Why are you trying to lose weight? Is it to feel healthier, look leaner, reduce your blood pressure or something else?
On your journey this question can be important to come back to. The response may change. Checking in with this question can also help to keep you accountable. It can be powerful.
Throughout my first five years of helping patients become healthier I have attempted to be their accountability person. I weigh them. I measure their waist and hips. I talk to them about insulin resistance, disease risk from obesity and I let them know they aren’t stuck. They can get out of this rut.
This is the foundation for my accountability plan for them. Everyone inspires a bit of a different approach from me but all in all the result is the same. This accountability mix is essential. And, you can do the same thing for yourself.
Building your own accountability plan
Accountability makes the holistic weight loss process more efficient.
When we first started DAMY we were doing one on one coaching with custom nutrition and fitness plans for our members. It was a significant success but we quickly realized that mostly everyone needed the same service – an accountability person to check-in with, guidance with making adjustments to the plan when needed and advice for making the plan easier (to fit their lifestyle).
So that is what we did.
Next we transitioned to the Bikini Body Program and DAMY Method programs. These programs allowed Amy to provide the above service to thousands of women. When she took her maternity leave she was using her two programs to individually coach 300 women at a time through email.
Now we have settled in to the DAMY Lean – our feature program centred on these three components:
- Weekly Accountability – Facebook meetup weekly and email check-ins
- Specific Guidance – Immediate feedback for questions and adjustments
- Personal Advice – Goal setting, nutrition recommendations and tools
The results have been so great. Our members lose weight in the most healthy, sustainable way. They report major success, feel good about their nutrition and experience optimal wellness.
So, if all we need is a good program and adequate accountability how can we all make this happen on our own? There are only a few steps required.
To keep yourself accountable we recommend the following steps. You can all use these. They work. Trust me.
- Track your numbers – every week weigh yourself, measure your waist and hip and do a few calculations (listed below)
- Journal how you feel – write in your journal for 5 min every night. List how you feel mentally, emotionally and physically.
- Check-in with an expert – find or pay someone you can be open with about your weight loss journey. Pick someone who has lost weight before or has helped others lose.
Track your numbers:
The first step is to track your numbers. This allows you to be objective on your journey. I cannot stress this enough. If you are not tracking you will lose focus. If you are just going based on how clothes fit you will lose touch.
There are pros and cons. The scale might cause stress. Stress can lead to emotional eating. We cannot have that. If that is you step three below is a better place to start (a physical person talking you through the tracking process).
It would be very helpful for you to weigh yourself once per week. Some like more and some less. For me, it just needs to be at the same time and following the same routine. For example, first thing in the morning before breakfast but after a bowel movement with no clothes on. This is the perfect time.
Second, it would be very helpful to track the waist to hip ratio. As this number goes down we become healthier.
Finally, doing calculations for body mass index and relative fat mass are very important. They allow you to quantify your risk of disease due to being too heavy. They are also great goal setting and tracking tools. Just google how to use them or have your doctor tell you where you stand.
Journal how you feel
I was very resistant to journaling. I’m not sure why. Once I started I began to love it. When else do we get to express our opinions, history, visions in a place that is private and controlled? When else can we work through ideas and build on our experiences.
Journaling helps you be in tune with your body. On this journey you need to know if you are tired, sore, hungry, anxious, etc. To stay accountable you need to know if you have any negative symptoms, if you are staying motivated/driven and if you are noticing positive benefits.
How do my clothes fit? Am I more energetic? Is my sleep improved? Am I as hungry as I was? What about cravings?
These questions can all be answered in a journal. The journal holds the key to your subjective wellness. It allows you to think about the question “How am I doing overall?”.
Check-in with an expert
Finally, expert guidance is essential. It may not even be for advice. It may be only to work with someone who will say good job, keep it up. Or, maybe you need someone to say smarten up.
Leaving notes for yourself on your mirror or around your house can be helpful but having a coach call you to ask what you had for breakfast is a different level.
In my clinic we now do continuous glucose monitoring so we able to know if patients are following their diet or not through their blood sugar level. Another layer of accountability.
Your expert can help to make things sustainable long term. They can also tailor the diet to your current routine.
This point is the single reason personal training is still such a popular profession. Showing up with someone to workout is motivation enough to keep going. What if your coach was in your kitchen?
To reach your goals focus on fulfilling this accountability need. Find someone or some action to help you stay consistent. Check in often with why you are on this path. Let your coach know. The more disciplined and consistent you are the better your results will be.
Dr. David Duizer ND