We have all been there, standing at the checkout line staring at that chocolate bar, and then we tell ourselves its just one chocolate bar who is going to know or care? Well first off you should really care, second off someone, somewhere else cares as well! So don’t pick up the chocolate bar, just check out hold your head high and be proud that you don’t need that chocolate bar. We all need some tool(s) of accountability to help us reach our goals rather they are diet related or not.
I’ve never been good at accountability. I was always the girl who wanted to eat healthy, but at the same time if I could sneak an extra treat I would. At one point in my life it was so bad that I would hunt down change so I could buy a Little Debbie cake. Why the change? If I used change no one would know I bought it there was no record of it. All for 15 seconds of bliss that would later make me crash and regret my choice, but I would repeat that same cycle again and again. It wasn’t just with sweets for me it was chips, an extra piece of pizza, or even left over buried in the fridge. I wasn’t eating because I was hungry I was eating because my warped mind was telling me to eat it and I would feel better.
At one point I actually went to a nutritionist. That nutritionist taught me a lot. One thing he taught me was when we crave something if we avoid that craving we will in the long run end up eating eat and possibly triple of it because of that. He worked with me on the importance of my calorie intake and that I eat 5-6 small meals a day, and that I write down everything I ate. This worked great for me for a couple months because every couple weeks he would check my food journal and we would talk about it. So I felt guilty, but then my mind told me hey no one will know if you don’t write it down other than you. That little seed of doubt was all it took and within a few weeks I just quit going to the nutritionist and went back to my old ways. Another failure of my own accountability.
So how do you change accountability and make it work for you. It varies for every person, but this is what worked for me finally. I needed someone to be accountable with me, and make me be accountable for myself. Someone to stand there and say hang in just one more day. Knowing they were standing beside me and encouraging me made me want to be accountable. Someone who was willing to say when I wanted a snack that we could have one just a healthier one than I would choose before. Doing it hand in hand with someone else made it tangible and if I cheated I was not only letting myself down I was letting them down too. I think everyone needs that person even if its just a friend, and they don’t have to even live with you to make it work.
I’ve met people that their accountability came in the form of taking a single picture of every single thing they were going to consume and placing that picture on social media. That made them accountable for everything they ate, didn’t matter if it was good or bad. All that mattered was it made them accountable for how they wanted to eat. Don’t be afraid to do that or ask someone to help you. You have to find whatever works for you and makes you want to keep things going for you.
Food journaling works wonders for many people as well, not so much for me as I mentioned before. It helps some people to see exactly what they are eating and when they are eating it. I find journaling to be helpful to my accountability any time I am figuring out what food may be hindering my progress, but as a long term accountability tool I just don’t have the dedication to make it work. You could even share your journals so others can learn from you and so that you know someone else may be following you, so you have to be accountable and not cheat.
It really is simple we are adults and no one can really tell us what we can and can’t eat other than ourselves. In order to be successful with that you have to find something to make you account for what is going into your body. Yes I can choose to eat that cupcake at the party, but I need to understand how its going to make me and my body feel once I eat it. If that consequence of eating that cupcake is not something I want to experience then I need to not eat it. Having a method of accountability will make it easier for me not to eat the cupcake.