For a plan to work, it has to work for YOU. Your personality plays a big part in whether you stay the course or abandon it. We’ll take a wide view and then talk about more specific personality types to help you find who you are and what works best for you.
Most folks are one of two basic types. They are either Blitzers or Baby-Steppers.
Blitzers are the folks who like it best when they are doing things in a blitz — all at once and in a hurry. They are goal oriented, gung-ho on a new plan, and tend to be a bit (or more than a bit) obsessive about their activities. Whatever they are doing, they want to DO it and not stop until it is done. Is this you? (You can’t see me raising my hand, but here I am.)
There are real advantages to being a Blitzer. We can focus and get it done, and feel great while we are forging ahead. We are the ones that set the goals and tend to reach them. Blitzers see quick initial weight loss, which is an encouragement to keep up the plan.
Blitzers don’t all succeed long term, though. While they can focus on one thing to the exclusion of others, they burn out faster than the slow and steady types. They tend to overdo any new plan — eating too few calories and working out too much. Both are counter-productive in the long term. That leads to a loss of interest and discouragement. A new project can totally derail the whole plan as the Blitzers switch gears and go full speed ahead in another direction, taking their extra fat along with them.
So how can an Blitzer stay the course? Give yourself permission to plunge ahead into a short term, all-out routine. Go to the gym every day and stay at a low calorie level if it makes you happy. Just don’t be too crazy about it.
And here is the key: Plan to fall back, not to your pre-plan level of eating and exercise, but to a moderate one.
Say you want to weight 130 lbs., so a moderate person would say, “I’ll eat around 1300 calories, mostly from the green list. I’ll add steps or step equivalents until I reach about 10,000 to 20,000 steps a day.” (Depending on your age, the condition of your joints, and what you are currently doing.)
That’s reasonable and doable. If you are a Blitzer, you won’t want to do this. You want to UNreasonable. “I’ll eat 1200 calories a day,” you say, since that is the minimum you should have. And you actually plan to skimp and eat less than you are supposed to. “I’ll do a big workout at the gym every day with 45 minutes on the treadmill and 45 minutes on the weights. I’ll do the “Kill-Shred-Burn” exercise videos every afternoon and go for an hour walk after dinner.”
That schedule will not work for most people, simply because it will take lots of time. You do have a life to live, after all. Besides, jumping into that much activity from doing nothing much will hurt. A lot.
But if you are a Blitzer and want to do this UNreasonable plan for awhile — go ahead! Have fun! Just determine to go back to reasonable when you can’t keep up the rigid schedule you set for yourself. That way you are happy, you give your fat loss a boost, and when you fall back to reasonable, it will seem easy.
Don’t fight who you are. Well, you might want to rein yourself in a bit so as not to hurt yourself. But work with the personality with which God gifted you. Figure out how to use your strengths and set up a safety net to catch yourself when your weaknesses make you fall.
Do you recognize yourself as a Blitzer? I’d like to hear from you. What plan has worked best for you in the past? Does the Blitzer look absolutely crazy to you? We’ll look tomorrow at the Baby Steppers — the folks who tend to be slow and steady — but sometimes hard to get moving.
Eating to live and living for Christ,
Susan Jordan Brown