I have been trying to lose weight since high school ... maybe even before then. But I really hunkered down sophomore year in college when I copied my friend's mom's weight watchers books. But I cheated. There were plenty of times to do it. Who was really keeping tabs on me? No one, but me. Kind of easy to rationalize a chocolate chip cookie here or there when no one is checking in on how many points you have left for the day. Even if I did have someone ask how well it was going, it was easy to say: Awesome! I am right on plan for the day ... or not!
It is easy to lie to myself and others when you don't let anyone in ... so this go around on Weight Watchers I got vocal. I let everyone and their dog know I was joining and trying to lose weight.
The first change I made was attending meetings. What is more accountable than having to get on a scale every Monday night? You can't lie to the scale. Tell it to say a lower number than it really says. It is the most honest thing you can turn to.
In addition to the weighing in at meetings, I became friends with a couple girls there. It was great. Every week we would check in on each other. If someone wasn't there, we would call or text to make sure they were okay. THAT was accountability and support wrapped up in a one hour block every Monday night. THAT I realized was what I needed. Even my leader gave me her email address and allowed me to bother her during the week with any questions I had.
Some people don't like to tell people they are on Weight Watchers, I realized I needed to be the complete opposite. The more people that knew meant the more people I didn't want to let down and the more people I could turn to in a time of need/weakness/success.
I also started texting about a dozen people (from my parents to my wife to my friends) every week after my weigh-in to let them know how it went. If I gained, I felt bad, but I knew these people had my back. This weight loss journey is a process. It doesn't happen overnight. You have a bad week and you get back on the horse the next week. All that came through my friends and I needed it.
I made sure to tell everyone at work as well. Many times I eat in the cafeteria there and I wanted to make sure they would always have the food I needed around. Thankfully we have one of the best salad bars in the game! But the more I talked about it, the more the chef wanted to help and for the past year and a half, he has always had plenty of healthy food on hand for me. Even secretly keeping some in the back for me ;)
In addition to physical support, twitter has become a second family. I have befriended online hundreds of people going through the same exact situation I am. They know what I am thinking and always lend a word of encouragement. OR if I cannot find the correct point value for a pint of Guiness, there is someone in Ireland ready will the anser (6, if you were wondering). :)
Since joining in Nov. '09, I have had about 15 or so friends join Weight Watchers, including my wife. It has been great fun sharing what I have learned with them. But it also gave me a new drive and focus. Having my wife join was one of the best things. We can now keep the food brought into the apartment in check, try new WW recipes and make sure we are hitting our goals.
I love being able to pass on the encouragement that people have given me to my new WW folk. I started a WW excel file, where I keep people's main stats (weight loss to date, weigh-in day and lbs til goal) so I can be sure I am checking in on people when they need it. *Let me know if you want in*
I thought in addition to all of this that starting a blog would hold me the most accountable. I am enjoying posting my food logs and sharing the trials and tribulations. If one post helps someone else, then I think I have done my job.
So if you are looking for help, there are plenty of avenues to go. Find a buddy, attend or meeting or just sign up for twitter and support awaits!
I thank my friends, family, WW leaders and wife the continued support and I thank my meetings for truly holding me accountable...