If you type the query “how to lose weight” into your search engine’s search bar, you will likely be shown a variety of weight loss tips including “drink lots of water,” “don’t skip meals,” or “eat healthier.” However, these lists all seem to forget a critical tip. What’s the key to losing weight? Having a weight loss support system and accountability plan.
HAVING HELP, HELPS
According to a study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), individuals who have monthly personal contact or use interactive technology are more likely to keep weight off than the individuals left to their own devices during the weight loss maintenance period. All participants lost weight the same way, but were then randomly placed in three different groups: one that was primarily self-directed, one that featured interactive technology to help maintain weight loss, and the third group’s maintenance phase included a monthly personal-contact intervention. In the end, the individuals that had support and encouragement from friends and family were able to keep more weight off longer than those who only counseled themselves.
HOW TO ESTABLISH AND MAINTAIN WEIGHT LOSS ACCOUNTABILITY
Every New Year, an estimated 21% of the American population makes a resolution to lose weight, and one in every three people will give up on his or her resolution by the end of January. So, what are the best ways to make sure this doesn’t happen?
- Tell someone and publicize it. By telling a friend, family member, or even a co-worker that your goal is to lose weight, you are already recruiting support to help keep you on track. Want to up the ante even more? Share your weight loss goal on social media or on a blog. Whether you take a picture every week or announce a weekly weight, having “public record” will help you follow through with your new, healthy lifestyle.
- Keep a food journal. Behold, the power of recordkeeping. Just like balancing your checkbook, a visual representation of where calories (or dollars) are actually going is a great way to motivate your future behaviors. You certainly don’t have to count calories, but being aware of what you are putting into your body doesn’t hurt, especially if you notice some weight sneaking back on. You can look back and see what might have triggered the regain.
- Measure yourself – weight and inches. Some people prefer to weigh themselves everyday, but once a week is really the ideal timeframe to weigh yourself and measure your waist, neck, hips, and arms. Similar to a food journal, seeing a visual record on paper – in addition to a healthier you in the mirror – will help verify your commitment, maintain accountability, and deliver measurable success.
- Keep your appointments. This one is a biggie. Keeping your consultant appointments and check-ins is an important part of staying accountable and achieving your weight loss goal. Personal check-ins are perfect for discussing how to handle those tempting food moments or how to respond/act at parties and other social gatherings where food is prominent.
- Make a bet. While we aren’t advocating gambling, setting some sort of stakes is good motivation to achieve your goal. Find a friend that wants to lose or keep off weight, set a time frame, and whoever is the “winner” at the end gets an agreed upon reward. Besides good health, you could offer money, gift cards, a special outing, or tickets to an upcoming event.
Continual support through your weight loss and weight maintenance phases is critical to your ideal weight loss success. At Medifast® Centers, we are dedicated to helping you achieve that success during every step of your journey. You can be the new, healthier you that you want – especially with a little help!