My Favorite Healthy Eating Accountability Tools
A few months ago I took on a new eating challenge. Though I’d sworn off strict diets many years ago, I felt I was turning to sweets too often and wanted a change. Enter the No S Diet.
What is the No S Diet?
This program was created by Reinhard Engels nearly 20 years ago when he wanted to eat healthier and lose some weight. It can be summed up thusly: No snacks, sweets, or seconds, except on days that start with an S.
In other words, unless it’s a Saturday, Sunday, or a special day (like my birthday or a national holiday), no desserts (or snacks or seconds) for me.
How I am staying on track with healthy eating
The first thing I did after deciding I’d give this way of life a try is joining the Facebook group dedicated to this particular eating style.
The second thing I did was tell my family.
Joining an online support group is probably the easiest and fastest way to gain accountability when it comes to sticking to your newfound healthy eating habits. Other people in the group will give you advice when you’re struggling, support when you need it, and inspiration when you see they’ve been able to keep it up. I really, really love the group I’ve joined, and thoroughly enjoy both reading other people’s stories and sharing my own (limited) advice.
I don’t rely on my family for accountability like I do the group, but now that they know what plan I’m following, there’s no pressure from them to eat dessert on a weeknight. They'd also question me if I was suddenly noshing an ice cream sundae on a Wednesday night, because they would know, for sure, it wasn’t a day that started with an S.
Accountability tips for healthy eating
These two things are working for me, but will they work for you?
Online support groups
Online support groups are truly wonderful places. You’ll likely be able to find one for any healthy eating plan you’re following, and having help anytime, day or night, can be quite comforting.
Using family as your accountability, well, that’s a bit trickier. Though my family knows what I’m doing, I certainly don’t expect them to be the ones to hold me to it, not to mention my husband pointing out what I’m doing “wrong” could lead to some cold shoulders and dagger eyes. If you and your family are doing a program together, by all means, hold each other accountable, but otherwise, it might be smart to look outside the family.
Where, you ask? Well, one of my new favorite ideas is making a commitment at a place like StickK.com. Here’s the deal: You put down money that you’ll do something. If you don’t do it, not only do you lose the money, but you can arrange for it to be donated to an organization that stands for everything you’re against. For instance, you love puppies, but if you don’t eat healthily, the money will be donated to the Anti Puppy League of America. (I’m kidding, but you get the idea.) You can also have your money go to a charity like the Red Cross if you truly can’t stand the idea of your money supporting a cause you absolutely loathe.
Making a pact with a friend is also a good idea, especially if they’re embarking on the same healthy eating road as you. You’re less likely to get grumpy with them if they call you out on your behaviors, and having someone you already know and trust to report your progress to will make you feel supported and motivated.
If the thought of reaching out to others, even strangers on the internet, feels like too much, there’s always that person staring back at you from the mirror. That’s right, ultimately you’re the only person responsible for what goes into your body. Keep a food diary, plan out your meals, and/or reward yourself (with non-food prizes!) for achieving little goals.
Healthy eating can take many (many!) tries to get right. It’s okay to fail, but it’s sure easier to succeed when you have someone in your corner keeping you accountable.
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