When you’re trying to lose weight, it can all seem like a struggle.
At the start you have unstoppable willpower which keeps you going, ignoring cakes, chocolate, pizza, crisps and stops you spending all night on the sofa…
...for about 2 weeks.
Willpower and motivation are great, but they don’t always last that long.
To get the result you want, you need to find a way to keep going for the long-term.
And that’s where accountability comes in.
What is accountability?
If accountability is great, what actually is it (and how is it going to help)?
Well think of it this way, if you didn’t have a boss, how much work would you actually do?
My guess would be that you’d do less than you are doing now.
And that is because you have nothing/ no one to report to.
That’s the same as your weight loss if you are not reporting it to anyone or keeping track, it is hard to stay accountable and keep going.
So what can we do to keep ourselves accountable?
Here are my 4 top ways to keep the weight coming off...
1) What gets measured gets managed
Although the scales aren’t always the most reliable way of measuring your weight loss, they are good for seeing any change in weight.
If you don’t use them for a full year, how would you know whether you had lost a few pounds or gained a few?
Yet if you weigh yourself every week, you can see even the smallest changes each week, that way you know what you are working towards and whether you are going the right way.
Also using a tape measure to check your waist size, you can see the progress you are making and know that at some point you are going to have to measure yourself again and you’ll want a positive result.
When you have a weigh-in each week or measuring your waist every month, it can help keep you on track.
Through the week you might ignore the bad foods and take on more quality foods because you know you have that weigh-in at the end of the week.
Why not have a pair of jeans that fit when you are around your ideal weight?
That would be a very powerful way of keeping yourself accountable.
Jeans don’t fit - you’re not on track!
2) Start tracking what you eat
This is a simple method I use with my clients.
Start keeping a food diary of everything you eat and drink throughout the day.
Not only does this help you realise where your diet could be going wrong, but it also motivates you to eat good food.
It doesn’t feel great writing in your food diary that you gave in to temptation and ate 2 slices of cake, a tray of flapjack and you emptied Krispy Kreme.
Ok maybe that is over the top, but when you are writing down what you are eating, you become much more aware of what you are putting in your mouth.
Apps like MyFitnessPal are great for helping you track exactly what you eat and help count calories which gives an even better indication of how your diet is helping or hindering your weight loss.
However, it can be a lot of work tracking every gram of what you eat.
A food diary can work just as well as motivation to stop you from eating any bad foods.
3) Make it social
How much would it help you get up and out of bed on a morning if you knew someone was depending on you?
It can be easy to convince yourself to not bother going to the gym, yet what if you are meeting your friend there?
You can’t let them down.
The social side of accountability could be one of the strongest ways of staying on track.
If you and a friend are planning on going to the gym together, it gives you a bigger reason to be there.
Also, if you are working in a partnership, you can arrange to go out for a walk together, have healthy meals out and message each other inspiration when they’re struggling.
What may help even more if you are competitive!
Imagine creating a competition between yourselves such as “Who can lose the most centimetres from their waist by December”.
The motivation to beat the other person will keep you going through the hardest times.
When you are tempted away by some chocolate cake, you’ll remember that your weight loss partner is winning so far this month.
It could help you exercise more and eat better and get the results you want.
4) Set a goal
Whatever you're trying to achieve, you need to set a goal.
You need to work out what results you want and how long it will take.
Otherwise, you just have a vague goal of losing some weight.
That isn’t going to motivate you to keep going.
If you have lost 1lb, does that mean you’ve met your goal of losing weight?
Great, you can go reward yourself with some cake.
Or maybe that isn’t the best idea.
Instead, work out how much you want to lose and by when.
If you get halfway through and you’ve lost almost all the weight you set out to lose, then you have a bit more room to relax and enjoy yourself.
However, if you’ve not made much progress and your deadline is coming up, then that should push you to make bigger changes and stick to them.