Weight loss is all about accountability. But, how do you know who to keep accountable to? Here is why I kept my weight loss a secret.
Some experts say you need to shout your health goals out loud to the entire world- or at least to a personal trainer, nutritionist or support group. It seems that every day someone is inviting me to some sort of accountability group. At the very least, you should tell your family or co-workers that you are trying to lose weight, right?
Here is why I recommend keeping your health goals a secret, and how it actually helped me on my own personal weight loss journey.
Before we dive into my story, what do other weight loss experts have to say about this? I turned to two really popular books written by other women who had their own amazing success. Lisa Delaney of “Secrets of a Former Fat Girl” and Jennette Fulda of “Half-Assed” BOTH decided to keep mum to their family about their weight loss goals.
What’s more- Both have successfully kept the weight off.
My own weight loss journey started AFTER I moved away from home. As a child, I would stubbornly state, “I won’t eat anything that’s green”. Even today, my family does not understand how much my eating habits have changed. At a dinner with my sister one night, she didn’t think to offer me broccoli.
Her reason was “Well, you don’t eat anything green”.
OK, so a couple of best-selling authors and a health coach don’t like sharing their goals publicly. Yet, isn’t accountability a critical component of achieving goals? What does science actually say about this?
Derek Sivers delivered a 3 minute TED talk that blew up with over 400 comments, called Keep your Goals to Yourself. Watch it below.
Basically, it boils down to Social Reality, which tricks us into thinking once our goal is acknowledged, it makes it feel like it’s already a part of our identity and we experience feel good hormones. Before we actually achieve anything!
Sometimes, telling your loved ones can actually sabotage your goals. Eating can be a very emotional experience, and spending time with family even more so. Eating while with family is a landmine of emotions. For an article on how to deal with the food pushers in your family, go here.
Psychology 24 delves into Social Reality in more depth, so you can really understand how your accountability suffers with public goal-sharing.
I’m not saying that your own family cannot or will not support your goals. But, most families have certain traditions that may be challenged by your healthier eating.
- If the only thing you will eat at grandma’s Thanksgiving dinner is a small portion of turkey and a salad that you brought, you might raise disapproving eyebrows.
- If your meat-crazy family finds out that you have embraced a vegan lifestyle, they might suddenly think that you have become an alien from another planet.
- If you are the only one in your office who won’t touch the doughnut pile, then you could be shunned.
Here are 3 specific ways you can sidestep the conversation of your specific health goals with your friends or family:
♥ Instead of telling them that you will lose “50 pounds by December”, you might say a more generic, “I’m eating healthier”.
♥ Instead of telling them, “no more junk food”, you might say “I am eating more fruit and nuts”.
♥ Instead of explaining your whole philosophy on where, when, why and how you eat, simply say “no thank you”.
Sometimes, the very environment you live in makes it harder to reach your goals. In that case, I suggest joining a support group of strangers (Psst! Weight no More is a great place to start).
Why strangers? These people couldn’t care less if you avoid alcohol or dislike their world-famous pie recipe. Some of them might even become your biggest supporters, since you share common goals.
According to Huffington Post, sharing your fitness goals on social sites might actually hold you more accountable. As someone who belongs to a BILLION (at last count) Facebook groups, I will attest that this is not always the case. Between the notifications and “noise” from the vast number of other members, it can get overwhelming, and suck you into a black hole of despair or comparison-itis.
If you belong to few or no groups, though, checking in at regular times with a closed and semi-private fitness group could be helpful, and is often included in most fitness programs, such as Fit 4 Mom.
However, you will also inevitably come across your friends posting FOOD PORN, and foods that may tempt your newfound willpower.
Strangers also cannot hurt your feelings so much as family can. If my husband said I look chubbier, I would feel more discouraged than if some stranger made the same comment. How do YOU feel when a loved one is critical of your appearance? And, how does that compare to when someone you don’t know has the same opinion?
Most of us try our best to please our loved ones.
Achieving your weight loss goal is all about pleasing yourself.