Community-based healthy lifestyle program that is highly effective in improving activity, food and nutrition, and body image.
In response to state statistics that many Montanans aren’t eating well, don’t enjoy physical activity, or have poor body image, educators in Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana collaborated to offer the Steps to A New You program to over 915 participants as part of an applied research project from 2004-2007. The program was developed by Wellness in the Rockies, a three-state university consortium funded by the USDA. The seven sessions Steps to A New You program uses hands-on experiences, pedometers and record-keeping tools to help participants develop new attitudes and behaviors related to food, physical activity, and body image.
The program doesn’t prescribe a certain amount of exercise or a particular diet. Rather, it uses discussion, self-monitoring through pedometer use, and real-life demonstrations of concepts such as portion size and healthy snacking. After presenting ideas for participants to think about and discuss, participants had the rest of the week to digest the information and find sustainable changes they could fit into their lives on their own.
The program isn’t about seeking beauty or perfection as defined by the media and other external sources, but rather seeking healthy physical, nutritional and emotional changes that will work for each individual person. The program seems to be achieving just that, with participants noting important healthful changes from the class. For example one participant stated “I’m trying to listen to my body, eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’m full,” and another participant who calculated she sat for 10 hours a day started walking to and from work, increasing her activity and reducing stress.
Note: This MSU Extension program is not offered on a regular basis and is not currently offered. Please visit the MSU Extension website for more information about what programs are currently offered.