Type A personalities are known for being overly ambitious, competitive, driven and pragmatic. When it comes to mainstream diets, these qualities can be quite frustrating for type-A personalities because they are likely to get stuck. We’ve got lots of type A’s in Monaco and as a Health Coach and a nutritionist in Monaco I often get type A clients who are stuck with off-the-shelf diets.
They are mostly stuck because most weight loss programs have a one-size-fits-all construction so it appeals to everyone. When it comes to type A’s, not being able to reap the benefits of such programs is typically because the program is not suitable for them.
Luckily, it is quite easy to harness the psychology of Type A personalities to transform diets and workout frustrations and failures into triumphs. Let’s consider three strategic approaches:
The all-or-nothing approach
This is a classic mindset for Type A personalities: You’re either all in, or you’re all out. This translate that even if you’re getting sick or feeling tired, you’ll work out no matter what, because that’s what’s in the manual. If you’re on a strict diet and even if it’s your birthday, you’ll still avoid cake or champagne (imagine!) at all costs.
The problem with this approach is that it’ll make you feel super-restricted and therefore you will be more likely to go overboard. What is needed is to get some flexibility into the ‘manual’. Are a few bites of cake really going to screw your diet? The simple answer is No. So instead of feeling like one little slipup will ruin your diet, trust yourself that you know what’s best for you and that your diet is simply an outline, not the law. If you are extremely committed to keeping fit and don’t leave room for feeling sick or tired or wanting to change your workout, it can lead to burnout. If you’re not getting enough shuteye so you can wake early and exercise, you are very likely better off sleeping-in a couple of days a week and doing fewer sessions. This is almost an every day struggle for myself, getting out of bed and going to Damian Fisher’s Boost at the Port of Monaco, or continue snuggling up in bed. Damian usually wins.
Too intense workouts
Sometimes, a long or intense workout may seem Scary. However, if you’ve got a Type A personality and you’re committed to a weight loss program, intensive workouts such as Boost may seem non-negotiable! But sometimes, you’re too exhausted or your muscles are shouting from a previous session. Your body may need a break, because the regime can be too taxing and you might be overdoing it.
This is when you should allow for some flexibility. Instead of doing a powerful high intensity interval session because that’s what was on the schedule, allow yourself the freedom to replace it with, for example, a more relaxing yoga class. If you run out of time for doing a 90-minute workout at the gym without feeling exhausted and rushed, promise yourself that you’ll do a 15-minute ab routine on your livingroom rug instead.
Sometimes, our commitment to intense workouts doesn’t leave us with enough elbowroom to connect with how we feel and what we know is best for our bodies. So taking a moment to zone into our feelings and reassess, is key to long-term successful commitment to a program.
Dodging social gatherings
If you’re following an inflexible weight-loss program, going out to eat can be quite stressful.
Will you be tempted by food off your plan? Will you be able to stay away from that glass of wine or pint of beer? Will others have something to say about your eating habits? Will the chef prepare your food the way you asked (sauce on the side, light seasoning and grilled rather than fried, please)? Although all of these are valid concerns when you’re on a healthy eating plan, they don’t need to turn you into a social pariah. Food programs can always be adapted to your own individual needs and to the occasion.
For instance, if you’re going to a friend’s house or out to a restaurant, eat something that’s on your food plan before heading over, and then pick and choose what you’d like to eat once you’re there. Arriving less hungry will decrease the likelihood of overindulging in foods that aren’t on your program. In any event, don’t stress too much about the specifics, such as how the protein or veggies are cooked or what sauce they’re in. You can ask for light sauce or no sauce. I usually ask to switch mash potatoes for cooked green vegetables, but avoiding eating out altogether should not be considered.
The benefits of having a Type A personality include finding comfort in the structure and rigidity of diet and workout programs, but you should also make allowances for flexibility and changes. Just because you get derailed of one particular program doesn’t mean you’ve fell off the wagon altogether.
Making choices that correspond to how you feel and what you want for yourself should be made a top priority and is essential to being successful when trying to do a uniform weight loss program.
Udi Gon-Paz is a wellness coach, licensed in Monaco and the UK, who is combining clinical nutrition and stress management in a wholistic approach.