Done with Dieting Episode #28: How Accountability Helps Weight Loss

In episode 28 of the Done with Dieting Podcast, I’m talking all about accountability; specifically, the difference between internal and external accountability – Gretchen Rubin differentiates Upholders from Obligers in her book, The Four Tendencies.

As women, we’re socialized to put other people’s wants and needs before our own. So of course it makes sense that most of us can keep commitments to others, but not ourselves.

But this quality is changeable.

I know because *I* used to not be able to keep commitments to myself.

But now I can.

And if we ever want to be able to ‘get consistent’, or ‘be disciplined’, putting ourselves and our needs on the list of priorities, is a MUST.

Are you loving the podcast, but arent sure where to start? click here to get your copy of the Done with Dieting Podcast Roadmap Its a fantastic listening guide that pulls out the exact episodes that will get you moving towards optimal health.

If you want to take the work we’re doing here on the podcast and go even deeper, you need to join the Feel Good Sisterhood - my group coaching program for women in midlife who are done with dieting, but still want to feel good! The Feel Good Sisterhood is open for enrollment, so click here to discover if group coaching is a right fit for you and your goals.

I am so excited to hear what you all think about the podcast – if you have any feedback, please let me know! You can leave me a rating and review in Apple Podcasts, which helps me create an excellent show and helps other women who want to get off the diet roller coaster find it, too.

What You’ll Learn from this Episode

  • The difference between internal and external accountability 
  • How group accountability is different than hiring a coach – and why you might want each
  • How to become accountable to yourself so that you can get consistent in your habits

Listen to the Full Episode:

Full Episode Transcript:

You are listening to the Done with Dieting Podcast Episode number 28.

Hi, I’m Elizabeth Sherman, former corporate high tech executive turn life and weight loss coach. But it wasn’t that long ago that I was searching for that perfect diet, the one that would finally be the golden ticket to lose the weight that I so desired.

Fast forward past tons of failed diet attempts, exercise fads and painful lessons learned, and although I still have not reached the state of Nirvana, body love, my relationship with food exercise in my body is infinitely better than it was not only when I started this journey, but even as recently as three years ago.

The journey that has allowed me to ditch my scale, stop logging my food and exercise, eat food that I didn’t prepare and easily maintain my weight – something that I never thought was possible for me.

I created the Done with Dieting podcast to give you simple, easy to do and sustainable strategies to help you do the same without all of the drama that I went through.

If you’re a woman who’s looking to create a better relationship with food and her body, get off the diet roller coaster and free up a bunch of headspace spent on calories, how you should look what you should eat and beating yourself up for not doing what you think you should be doing. You are in the right place.

Let’s get started.

Hello everyone and welcome to the show.

First of all, I record these episodes a few weeks in advance. So, right now the doors are open for the feel good sisterhood, which is my brand new group coaching program.

And as I’m recording this, the doors are not open. Yet, I already have two people who have committed and are signed up and I am so freaking excited about this program. Not only because of the work that I’m doing with it, and what I’m going to be able to offer the women who enroll in this program, which is just incredible.

Some of the resources that I have and some of the trainings that I’m currently creating. But also, I have a bunch of other coaches who have signed up to offer many trainings and masterclasses for the women in my group.

And it is so amazing, and it just makes my heart so fall that not only are the women who are coming into this training, going to get some of the best coaching around, body image, relationship with food, information on how to listen to your body, how to create a better body awareness. And go on the path to body love, but also increase their body image.

And then, all of the additional trainings that the other coaches have signed up for like time management, how to live to your values how to incorporate breathwork into your practice. And not only that, but disaster planning, Oh, it is so amazing.

This program is so freaking cool. And I’ve Been thinking a lot about this program, as I’ve been putting it together, and I’ve been thinking about all of the different times in my life that I’ve either learned something on my own. I’ve learned something with a group of people, or I’ve chosen to hire a one-on-one coach.

I wanted to talk a little bit today, about those three different ways of becoming healthier and how depending on where you are, which option is best for you.

When I was thinking about my own path and some of the stories about, when I was learning to do things on my own. I also started thinking about when I was a new personal trainer, and I was talking to my sister about it. And I remember her saying to me, I can’t believe someone pays you to do that. And at the time I took it as a slight, my family comes from German stock.

