I’ve tried a lot of weight loss advice I later realized was intended for extroverts. The last of these was trying out DietBet which has been proven to be very effective… but I realize now that the comment forum and competition made it uncomfortable and stressful and ultimately backfired for me, actually gaining weight over the 4 weeks. Likewise, I’m a long-time member of SparkPeople, but I’ve given up on trying to benefit from the supportive community I hear so much about because it just ends up being work for me, rewarded only with vague encouragement I don’t quite buy.
Ok, so maybe I’m a particularly jaded loner, but I have a feeling other introverts have come across the same problem: why are all these proven tools harming my efforts instead of helping them?
This blog is only a glimpse at all the things I’ve tried to be healthy over the years and actually answers the question of what does work for an introvert like me.
- Nobody but those closest to me need to know about my weight loss plan and progress. It helps for my boyfriend, friends, and colleagues to understand I’m refusing the chocolate every day because I’m on an elimination diet to figure out food sensitivities. But announcing on Facebook or MyFitnessPal leads to unwanted attention and pressure.
- Weight loss buddies are essential for some, deadly for me. My mom, for instance, only goes to the gym when someone goes with her. I prefer not to rely on often wavering commitments of someone else and instead do a lot better when I declare accountability to myself. I did yoga every morning for 30 days in a row because I was in complete control in my own home on my own time.
- Group classes always seem fun when I see deals on Groupon but I’m always disappointed. The only classes I’ve liked are ones I can easily do at home with a workout DVD. I don’t want someone shouting “You got this!” indiscriminately on the DVD either, though. Just give me an effective routine with easy cues and I’m golden. Plus I save time rushing to get there in time to get a spot and then waiting awkwardly for it to start.
I happen to an introvert of the conscientious variety and love my unnecessarily detailed Excel spreadsheet tracking exact weight/fat loss and projections based on published research and my own personal experiences. I use MyFitnessPal to track calories in, Noom to track calories out, and the USDA Body Weight Tracker for realistic expectations. Tracking it all keeps me accountable. I also set weekly goals for myself (i.e. walk 30 minutes every day, eat protein with every meal, etc.) and rewards from myself ($50 for every week I follow my plan). Some people would be very bored and lonely with this approach, but I’ve tried the others and this suits my personality best.
What works for your personality? Do any fellow introverts have advice to share?