A JOURNEY OF SELF-DISCOVERY | NUTRITION AND SOCIAL MARKETING

For a while now, I’ve been meaning to eat better and live healthier, and MARK320 gave me the nudge to do so. What better way to start?

Upon researching why living healthier is beneficial to society, and myself, it is clear that the only reason to do so isn’t just ‘weight loss’. According to Charlotte Andersen’s article ’45 Compelling Reasons to Exercise and Eat Right That Aren’t Weight Loss’ (2015) she argues that Living Healthier can reduce stress and anxiety and just make you an all around happier person. The British Journal of Health Psychology (White, B., Horwath, C. and Connor, T., 2013) discovered that when young adults ate more fruits and vegetables, they started feeling calmer, happier, and much more energetic than normal. This data showed that these positive feelings were a direct result from a healthier diet. Not only was the prospect of weight loss enough for me to start eating healthier, but also these facts about how it could affect my mental state, and in turn how it could affect society. When you live a healthier life, it shows in your everyday life – if I’m happier and more energetic, then this can come across to those I work with, or go to Uni with.

Prochaska and DiCelemente’s ‘Stages of Change’ (trans-theoretical) model (1983) insinuates stages for people’s readiness to attempt change. The stages include Pre-Contemplation, Contemplation, Preparation, Action, Maintenance and Termination. This model is extremely relatable to my journey, as I can knowingly place myself in each stage during my journey.

For example, when I began the semester and was told to choose a social marketing issue to pursue, I was contemplating whether to eat healthier or to drink more water everyday. This can be seen as the contemplation stage. I undertook the Preparation stage when I went to my cupboard and threw every packaged or processed food into the rubbish and went on a ‘healthy eating shop’. The night I went on my healthy eating shop, I had my first healthy meal. I ate brown rice, with mushrooms and tuna, and my personal favourite – rocket, pear, walnut, pine nut and Parmesan cheese salad. This can be seen as the action stage.

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Unfortunately, the weekend I began eating healthier, it was my mum’s birthday, and we decided to go to the Harbourfront for dinner. Now, if there’s one thing that I cannot give up, it’s Pasta, and the temptation for Sweet Potato Tortellini took over – but I still had a side salad (Does that count?). Unfortunately, this was a relapse, and I began eating better the next day. I’m feeling better about myself now that I’ve continued eating healthy, and I don’t care for junk as much as I used to – I’m now working on the maintenance stage of the model.

My goal – adhering to the SMART framework, is to take it day by day, eat the best meals I possibly can, and maybe even starting to exercise more. I aim to have lost at least 5 kilograms by the end of this semester. Mostly, I want to create a healthier life style for not only myself, but for my family as well. As I’ve begun this journey, those around me, including my family and my partner have also noticed the change in my positiveness and my eagerness to be healthy, and are beginning to take the journey with me, which is really exciting for all of us.

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According to French, J. and Gordon, R. (2015), the Health Belief Model was one of the first social cognition models focused on health decision making. The model indicates a focus on threat, perceived vulnerability and the efficacy of recommended actions that forms an approach to influencing behaviour. The four key constructs of the model include: perceived susceptibility, perceived severity, perceived barriers and perceived benefits. In relation to my journey and the Health Belief Model, I can relate to the perceived barriers and perceived benefits segments of the model.

For example, a barrier that I have in regards to healthy eating, is working at, and my father owning, a Pizza Restaurant. Pasta and Pizza are possibly my two most favourite foods, and cutting these out of my diet completely has been difficult. Yet, the perceived benefits are self-confidence, happiness, energy and just feeling better about my body in general.

Beginning this journey and sustaining the healthy eating definitely hasn’t been easy. Especially with the stresses and workload at Uni and working two jobs. Last week I had a really stressful assignment in on of my Journalism classes, that had me not eat until 8pm at night, because I was so busy and stressed. It also isn’t easy when a ‘family dinner to celebrate Oli’s Birthday’ means booking out half the Fraternity Club, because your family is so big, and eating ‘rocket salad’ as everyone else enjoys their pasta and chicken parmigiana. It’s also hard when your aunty invites you over for Home Made Pasta, and you really want to go, because it’s your favourite meal in the world, yet you can’t.

Although it’s only been 2/3 weeks of my healthy journey, I’ve already learnt a lot about myself, self control, my happiness, within myself and concerning those around me, and I’m really excited to see how the rest of the journey pans out.


REFERENCES:

  • Andersen, Charlotte. ’45 Compelling Reasons To Exercise And Eat Right That Aren’t Weight Loss’.Greatist. N.p., 2015. Web. 17 Aug. 2015.
  • French J & Gordon R 2015 Stratigic Social Marketing, SAGE Publications, London UK
  • Kolter P & Zaltman G 1971, Journal of Marketing (pre-1986), Social Marketing: An Approach to Planned Social Change, pg 3.
  • Robinson, Eric et al. ‘What Everyone Else Is Eating: A Systematic Review And Meta-Analysis Of The Effect Of Informational Eating Norms On Eating Behavior’. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 114.3 (2014): 414-429. Web.
  • White, Bonnie A., Caroline C. Horwath, and Tamlin S. Conner. ‘Many Apples A Day Keep The Blues Away – Daily Experiences Of Negative And Positive Affect And Food Consumption In Young Adults’. British Journal of Health Psychology 18.4 (2013): 782-798. Web.
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