Accountability

Accountability is the most important thing I can do. Not just to lose the weight, but to keep it off forever. Heisenberg wrote about the impact of observation on quantum physics in his work on the uncertainty principal. Countless weight loss studies provide evidence that just noticing what you are doing and writing it down, has a big impact on success. On one of my favorite sites Livestrong.com is a great article with info on how to get started tracking. Here’s the important part in this quote:

… the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research found in a study that those who kept daily food diaries consumed less calories and lost twice as much weight over time as those who did not. Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/87406-keep-daily-diary-caloric-intake/#ixzz0qdOzR141

Twice as much. Now that’s a percentage that makes me sit up and take notice.

But are we all thinking: how boring? I know I am. And how tedious! How time consuming! Tell me about it! For years I have kept trying and starting. I used this form or that form. I tried this web site or downloaded this application. I used computers or a small notebook in my pocket. I just couldn’t get consistent. (I’m still not consistent). So I started to think about how I could make this a life long habit.These were my requirements:

  1. Must be easy – something with a database so I didn’t have to look up the nutritional info.
  2. It has to be fast.
  3. I need to be able to do it from wherever I am.
  4. Needs to be incorporated with planning so that I’m not surprised by my (Weight Watchers) points
  5. Need to be able to track my protein and carbs in addition to calories

Eureka! After buying several useless applications or downloading annoying freeware for months, I finally found a solution that works for me: the Livestrong app for the blackberry. It works and it works great – when I use it. The problem is that I get lazy and complacent and start to think I don’t need it. Then my weight loss slows down and I try to retroactively track a day. I know this doesn’t work because nobody remembers EVERYTHING they ate. Even what I can remember is usually a shock. If I eat just 300 extra calories a day, in a month, that’s two and a half pounds I could have lost that I didn’t.  Or in the maintenance phase, that’s GAINING 2.5 pounds a month, which is 30 pounds a year.

My Plan: So I am recommitting myself to journaling. The timing is right: I have a meeting with my nutritionist scheduled for July 7th. So I am going to track every bite I’m eating and post my numbers on my new Accountability Page. I will add more visibility into that equation by posting daily calories in and calories out (exercise) on Facebook.

Here’s how I made it even easier: I created saved meals online from my laptop that I can just pick from a list on the blackberry. Since I eat the same things for breakfast and snacks all week, then I can save those meals online by entering them into a past date (for example, go to yesterday’s page which I didn’t fill out) and enter the meals I’m going to have this week. Save that and now in the blackberry app, they appear as recent meals I can choose. So I don’t have to enter yogurt, almonds and blueberries, just pick Yogurt Fruit & Nuts from my list of meals. Same for my Protein Power Oatmeal, the Syntax Nectar protein drinks that I make. They are mostly with water, but I do one a day with milk, peanut butter and an inch of banana after my workout so I save it as PostWorkout Shake and can pick it from the list.

Criteria for Level 3 in the Melting Point Maturity Model. Consistent tracking is one of the things that separates the losers from the maintainers. In the past I have lost weight and lost a lot of it. But I know that if I don’t begin to track consistently, that I’m not going to keep it off this time. And failure is not an option.

You Gotta Think to Melt! So today was all about me looking at my list of habits, my plan for success and thinking about where I am on plan and where I need to refocus my efforts. Because I have a plan, I can check my actual activities and see where the variance is. Without a plan, you can’t do that. Do you have a plan? If not, maybe I can help. Leave me a comment with the following information and I’ll use some of those to create sample plans for getting started.

  • Age
  • Height
  • Current weight
  • Goal weight
  • Resting Heart rate in beats per minute
  • Fitness level: 1:invalid, 2:just starting, 3:moving consistently, 4:exercise maniac
  • Food restrictions: diabetic, vegetarian, kosher (Sorry – can’t do specific allergies)
  • Your schedule: Wake up at: get to work, school, etc by: get home by: go to bed by:
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