‘Behaviour change’


Behaviour change is the new buzz word for how to get people to change their lifestyle for the better; this could be to lose weight, give up smoking or take up exercise. It is the way that most dietitians now ‘treat’ our clients. The emphasis is to get the client to come up with the ideas (maybe with some prompting!) and gets you to set some achievable goals (known as SMART goals).  The secret is to not set out to achieve too many goals at once!.   It also gets the client monitoring their progress and maybe marking off achievements on a chart. It also gets the client rewarding themselves when a certain goal is achieved. Usually we set many time specific mini goals in order to break down a more daunting longer term goal. Behaviour change also involves exploring barriers to change and looks at what caused failure to change in the past. Both the client and the dietitian can then set about overcoming those barriers.


A team of  researchers from UCL showed that people could lose weight by adopting new healthy habits and the more healthy habits that were adopted, the more weight that was lost*.  These habits ranged from having five a day to reading food labels.**  .  So set yourself a SMART goal or two, and when you have masrtered those and feel ready, set another goal.  You will find your weight dropping and your health improving

You will see more on behaviour change in this website

*P.Lally, A.Chipperfield & J. Wardle  (2007) Healthy habits: efficacy of simple advice on weight control based on a habit -formation model.  Int J Obes 32 (4) pp 700-707

** these healthy habits, called ‘Top ten tips for healthy weight’  are published by Cancer Research UK and Weight Concern





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