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The Health Belief Model (HBM), according to the University of Twente, is a psychological principle that helps explain the decisions people make in regard to their own health. Your perceptions about your weight and the associated stress that comes with being unhealthy can prevent you from motivating yourself to exercise. The HBM impacts why people decide to exercise, what mentally prevents them from exercising, and what perceived rewards they stand to gain from exercising. This psychological principle can be applied consciously to help you motivate your workout, reduce stress, and achieve your goals.
As a first course of action, set a realistic goal for yourself in regard to your weight loss or ideal level of fitness. This goal will be your motivation for sticking to a weight loss plan. Make sure this goal is realistic; if you cannot imagine reaching it, the intended effect within the HBM will be absent. Believing in the benefits of your new behavior will let you bypass the difficulty of exercising and sticking to a weight loss plan. Your goal should act as a catalyst for changes in your normal routine.
Next, recognize the dangers that face you if you do not adopt an exercise routine and weight loss plan. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recognizes that an individual who is overweight has a significantly higher risk for coronary heart disease, cancers, and hypertension, among others. You shouldn't live in fear of these conditions, but the seriousness of obesity is a good reason to change your lifestyle to adopt exercise and weight loss.
Reducing your overall stress will make it easier to be consistent with a workout routine. Stress can be caused by the consequences of not exercising, the novelty of a new routine, or the prospect of breaking some familiar but unhealthy habits. Obsessing over the dangerous health conditions of inactivity can contribute substantially to your stress; instead, focus on your goals and the positive effects of exercising. Try and block out any negative associations that could cause your stress. By using the HBM to approach weight loss and exercise from a positive perspective, you'll reduce the associated stress.
The final step in applying the Health Belief Model to your routine is recognizing the challenges that are preventing you from losing weight. These challenges, such as scheduling a workout, pushing through difficult exercises, or transitioning to healthy eating habits need to be addressed directly. According to Nancy K. Janz from the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education at the University of Michigan, barriers are the most significant obstacle to changes in behavior.
- Understanding your own psychology is a good way to apply the HBM to your life. For example, if you know that you're less motivated to exercise after a long workday, consider exercising before work when you're more motivated for a better workout. Prevent stress from becoming a barrier to your weight loss through positive reinforcement.