When you think of making a major lifestyle change, what do you think about first? Do you think in terms of what you have to sacrifice? Do you think about how hard it might be, or how long it might take to achieve the results you want? Or do you think about what you will gain?
Most people tend to focus on either the work or the results, or a combination of both. But a major lifestyle change, such as renewing your approach to food and fitness, takes more than just hard work. We all need support, and research has consistently shown that those of us with a support system are more successful at meeting our goals.
That’s the idea behind “accountabilibuddies”, or support people who encourage and motivate you to stay on track. While you’re busy counting calories, shopping for healthy foods, and touring prospective gyms, you have one more item to check off your to-do list: Find yourself an accountabilibuddy or two.
Your first instinct might be to turn to a romantic partner, parent, sibling, or best friend. But often these can be the worst people for the job! It sounds surprising, but think about it: If this person does not share your goals, then your new lifestyle might be difficult for them to fully support. When you’re not sharing a tub of ice cream with your partner at midnight, or going out for multiple calorie-laden cocktails with your best friend, they might be tempted to enable some bad behavior just to get the “old you” to make a reappearance.
Often, the best accountabilibuddy is a new person you meet along your weight loss journey. You share the same goals and fight the same battles every day, and this puts you both in a better position to support one another.
Look around! If you’ve joined some online communities, perhaps a support group on Facebook, participate in discussions. Arrive early for your yoga class and chat up your classmates. Talk to that acquaintance at work who always brings the incredible-looking salads. When you open your eyes to people who are on the same path, suddenly you realize they are everywhere!
Try something new. If a new activity looks interesting, but slightly intimidating, invite your new friend to come along. Zumba is a lot more fun with a friend, and the weight room isn’t so scary when you’re chatting and helping one another.
Offer to help. Sometimes it’s hard to ask other people for favors. So instead of asking a friend to be your workout buddy, offer to be theirs!
Remember that the point of an accountabilibuddy is to motivate one another to work out, and sometimes distract each other when cravings strike. Choose a positive, energetic person who will support you in making healthy choices, and remember to do the same for them.