“I need accountability to lose the weight.”
“I just need accountability to stay on track.”
Have you said those sentences in the last month? If so, you are like 80% of my weight loss clients. Nearly all tell me they need my weight loss program for “accountability” to lose their excess weight.
And I agree – but for a much different reason than you may think.
What is Accountability?
If accountability is the only key to weight loss, why aren’t the majority of us in some huge weight loss group that is taking over the world and creating “thin” as the new normal?
Here’s the problem with accountability. We are using the definition incorrectly to begin with. Accountability as defined by Meriam Webster means “an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions.”
The definition itself means accepting responsibility for our own actions. Not having someone else to answer to. And most of the time, in weight loss, we are looking for that instead.
What We THINK of As Weight Loss Acccountability
When we talk about weight loss accountability, most of us are looking for someone else to answer to. Someone else to “hold us accountable.”
We think that having someone else to see that number on the scale or the foods that we eat or the daily slip-ups will force us to be on our best behavior. Knowing that someone else is involved, we think that we will be better than we can be by ourselves. That the other person will force us into weight loss submission.
Here’s the problem with that logic: that person won’t always be with us. What happens when the program ends? Or when we miss a weekly weigh-in? Or when we realize that person isn’t watching as closely as we thought they were?
Excuses start again. We rebel against that accountability partner or the diet itself. We start sneaking food in between weigh-ins. Then we start missing more weigh-ins because we know we won’t like the scale. We don’t reach our goal and, when the program ends, all accountability ends.
Weight loss slows. Weight regain begins.
What Is True Weight Loss Accountability?
Let’s go back to the definition of accountability: an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or account for one’s actions.
If we are relying on someone else to “hold us accountable”, we are already setting ourselves up for failure. Accountability means a willingness to be responsible for our own actions.
It doesn’t say when others are looking, as long as someone else is watching over my shoulder, or until the program ends. True accountability is looking at our own actions and being willing to accept responsibility for ALL of them.
Why Do We Think We Need Accountability?
Stop for a second and see which of these statements you agree with:
- I need accountability to lose weight.
- Accountability will help me lose weight.
- I will only get this weight off if I am accountable to someone or some group because I’m not strong enough to do it on my own.
- I do well when I have someone else to answer to.
- I can’t do this on my own.
If you are like most women in America, you answered yes to most of those questions. Because we have been told by a diet industry that accountability is the key to making lasting changes. That we are not strong enough to beat these bad habits on our own. That the person in charge is responsible for our weight loss.
We think we need accountability because we don’t have enough willpower to last without someone else to answer to. We have relied on willpower for so many previous failed diets and we saw those diets end within a day, a week, or a month. We failed – and we secretly believe that we will fail again.
But, we are missing the key step to accountability…
The Missing Accountability Step for Weight Loss
My weight loss client, Kelly, lost 100 lbs. That’s impressive work.
And Kelly recently posted her photos on Facebook. Underneath them she wrote to me, her coach and “accountability” partner: Thank you for believing in me when I couldn’t. You have encouraged me to open doors and close the old ones.”
You see accountability to others is only needed when we don’t believe in ourselves. For most of my weight loss clients who have failed so many times and struggle to believe in themselves, it is necessary at first. That’s what gets them started and gets them through the rough times.
But, the true goal of accountability is to become responsible for your own weight loss. And that requires a belief in yourself. That’s where the growth is.
That’s where the weight loss that lasts stems from.
And that’s how, like most of my weight loss clients, you continue to lose weight even after the program is over.
When you are accountable to yourself, it doesn’t matter if no one is looking, how closely you are monitored, or if you miss a weigh-in. Because you are accountable to YOU. You have your own back.
When you reach that level of accountability, when you truly believe in and respect yourself as much if not more than a weight loss coach, and you start living that way, the weight loss will follow.
That’s the missing step. And that’s truly life-long accountability.