Being accountable to staying on track with proper nutrition habits and consistent exercise can be challenging. If you don’t have a deep reason why you want to stay on track to begin with, it’s even more difficult! It’s so easy to indulge in food temptations at work, choose takeout over cooking at home or skip a workout. It can happen to anyone. If you are finding yourself struggling to stay accountable, try any of these following suggestions:
1.) Weigh Yourself Once a Week
I started tracking my weight weekly at the beginning of 2016. While I don’t let the scale dictate my entire success, it does help me learn how my eating habits and exercise program affect my weight. Plus, it acts as a tool to see if I am seeing the results I want. While tracking your body weight is good, I highly suggest taking measurements of your waist, hips and thighs too. This is an extra tool to use to see if your body is changing even if your weight isn’t budging.
I weigh myself on the same day every week (usually Friday or Saturday morning on an empty stomach). I keep a monthly calendar and simply write down the number every week. This way, I can see a trend if I’m maintaining, losing or gaining weight. If my weight and measurements are down, I know I’m doing something right. If my weight is the same, but measurements are down, I’m still doing something right. If both numbers are up, I know I need to make adjustments with my nutrition or exercise.
Note: if your weight slightly goes up, but your measurements/body fat stays the same, there is no need to worry. There are a few factors why your weight slightly increases but your body fat stays the same like retaining water from too many carbs or salt the day before, completing a hard strength workout the day before, elevated stress or lacking sleep the night before.
2.) Invest in a Tracking Device
I’ve talked about this before, but I LOVE my Fitbit. It’s helped me stay consistent with getting in 10,000-12,000+ steps a day. Overall, I just move more than I normally did. I also use the Fitbit app to track my weight/body fat so I can scroll through the months to notice any trends. The sleep app is a nice perk too.
3.) Keep a Journal
Keeping an exercise or food journal is crucial so you can understand if what you are doing is actually working. If you’re looking to get stronger through your strength program, stick with the same program for four weeks in a row and log your reps/weight after every workout. After four weeks, switch up your routine. After completing your four week program, look over it to see if your weight or repetitions improved over the course of the month. By tracking your workouts, you will easily pinpoint progress. This is the same if you are seeking weight/fat loss. Is your current program giving you results? If you don’t track, you don’t know.
Action Steps: Invest in a notebook and start logging your workouts. You can do this for endurance goals too such as improving your sprint time, 1 mile run time, or simply increasing your intensity/duration for something specific.
Many people also find logging their food in an app or journal helpful for staying accountable. It works! While I find it a bit tedious, it does have many benefits like preventing you from indulging (you have to write it down!) or simply eating less.
Action Steps: download MyFitnessPal or any other food app or get a notebook and write it down. If writing down everything seems overwhelming, start with a few items like how often you are eating out, indulging in sweets/alcohol/calorie dense foods OR positive changes like how much water you’re drinking or tracking vegetable intake.
4.) If You’re Finding The First Three Are Not Working, Hire a Coach
The first three suggestions will not work for everyone and that’s okay. If you have tried the first three suggestions on your own but are struggling to see success or stay on track, you may want to consider hiring a coach to help you. I suggest searching for a good trainer or nutritionists in your area. Online coaching is becoming popular as well. Feel free to reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org for guidance.