I wanted to briefly share an accountability experiment I have been doing with my father for the past 2 months. Maybe it can help you too.
He has always been overweight since a kid and had Type 2 Diabetes for as long as I can remember. Since my mom passed 5 years ago his tummy has expanded even more to 114kgs and his sugar was consistently high at round 14. That is bad.
As a leader of a health community watching your dad face potential health complications at age 63 is not easy when all you want for him is the best quality of life. The irony is often that your own family members can be the hardest to help.
I tried for over a year and lost some hope. He was stuck saying he could not do it, that he could not change his habits and that he was a food addict. He even said he was ashamed to be my father as a leader of a health community. I considered getting him to a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist to deal with the “food addiction”.
Then one day I had a great idea. I created a Whatsapp Group for just the two of us and so we started our food accountability log 2 months ago.
The reason was because I wanted to see exactly what he was eating and so the deal we made was to post EVERYTHING that passed our lips. No exceptions. Even if you have a slip up. So at least 3 times a day we shared images and sometimes a brief description. It was cool and we bonded over it.
It helped me just as much knowing I was accountable to him. If I slipped up I thought it would set a poor example so I focussed even harder.
Then next I bought him a Nutribullet because I had started using one and found it an easy way to get more veggies and nutrients into my body. He also has false teeth so soft foods are ideal. Luckily he is a chef by trade and so has already come up with some amazing meals in his Nutribullet which he uses at least once a day.
Here is a view of some of the images we have shared. You can view a media library in a Whatsapp chat.
Then after going to the Low Carb High Fat conference I heard compelling evidence to suggest that extremely insulin resistant diabetic Type 2 people can thrive on under 20g of carbs a day.
So he downloaded the popular Myfitnesspal application on his PC and smartphone and now punches all his food into that daily to get an idea of calories and macronutrient quantities (carbs, fats, and protein). He enjoys the tracking and keeping tabs.
I do not like calorie counting but awareness is a great asset if only for that.
He also created a spreadsheet which he humorously named “Load-shedding” and tracks blood sugar, blood pressure and hours of sleep daily for me.
The result for my Pops over the past 2 months has been
- Blood Sugar from an average of 14 to an average just under 9 and improving all the time
- Blood pressure stable
- Weight down from 114 to 108 Kgs
- His energy and concentration has increased
- He sleeps much better
- We have bonded over the experience
But the best part of all? He is NO LONGER stuck in a rut of not being able to move forward and for the first time has some self belief that he CAN do it.
I am very happy about the blood sugar shifts which is more our focus at the moment then the weightloss. His body finds it very hard to lose weight which we will tackle over time.
I am very proud of my old man.
I wanted to share this with you because I think everyone can benefit by doing a food accountability log with a friend or family member.
There is nothing simpler then taking a photo of your food and sending it to someone. NO excuse.
We found Whatsapp easiest because it is real time, easy to attach photos and offers notification but feel free to use any communication tool you like.
I think it is critical that this is a ONE-ON-ONE scenario. I think in a group it is too easy for someone to slip between the cracks.
If you want to do this with more then one person I suggest a new one-on-one Group with each person.
Be honest with each other and encourage one another to be active.
I hope this very simple and effective tool may help you and a buddy too!