Let’s face it: the road to weight loss is not an easy one. You will be facing plenty of hurdles along the way. First came the pizza and snacks. Then, binge-watching all those favorite seasons in just a couple of days. From couch to bed, this is how most of the coronavirus isolation went.
People were stressing out about being unable to go to the gym, which became the main reason for most of everyone’s sloth-like ways. Now that we’ve moved on from strict shutdowns, it became even harder to get the body back on track.
To really find the motivation and inspiration to shed the extra pounds, that’s where an accountability partner can help. If you want to know how a diet and fitness partner may help you obtain your weight loss goals, then you are in the right place.
We compiled the latest statistics and research that covers the accountability and support system when following a weight loss plan. Every section here can help answer all your queries. So, let’s jump right in!
The Impact of Having an Accountability Partner You Can Trust
About 25.6% of American adults are physically inactive. Approximately 70% of the population in ten U.S. states is either obese or overweight. Despite the continuous debate of what’s causing obesity, 48% believe that it’s due to lack of exercise and poor diet (1).
But diet and exercise is not the only thing on people’s minds. Many have trouble losing weight, and even if they do lose it, they can’t keep it off. Around 90% of those who’ve managed to slim down quite a bit, eventually regained almost all of it. At times like these, our body becomes the enemy, undermining our efforts at every turn (2).
According to experts, an accountability partner is here to make a difference. They share your workout and weight loss goals and navigate you through a gentler path to success. In fact, having someone there beside you can make a difference between success and failure when slimming down (3).
They can help you:
- Find the motivation and accountability to achieve success.
- Break the sedentary habits and poor eating choices.
- Find entertainment and positive emotions when exercising.
- Try out varieties of options when meeting fitness goals.
- Become competitive to push yourself further.
In other words, a good support system can become that driving factor. In the realm of shedding the excess pounds, there is enough data that shows emotional and social support creates positive experiences. It provides people with a range of beneficial emotions, all of which can be used as a deciding factor.
Accountability is a tool used in many settings to encourage people to stick to a particular course of action. Not only is it encouraging, but practical as well. When you have a fitness partner, you can count on their virtues, guidelines, support, and positivity. This partnership creates long-term benefits (4).
To evaluate the impact of a buddy benefit during a targeted weight loss program, scientists assessed how effective support of a friend, family member, or a romantic partner can help people lose weight. Exactly 704 volunteers took part in a 15-week online program.
About 54% of them selected buddies, the rest took part in the weight loss program alone. Based on the results, those who had support shed a lot more pounds than those without a buddy. Their waist also reduced a lot more.
Furthermore, having a romantic partner as a fitness buddy turned out to be as effective as any other type of individual. As long as people had the support of an accountability partner, they could obtain the desired result. This shows that having encouragement either from a significant other or a friend can pay off (5).
Selecting the Ultimate Accountability Partner
Accountability is a catalyst for forming worthwhile habits. To achieve these habits, you need to constantly practice them. A partner is here to swoop in and save the day. But, to notice some substantial weight loss results, it is critical to have the right partner by your side.
You and your partner don’t necessarily have to get synchronized workouts. Yet, you should be checking in with each other at least every day to share your progress. Together, you can inspire each other to strive for your goals.
When picking out an accountability partner, have someone that matches your personality. Your fitness and health goals should match enough so that you can both make a difference in each other’s lives. The idea is not to have goals that are a perfect replica. Instead, it should be someone who is well ahead of you. So, you will see them as competition (6).
Someone who went through the whole ordeal of shedding plenty of pounds knows just how hard it is to keep at it. They understand the struggles and emotional unrest you are going through. Of course, there is not a single accountability partner that’s perfect for everyone.
For some people, having an individual on a whole new fitness level feels overwhelming. It is also demotivating. So, they opt for a gap that’s not so big, yet makes them feel that they can achieve their fitness goals.
Basically, the selection process is simple. Choose a person you feel comfortable with and you know they will show up. They are someone you can count on whenever things get messy or you feel like giving up. The ultimate accountability partner uses a perfect combination of tough love and support. They may not be the super positive cheerleader you need, but a figure who will push you beyond your limits.
As you can see, selecting a partner requires balance. You are together on this journey so that you can support one another, not become judgmental or overbearing. When there is too much dominance or control in a partnership, it takes away the fun from exercising and losing weight (7).
Love and support go hand in hand. Therefore, spending time with a genuine person who truly means something to you can provide that impactful benefit. If you are someone who thrives in a team, then by all means – go for it.
Collect more people to become accountability partners. There is both safety and fun in numbers. So, you don’t have to worry about being left without a group of friends. For many, being in a team is not that useful. The more people there are, the easier it is to hide.
But, when there is a single person watching over you, then you have little room for slacking off. Nevertheless, everyone is different. That’s why you should choose partners and form bonds based on your personal needs. As long as you don’t have a saboteur in your midst, you are good to go!
