Find Your Weight-Loss Style
How your personality can help you lose weight
By Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD/LD
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD
We all have certain things in our lives that we take to like ducks to water, and other things we just naturally despise (for me, that would be ironing). Those likes and dislikes are part of our personalities.
But did you know that your personality can help you lose weight? Understanding yourself can help you figure out the best way to make the changes needed to lose weight and adopt healthier behaviors.
For example, some members may be highly motivated by a picture of a bikini-clad model on the refrigerator. Others may find the perfect-figured model so discouraging that it makes them want to throw in the towel.
What Is Your Type?
One of the most popular personality typing systems is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), based on the work of psychologist Carl Jung. According to the MBTI, there are 16 personality types.
Although personality typing is much more detailed than this, here are four questions based on the Myers-Briggs system that can help give you a rough idea of your type and how it affects your weight-control success. Remember that we all have characteristics of both extremes, but tend to identify more closely with one end of the spectrum or the other.
To learn more about your type, ask yourself:
1. What stimulates you?
2. What is significant for you to know?
3. How do you make decisions?
4. In what ways do you handle life?
The good news is that any personality can succeed on the WebMD Weight Loss Clinic program. Here are a few examples of how the program will work for you, regardless of your style:
Record-Keeper vs. Free-Form Frieda. Some folks find it easy to keep meticulous food journals. Others quit soon after they start because the tedious nature of writing down everything they eat drives them crazy. I hope all of our members are tracking their intake in some form or another. Journaling is a powerful tool that forces you to recognize exactly what you're eating each day. It is also one of the habits of "successful losers" who have lost lots of weight and kept it off. The trick is to adopt a form of journaling that works in your life. The benefit of using the online journal is that it allows us to give you feedback. But if online doesn't suit your style, no problem. Keep a notepad in your briefcase, purse, or pocket and jot down your intake when it's convenient. And remember that you can fill in the online journal once a day, once a week, or not at all -- it's up to you.
Structure vs. Flexibility. Which do you prefer, a detailed list of what foods to eat when, or the flexibility to move foods around to accommodate your changing schedule? Some people need to stay the course exactly; when left to make too many decisions, they overeat. You can follow your WLC eating plan to the letter, or move recommended foods around within the course of your day (or week). You decide which approach best helps you control the type and quantity of food you consume.