Like so many things in life, it’s easier when you have a partner or buddy to lean on. The same rule goes for weight management, working out and living a healthy lifestyle. It’s a little easier when you have someone to talk to, vent with and give you the support you need — especially on those hard-to-deal-with days.
The Greater Value of Having an Accountability Partner
Researchers believe that people with a higher social circle tend to lose weight easier and quicker. It turns out that having a pal or two to work out with or eat with affects your individual goals. The more accountable you feel to your buddy, the less you will want to let them down. This holds you to your routine and regimen. Also, it’s easier to learn a habit when you know another person is going through it with you.
Choosing the Right Partner
Finding the right workout buddy may be a bit of a challenge. You may have a best friend or a family member that you love dearly and enjoy spending time with, but they may not share the same ideals or values as you. So, these people may not be the right “fit” as your partner.
You may need to find someone that’s going to hold you accountable and help you achieve your goals. The bottom line is, there’s no “one size fits all” diet or workout plan – and your accountability partner is the same. Finding the right fit is a personal matter, so take your time and find the right person.
Find out what you need to achieve your goals. This is going to require you to be very honest with yourself. Make a list of what you need, your availability, how much time you’re willing to devote to the partnership, contact mode for support (such as email, text or phone calls) and lastly, your energy towards it. Many people will put the work into finding the right diet or workout plan, but they don’t put the same energy or effort into creating a healthy, supportive system to help guide them along the way. This small step can make all the difference between your success and “falling off the wagon.”
Once you have your person and you have discussed how you are going to proceed, it’s important to be honest and keep the lines of communication open. Be encouraging, supportive and kind with yourself and one another. As long as you both fully understand each other’s needs and expectations, you can both truly be there for each other.
If you feel that you need an extra “push” to hold each other accountable, you can create a “buddy contract.” This form may include things such as short-term and long-term goals. Be firm and accommodating, and make sure you both have a copy. This will remind each of you what you both need and keep you on track.
And, if you’re buddy isn’t working out, don’t be afraid to have a chat about what you need. If it still isn’t working, don’t be afraid to call it quits. Remember — the whole purpose of having an accountability partner is to enhance the weight management journey, make it easier and more fun for the both of you. If that’s not happening, what’s the point of sticking it out?
A diet buddy, workout partner or accountability partner can blossom into a beautiful friendship — one that lasts a lifetime of endless support and understanding. Teaming up can be more fun and help you manage your weight along the way. Just remember that you don’t have to go it alone. You always have options and your support team may be just a friendship away. So, go for it and be your best self today!
About the Author:
Natalie-Jean Schiavone, PhD, has more than 15 years of experience in the healthcare industry. After receiving her Master’s degree in General Psychology, Natalie-Jean went on to complete her doctoral degree in Health Psychology, with a specialization in obesity. Dr. Schiavone conducted her research and completed her dissertation on female adolescents with obesity and their social experiences. Using her education, experience and expertise, Dr. Schiavone works with her patients to create a healthier lifestyle where knowledge is a key factor in this modification.