Keeping Accountable to Reach Your Goals
When you decide to lose weight, or make any other lifestyle change, it’s easy to jump all in with enthusiasm, but what happens when that starts to fade? For some it can mean falling off the wagon. This doesn’t have to be you. If you set up a good system of accountability, there will be plenty of things to keep you on the proverbial weight loss wagon.
What do I Mean When I say "Accountability?"
In vague terms- something to keep you on track. Something or someone to answer to. A way to take responsibility for your actions. Accountability isn’t meant to punish you if you mess up, it’s meant to motivate you to succeed.
Accountability Comes in Many Flavors
What do you think of when you think of accountability? If you’re an extrovert you may think of examples like having a gym buddy to workout with or a support group. If you’re an introvert, you may think of examples such as using a goal-oriented journal or taking pictures of your progress. The good news is that looking outwards and inwards are both great ways to stay accountable.
Support of friends or loved ones- Enlisting the help of loved ones can go a long way. The people that love you and support you can be your greatest asset if you let them. They'll be there to encourage you and celebrate your successes with you. I know that I'm much more likely to go for my Sunday morning bike ride if I've told someone I'm going, or better yet, have a friend to ride with.
Support of a professional: This can be a personal trainer, a nutritionist, your doctor, or even a therapist. We can help you set goals, keep you on track, and help you trouble-shoot along the way. If you have specific health conditions, this is a good option for you because you might benefit from additional expertise. Sure, your best friend might be great at keeping you away from the ice cream, but would they know the best exercises to strengthen your obliques, or what vitamins to take for blood sugar regulation? Not always, so don't be afraid to consult a professional.
If you’re not sure that relying on another person for accountability is for you, there is good news. Self-accountability IS a thing, and it DOES work. Pick a tool to help you along the way:
The Scale- The easiest and most obvious way to stay accountable to a weight-loss goal is through weighing yourself. Tune in next time for more on this!
Food log- Logging your food on an app like MyFitnessPal or Cronometer can be enormously helpful. You can also find great food log tools to use on paper, too, or make on yourself. If you want to track your calories and nutrients, using an app is best. If you're going for quality over quantity, using pen and paper can help you stay on track. It can be tedious, but it's been proven to help people be successful.
There ARE other options- These include taking progress pics of yourself, measuring your hip/waist/etc, keeping an old fashioned diary, or writing a blog about it 😛
This Can be a Mix and Match Approach
For my weight loss endeavor, I chose a multi-pronged approach. For starters, I have chosen to use YOU as my accountability buddy. I figured if I post about it on my website, that will ensure that I give it my best effort. So far it’s worked out well! Since we’re still in the intro phase here, I haven't shared much about my progress, but just knowing that I'll have to eventually has kept me motivated. Side Note: I do have exciting things to say on that front. IT'S WORKING!!
I have also chosen to use the Cronometer app to track my calories. I’ve done it consistently and I’ve been committed to it. Everyone is different, but I find it to be a nice little game for myself every day. I get to figure out how to fit in enough protein, healthy fat, and plants to keep my general health level high in a way that is enjoyable and satisfying to me.But I'm a nutrition nerd, so this may not be the case for everyone...
And finally, I have used my scale to keep myself accountable. I found that it helps to keep me accountable on the days after I've gone off the rails a bit. It motivates me to re-set and move forward.
Now, figure out what works best for you, and GET AT IT! And remember... accountability is about motivating you to do great, not punishing yourself. If your accountability tool doesn't work for you, try something else!