Eating Disorder Recovery – Stages of Change

  • Pre-Contemplation (resisting change): This is either a denial of the problem, or an awareness of the problem with an unwillingness to change.  Patients do NOT want to change.  Patients feel HOPELESS.
  • Contemplation (change on the horizon): There is an awareness of a problem, an understanding of the pros and cons of change, yet there is a fear of change.  Patients weigh the pros and cons of change and say things like “I know I should but….”
  • Preparation (getting ready): There is a clear awareness of the problem and the need to learn how to change.  Patients may experiment with small changes.
  • Action (time to move): The person starts to terminate unhealthy behaviors and develop new, more positive behaviors.  Patients need praise and motivation.
  • Maintenance (staying there): action behaviors are practiced and continually reinforced until they become automatic and last for an extended period of time.  Discouragement about ‘slip ups’ may halt the change process.  Patients must stay motivated.