Accountability in black and white

Sometimes a common theme emerges for the week. Accountability has been front and center this past week for me. Let me tell you about two totally different stories that both boil down to being accountable.

On Sunday I cycled in the Bike NY 5 Boro Bike Tour. This 42 mile route cycles through the five boroughs of NYC. The weather was perfect and the crowd was at capacity of 32,000 cyclists. Due to road construction and logistics mishaps the ride turned into an all day event. At one point I was walking my bike for 2 hours on the Brooklyn Queens Expressway. There were many unhappy people on that expressway and Bike New York, the sponsor and event planner, has been bearing the brunt of their dissatisfaction and anger on Facebook and Twitter this week.

What has impressed me has been the honesty and accountability of the Bike New York folks. They sent all cyclists an email apologizing for the problems and asking for input, both positive and negative. They did the same on their Facebook page. They are sending out a survey and want people to give honest feedback to help them plan future rides. They have taken the responsibility for what went wrong and feel for the cyclists disenchanted with their premier event. This is truly being accountable when it would have been easier to put the blame on road construction and other people.

On Thursday I participated in a bariatric bloggers’ challenge to chronicle a day in the life of a weight loss surgery patient’s diet. I was excited to be part of this challenge. Being accountable to a bariatric diet is on the top of my “Needs Improvement List”. As I mentioned in my challenge post, seeing the food you eat during a day in black and white makes it very real. You can’t blame that weight gain or stall on your surgery failing when the numbers tell the real story.

As weight loss surgery patients, accountability takes on a very personal angle. We are only accountable to ourselves. The very nature of that contract makes it susceptible to failure or at least erosion. I know on a cold rainy morning or after a late night out, I just skip the treadmill for the day. It’s too easy to go on a fried appetizer binge during an after work happy hour. I have used the “I’ll make up for this tomorrow and the rest of the week” many, many times.

Actually Thursday’s blogging challenge gave me time to think about what accountability means to me. It falls into three simple words, “Write it down”. It comes down to putting what I need to be accountable with into black and white. Here are my accountability tools I plan to use in the coming weeks.

  • Food Journal – It’s back to basics for me. I saw the real side of my eating in my Weight Watchers journal. I plan on actively tracking my points in the coming weeks. That is why Weight Watchers works when you are accountable and tracking.
  • Wellness Vision – I need to update goals that support the vision. If you have read my vision or posts about my vision, you know that I advocate taking baby steps. In this case it means setting some specific mini goals to support some of my larger goals.

I realize that accountability takes on a different shape for each of us. The trick to make accountability successful is to key in on the part of your personality that will motivate you to be successful. We each know what it takes to give us better self discipline and self esteem. Success in weight management and a healthy lifestyle occurs as the result of being disciplined and having high self esteem.

I know I need to work on my calorie amnesia. (The art of forgetting 50% of the calories in a given item.) I just can’t reason that that cookie is only 2 points. I need to see the calories to make it real and truthful. Unfortunately, we don’t have auditors like business and banks do to keep them accountable. We have to develop our own form of auditing as part of our road to accountability. To me that audit is putting it all in black and white.

Note: I plan on writing a detailed post about the Bike New York 5 Boro Tour this coming week. It was a monumental achievement for me and generally a pleasant experience. Here are some of my favorite photos from the tour.

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