Stay Accountable for Weight Loss

When you’re trying to lose weight or maintain a hard-fought weight loss, willpower alone often isn’t enough to keep you on track. And even if you think you’re maintaining your goal weight, it’s all too easy for a few pounds to creep back on your frame. A study published online in the Journal of Women’s Health found that a significant number of women were unable to recognize small weight gains — between 4.5 and 8.8 pounds — over a period of six months, and those little gains can add up fast.

Make Friends With Your Scale

You might have a love-hate relationship with your bathroom scale — normal daily fluctuations can be maddening when all you want to see is 1 fewer pound. But it can still be a very useful tool, says J. Graham Thomas, PhD, an associate professor at the Miriam Hospital and Brown Medical Center in Providence, R.I., which runs the National Weight Control Registry. In fact, 75 percent of the 10,000 successful dieters enrolled in the registry weigh themselves weekly, and 38 percent do so every day — giving the scale a resounding endorsement for weight-loss maintenance. “Weight creeps up over time, so our members find that this is the best way they can keep track and make immediate corrections in their diet,” Thomas says.

Use a Tape Measure to Stay on Track

A very exacting way to measure success is with a cloth tape measure, says. By measuring your waistline, hips, bust, and even thighs and calves, you can record tangible progress toward your goal with the kind of detail that a scale can’t give you. Because muscle takes up less volume than fat, you’ll see inches drop, even when there might not be a corresponding change on the scale. It’s very empowering — and encouraging

Use a Food Diary

Tracking is vitally important when it comes to food because I think it’s an excellent tool and is easier than people think. You can list the foods or calories you’re eating, or simply mark an “X” on the calendar for every day you met your daily goal to, say, eat healthier snacks or avoid nighttime eating.

One accountability trick is to write down what you plan to eat before you eat it, not after. “The power in this is that it really increases your awareness more and makes you think literally twice about a food before you eat it,” she says.

Save your skinny jeans

Some people keep large item as a tip-off to weight loss that starts to creep back, but this technique isn’t effective for everyone. You might be better off keeping a different pair of trousers or dress — ones you know you always want to fit into. Some people like to keep a pair of pants that is not far from their goal around so they know when they reach it. If you use the method of a large item of clothing to motivate you towards weight loss make sure you get rid of this once you’ve reached your goal! Then there is no going back from then!

Find a Weight loss buddy

Having a “we’re in this together” buddy not only reinforces accountability, but also provides positive weight-loss and weight-maintenance motivation. You can call your buddy if you find yourself wavering, and you won’t be inclined to hit the snooze button and skip your morning walk if your friend is depending on you, too. “You can even get a little competition going, and have one buddy give a reward to the other if they stay on track. Make sure it’s not too indulgent you could even choose to have a rest day and go shopping for example.

Keep the Big Picture in Mind

Setting a specific goal can be a very effective weight-loss strategy. “One of the most common reasons people come to see me is because they are working towards a goal, like their child is getting married, or they’ve got a reunion coming up, or they’ve gotten divorced and they want to start dating again. However, be careful not to focus so much on a single transitory milestone that your plan falls apart afterwards. For example say you slimmed down to go on holiday, but then she ate like mad and it all came back. Set permanent objectives, too, such as living longer or even feeling more comfortable in your clothes.

Chart Your Fitness Progress

Experts agree that physical activity is key to maintaining weight loss, and one of the best ways to stay on track is to keep a fitness log. It can be as simple as marking an “X” on a calendar on days you exercise — it’s motivating to see a chain of Xs that you won’t want to break. Or opt for a more sophisticated record of accountability, noting each time you do strength training and aerobics. At the end of the week tally up your efforts and you might be pleasantly surprised.

Push Yourself With a Pedometer

Walking is one of the easiest exercises around, and with the right motivation you can add to your daily tally. An inexpensive pedometer is a great accountability aid that can prompt you to forge further ahead to reach fitness goals. Aim to get to 10,000 steps a day, which is about five miles.”That may seem like a lot, but if you have a pedometer and you see that you’re at 8,000 steps, you’ll be more inclined to put on your sneakers and head out after dinner for one more walk.” There are even apps that can turn your smartphone into a pedometer.