One of the major keys to successful weight loss is accountability. Studies have found that being accountable to someone or something aids in the weight loss success rate among individuals. I think we can all attest that freshly baked buttery, cheesy, garlic bread can be much more inviting than a boring dinner salad…weakening our ability to make healthy choices. That is where an accountability system comes in handy. It is easier to make healthier choices when you know you have to answer to your trainer the next morning.
Although, an accountability system can be great for weight loss, it is important to note that it will all be a futile effort if a maintenance plan is not in place, and if healthy lifestyle changes are not made. The last thing you want to do is enter a weight loss competition, lose a bunch of weight really fast, and then gain it all back. In order to avoid that type of situation, choose your accountability system carefully, make sure it helps you make important lifestyle changes, and it isn’t a quick fix scheme. With that…here is a list of 10 accountability tips for weight loss:
Find someone close to you that has the same health related goals as you. Trade recipes with them, workout together, encourage each other, and have fun together. Make sure you choose a partner that wants you to succeed just as much as they want to succeed, and that can motivate and encourage you.
Set up a personal reward system. Once you meet your goals, reward yourself with a massage, pedicure, or shopping trip. Make small attainable goals (i.e. I am going to eat 5 servings of vegetables everyday for 1 week).
Keep a Food Diary
A food diary is a good way to look exactly at what you are eating during the day. It doesn’t even have to be everyday. It might be helpful to choose one day during the week and one weekend day to record what you ate. I use my What I Ate Wednesday posts to help keep me accountable, and more aware about what I am eating.
I hesitate putting this tip on my list, because it is really easy to get caught up in numbers. In fact Fannetasticfood.com has an excellent article arguing to throw away the scale…but the scale, tape measurements, or body fat measurements can be really effective for some people. Personally I weigh myself approximately every 2 weeks to make sure I am staying on track. It is a good way for me to stay accountable…but when I first started to heal, I quit weighing myself. I was letting the number on the scale control my mood…so if you choose to use a measurement system, make sure you have a healthy relationship with the measurement system you are using.
Keep a Fitness Diary
It can be hard to see progress at the gym, but a fitness diary can be a great accountability and motivational tool. Keep track of how much weight you are lifting, or how fast you are running on the treadmill. You may not realize you are getting faster or stronger. It can also be helpful to document how you felt during and after a workout, and then compare it to your food diary. Maybe on days when you felt you were dragging, you notice you hadn’t been fueling your body with the most nutritious foods. It can be a helpful way to determine cause and effect of what you eat.
Set a Long Term, Big Picture, Health Goal
I had a really good friend that lost 100 pounds, because she wanted to go on her husband’s favorite hike after he passed away. It took her three years to lose the weight, and be physically fit enough to go on the hike…but her long term goal was a great accountability tool, helping her to make important lifestyle changes. Maybe your goal isn’t as honorable, maybe you want to rock a bikini for your anniversary vacation in 6 months. Just make sure your health is a priority and you don’t do anything drastic when making these long term goals.
Join an online forum or find an app that will help you stay accountable. There are hundreds of weight loss forums and apps. Research a few and use them to your advantage.
Learn all you can about the benefits of eating vegetables or the dangers of processed sugar. Being educated makes it easier to make healthy choices, because you understand exactly how your choices may effect your body.
Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
If you are motivated by money, find someone who will make a friendly bet with you (i.e. $10 if you workout 20 days in one month). I have an uncle that hates to lose money, and would eat nothing but vegetables for a year in order to avoid losing any money, haha! Once again, please make sure you make healthy bets, and keep long term weight maintenance a priority instead of a quick fix.
Hire a Coach or Trainer
This was huge for me to lose my last 10 vanity pounds. I hired an online health coach that I had to check in with every week. It was a fabulous accountability tool for me. If you are able, I recommend hiring a coach.