9 07 2012

Jessica Peacock

Not a week goes by that I don’t have someone tell me that the reason they joined this program was to have some added accountability – knowing that you have monthly measurements taken or a standing appointment with a trainer can be extra motivation to stay on track or get to the gym. This external accountability is a good thing, right?

Well, initially it is. External accountability can be very useful for providing that little “push” to keep you exercising regularly and making healthy food choices while you BEGIN to make changes. However, it is ill-advised to rely so heavily on others to hold you accountable as you continue on with your change process. The Weight Management Program is even structured in such a way that those accountability factors are slowly decreased over time; the goal is that over the two years you are in this program you will form good healthy habits that you can stick with and will need extra support and accountability less and less. The ultimate goal, is for you to be able to hold yourself accountable.

That is the key to long-term weight loss success. Losing weight is one thing – most people in a program such as this have lost weight successfully before. But maintaining that weight loss is another thing altogether. People seem to struggle more with maintaining weight losses than actually losing the weight. And this is because many of us lack the skills necessary to hold ourselves accountable.

Building your own self-accountability should be a priority if you plan to keep the weight off after it is gone. This means digging deep and finding the motivation within yourself to continue staying active and exercising regularly – even without a training appointment to keep. Thinking often about the intrinsic benefits that exercise provides can help you stay motivated: feeling better, having more energy, being less stressed, and staying more mobile and independent are all experiences that most people report once they are active. Tune into these benefits and you are more likely to keep yourself accountable to your exercise habits.

Schedule your workouts. Writing down when you can make time to exercise will help you prioritize activity and sends the message that exercise is important in your life. Treat these appointments to exercise as though they were a doctor’s visit; rather than being accountable to another person though, you are staying accountable to you and your health and wellness!

Keep a food journal. This is another excellent exercise in self-accountability. By writing down your food choices you are keeping yourself aware of your behaviors and habits, and are able to monitor and change them as needed. Self-monitoring is a crucial skill that will help you achieve long-term success.

It’s ok to appreciate external accountability and to occasionally use it to help you on your weight loss path. But remember, when it comes down to it YOU are the one who must put in the hard work to succeed. YOU must constantly be mindful of your choices and stay vigilant about your food and exercise behaviors. YOU must learn to hold yourself accountable!




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