that

we do.

Are you ready

to change your

behaviours?

The most important thing is that we

need to be ready to, and that relates

to the 'stages of change'.

This starts with (1) precontemplation

leading onto (2)

contemplation and then to (3)

preparation. This might be the

stage at which you decide to join a

gym. The next stage is to (4) make a

change, putting something in place

for the better. The final stage (5) is

maintenance - maintain that change.

It takes at least 21 days to get a

new habit in place; we can also use

strategies to keep you going. But I

repeat, I do not advise to change too

much at once.

Evidence based strategies

Shaping

This involves slowly shaping up

the behaviour we want to work on,

focusing on making small steps. For

example increasing the number of

steps you do per day. Getting straight

to that is a jump, so what you can do

is start by doing 5,000 steps per day

over a period of time, then increase

after several weeks to 7,000 steps per

day then 9,000 then 11 then 12.

Another example relates to how

decrease unhealthy behaviours. I love

fizzy diet drinks, particularly Diet

Coke. I set myself goals to reduce the

number of cans I had per day, using

shaping to bring the number down

slowly. That meant I started with five

cans a day and went down to four,

then from four to three, then three

to two, and finally from two to one.

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