One of the things that I’m moving towards this year is being more physically fit. While I’m healthy according to my doctor, I want to be even more fit before my 45th birthday in May.
After 40 your metabolism winds down 5% every 10 years, which means you have to consume fewer calories and work out more just to maintain your normal weight. – Boost Your Metabolism After 40
Even though I don’t like this truth, it doesn’t change the facts. Based on all of my research, there are 5 main components of physical fitness:
- Peace (According to some research, the increase in the hormone cortisol from stress, may contribute to weight gain.)
I tend to be good at excelling at 3 out of the 5 at any given time, but I’m aiming for all 5! Sleep, peace, and hydration are the ones that come easily to me. Meanwhile, exercise and nutrition ebb and flow when I’m not focused. I have embraced the reality that at 44, it’s going to take consistent effort in all five areas. That is why I have a fitness accountability partner this year.
An accountability partner is a person who coaches another person in terms of helping the other person keep a commitment. – Wikipedia
Accountability partners can be paid or unpaid. (Mine is a mutual, unpaid partnership.) He or she just needs to be someone who will actually call you to do what you said. For instance, my husband is awesome, but he’s an awful accountability partner when it comes to fitness. He’s naturally thin and trying to gain weight, so we have opposing goals. Also, he doesn’t want me to lose too much weight. He’s a typical Black man with southern roots – he appreciates curves. Instead of reminding me of what not to eat, he is more likely to say, “Don’t lose too much weight!” 🙂
If accountability is going to be a mutual partnership, it also helps if the person has similar (not necessarily the same) goals. For instance, this month I’m eating really clean and working out daily. (It’s just a short Hip Hop Abs DVD workout to get back in the habit – nothing over the top.) Meanwhile, my chosen partner is eating vegan and continuing her gym workouts. Once a week, we send each other a text reporting how we did.
In many areas, it’s easy for me to be my own accountability partner. I see that I need an accountability partner when it comes to nutrition and exercise though (at least for now) because my life and schedule are filled with so many distractions. It has only been a little over two weeks and I already see how key partnership is when it comes to changing habits. There have been a couple of days that my schedule was so full (mainly with good things) that I didn’t get around to doing my workouts until 11:30PM. I was also sick for a couple of days, but I still did my workout. Exercise is not that challenging when I get into a rhythm. Nutrition is the area that having a partner is the most helpful though. We have people over at our home quite often – twice so far this month. One couple had requested a meal from my soul food ebook and they brought over dessert. They wondered aloud why I wasn’t eating the macaroni and cheese, biscuits and variety of desserts. Another couple came over for dessert another night. It was fine though. The people who live in my own home are more challenging! See…
Even with a partner, things don’t always go according to plan. For instance, my family went to a media event at Medieval Times in New Jersey last Friday. I simply texted my partner in advance to let her know what unplanned items I would be having. Overall though, knowing that I have someone to check-in with at the end of each week has been a great help for me. I will reevaluate my commitment each month because I don’t plan on staying at 100% clean eating and exercising every day. By Valentine’s Day, I want to move to 90% clean eating and 6 workouts a week. We’ll see.
While having an accountability partner in this area is helpful for me, it may not be a good thing for you. Know yourself..and act accordingly. (I like all types of personality tests. Gretchen Rubin’s The Four Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How to Make Your Life Better (and Other People’s Lives Better, Too) is a current favorite.I’m a “questioner” in most areas of life, but I’m more of an “obliger” in this particular area.)
–You Need an Accountability Partner. (Or a Punch in the Nose.) (The New York Times)
–How To Be Your Own Accountability Partner (Fast Company)