Do you see yourself as super driven and love to set yourself challenges? Do you like to work out solo at the gym? Or perhaps you’re a social butterfly and prefer group classes. Or you could be one of those who only enjoy exercise when there’s something else to it – fresh air, views, or a pub lunch at the end.
Personality influences the best way for you to get fit. So why do you try to use other people’s diet plans to lose weight? Find out what kind of diet personality you have so you can enjoy greater fitness success.
You’re easily swayed
When researchers at Deakin Uni in Australia assessed data in relation to personalities, they found that people who were self-disciplined were better at controlling their weight. No surprise there. So if you’re the type who changes your mind frequently, it could be affecting your ability to stick to a diet. However, you can create a diet that suits you – it simply needs to be cumulative.
“By dieting in increments, setting yourself small milestones that are very achievable and gradually building from those, you’ll be able to build greater discipline,” says Lisa-Jane Holmes, a personal trainer and nutritional advisor at wildcatfitnessuk.com.
“Even a small step is a step in the right direction, and rather than beating yourself up about falling off the wagon, why not celebrate the small wins? Because there is no magic key for people who lack self-discipline to lose weight. Over time, as you feel the satisfaction of having managed to stick to reducing your chocolate intake from two bars a day to one, for example, you’ll actually retrain yourself to be more disciplined. A small change every day will soon add up to a big change over time and one you are more likely to stick to. You can use this same technique with exercise, too.”
You’re a fireball in life, leaving a trail of energy bars, coffee cups and half-completed projects and plans behind you. Channel that impatience into exercise and your calorie intake and you’ll see better results.
“We all like to see benefits quickly but some of us are more impatient than others,” says Holmes. “If you don’t see results immediately, you tire of it and move on.”
So if you’re a little hot headed, you can try something radical; don’t diet to achieve anything.
“To avoid feeling disappointed at the lack of progress, don’t aim for physical change or have a specific number in your head, simply adapt the way you eat and exercise. Don’t forget muscle weighs more than fat, so if you’re obsessing about hitting a certain number on the scale but upping your exercise, then chances are your weight may not drop drastically, but you will be reducing body fat and increasing muscle mass, which will help you burn calories even while resting, which is much healthier than a drastic diet.”
So rather than feel like giving up when the scale doesn’t hit your ‘magic number,’ why not focus on the way you feel?
Fill up your fridge with fruit, and cut-up raw vegetables, so you’ve always got easy, quick food fixes to grab. Another option is to take up running or squash or some other high-speed sport or exercise in order to melt the calories and fat.
“By channeling your impatience into exercise, you’ll naturally begin to see changes but, because you’re not aiming for physical changes, you won’t get frustrated if it takes longer than you might have thought.”
You must be a lot of fun to be around a lot of the time, but it’s likely you don’t have much fun yourself when it comes to dieting.
The Australian diet behavior study found that careful and vigilant people had more successful experiences when trying to diet or maintain a healthy weight.
You can use your spontaneity to your advantage. Rather than focusing on restricting your diet, and sticking to rules such as ‘no food after 8pm’ or ‘exactly 1500 calories per day,’ use a dietary plan that’s more of an over-arching philosophy rather than a list of rules.
“Approaching your weight loss routine in a holistic manner can work better,” says Lisa-Jane. “So rather than focusing only on calorie intake, you could come up with a plan that takes into account exercise, sleep, stress and so on. Plan for variety, too. For example, you could factor in a treat meal per week where you’re free to eat whatever you like – that won’t do much to change your dietary success and it’ll allow you to feel spontaneous, too.”
There’s nothing wrong with being lazy but, even if you’re not, you might be time-poor or simply low in energy. The best thing you can do for yourself is sleep. Yes, you read that right!
Lack of sleep is an important factor in weight gain, so if you’re not getting regular quality sleep of around eight hours each night, you’ll struggle to do anything – work, play or diet!
Set your phone to night time mode at a certain time each night, switch off the TV, and get into the habit of sleeping at the same time.
“Once sleep becomes more regular, you’ll find you feel less tired and possibly, more inclined to exercise. In turn, regular exercise can help regulate your sleep cycles and improve your quality of sleep, so it all goes hand in hand,” says Lisa-Jane.
If you’re still lacking motivation to get moving, make it a game. “There are hundreds of fitness apps now that allow you to compete against friends or even people you don’t know in terms of exercise or weight loss to help you focus on a goal and not fall by the wayside.”
Try it – peer group pressure can make a huge difference when it comes to giving yourself a kick!
Look in the mirror and all you can point out is all the imperfections – if that’s you, dieting can be a minefield because it’s likely you’ll be hard on yourself for ‘not doing well enough.’
“It’s time to lower the bar and stop giving yourself such a hard time,” says Lisa-Jane. “Give yourself goals that are very achievable and then reward yourself. It might be difficult at first – you’re used to beating yourself up, not giving yourself treats – but stick at it. Make sure you also take time to appreciate the good things – if all you’re focusing on is how big you think your bum is then you may be overlooking the fact you have strong, toned shoulders, for example.
Why not try celebrating the good? Buy yourself a gorgeous new sports bra to show off that sexy back, rather than stressing about what you don’t like. If your looks are what you’re most concerned with, make the treats relate to that – new make-up, a new pair of earrings or whatever. If you’re concerned with health, relate the rewards to that instead – splurge on some expensive organic coconut water or a day at the spa. Over time, as you give yourself rewards like this, you’ll learn to love yourself.
You go all out with the diet
You’re the one who went on the cabbage soup diet and lost 10lb really quickly; then you tried the South Beach Diet and shed 10lb almost instantly, too. Finally, you went all out on the Paleo diet and lost 10lb super fast. But inbetween all those successful weight loss diets, you gained those 10lb right back again. When you’re dieting, you’re great, but you’re also great at overeating.
“You can still diet to strict rules, which you will probably thrive on, but you need to make sure those rules are habit forming and sustainable so that when you no longer want to diet or feel the need for it, you continue eating healthily. The best diet is one you can stick to and one which makes you feel amazing. It’s all very well losing those 10lb, but if you’re starving and miserable in the process it won’t stay off,” says Lisa-Jane.
So make a grand plan to change your life – decide today that you won’t add any sugar to your food or drinks for a year, or that you will do 20 jumping jacks, sit-ups and lunges every day for three months. With that kind of time scale it will begin to feel like your ‘normal’ and you’ll develop a habit that you’ll stick to for life. But because these are healthy changes, you won’t feel the urge to give up like you do with those fad diets.
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