10 Ways to Stay Accountable for Weight Loss
When you're trying to lose weight or maintain a hard-fought weight loss, willpower alone often isn't enough to keep you on track. And even if you think you're maintaining your goal weight, it's all too easy for a few pounds to creep back on. Here are some little tricks and tools that can help you maintain accountability to the one person who really matters — you!
Make Friends With Your Scale
You might have a love-hate relationship with your bathroom scale - normal daily fluctuations can be maddening when all you want to see is one less pound. But your scale can still be a very useful tool to help provide motivation. Weigh yourself only once a week. This will keep you accountable week to week but help prevent the frustrating small changes you might see day to day.
Use a Tape Measure
A very precise way to measure success is with a cloth tape measure. By measuring your waistline, hips, bust, and even thighs and calves, you can record tangible progress toward your goal with the kind of detail that a scale can’t give you. Because muscle takes up less volume than fat, you’ll see inches drop, even when the scale might not move.
Use a Food Diary
A food journal is an excellent tool to help you see exactly what you are eating and keep you more accountable to your portion sizes. One trick is to write down what you eat before you eat it, instead of after. This will help increase your awareness more and make you think twice about a food before you eat it.
Save Your Skinny Jeans
Some people keep a pair of bigger sized pants around as a tip-off to weight loss that starts to creep back, but this technique isn’t effective for everyone. You might be better off keeping a different pair of pants handy — ones you know you always want to fit into. Some people like to keep a pair of pants in a size that is not far from their goal so they know when they reach it.
Go Steady With Your Diet BFF
Having a “we’re in this together” buddy not only reinforces accountability, but also provides positive weight-loss and weight-maintenance motivation. You can call your buddy if you find yourself wavering, and you won’t be inclined to hit the snooze button and skip your morning walk if your friend is depending on you, too.
Keep the Big Picture in Mind
Setting a specific goal can be a very effective weight-loss strategy. One of the most common reasons people want to lose weight is because they are working toward a goal, like their child is getting married, or they’ve got a reunion coming up. Be careful not to focus so much on a single transitory milestone that your plan falls apart afterwards. Set permanent objectives, too, such as living longer or even feeling more comfortable in your clothes.
Chart Your Fitness Feats
Experts agree that physical activity is key to maintaining weight loss, and one of the best ways to stay on track is to keep a fitness log. It can be as simple as marking an “X” on a calendar on days you exercise — it’s motivating to see a chain of Xs that you won’t want to break.
There's an App for That
Ever wish you had a drill sergeant who could put you through your exercise paces? You might not be able to afford a personal trainer who pushes you to complete reps, stick to your weight loss diet, and set new goals, but you can have a virtual one, courtesy of one of the hundreds of fitness apps available like MyFitness Pal, Lose It!, and SparkPeople, to name just three.
Push Yourself With a Pedometer
Walking is one of the easiest exercises around, and with the right motivation you can add to your daily tally. An inexpensive pedometer is a great accountability aid that can prompt you to forge further ahead to reach fitness goals. Aim for 10,000 steps a day!
Create Your Own Rewards Program
Losing weight and maintaining that ideal weight is a journey. Set up little rewards along the way to stay on the right path. Whether it’s a size goal, a weight goal or an inches goal — the trick is to reward yourself along the way. Don’t use a food reward, but instead go get a massage or facial or go to a movie.