Overcoming Resistance


Theresa, mom to three young children, is ready to make some changes to the families’ current food habits. She has identified that the open pantry filled with tasty snacks is causing some problems. Namely, the children pick from the pantry all day, and then do not want to eat the meals she prepares. She recognizes the snack foods are not as nutritious, and she is worried about all the food waste from uneaten meals. She is thinking that she will go home and get rid of all the snack foods.

What might be some of the expected set-backs to this? Think about what open ended questions you might ask her to elicit her problem-solving and/or preparing for them ahead of time.

Addressing Resistance to Change: Overview

Behavior change is not easy. Some behaviors may be deeply rooted in culture or family history. Other behaviors may be done because they work. We all have behaviors that we rely on each day without thinking too much about them or expending much energy. Changing a behavior takes thought and effort.

There are several theories of behavior change. One of the most commonly used theories in nutrition is the social cognitive theory. According to social cognitive theory, a person's behavior results from an interaction between personal (e.g. thoughts) and environmental factors. The influence goes both ways. A person’s behavior can influence the environment, and the environment can influence a person’s thoughts. This means that it is important not only to address the beliefs (e.g. soda isn't bad for me) and behavior (e.g. drinking soda every day) that need changing, but also the environment that makes the behavior possible (e.g. buying soda and having it available in the home).

The motivation to make these changes is believed to involve both a belief that the change is important (e.g. I just learned how much sugar soda has and that can't be good for me) and a sense of confidence in one’s ability to make the change happen (e.g. flavored water actually tastes good and is easy to make - I could easily drink that instead). Programs intending to result in behavior change must address both – a belief that change is important as well as the understanding for how to enact the change in an effective way.

Nutrition Educator Training

Read the Scenario at the top of this page.

Then read through the materials on Overcoming Resistance: Overview, Application, and Tips.

Note the Additional Resources (but you do not need to read them all at this time).

Please RIGHT CLICK the link below and select "open in a new window".

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