Being Accountable for Your Weight Loss

July 17, 2019

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“I only ate the cake because it was my coworker’s birthday.”

“So-and-so pressured me to go out to eat.”

“I had a long day, so I deserve this dessert”

Have you ever found yourself saying phrases like these?

If you have, you might be breaking one of the cardinal rules of weight loss, and that is accepting personal responsibility for your eating and other weight management choices. When weight loss doesn’t come as easily as you might wish, there could be the temptation to pin those shortcomings on someone or something else. Blaming others and making excuses won’t help you lose weight. At the end of the day, the buck stops with you.

So, if you recognize that your sense of personal responsibility about your weight could use a boost, here are some ways you can get yourself into the right mindset:

  1. Identify what you value most in life

When you can identify the things you value most, it instantly clarifies what you are willing to fight for. Is it your family? Job? Friends? Usually when someone or something you care deeply about is under threat, you will take action to protect it. So, what if we told you that if your health risks due to weight put your family in a more vulnerable position? Wouldn’t knowing that prompt you to take concrete steps to improve their safety and well-being? It is your responsibility to take those steps.

The impact of your weight reaches your personal relationships, your job performance, and how you feel throughout the day. When you evaluate how much a healthier weight could enhance your life, it would be irresponsible to not improve your health. Of course, that is easier said than done, but you can start by focusing on the control you possess over your own actions.

  1. Improve your “internal locus of control”

When trying to lose weight, it is important to answer the question: “Who or what controls your actions?” For you to find weight loss success, you should work towards having an “internal locus of control,” which is the belief that you have control over both the circumstances of your life and your reaction to them. By recognizing that you’re in control, you are affirming that you are personally responsible for your health, and therefore can overcome any hurdles in your way.

Your internal locus of control is determined by the choices you make within your environment. Remember, your external environment doesn’t control you. It just provides the context within which you make decisions. For instance, if you take clients out for a steak dinner, there’s no need for you to order the 32-ounce rib eye. Or if for some unlikely reason that is the only item on the menu, there’s no rule that says you have to eat the whole thing. No one makes those decisions for you but you.

Whether it’s clients, friends, or family, if you recognize that you are making unhealthy choices at certain times of the day in specific locations, or with a specific group of people, you have to create solutions to overcome those triggers.

  1. Stop with the blaming and excuses!

When your internal locus of control isn’t strong, the automatic tendency is to assign blame for shortcomings externally. Evaluating which external obstacles may be causing you to make unhealthy choices is a good first step in taking personal responsibility for your behavior. It’s not your spouse’s fault you had that second helping of pasta. It’s not your kids’ fault you ate the Halloween candy. You and you alone make those choices.

The sister of blame is making excuses. You can’t go for your morning walk because it’s raining. Or you ate the chocolate mousse dessert at the dinner party because it would have been rude to refuse. Again, these are excuses that reduce the power of your internal locus of control over your environment. You can always fabricate a reason not to do something; however, that doesn’t mean that is a legitimate justification. Instead of letting the rain or guests determine your health, take action to improve it yourself.

  1. Seek the appropriate help when you need it

Your decisions aren’t limited to everyday food and activity choices. Sometimes you have an underlying medical condition that makes it more difficult to lose weight. Does that doom you to a life of excess weight? Absolutely not! Again, the locus of control is within you. You have a choice to surrender to the condition or make an appointment with a medical professional to do something about it. When you need help, you should seek it out, especially when it comes to your health. Your support system is an aid in the path to a healthier life, but you are the one responsible for getting to the destination.

On your journey to a healthier lifestyle, you will need to take accountability by understanding what is valuable to you, improving control of your environment, ending the excuses, and seeking help when necessary. You are the only one with the power to change your life and now is the time to do it.

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