March 8th marks the global celebration of International Women's Day (IWD) and brings recognition and praise to all the achievements women have attained in our society’s social, economic, cultural and political areas. The campaign theme for IWD 2017 is #BeBoldForChange. Along with supporting women and girls on their journeys to be successful in their ambitions, IWD hopes to bring more awareness and action with bold movements towards a greater change for women and gender parity. By reflecting on today’s importance, the trials and tribulations women have encountered and continue to endure women can unite together, empower, encourage and inspire one another in helping shape the future of women in our world. We, at Westwind, understand the significance and the fundamental value of celebrating women and helping women see the celebration within themselves. By encouraging, supporting and empowering women to be courageous and confident in their own decision-making changes can occur in their lives and recovery from an eating disorder becomes possible. But we all know change can be scary. Recovery can be scary. To make things easier sometimes knowing what the recovery process will entail can make all the difference in taking that first step. The Stages of Change model identifies the different stages a person can cycle through as they attempt to modify their thoughts/behaviours and set out on the path to recovery. The model contains 5 levels which are characterized by a person’s readiness and their specific thoughts, feelings and behaviours associated with that. STAGE 1. PRE-CONTEMPLATION In this stage, the person does not recognize they have a problem or a need for change. Other people may notice behaviours such as preoccupation of weight/appearance, restrictive eating habits, bingeing, purging, over-exercising, etc. However, the person will deny or become defensive if approached about these behaviours. STAGE 2. CONTEMPLATION In this stage, the person realizes there is a problem, but might appear to be on the fence or not yet prepared to make any necessary changes. A person will be quite fearful of change in this stage and will usually require further assistance in weighing the pros and cons of their situation. STAGE 3. PREPARATION In this stage, the person begins preparing to take the necessary steps required by them to be further engaged in their recovery process. They will begin to identify certain triggers and possible barriers they may encounter and learn new coping skills to overcome those obstacles. They also learn to set goals and develop realistic plans of action. STAGE 4. ACTION In this stage, the person implements their plan of action and creates real modifications in their recovery towards achieving their goals. This is typically the stage when the person confronts the eating disorder head on.
STAGE 5. MAINTENANCE In this stage, the person has had long-term progress in sustaining their new, desired lifestyle and is committed to their goals in recovery and prevention of relapse. Some people may feel they are finally ready to terminate treatment with supports as they are more confident and comfortable in utilizing healthier coping skills. It is important to understand that each stage has its challenges and therefore, the model does not follow a linear progression. It is very possible for a person to start at any one of the stages as well as bounce back and forth between stages. If you or someone you love is suffering from an eating disorder, one of the most important changes that can be made is moving from the Pre-contemplation stage to the Contemplation stage. Once there is awareness of the disorder, only then can seeds of hope be planted for change and the possibility of growth can occur. This is where boldness begins! Connect with positive supports, have an open and honest conversation about the issues you’re struggling with and allow yourself to #BeBoldForChange! Dare to transform an eating disorder into a recovery possible for you! Please join us in celebrating women today, for International Women’s day, and always!