It takes more than great intentions and a good plan to achieve a healthy weight loss goal. Because some weeks on the weight loss journey are better than others, and motivation can come and go, accountability becomes critical to weight loss success.
Both healthy weight loss and weight maintenance involve a lifestyle commitment which means that nutrition changes and dietary improvements remain works in progress. Without some form of accountability, it’s easy to rationalize behaviors that can sabotage weight loss efforts.
Accountability strategies to help reach weight loss and nutrition goals:
- Set goals in writing. Weight loss and good nutrition depend upon setting specific, measurable, realistic, attainable, and time-defined goals (SMART Goals). Start with one short-term and one long-term goal. A short-term goal could be as simple as tracking food and drink intake for three days. Post written goals prominently on the refrigerator, your desk at work or the bathroom mirror to reinforce their importance.
- Develop an action plan. Specifically, identify which behaviors, like logging food intake, joining a support group, or eliminating daily soda, will help achieve the long term goal. The plan needs to be personal and flexible or it won’t work.
- Create a support system. Sharing similar goals with a supportive friend, coworker or family member is an essential component of a weight management plan and can reinforce accountability making it easier to stay motivated long-term.
- Track your progress. Tracking nutrition has never been easier with smart phones working as tools to increase accountability, improve motivation and provide feedback. Apps such as My Fitness Pal, Spark People and Lose It offer extensive databases for searching restaurants and food products, and some also include barcode scanners. Logging food and drinks before eating them not only increases awareness but also provides an opportunity to make different choices.
- Be consistent. Balance nutrition, physical activity, sleep and stress. They all have a significant impact on one’s food choices.
Accountability to SMART goals means being able to celebrate many small victories on the journey toward successful weight loss. Making one change can have a big impact on overall health. Think about starting now!