Consider Doing a “Buddy Contract”
To make sure that you are both on the same page, consider doing a buddy contract. Whether you want to write things down or not, is completely up to you. But, this will help you spell out every mutual goal that you have and the ways you think would be best to obtain them.
List both the long-term and short-term goals. For example, “I want to do aerobic exercises 3 times a week and I would like you to accompany me”. This would be a hefty short-term goal. A long-term one would be the one that indicates how many pounds you want to lose.
Every goal, fitness plan, and eating routine should be firm and concrete. Your strategy, however, on how to accomplish them should maintain some level of flexibility and adaptiveness. With time, you will be learning more about yourself and your partner. So, you will want to include all of those newly-found strategies in the weight loss routine.
If you wrote the contract down, then both parties should keep a copy of their agreement. Read it from time to time. This will serve as a reminder of what you are both striving for. Then again, don’t feel let down if the accountability partner is no longer being helpful.
Have a heart-to-heart conversation with them and tell them what it is that’s going wrong. If they are eager to make some changes, then you can definitely get the bond fixed and move on with the weight loss routine. But, if they lose their eagerness and motivation to shed the excess pounds, then don’t let them pull you down.
It’s a good idea to move on to a different accountability partner. Plus, you will have a better opportunity at forming new bonds. Remember, the accountability partner is there to enhance the weight reduction journey. You are both there to support one another.
But, when that doesn’t happen, you don’t need to stick around. Keep your friendship and avoid arguing at all costs. You can build mutual support and friendship with another person, without ruining your current one. So, call it quits whenever things aren’t working out.
How to Become a Great Accountability Partner Yourself?
You’ve been invited to play the role of a fitness and wellness buddy, but you have no clue how to get it right. There is a lot to being an accountability partner then it meets the eye. Your indispensable attitude will have a profound impact on a person’s emotional and physical state.
Therefore, you want to do your best to help that person get through every problem along the way. You will be responsible for making good choices, as well as motivating people to shed the extra pounds. These tips below can help you make a good impact.
1. Support The Partner’s Values and Goals
Being supportive is critical for encouraging someone to carry out their weight loss routine. You should have clearly defined goals before you decide to become an accountability partner. The reason for that is relatively simple.
You will become that stable foundation for your partner to lean on. However, you can’t support someone if you don’t know what you want or how you want to achieve it. That’s why it is important to evaluate every aspect of your fitness ideas and see what it is that you need.
2. Focus on the Positives Rather Than Their Shortcomings
As a profound accountability partner, you will see plenty of successes and reasonable failures as well. This is a normal part of the weight loss process. According to experts, a lot of people tend to exercise too much or too little when they start focusing on their fitness goals. This is causing problems, which lead to stress and issues with metabolic rate (8).
Then, there is the lack of self-monitoring behaviors, like knowing when to measure the weight or track their personal food logs. It’s normal for someone who hasn’t spent that much time exercising and losing weight to feel overwhelmed whenever they start a weight reduction journey (9).
That’s why you shouldn’t be too harsh on them on the first tries. Of course, you can’t accept all excuses. Just, make sure to point out their successes and show what it is that they can achieve if they stay on the right path. Not only do you promote positive behavior, but you also become a crucial role model.
3. Be Compassionate and Challenging
Compassion, encouragement, and understanding go hand in hand. The goal you and your partner want to achieve is a difficult ordeal. So, it is normal for it to take some time, dedication, and commitment to achieve. Remember, the end result is always worth it. Thus, the effort you both put in will ensure a hefty reward.
4. Try to Build Up Your Partner
Whenever things go sideways, it is normal for a person to feel discouraged. After all, not every exercise is as easy to do. The moment your partner refuses to overcome an obstacle, brainstorm solutions and thoughtfully share your skills and knowledge. Your personal success and difficulties will be a stepping stone for motivation. When your partner realizes that you are not invincible, they will have an easier time reconnecting with you and accepting their shortcomings.
5. Remain Committed
Shaping and slimming the body takes time and effort. Based on reports, to maintain a safe and healthy weight reduction, people should opt for losing 1 to 2 pounds a week. That’s around 1% of a person’s body weight. If they do it too quickly or go overboard, they can encounter problems like muscle loss, extreme fatigue, and gallstones (10).
As a helpful accountability partner, you would need to remain available, committed, and willing throughout the whole experience. You should want to see your partner succeed. You will share their joy. Do have in mind that this ordeal can last months or years (depending on your predetermined fitness goals).
6. Establish Reciprocal Relationship
Don’t forget to open up with your partner. You are in a two-way commitment, so sharing segments of your life can become a practical form of encouragement and feedback.
Accountability partners for weight loss can help people in more ways than one. They are here to provide a notable benefit, create bonds, trust, and offer thoughtful counsel. Besides, whenever you work out with someone who means a lot to you, it’s much easier to boost your drive and motivation to get the work done. Now that you know the sheer impact of having an accountability partner, you can use this strategy in your fitness routine.