Therefore, when we decide that we’re going to do something. We pretty much do it. I was raised with a lot of self-discipline that when you say you’re going to do something, you do it. I took her comment as a reflection of my worth. But she didn’t see the need for someone to sign up with a personal trainer because that was something that you could do on your own.

But I realize that not everyone is like that. And not only that, but it’s possible that she wasn’t actually saying that about me, that what she was staying instead was like, “wow! You are so lucky; I can’t believe people pay you to do that.” And I think I am pretty fortunate that I have the skills and job that I do have because I do get to help so many people.

When I think about the different times in my life, that I’ve decided to change my habits or learn something new, there have been times that I’ve decided to do it on my own. There’ve been times that I have chosen to hire a one-on-one coach. And there have been times that I have sought out a group.

I thought that today would be a really good opportunity to talk about what were the different influencing factors of me making each of those decisions. And then, helping you to decide if being accountable to someone else will help you to accomplish your goal, or if you can do it on your own.

So, let’s start out with the definition of discipline. So, it’s so interesting to me. I describe myself as being disciplined. However, I’m not disciplined in every area of my life. And discipline is actually not a characteristic that we put on ourselves or other people. Some people come to me, and they say I’m just not disciplined.

And they think that’s just the way they are. But discipline is actually a practice. Discipline is something that we choose to do not every day, but every single task. Every single choice that we make, we can either choose discipline or we can choose to not be disciplined. And I say that not as a judgment, but rather as a choice.

So, every single time you decide to do the right thing over the thing that you want in the moment, what happens is you’re choosing to become disciplined. You are then making that path easier. You are deciding that this is what you’re going to do going forward. Every time you decide that you are going to do what you want.

And go back to episode number 21, called “Discomfort Now or Discomfort Later.” And in that episode, I talk about how for every choice that we make, we are deciding whether we want to feed the instant gratification monster or do what we want most. Discipline is something that we just practice over-and-over-and-over again, and always deciding that we are not going to feed the instant gratification monster, that we’re going to make the choice of what we want most over what we want in the moment.

I wanted to talk about discipline first, because I just want you to know that if you are one of those people who does not believe that you are just not disciplined, that is not a character trait. And it’s something that you can change because I used to think that I wasn’t disciplined and I have completely changed my relationship with that word, okay? So that’s the first piece.

Now, the second piece is sometimes, in order to get to the place where we want to be disciplined, we sometimes need to have accountability. Now the goal for discipline is that we become self-accountable.

We are the ones that know whether we’ve done the thing that we said that we were going to do. We are the ones that have that self-integrity, right? But sometimes we need external accountability in order to do the thing that we really don’t want to do.

In the book better than before by Gretchen Rubin, she talks about four weeks. She calls tendencies and the four tendencies are upholder, obliger, questioner, and rebel.

I’m going to talk about them right now in terms of creating habit change. Because she actually talks about that in her book all about habit change and she figures out that there are four different personality types for lack of a better word. And then she wrote a follow-up book about those four tendencies called the four tendencies.

So, if you’re looking for those, I’ll create a link to both of them in the show notes. With the upholder tendency, what that means is that someone has internal accountability as well as external accountability. Meaning that those commitments that they make to themselves hold as much weight as the commitments that they make to other people.

The second one tendency is what she calls an obliger. And the obliger, doesn’t tend to keep commitments to herself but we’ll keep commitments to other people, many of us are obligers.

Now here’s the thing, if you identify that you can keep commitments to other people, but you just can’t keep commitments to yourself. Know that this is changeable, and I am proof because I used to be an obliger. I used to do things for other people and not for myself. And it wasn’t until I started putting myself on the list and not feeling guilty about it. That, I then moved into the upholder tendency. Be aware, that these four tendencies, again are not personality traits. They are totally changeable.

Now the third tendency is what’s called the questioner. Now the questioner is someone and you may know someone like this, or you may identify it is someone who questions everything like, why are we doing that? Why do I have to make that commitment? And really might have a challenge creating commitments based on the fact that they’re questioning everything.

