One of the first experiences I ever had with weight loss came from Weight Watchers. At the time that program seemed like a God-send, and in many ways it was an absolute blessing.
After years of trying and failing what seems like hundreds of diets and quick fixes I was defeated. Finding something that actually helped me lose weight seemed too good to be true.
As time went on though, I started to see a couple of glaring flaws with this model.
Why Weight Watchers stopped working for me..
1) The public weigh ins. Sure they served as a system of accountability, and a bit like a scare tactic. For me, the weigh ins were driven by fear. I monitored every thing I ate, and meticulously tracked my points. Everything I ate during the week hinged on that one moment when I’d have to hop on the scale in front of every other woman at my meeting.
2) It didn’t actually teach me how to eat. I became more aware of what I was eating throughout my short stint with Weight Watchers. Slowly I started to make healthier choices, because I wanted to be able to eat as much food as possible, and the healthier food choices were less points. I essentially learned how to barter and negotiate with my food. This behavior only ended up furthering the disordered eating habits I’d already formed.
You could essentially eat whatever you wanted as long as you didn’t go over your points. If you opted to go with the WW Core plan, you could eat as much as you wanted as long as it was on the list of approved foods. I didn’t learn to listen to my body’s hunger cues. Weight Watchers didn’t teach me to eat slowly, or that sometimes it’s ok to eat for pleasure.
Years later I can see these problems. In the moment I was just thrilled I had found some sort of method to help me lose weight. I was desperate. And in all honesty, I would have done anything to lose weight. I thought my value came from the body I was in.
What did the weigh ins teach me?
Accountability isn’t a bad thing.
It’s simply taking responsibility and ownership for your goals, dreams, and your actions.
That’s scary, I know. Most of the time when we hear some of those words we cringe. Negative emotions might even begin to well up inside your chest. Lean into that, and give yourself some time to explore what’s going on.
Accountability isn’t intended to be a punishment reserved for the times we mess up. At it’s core I believe it’s about teaching us the power of self-control and discipline.
Being held accountable (whether by yourself or another) is actually a blessing in disguise. All of our actions have consequences–another word that might trigger icky feelings. Some consequences are negative and some consequences we view more as a reward. Some we try to avoid and others we try to get more of.
Accountability isn’t weakness
You don’t need accountability because you need punishment. You’re not a screw up, and you need someone to tell you that or make you ‘pay’ for some sin against your fitness regiment.
Mainstream health and fitness accountability often looks a lot like punishment. Followed by feelings of guilt or shame because you ate something you weren’t ‘supposed to’ or you skipped a workout.
Sometimes we punish ourselves, and sometimes we let others do it for us through social media or in our closest relationships.
Remember, you aren’t seeking accountability because you’re weak. You’re doing it because you know it will help you reach your fitness goals faster and with more ease.
Healthy accountability will help you reach your goals faster.
Healthy accountability will make you want to rise to meet the standards you’ve set for yourself. You will have a desire to show up and do the work, because you know you can’t fail and you can’t mess up.
If your coach is a good one, they will provide the kind of support and environment that inspires you to keep pushing forward. Regardless of how much you feel like quitting you won’t because you know you’ve got someone in your corner. Your coach can’t stop you from quitting on yourself, but they can help you get through the times you feel like you want to.
Negative accountability is the opposite. It does feel like punishment, and it’s heavy. I don’t blame you for avoiding accountability if you feel like you’ll be condemned for not following the plan perfectly.
Negative accountability evokes shame, guilt, or other negative emotions. Ain’t nobody got time for that. If you’re in a situation where you feel guilt, shame, or like you’ve got to lie about your actions, you need to find a new accountability partner.
Avoid your own blind spots
You may not always see what is tripping you up on your own. Sometimes we aren’t even aware of what we are doing, and we just roll through life on auto-pilot.
Having your tribe behind you can really help you see the pot holes in your fitness journey.
As women especially we seek community, and deep down, we long for those tight friendships we had as girls. Sometimes it can be hard to find that tribe because we feel insecure, jealous, or too busy to let others in to see our hot mess. Don’t let those things stop you. We are all hot messes from time to time.
If you truly want to tap into the power of having a tribe, you’ve got to be willing to let your guard down. Learn how to handle your feelings of jealousy, inadequacy, and insecurity in a healthy way.
Accountability challenges you to show up when you don’t feel like it
I did it alone in the beginning and it was hard. Until you’ve created healthy habits it’s too easy to give up if you don’t have accountability. My son would eat cake for breakfast everyday if we let him.
There were many days I felt isolated , and like I was the only woman out there that wasn’t getting results and didn’t know why. When I linked arms with a running buddy that I felt a new level of commitment towards my fitness goals.
When you know someone is expecting you to show up, you just do. And you do it differently than you would if it were just you showing up for yourself.
I guess I’ve always sort of felt like a lone wolf. However ,that statement in itself is ironic. Wolves don’t travel alone. They travel in a pack. Because even they know there’s power in numbers. The saying, “It takes a village to raise a kid” is also true when it comes to reaching your fitness goals–or any other goal for that matter. You need a village if you want to survive long term.
Allows you to tap into your inner strength, learn + grow
Look, at the end of the day no one is coming to save you from your circumstances. No one is going to persevere and rally for your dreams as much as you.
You’ve got to be the one who decides to own them. You’ve got to be the one who decides they’re worth fighting for. That you’re worth fighting for. Whether you decide to hold yourself accountable, or you enlist the help of a lifestyle coach, having to report on how you’ve been doing will allow you to tap into strength you never even knew you had. Take the time to reflect on and own up to your actions. Reflection is a great opportunity for you to grow as a person. It also gives you great feedback on your habits and thought patterns.
Why is this important? Because then you can actually do something about it. Becoming self-aware of your behaviors (both the things that are working for you and that aren’t) will help you change what’s not working, and do more of what is.
Find your tribe
Showing up is hard work. Often times it can feel icky, especially when we have felt for so long that we just keep messing up. The truth is there is power in numbers. Having your own squad will not only help you reach your fitness goals faster, but it will also be a whole lot more fun too.
If you’re tired of feeling alone on this journey, and want to join our amazing tribe of women fill out the form below. We’re committed to crushing our goals and living our best life. Are you?
Cheers to creating food freedom, finding joy in movement, and making peace with your body before you ever reach your goals.