Hot Pretzels, Fireball Shots, and Big Faith ( Food Accountability Groups)

Two years ago, I was invited to join 3 other women in a texting group for food and exercise. It seemed overwhelming to me, but I was really struggling with my eating habits and I thought I would give it a try. This is the first text I received:

“A big bite of sausage, a spoonful of chocolate fudge frosting,

and a fireball shot.”


I fell in love instantly.

Each morning, we text our weight to each other, and then we report by text every morsel of food we put into our mouths throughout the day.   Every other Tuesday we create our goals for weight and exercise and text them to each other.

The format looks like this

142/135.6/131.8/125 .

That’s Starting Weight/Current Weight/2 Week Goal Weight/final goal weight.


Then we set our exercise goals

4 hot yoga classes/6 hikes.


I don’t know exactly how it works, but we have all lost weight and gotten healthier. We offer support to each other constantly, texting our daily challenges,

“my grandson needs surgery today. Please pray for him.”

And we text back our support -sending prayers, let us know how he is, etc.


Sometimes we will add to our daily goals.


“No eating after 6pm for me for two days, alcohol only twice in two weeks.”


There is never pressure, only unrelenting, constant, positive support. Some of us have chosen not to weigh in every day, saying the fluctuations drive us nuts. Some of us weigh morning and night, swearing that this habit helps us be mindful at our most vulnerable time, after dinner.   When we go on vacation, most of us choose not to stay in touch and the remaining three will form a new texting group while the traveler is gone. We are texting her “safe travels” as she boards her plane or gets into the car, because all of us stay in till the very last moment.


Just now, while writing this, I got a text, which ended with this.


“Getting ready for my game last night and I had about two tablespoons of cream cheese frosting. Licking the beaters is an old and bad habit. I finally washed the rest of it off so I wouldn’t eat anymore.”


And I texted back.:


“It’s ok to enjoy a sweet treat. Sounds like you handled it really well!”


I laugh frequently at our auto correct errors. One of the funniest was the time that “hot pretzels” morphed into “hot penises.” The texter ate two of them. Today, one of our group texted this:

more than 2 asses last night,

(meaning 2 glasses)


We’re all women in our 50’s, a time when most of us put on a few pounds and relax into an aging body. We’re also very VERY busy. In addition to my three jobs, I have a son in college, a big black shepherd, a wonderful, time-consuming social life and a spiritual practice that involves temple visits thrice weekly.    The other texters are just as busy. All of them have deep faith practices, full time jobs, happy husbands, imperfect children, aging parents and interesting hobbies.


None of us have time for this texting habit, yet we keep doing it each and every day.


It is just so much easier to resist a third handful of m and m’s from the candy dish when I know I’m going to report it instantly.



I’ve learned so much from this simple habit, and I can sum it up in 4 areas:


  1. Accountability and Clarity are magic Bullets.

    You don’t have to do it perfectly. You don’t have to believe in it. It works, literally, like magic, whether or not you believe in it.

  2. Belonging to a group is not oppressive.

    It creates more freedom. I know someone is watching out for me. I can text a request for support as I walk into a buffet style restaurant, knowing that no matter what I do, my food accountability group will accept me and encourage me to try again.

  3. Service is required for solid recovery.

    I know my group is counting on me. I am inspired by the idea of being a good example for them.

  4. Faith, humor and friendship are necessary for progress.

    I don’t do well with sarcasm, criticism or boot camp pushing. I’m not good at white knuckling it alone. I have learned to admit that I need massive support.


With my food accountability group by my side, I know that my future is healthier that I could have imagined. I don’t want to do it alone, again ever.


“potato chips, AGAIN!-help!”


Have a wonderful Day



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