Using the Health Belief Model for Change


Last week i facilitated a worksop on building resilience. I found it ironic that the majority of participants chose to fuel their minds and bodies throughout the day with biscuits, ciggies, mentos lollies, packets of crisps, fried food for lunch, sugary coffees and “energy” drinks. I chose to fuel my body with loads of water, a frittata for breakky, tuna salad for lunch (i even took myself outside to eat in nature), and a cashew and lemon bliss ball with herbal tea as a snack. My energy levels remained high throughout the day despite an early morning awakening (thanks World Cup grand final!), 4 hours of driving and 8 hours of workshop delivery. Some people also mentioned on their feedback how “the facilitator was really energetic throughout the day”.

I realise habits are really difficult to break, and i am no exception to this rule. In fact, it was my colleague Jo who encouraged me to come off gluten, dairy and sugar 4 years ago, and i thought back then that this was extreme and not worth it. I lasted all of two weeks on a cleanse to help with some skin issues, and rebounded right back to eating whatever i wanted soon after. It’s only been in this past year that i have seriously re-visited this idea and stuck at it for 9 months.

One of my favourite psychology models to help explain behaviour change is the Health Belief Model that i teach in Sport Psychology at university.

Applying this model to my own behaviour change, i can see how i needed a TRIGGER (health issues) which i perceived to be SEVERE enough to warrant change, where i then assessed the BENEFITS AND COSTS OF CHANGING and the BENEFITS AND RISKS OF STAYING THE SAME. Lastly, once a decision to make changes was reached, i needed to feel a strong degree of SELF-EFFICACY, or the belief in my ability to make and sustain the behaviour change.

Going back to my training group, i started to plant the seeds of change by exploring how nutrition relates to resilience. Without judgment, i encouraged people to start being cognisant of what foods and fuels they turn to when feeling stressed, and explained the physiology of the fight or flight response and how we tend to gravitate towards items that increase stress in the body such as caffeine and nicotine. I’m not expecting dramatic change but sometimes we just need to hear a message a few times before sitting up and paying attention for ourselves when the time is right.

Working as a health coach, i help people in a one on one context raise awareness of the effects of different foods and fuels on their bodies and minds, and create goal plans to support people to create and sustain healthy habits.

Want to learn more about my health coaching program? Email me on:

About psyched4success

"Psyched4Success" encapsulates the 4 foundations for Successful living: Heart - Emotions and Relationships Mind - Psychology and Thinking Body - Physical Health, Movement and Nutrition Spirit - Personal Essence, Values, Goals and Motivation I am a Psychologist with a passion for Holistic Health and Wellness, determined to inspire personal transformation in these foundational areas for success. When i am not working as a Psychologist, Corporate Trainer, and University Tutor, i love spending countless hours in the kitchen creating nutritious organic meals, inspired by a whole foods philosophy, free of gluten, sugar and dairy. I intend to share my creations with you here, as well as my journey from adrenal fatigue to health through my own personal, health, nutrition and lifestyle transformations. I am based in Sydney, Australia, but am an intrepid soul who sets an intention to visit a new destination each year.
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