I have been overweight for decades. Two decades to be exact. Considering I’m turning 31 next month, I don’t really remember what it’s like to be at a healthy weight, since I haven’t been at a healthy weight since I was eight.
Half of the weight is a medical issue (polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS) and the other half is the Standard American Diet (SAD) along with a lack of regular exercise for the last ten years. I’ve tried to lose weight and build healthy habits since I was eleven with no success.
There have been times I’ve managed to flat line on weight gain or lose 20-30 pounds. I spent two years on the swim team in high school where I gained no weight (although I didn’t lose any either, thanks to PCOS!).
My freshman year of college I went to the gym three days a week with a friend and we lifted weights and did the elliptical for two hours on those days. I lost about twenty pounds by the end of the term and an additional ten over the summer. No freshman fifteen here!
About five years ago, I put $450 down on a personal trainer and worked out five days a week the entire summer. Between that and the stomach flu, by the end of October that year I had lost 35 pounds. Then I began working on my master’s research with a kindergarten class full of special needs kids and a toddler at home. Can we say takeout, anyone?
The rest of the last twenty years have been dozens of fits and starts with different diet and exercise plans, none of which lasted a full two weeks. What was different about those three times in my life where I was able to be successful? I had accountability.
I’ve found that accountability is important in a variety of areas in life, whether you are accountable to a spouse, a boss, your church, a family member, a friend. Accountability is important to maintain integrity and also for follow-through. What I’ve learned is I’m more likely to give up if I’m not accountable to anyone.
Five months ago, I started walking. I didn’t mention to anyone that I started walking at first but then I’d walked more than two weeks straight and realized I was making progress. So I started posting on Facebook and blogging about it. Now my friends and family will ask me regularly how my walking is going. When I get up in the morning my husband asks me if I’m going for a walk.
But during crazy seasons of life, that’s not quite enough. It’s too easy to give in to my bed when I was up late the night before accomplishing something. After two months of near-daily walking and seventy miles, I hit some major roadblocks and I let them trip me up. I missed out on most of March after a major flu bug caused a second miscarriage. At the end of March, I got back on the wagon and remained consistent for about three weeks when a nasty cold derailed me once again. I knew I needed more accountability than the occasional post on Facebook.
Come back tomorrow when I share what I did to add accountability to my exercise and eating habits!