Rather than beating yourself up, proclaiming that you just have no willpower, or wishing you were more organised, there may be a better way…
Have you ever considered that maybe you just aren’t wired like those super organised, great planners in the world, and that the secret to success for you is to instead embrace who you are, and how you tick, and view your traits as a strength instead of a flaw?
If you have ever dabbled in personality testing, you may have heard of the Myers-Briggs test. In the simplest of terms, some of us are what you call “perceivers”, and the characteristics of this personality trait include:
- Liking to keep options open rather than follow a strict schedule
- Often leaving things until the last minute, not worrying about the future
- Dealing with changes to routine or plans well, easily adaptable
- Enjoying surprises, happy to spend time with disorganised people, creative
- Having lots of different interests
- Enjoying spontaneous living, good travellers
- Thinking about today, appreciating the moment, and usually optimistic
Do any of these sound like you? It might be that your love of mixing things up and experiencing new things means that you get bored or feel restricted when you have to follow strict rules, plans, or schedules.
This is probably not the best state to be in when most of the advice out there for weight loss revolves around planning ahead of time, coming up with a structured meal plan, following a specific shopping list for ingredients, slotting workouts into your calendar, and possibly even tracking or journalling what you eat or how much you exercise.
You might be able to do this for a day or two, but much longer than this and you get the urge to break your diet, usually quite spectacularly!
So is there hope for the perceiver who wants to lose weight? Absolutely!
The very general and flexible weight loss plan(ish)
There are only three guidelines to follow, and you can choose any method you feel like to make sure they happen.
1: Get your body working for you, not against you
I’m sure you’ve all experienced the cravings, gnawing sensation in your stomach, irritability, impulsivity, and urge to binge that comes from being really hungry. When your energy levels drop, so does your mood, and your ability to make good choices.
How do you counteract this? By making sure you eat regular meals that give you long lasting energy. Whether you work best on a meal or snack every couple of hours, or are quite fine on three meals a day, you want to be eating regularly and choosing wholegrain/low GI carbs that will give you more energy for longer and keep you feeling full.
2: Give yourself lots of options, but all of them healthy
If you have a great variety of tasty and interesting meals and snacks to choose from, you can satisfy that urge for variety, without having to “break your diet” by getting bored and going for the closest (an usually unhealthy) option.
If your pantry and fridge are stocked up with appealing choices, you can choose whatever you feel like at the time and not feel deprived.
3: Get moving
Brainstorm 10-20 different ways that you could get your body moving this week, and then when it comes to that day, choose whatever tickles your fancy and sounds fun, whenever you feel like doing it that day.
Examples might be going out dancing with friends, doing a pilates class, letting off steam with a punching bag, playing water volleyball, having a casual game of tennis with a friend, going bowling, going for a walk with views, cleaning your house listening to your favourite playlist, going for a run listening to a great podcast, streaming a workout on YouTube to do in your living room, heading to the gym with a PT who inspires you, playing soccer in the park with your kids, or going window shopping and walking laps around the local stores.
Lastly, to measure your success, take some time now and then to congratulate yourself on the healthy choices you made, reflect on how much fun you had exercising your way, notice how your energy levels have improved, and maybe even see if your clothes feel a little looser!
Just remember, you have plenty of time to get to your goal weight, and if you can work within those three guidelines, not only will you enjoy the process but you will know that you achieved your goals your way, and will be happy to maintain your healthy changes long term, because they make today so much more enjoyable!