Not long after my daughter was born, I gave my first serious attempt to lose weight in quite a while. It failed miserably, but not because I didn’t know what to do or because I couldn’t stick to a plan. It failed because I didn’t allow the person I asked to hold me accountable—my wife—to truly hold me accountable. She would point out places where I was falling short, and instead of appreciating her help I got upset and ate even more.
John 1:14 – “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
What I’ve come to learn is that having someone to hold you accountable is not enough. You have to choose the correct person. In every relationship, there is a balance between grace and truth. Think about how you act with a stranger who is late for a meeting versus a good friend. The stranger is inconsiderate, while the friend must have a really good reason. My wife was a poor accountability partner not because of anything that had to do with her, but because I had sensitivities around my weight that made me resistant to hearing her when she tried to be truthful. This led to me eating after she went to sleep, grabbing fast food on my way home and eating it in the car, and going out to lunch with friends at work even if I’d brought my lunch.
Conversely, I gained a ton of weight when I went off to college and nobody said anything. It’s probably not their fault, as anybody close to me might have met with the same reaction that I gave my wife, but I don’t recall anyone ever challenging me to be healthier. These people were extremely graceful, and that grace did prevent conflict. But I needed conflict.
So you’ve decided that it’s time to lose weight? Research shows that getting into groups where there is accountability provides significant benefits. But choose your source of accountability wisely, as someone who only shows grace will fail to keep you motivated and someone who only speaks truth will soon sound like they are nagging. The reality is that we need grace and truth, and until you find someone (or a group of someones) who can provide both, you’re going to struggle.