By Konstance Bataeff
Why is having a weight loss buddy important in eating healthy and keeping oneself accountable?
Accountability may not be key, but it doesn't hurt either! I have started and quit many diets in my 33 years. I was a chubby child, which led to being a heavy teen, which led to being a plus-sized adult. I have vowed off this food and that food too many times to count, all in hopes of shedding some unwanted weight. Sometimes it has worked, sometimes not. Always, though, with the same result: gaining it back!
The most success that I have had is when I rope a friend into going to the gym with me, or doing meal planning together. Somehow it becomes something to look forward to, not so much of a chore or a dreaded experience. We can talk about the latest episode of "The Good Wife" or what we plan on making for Sunday dinner, all while putting some miles on our Nikes.
I've heard from weight loss coaches that the first week is the hardest when you are trying to make any significant lifestyle change. Imagine receiving a phone call from a good friend in the evening when you're sitting down to put your feet up, and she asks how you did with meals that day. I always feel so much better when I can give a positive report — kind of like the kid bringing home the straight-A report card! Now imagine the same evening, when instead of the phone ringing and you chatting with your buddy, you sit there bored. You need a snack. I don't know about you, but I don't usually want a bowl of celery or carrots to munch on while catching up on my shows. I go for the good stuff: ice cream. Darn, if I were on the phone with my weight loss buddy, I would have that extra boost in willpower to push me through the urge.
For me, meal planning is dreaded, no matter what. My husband wants no part in it. He will sit down to eat what I have planned and prepared, he'll even wash the dishes afterwards, but searching through recipes, writing out grocery lists, making countless trips to the grocery store, this is all too much for him. For some reason, most ladies that I know are the same as me in this respect; we love seeing tantalizing pictures of prepared food, looking over the recipe and finding that it can be replicated, and in our own kitchen to boot! How do you navigate through the images of ooey gooey cheese-smothered something-or-other and stay on track? Well, you've got your buddy sitting across the table from you to keep you in line. Go over each other's weekly meal plan and help point each other toward lower calorie options that may have been overlooked. Most of my favorite comfort food recipes have substitutions that can cut the calories in half! Swap out low fat Greek yogurt for that sour cream. Who doesn't love bacon? Give turkey bacon a try! Love pizza as much as I do? Try a new crust option: pound out a chicken breast as thin as possible, sear it, and top it with your favorite pizza toppings! I'm sure your partner in crime will have plenty of creative ideas to share; two minds are better than one when brainstorming.
Most of my friends are always trying to lose a little weight. It's never hard to find one to join me on a little adventure — even if it's the daunting task of trying to get healthier.