By Leslie Goldman; photography by Freepik
The answer could help you lose more weight…
1. Learning orientated
Dropping a few kilos isn’t rocket science – but you almost wish it was. You thrive on the geeky knowledge that others find tedious and are most likely to succeed when you can pick up new intel along the way. Avoid the standard “eat less and exercise” regimens (such a yawn for you) and seek out activities that engage your body and your mind.
With food: Feed yourself with knowledge. Get your bookworm on by immersing yourself in label reading and healthy-cooking techniques and tips.
With exercise: Swap your usual workout playlist for a podcast like NPR: Hidden Brain (sample topic: The Science Of Why We Hate Being Bored), or a download of Tina Fey’s latest audiobook. You might be totally distracted from the fact that your abs are burning.
2. Goal orientated
When crossing things off your to-do list, your competitive nature takes charge. Problem is, after focusing all your energy on hitting that one target, your attention shifts to the next challenge, leaving you at risk of sliding back into your old, bad habits.
With food: Instead of focusing on a particular clothing size or number on the scale (something you check off your list once you’ve hit it), set your sights on a goal that can become part of your lifestyle (with weight loss as a happy side-effect). Vow to cook more and cultivate a culinary habit, for instance. Goal-oriented people tend to be visually stimulated, so collect inspirational photos (activities you’d like to get involved in, healthy meals you’d like to try) on Pinterest or an old-school pinboard.
With exercise: Engage your inner competitor. It works… A 2016 Australian study found that colleagues who competed against one another logged more pedometer kilometres, sat less and lost more weight than those who didn’t. You can even compete against yourself using a website like StickK.com: sign a commitment contract, and if you fail to follow through, the site will charge your credit card and donate the money to a cause you loathe. The site has a 76 percent success rate for weight-loss goals with an anti-charity option.
3. Relationship orientated
People who need people are more likely to stick to their weight-loss and fitness programmes than those who go it alone. But relying on the buddy system means you’re only as healthy and fit as your entourage.
With food: Not into group weight-loss programmes? Tap your healthy pals, even long-distance ones. Duke University researchers in the US found that when women texted daily about what they ate, they lost nearly 1.3kg in six months, while non-texters gained 1.1kg. Or set a standing date for lunch or a weekly potluck where you each bring a good-for-you dish. When researchers secretly instructed two out of three female friends not to eat the biscuits set before them, the third (clueless) member of each trio was better able to resist them too – and stayed strong even after her friends left and she faced the temptation alone.
With exercise: A Kansas State University study found that a fitter exercise partner can push you to work out up to 200 percent (say what?) longer and harder. Try a virtual bud: when Northwestern University researchers tracked members of an online weight-management community, they discovered that the people with the most social-media friends shed the most weight (up to 8 percent of their total body weight).
4. Thrill orientated
Adrenaline junkies like you are always chasing life’s next big thrill. But your restless nature also means you won’t fare well with strict rules or monotony – on your plate or at the gym. Without any kind of routine, your weight can yo-yo.
With food: Impulse buys are your jam, so don’t grocery-shop hungry, and use a list, which has been linked to healthier diets and lower BMIs. You’re likely to grab the first thing you see when you’re hungry, so stash healthy options like pre-cut fruit and veggies or trail mix toasted with cumin, garlic and cayenne in see-through containers (spicy foods may appeal to your danger-loving psyche and have the added benefit of temporarily revving metabolism).
With exercise: You’re never going to love the treadmill, but you can’t bungee-jump your way to lasting weight loss. Your fix: take your workout outside. Ever-changing scenery can help you stick with daily runs, especially if you vary your route. Better yet, download an app that will really make you sweat: Zombies, Run! gives you incentive to move fast, in the form of virtual hordes of the undead chasing you. There are also (less macabre) sites like Track Runner, which tracks your run, heart and stride rate and analyses performance. And Endomondo, which measures speed and distance, maps routes and has an audio coach. For something more social, there’s Strava.
Looking for lasting weight loss and a gym-based plan that’ll get you toned in just 12 weeks? Sign up to Women’s Health’s Lean Body Blitz programme and watch the kilos melt away!