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What is behavioral economics? Why does it matter to you?

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Podcast Episodes

What is behavioral economics? Why does it matter to you?

217. Changing Health with the “EATS” Model and the Healthy Behavior Institute

Today I’m joined by Scott Schutte and Dr. Janine Stichter, co-founders of the Healthy Behavior Institute. Scott is a personal trainer, weight loss behavior coach, gym owner, and fitness educator who has successfully guided thousands of people on their fitness journey. Janine (whom he calls “Dr. J”) has been in the field of behavior change for over 20 years as a researcher, author, educator, and practitioner. 

Her career has focused on understanding the “why” behind behavior and identifying clear practices that are practical and result in sustained change. As part of her research, she has procured over 14M in federal grants, published over 100 peer-reviewed articles and three books. (As well as chairing 40+ doctoral dissertations and masters committees, providing over 150 international and national presentations, and over 80 workshops.) 

Together, they co-founded the Healthy Behavior Institute, an educational platform for fitness professionals and gym owners that specialize in behavior modification. I was particularly interested in having on the show because they are changing an industry where everyone has just sort of accepted that people don’t do what they “should,” yet where everyone keeps doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results instead of trying something new. Thankfully, they have, and so I have asked them to enlighten us on the work they do and the advice they would give to others looking to do something similar – in any industry.

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IN A RUSH?

HERE'S A 2 MINUTE TIP.

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SHOW NOTES:

  • [00:44] In today’s conversation, I am joined by Scott Schutte and Dr. Janine Stichter (Dr. J), co-founders of the Healthy Behavior Institute.
  • [02:21] The Healthy Behavior Institute is an educational platform for fitness professionals and gym owners that specialize in behavior modification.
  • [05:14] Scott shares about himself, his background, and how his work is related to behavioral science. 
  • [06:06] Dr. J shares about herself, her background, and how her work is related to behavioral science. She has a doctorate in behavioral analysis.
  • [08:22] The case for the need for behavioral science often comes from a health or wellness example because it is an area where everyone knows what they “should” do…but behavior rarely changes. 
  • [09:50] Many times fitness trainers or the industry have misinformation because they are looking at things through their own lens. 
  • [11:50] A lot of us can do something for a period of time that is extreme but we don’t maintain it. 
  • [12:15] Behavior does not persist unless it is being reinforced and serving a purpose. 
  • [12:56] When they talk about the root causes they use the EATS Model – Escape, Attention, Tangible, and Sensory. 
  • [14:21] If we can figure out and help people figure out what the root cause of the behavior is then we can find a replacement that matches that. 
  • [16:09] Your eating behaviors and reasoning can flow throughout the day. 
  • [19:01] Having a guide through these changes is the fast track and going to keep you on point. 
  • [19:55] People go through different stages of life so they have different wants and desires. This is an ongoing process that we need to reevaluate and reconfigure along the way. 
  • [23:16] We need to focus on the minimum we need to do to trend in the direction of our goals. Tracking or journaling can be a short term learning tool but it is not something everyone has to do long term. 
  • [24:26] Your clients are coming with different personalities and different ways they are naturally wired – you need to meet them where they are at. 
  • [25:45] Using tracking or journaling at certain points can be helpful when necessary to educate or just give a better picture. 
  • [28:03] The EATS Model gives you a place to start to try to understand the behavior. 
  • [30:37] We don’t have to adjust everything every day. We could make adjustments a few days a week and still see an impact. 
  • [32:56] Understanding the problem and the behavior shift you are trying to make is so important. 
  • [34:32] Be cognizant of not trying to address the symptom but actually look at the why.
  • [35:55] Behavior is a manifestation of what is going on in our heads. It is just an outward expression and we often need to get past that symptom. 
  • [38:39] In behavior analysis and research the EATS Model is called the four functions of behavior and it applies to all industries. 
  • [39:48] Any one thing can be all of those things (escape, attention, tangible, and sensory) at any given time. 
  • [41:46] Melina shares her closing thoughts.
  • [43:26] Taking the time to explore and explain how every behavior could be a source of Escape, a way to get Attention, getting something Tangible, or being Sensory is a great way to better understand (and potentially shift) that behavior.
  • [45:08] Thank you to Andrew Gavigan for recommending this week’s guest! If you have a recommendation for someone you think should be a guest on the show or a concept or topic you want to be sure I cover please reach out to me through email or social media.
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