Motivation is a very important part of the treatment and recovery process from an eating disorder. Changes need to be made to the attitudes and behaviours that prevent a person from achieving good physical and mental health.
The Stages of Change model can be applied to the field of eating disorders to explain why some people may feel more ready than others to introduce changes that lead to recovery from the disorder.
This model seeks to understand a person’s motivation towards achieving change and recovery and is made up of five stages of change that people may move through. Everyone is different, and some people may pass backwards and forwards between the following stages:
In the pre-contemplation stage a person with an eating disorder will most likely be in denial that there is a problem. The people around them may have noticed some of the warning signs, but they will have little or no awareness of the problems associated with their disordered eating. Instead, they may be focused on controlling their eating patterns.
A person with an eating disorder in the contemplation stage will have an awareness of their problems and may be considering the benefits of changing some of their behaviours. They swing between wanting to change and wanting to maintain their disordered eating habits.
In this stage the person with the eating disorder has decided they want to change their behaviour and is preparing to make these changes.
A person with an eating disorder in the action stage has decided they want to change and will need support to help them take the first steps towards recovery. The person can move backwards and forwards in their development during this stage and relapse can be common.
In the maintenance stage a person with an eating disorder will have changed their behaviour and may be focusing on maintaining their new, healthier habits while learning to live without an eating disorder. It is still possible for a person to relapse at this stage.
For more detailed information on the five Stages of Change and how to help, click here