And then finally, the last tendency is the rebel. And the rebel does not keep commitments to themselves, nor do they keep commitments to other people. In fact, the rebel is someone who will explicitly go out of their way to do the opposite of what they’re supposed to do. And again, in the four tendencies, she talks about how you can deal with people who are like that, alright?

Now, this internal versus external accountability is really at the crux of habit change because we all want to be internally accountable to things that we want to do, right? That, when we say that we are going to eat vegetables today, that I hold myself accountable that I follow through and that I do what I say, because that’s what is going to get me the result that I ultimately want.

We sometimes employ external accountability, having workout partners or joining a gym and signing up for a class, hiring a coach or doing things that we are externally accountable for, that involve another or multiple other people so that we can do whatever it is that we want to do long-term. And if we can involve other people in that process and have those people support us, then it can make life so much easier.

Now, as I said, there are some areas of my life where I don’t need external accountability, but there are other areas that I actually do. For those areas that I don’t need internal accountability, then I’m just going to go ahead and make those commitments to myself and follow through with it. It’s usually something that you want to do that other people want you to do.

This might go along with purpose, or it might go along with just who you think you are. So, for example, if you want to start going to church, but going to church. Isn’t something that you’ve ever really done before? Then, it might be a struggle getting up on Sunday mornings because you’re used to a different routine.

But, if you’re someone who was brought up going to church every single week, then going to church is just part of who you are. It’s part of what you do. Doing that, isn’t something that you struggle with in terms of identity. Starting to think about how you describe yourself can really help in terms of figuring out if this area that you want to improve is something that you already identify with.

One of my clients, shout out to Heather. On one of our first calls, she was telling me about her family, and she said, I’m the big one. And it’s just so interesting, I think she just said it like, it was a fact. It’s no doubt that when she had this identity of herself, that it was going to impact her ability to lose weight because she identified herself as being the big one in her family.

Just start paying attention to that. And if you’re interested more in learning about identity in episode number 27, I talk about the neuro-linguistic programming logical levels of change and identity is the foundation. That, once we have identified as, for example, a lifelong learner or a healthy person or an athlete. Then, all of the other things in our life will automatically fall in line.

But when there some sort of disconnect there, when there’s a limiting belief about what it is that we can accomplish. Then, that’s when we sometimes need external accountability or external learning.

In those situations, the question comes up of which learning style is going to be best for you? Would you work better in a group setting or a one-on-one setting? And I think that there are a couple of different aspects to the group versus the one-on-one setting that would determine that.

Now, when Gary and I moved to Mexico, we didn’t know very much Spanish at all. We decided to hire a one-on-one teacher, actually a one on two teacher to come to our house and teach us Spanish. And we had lessons twice a week for the period of time up until shelter in place started.

We made that decision for a couple of reasons. One was probably, we were embarrassed about our lack of Spanish, which I know sounds totally silly considering we’re starting to learn Spanish. But I think that was definitely a concern.

The other thing had to do with our schedules, both Gary and I worked during the day, and we weren’t able to make it to the group classes, which were during the Workday. And then the third reason was just for convenience sake. It was just so much easier to, for a time commitment to have someone come over to our house to help us learn Spanish than to travel to the class.

For all of those different reasons we chose one-on-one. And I think that when you’re wanting something a little bit more intense or customized for yourself, that’s when you choose to do one-on-one training coaching classes, guidance, whatever it is.

But there are other times when you just want to feel like, you are a part of the group. You love learning with other people. You want to meet other people with weight loss. It can be so helpful to not feel like you are alone and to be with other folks going through the same things. That’s actually one of the reasons why I created the Feel Good Sisterhood.

I have been a part of other coaching programs, where I have learned just as much from watching other people be coached, as and probably more than I have on my own, because when we’re being coached, one-on-one at least this is for me. Sometimes I am so in my own stuff that I can’t allow the coaching to come through.

By watching someone else be coached, what can happen is first of all, it’s a lot less intense. It’s someone else on the hot seat. But you can take their learning cause all of our problems are pretty much the same. But, when someone else is being coached, your brain just is able to relax a little bit and to take it in a little bit more and we can absorb so much more from learning through other people’s experiences.

Now the disadvantage to the group setting is that you don’t have one person who’s following up with you making sure that you are doing what you said that you’re going to be doing. You are a part of a group, but that could be an advantage also because you then have accountability to the group.

