No matter where you are in your healthy lifestyle, whether you are just getting your butt off the couch or trying to take your fitness level to the next step, you need to create and re-evaluate the support group you have.

It is extremely important that you tell your close friends and family members what you are trying to accomplish. By doing this you are setting up your environment for success. When your significant other is cooking dinner or packing your lunch, they will be more likely to make the effort to pack you a healthy meal as opposed to “the usual”.

When you are at work, your co-workers are less likely to make a run to the local coffee shop and grab you a treat. When you are attending a friend’s birthday party, you are more likely to have one small piece of cake and grab from the veggie tray as opposed to diving in to the chips and dip.

All of these seemingly minor changes can have a huge impact on meeting your goals. Not only the calories that you save yourself from consuming in front of them, but also the impact of what happens after the fact: the slowdown of your metabolism, the hormonal effects of bingeing and starving yourself, the guilt and stress that follows overindulging and the lack of energy for your workouts because of poor dietary habits.

There is also the increase in motivation that you will get from being the one who is motivating others to eat better, and the compliments you will receive for your improved lifestyle. All these things feed in to increased success for you.

We all need someone to help keep us accountable; even trainers have trainers …

I have a kick-butt trainer who lives in the U.S. and who also happens to be a friend of mine. I can call on her any time I am struggling and we can talk it through. She keeps me accountable and I trust her to get me back on track when I need it, and to give me some slack when I need a break.

Find someone you trust who can be honest with you. And I do not mean asking your husband if your butt looks big or asking your wife if your beer belly is a six-pack. As much as you love each other, you need someone who can truly be honest with you and who you can trust.

Or, use numbers to judge where you are: get measurements taken along your journey. I recommend every 10 weeks to three months. Be sure you are marking them down in your journal, and do them regularly. This will keep you motivated to keep going.

Mark the measurement dates in your calendar and tell someone else when you plan to measure. The scale is a bad measurement tool. Use a measuring tape and your favourite pair of tight pants.

Get people onside and build a team as opposed to seeking help from those who may sabotage your efforts. These saboteurs may not come out of the woodwork until they start seeing changes in you. But remember who they are and put them on your back shelf of fitness tools.

This doesn’t mean you need to remove them from your life, completely, but I would hesitate to discuss your new lifestyle with them. Do not count on them to motivate you, or make you a healthy dinner or be the one to get you off the couch on a cold winter day.

The best support you can have is to create a team of friends or co-workers, or family members who all have the same goals, and work together. Share meal preparations. Be workout partners. Create goals together. Have the same measurement days. And be each other’s support.

Nothing is better than having company along a tough journey.

This column is provided by Peak Fitness. Mrs. Lee Randell is an ACE-certified personal trainer. Contact information and past articles are available at www.pkfitness.yk.ca/Clients. Anyone who wants to begin an exercise program should consult their physician first.

This column is provided by Mrs. Lee Randell, independent fitness consultant, who is an ACE certified advanced health and fitness specialist and personal trainer. You can reach her at www.mrsleerandell.com.