Support relationships make a big difference in weight loss. They are not only important, but can be incredibly fun and rewarding.
A song made famous by Barbara Streisand claims that people who need people are the luckiest people of all. But we aren’t just lucky, God made us this way.
From conception to passing, our surviving and thriving depend on other people. God is relational – He designed us to need Him and each other. He considered these relationships so important, He made them His most important commandments:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”
“And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself”
(Matthew 22:37, 39)
In our Bones
Not surprisingly, we know it and feel it. Don’t we do better and feel better in all kinds of ways when we have people we love and trust around us?
While we don’t need proof, I’m always amused when science proves something that was God’s design from the beginning. But it’s good to know – when it comes to losing weight, support makes a measurable difference.
- Groups did better than individuals ( Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology Vol. 69, No. 4).
- Friends did better together (Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Vol 67(1), Feb 1999, 132-138.)
Still, long before the field of psychology was born (1879, Leipzig, Germany, Wilhelm Wundt, if you were wondering), a wise King named Solomon said:
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9) God’s word is the first and last word.
If it is true we all need each other, the question is, are you finding the support you need when it comes to your weight loss journey?
In losing weight, one of the most helpful and powerful weapons is having a good accountability partner. The key word here is good. Since there are many ways to go wrong with accountability, I have a few do’s and don’ts to help you find the accountability you need: fun, supportive, and effective.
My best accountability partnership is still ongoing and has been working fabulously for a few years now. Here are a few ideas and suggestions for you so that you too can get the supporting lift you need in your journey!
Weight Loss Accountability: Do’s and Don’ts
Pray for your partner, even before your find her. Ask the Lord to lead you to the right one. How can you be a blessing to her? Be patient, it may not always be the first person you encounter.
Realize it or not, you have a preconceived notion of what the success of this relationship would look like. Say it out loud and tweak it into something well-defined (but flexible), mutually beneficial, and fun. You’ll need to convey this to your partner so that she knows what you need.
There are a million good things to be held accountable for. But to make it work, you’ll need to pick one. Two at the most. Examples may include:
- Not eating after a specific time
- Reporting weight progress
- Waking up early for intimate time with the Lord
- Following a Bible reading plan
- Taking 30 minutes for afternoon prayer
- Taking a certain number of steps each day
- Logging food in a food tracker
- Journaling daily
- Memorizing scripture
Mainly, choose what you need most and are most excited about doing. Don’t choose the hardest thing – not early on anyway. You’ll update your choice as needed to keep your motivation fresh and to be sure you are being realistic.
Plan your Communication
My partner and I prefer texting. Some may prefer to talk by phone, others may want to meet in person. Make sure your communication preferences match your partner’s. Texters and phone talkers tend not to mix well and it can become an obstacle to the relationship.
Agree on a Check-in Schedule
My current accountability partner likes to report in twice a week. There are some areas I like to report on almost every day. We each initiate our reporting in. If one of us delays, we reach out. I look forward to hearing her progress. We celebrate each other and also exhort each other to pick up, dust off, and soldier on when we stumble.
Exchange Visions and Ideas
To build a great accountability partnership, collaborate. Create a plan that is simple, but includes the best of both your ideas and eliminates the “extra.” Don’t make it cumbersome.
Choose a Believing Partner
It is vitally important that your accountability partner shares your faith. All of your actions will be taking place in the context of your relationship with the Lord, desire to please Him, and effort to bring your life into submission to Him. An unbeliever may respect your faith, but will not be likely to understand the importance of sanctification, God’s work in your heart, and the outcome you are seeking – breaking free from a stronghold. This is not self-improvement, it is self-surrender.
Ensure you Fully Understand your Partner’s Needs
Be careful to allow your partner to define what she wants to be held accountable for, and to let go of what you might think she needs. I may think I know what my partner “ought to do,” but she has proven over and over that she knows what is right for her. I give what she asks for, and offer it the way she has asked. She does the same for me. We have learned to hear each other.
Don’t “Transfer” your Responsibility
When you ask for accountability for something you don’t want to do or are unwilling to do, you place your partner in the awkward position of being your mom, babysitter, or parole officer. A person with this mindset is not yet ready for a constructive and effective accountability relationship. We are accountable first the Lord. Then, we own our responsibility to keep our word to Him and ourselves. Your partner’s job is to support you in keeping those commitments and vice versa.
Don’t Take on Too Much Change at Once
We don’t have the capacity to change more than a few actions, behaviors or thoughts at a time. Also, having too many issues to keep up with will undermine the accountability relationship, making it too cumbersome for you and your partner. Again, choose 1 thing, 2 at the most. Pursue those changes until they become routine, then choose the next.
Don’t “Set it and Forget it.”
Accountability relationships, like others need to be fed, nurtured and allowed to breathe and grow. My partner and I know when it is time to tweak the partnership. We both feel it, and we ask each other, “Is this still working for you?” If our partnership has become stale, we both think about what we need, and how to change our relationship. Then it comes to life and is once again fun and effective.
Don’t Just Quit: End it with Kindness and Grace
Not every partnership will work. Agree at the beginning to try the partnership on for size. If either of you senses that it’s not “just right,” then try to adjust. But if you can’t reach a good flow, then agree to continue looking for a better fit.
Come join our Fabulous Stop Dieting for Life FaceBook Support Group
Find your Weight Loss Support Tribe
I hope these tips will help you find the partner you need for your weight loss journey. While you are finding that perfect partner, you may also want to find a group you enjoy. The support and fellowship of a like-minded sisters makes the journey fun and sustainable.
Does your church have a support group? Could you start one? If you are online frequently, as I am, you may be interested in a Facebook Group. I would be remiss if I didn’t invite you to check ours out. It’s free, fun, supportive and if you enjoy the fellowship of ladies who love the Lord. I think you’ll really love it!
For further reading, check out my books on Amazon.com I Once Was Fat but Now I’m Found, Parts 1 and 2.