I think it depends on how much you are willing to sit up and get what you came for. Those people who are going to thrive in a group, are going to be people who say, hey, I know that I need to take responsibility for my own actions. I know that I need to take responsibility for my own learning. That it’s not going to just come to me, which would be more of a one-on-one setting.

That is more spoon-fed, but in the group setting, you are showing up for yourself because you know that no one is going to require anything of you.

I am currently in a group coaching mastermind for coaching. I am with 20 other amazing coaches, all focused on improving our coaching. And it’s really easy to get distracted by what other people are doing. Thinking that we need to do what everyone else is doing.

But the idea behind groups, is that we need to take what is right for us. We need to be singularly focused, look at our path and then let everything else fall away. And what’s really interesting about the format of the Feel Good Sisterhood is that. At the beginning, we are all going to be creating our own vision, and we’re all starting at different places, we all have different needs, we all have different wants.

Some of the lessons aren’t going to apply to all of us, right? But some of them, we’re going to need more in depth. I’ve created supplemental materials for those things that you need to dig deeper into and for those things that you really don’t need a lot of, then you don’t need to spend a lot of time on going into those lessons.

Within my coaching mastermind, I come and provide support for those things that I’ve already figured out and help others through the process. But there are things that I still feel like I struggle with. And some of those other coaches who I just helped might have the thing that I’m struggling with, figure it out and they can lend support to me.

That’s really just the beauty of the group. I think back to when I lived in Austin, Texas, I used to run a few times a week and every year during summer, when it got to be in the hundreds. I would really-really struggle with my running. I really needed to cut it back because I just have a hard time running in the heat. Some people don’t, I personally did.

One year, I participated in a running group because I knew that every single summer it was just a slug to get through. Having that external accountability and making myself show up for long runs was really super helpful in getting me through that summer. And what that also did was it also provided a sense of belonging.

Far too often, when we are trying to lose weight, those other people who we live with, love us, and support us. But sometimes, they don’t fully understand what is going on. They want to understand, they want to be supportive, but sometimes they just don’t.

To be around other women, who are going through the same thing, who can cheer us on, who can support us, and who can also give us feedback in terms of, “Hey, am I doing this right?” That can be the most amazing thing ever.

I know that there’s a specific group of women that I am still connected with today. That I went through weight loss with, and these women are still just deep in my heart. And the friendships that I’ve created with these women are just better than anything.

And the crazy thing is that I’ve never even met one of these women in real life. And yet when I see on Facebook, that they’ve had grandchildren, or gotten married, or had children or whatever, we’ve been through divorces, we’ve been through children. We’ve been through it all together and I just cheer them on.

I attract amazing women as my clients. I know that the women who are joining the Feel Good Sisterhood are just going to be just as amazing.

So, I hope that this podcast has actually been hopeful for you to figure out, is this something that I want to do alone? Is this something that I need one-on-one help with? Or is this something that I want a group setting for?

Now, if you want to join the Feel Good Sisterhood, we are currently enrolling. So, the Feel Good Sisterhood actually starts August 2nd, but if you’re listening to this in real time, then we are currently enrolling.

If you want to work with me one-on-one, you can reach out to me and my team at and figure out which method is right for you.

So, have an amazing day everyone, and I will talk to you later. Bye-bye.

Hey there! Thanks for listening!

If you’re a woman who is done with dieting, but still wants to lose weight, I want to invite you to join me in the Feel Good Sisterhood.

The Feel Good Sisterhood is a 6 month group coaching program where you’ll learn to apply so many of the tools, concepts, and skills that I teach right here on the podcast.

The way the program is structured, you’ll learn crucial skills and tools that will help you to be able to pay attention to what your body needs, therefore ending emotional eating, help you gain consistency and discipline with your eating, exercise, or sleep habits.

As a result, you’ll not only end up feeling physically good, but that will also lead to having more confidence, and finally freeing up all of that mental space currently dedicated to your weight, what you’re SUPPOSED TO be doing, but not doing it, and then the subsequent negative self-talk that happens afterwards.

To learn more about the Feel Good Sisterhood, go to There, you’ll be able to send me a message with any questions you have.

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