Accountability. It can be a big, scary word. It sounds like it carries a fear of punishment or something, but that’s not it. When you ask people if they have someone with whom they are accountable, they often don’t know what to say. This is mainly because they don’t know what it really means.
In the world of weight loss, or at least in MY world of weight loss, accountability begins with yourself. You have to first and foremost be accountable to yourself because it is your body and more importantly it is your health. You need to be healthy first of all for you.
Many years ago when I worked in the addictions field, people would say “I need to get sober for my wife, husband etc” or “I need to get clean for my kids”. No! They had to get clean and sober first for themselves, and the bonus of it was that their partner or kids got back the person they should have been.
It is like that when we lose the weight. Our families and friends get back the person we should have been. The reason I started this blog and have started working as a motivational speaker is that I finally found my way on this weight loss journey way later than I should have. I missed years of being able to do things and I created years where my family worried about the real possibility of me dropping dead.
Accountability begins with you, but YOU are not enough. I can say that because I know that I am not enough to keep myself accountable. I have been blessed to have a wonderful supportive family. My wife has literally been with me through thick and thin (well thinner).
I have also been blessed to have found the group called TOPS. I have talked about TOPS before, but TOPS stands for Taking Off Pounds Sensibly. It is a weekly accountability group. We meet weekly and begin with a weigh in. We then have the business part of the meeting, but before that we have what we call Roll Call.
Roll Call is when we go around and we share if we are up or down. It is up to use if we want to share how MUCH we are up or down. If people have had a good week, this is our chance to brag a little. People will often ask “What did you do this week differently?”
It gives a chance to share and support each other, but knowing we are going to weigh in each week, it helps keep us accountable for what we eat during the week. It also keeps us accountable for our exercise, or lack there of.
We don’t just support each other on meeting day. We stay in touch through with other members throughout the week via phone, email, Facebook or in person.
One of my favourite parts of our meets are after the business, one of members will do a program. These are usually around 30 minutes and are followed by lots of lively discussion. What are the programs about? They can be fitness tips, healthy eating ideas, really anything related to health and weight loss.
Why is it my favourite? Because when our members present these programs, they present (or share) something they have learned and in turn are able to help fellow members. One of the things we hear most often in programs is people saying “I never knew that” or “I hadn’t though of that”.
I don’t know much about Weight Watchers but I assume their meetings are much the same. There are other support groups out there like Overeaters Anonymous.
I also have friends I have met online through Facebook or other places and they are following my progress. They ask how I am doing. They ask me what they can do to lose a few pounds. This helps me stay accountable to them, and in turn to myself.
Accountability is so important on this journey. It is too easy to go astray or to lie to ourselves about what we ate, or how much we exercised or got activity in our week.
If accountability is too “heavy” a word, how about support network?
I have mentioned before that I have watched some of the weight loss shows like My 600 Pound Life and I am often stunned at how little accountability or support some of these people have. In fact they often have people in their lives who not only DON’T support them or give them accountability, but work to sabotage their progress.
Why would a family member or friend do that? That is a subject for a whole other post, but some people will be intimidated by your weight loss. I have heard people on these shows say they are scared that if the family member loses weight, they won’t be needed any more, or that if they become attractive, they will find someone else.
That is there own insecurity talking and it is being put upon the person losing the weight. I say this because on this journey you may find you have to distance yourself from some people. Part of being accountable to yourself is not being around people (in person or online) who try to sabotage you or those who won’t support you. The ones who say “Oh you’re fine” when you know there is something very wrong.
When you find your accountability people, hold them tight. They will be a big part of your future success, but remember, accountability begins with the person in the mirror.
Until next time, have a healthy and happy day!