12 Jun Accountability And Weight Loss: The Missing Link
If you have struggled to reach your goal weight, or maintain it, in the past, accountability could be the missing link. It’s one of the five key pillars of our Intelligent Weight Loss Method. So what is accountability and how can it support your weight loss efforts?
WHAT IS ACCOUNTABILITY?
Merriam Webster defines accountability as: an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions. Accountability is about deciding on a course of action or goal and creating a framework that holds you to account, ensuring you’re staying consistent in carrying out that action or working towards your goal.
There are various actions we can take to create accountability that supports us in achieving a goal.
WHY IS ACCOUNTABILITY KEY FOR WEIGHT LOSS?
My team and I speak with clients who have had varying degrees of success with losing weight and keeping it off in the past. It’s easy to think “I’m a grown adult, I know what to do and I should be able to get on and do it by myself”. But life happens. Many things can get in the way of preventing us from achieving things that are important to us. Accountability really can be the factor that makes all the difference in ensuring you stay on track, achieve your goal weight and maintain it long term.
Research, as well as our own clinical experience, demonstrates just how powerful accountability can be when it comes to achieving a goal like losing weight. A study on accountability was carried out by the Association for Talent Development. The researchers found that individuals have the following probabilities of completing a goal by taking these actions:
- Having an idea or goal: 10% likely to complete the goal
- Consciously deciding that you will do it: 25%
- Deciding when you will do it: 40%
- Planning how to do it: 50%
- Committing to someone that you will do it: 65%
- Having a specific accountability appointment with someone you’ve committed to: 95%
ACCOUNTABILITY AND WEIGHT MAINTENANCE
Many clients come to see a nutritionist believing we will provide them with a diet plan to help them lose weight. Of course we do this. Every client we work with receives a bespoke health and nutrition plan tailored to their needs. However, many new clients aren’t so aware of the extent to which accountability is such a valuable part of the service we provide. Often the value becomes more clear as we work together over time.
I have recently transitioned two of my clients to maintenance programmes. When I do this, we spend time talking through the most important things my client needs to have in place to ensure they maintain their results long term. Lack of a clear maintenance plan is one of the big reasons so many people go on to regain weight they have lost. I will ask my clients what they’re aware they need to do in order to maintain their results long term. More often than not, they identify ongoing accountability as one of the most important factors. Four years ago I created our Maintenance Membership Programme for clients have reached their goal weight and are committed to maintaining it. It has been hugely successful with no client on our Maintenance Programme regaining their lost weight.
HOW TO CREATE ACCOUNTABILITY
Of course you can work with a nutritionist and have a qualified, experienced expert to hold you accountable. Our approach to accountability is not about telling you off, if for any reason you’ve not stuck to your plan. Far from it. It’s about supporting you in getting clear on what you want to achieve and how you’re going to achieve it, and then checking in with you to see how you’re doing. It’s about guiding you in getting back on track if for any reason you’ve deviated from the plan.
If you aren’t working with a nutritionist, there are other ways of creating accountability while you’re focussed on weight loss. Here are some strategies to consider:
- Weight and / or measure yourself regularly. Once a week on a set day can work well.
- Recruit a friend or family member and arrange to check in with them regularly as to how you’re progressing.
- Keep a food diary. You can share your MyFitnessPal profile with a friend for added accountability.
- Find (or set up) a support group. This might be an organised in-person group, an exiting online group or something you can create yourself. If you have a couple of friends who share a similar goal to you, why not set up a WhatsApp group so that you can support each other and hold one another accountable?
MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE
I am a qualified nutritionist with well over a decade of knowledge and experience and yet, at times, I can still deviate from healthy nutrition and lifestyle habits that I know support me. Creating accountability is what helps me stay on track consistently. How do I do that? I have a personal trainer who trains me via Zoom three times a week. While I enjoy working out, it’s unlikely that I get out of bed for a 7am training session, consistently, three times a week if there wasn’t someone on the end of Zoom holding me accountable.
I also use a WHOOP strap and fill in a daily habits journal as part of that. It tallies up the days you’ve carried out habits, both those beneficial to health and those not. It makes me very aware of how many days I’ve meditated, drunk alcohol etc. On top of this, WHOOP creates monthly reports to feed back the data around the extent to which your habits are supporting or compromising your sleep and recovery. I go over my report with a friend who also has a WHOOP and has made much more of an effort to understand the technology and reports than I have. We then look at what’s going well and areas where I could focus on improving the next month. Knowing that someone is going to see my habits journal definitely helps keep me accountable.
WORK WITH US
If you feel that you could benefit from having an experienced expert to support you and hold you accountable, we can help. Book yourself in for a complimentary 25 mintue call or contact us and a member of our team will be in touch soon. We can talk through your challenges and explore whether one of our Intelligent Weight Loss programmes is right for you.