2 Surprising Keys to Shedding Weight (and Keeping It Off)

social support and accountability

When it comes to weight, for many of us, the two biggest goals are to lose it—and then keep it off! But, as the saying goes, that’s easier said than done. All of us, from time to time, have likely had to face that harsh reality. How many times have you told yourself, “This time, it will be different”?

As it turns out, though, there are two critical factors successful people who’ve lost weight and kept it off have in common: social support and accountability.

Keep reading to see how you, too, can use these two surprisingly effective tools to (perhaps finally) become part of that weight-loss success group.

When Changing Nutrition Habits, Stay Strong Together

How much easier is it to do things with a buddy? Changing your eating habits can be tough, and without a doubt, you are going to encounter ups and downs along the way. It’s much better to have a person you can rely on when you’re revamping your nutrition and workout programs to help you shed weight, keep it off, and enjoy an overall healthier lifestyle. Here’s why you want to avoid going it alone:

– All too often, people will encounter a saboteur along the way. Unfortunately, it might be co-workers, friends, or even family. While they may not consciously be trying to derail your healthy nutrition plans, they simply may not know what it takes to be successful. Someone who knows—and is even on a similar journey—can provide the support you need when you’re faced with temptation.

– If you have a friend with the same fitness or weight-loss goals as you have, it can be fun to work out together, share recipes, and touch base throughout the week or even day to see how it’s going. Friends who are also shedding weight will have similar priorities to yours, including working out, eating right, and enjoying a healthy lifestyle.

– When the going gets tough, the tough have a partner. Sharing your struggles with someone else who understands and is going through the same thing is priceless. You’ll be able to talk about your weight-loss journey along the way, knowing your partner knows exactly what you’re going through and is right there with you. Stronger together, you’ll be better able to weather the storms of temptation, procrastination, or setbacks by reminding each other of your goals and why you both want and need to stay on track.

Can’t think of any of your friends who can provide this support? Worry not. There are many online communities you can join to associate with other folks who are on a similar health-enhancing path.

social support and accountability

Accountability Can Make You More Successful

No matter what type of goal you have set—from becoming healthier to improving relationships to getting out of debt to accomplishing a long-held dream—accountability can help provide the drive you need. And that seems to be even more true when you’re looking at fitness and weight-loss goals. Quite simply, accountability makes it very difficult to quit.

So reach out to trusted friends and family you know are supportive (no need to tell the naysayers) and let them know what your goals are and ask them if they are willing to help keep you accountable. In addition, you can also:

Post pictures of your meals or workouts. Take pictures of what you’re eating and post them on Instagram, Snapchat, or a fitness community. This can make it extremely embarrassing to eat something you shouldn’t. It’s tough to list “pizza, ice cream, and cookies” when your online connections are watching your every bite.

Keep an online food journal. Studies show folks who regularly track their food can lose two times the weight of those who don’t track it. Plus, writing it down or using an app like MyFitnessPal.com can be eye-opening when it comes to seeing the nutritional info in the foods you’re eating. That has how many calories?!

Check in with your tape measure, weekly body selfies, or even scale on a regular basis and keep a written log of your progress. It’s easy to let a few centimeters or pounds creep on here and there and chalk it up to “water weight” or bloating. Well, this is exactly the time when you need to buckle down and face the music. The temptation to ignore small weight gains is big, but it’s a slippery slope and one that should be avoided at all costs.

If you check in with your progress at least once a week, and track your measurements, watch your body changing in the photos, or weigh in, you’ll be able to see trends and nip significant changes in the wrong direction in the bud. Remember, however, that if you’re also incorporating resistance training into your program (which we highly recommend!), your weight may stay the same or even go up (*gasp*) as you lose body fat and increase lean muscle. That’s exactly what you want to have happen! But if the changing scale de-energizes you or throws you into a downward spiral (you’re not alone!), measurements or pictures can help you see that you are making positive changes rather than just adding some extra padding. So, choose your method(s) and check in often and regularly.

Schedule something you can’t back out of. Paying in advance for a photo shoot or a beach vacation is a solid motivator when it comes to sticking with your plan. Having consequences that are embarrassing or “painful” can be just what you need to stay on track and keep your eyes on the prize when it comes to keeping your motivation levels high.

Use an Online App to Stay on Track

Online apps are a great way to get both social support and ramp up your accountability. Some of my favorites include:

DietBet.com: With this app, you bet on yourself to lose weight, and once you reach your goal, you split the winning pot. Kind of a double reward.

LoseIt.com: This is both an online nutrition and fitness tracker that also provides community support.

MyFitnessPal.com: If you’re just looking for a super easy to use calorie counter, this free app may be all you need.

Pactapp.com: This is another program where you commit to your goals to eat healthier, exercise more, and as you accomplish your goals, you’ll be paid—by other members of the community who didn’t live up to their commitments.

All of these apps can help you connect with other people, bet on your success, and keep you accountable along the way. This is a great way to shed body fat for good and keep it off. And, once you reach your weight-loss goals, you can keep using these apps to keep the weight off for good as you change your lifestyle to live healthier, stronger, and leaner.

It really is amazing how the two simple tools of social support and accountability work together to help you reach goals you may have never before believed possible. And once you get started, you’ll find how addicting success—in all aspects of your life—can be!