If you’re having trouble losing weight, it might be because you aren’t taking the right approach for your specific personality type.
“There’s so much information out there and we all know it: we all know that protein is important, we all know to eat vegetables, we all know to eat healthy fats, we all know to drink water — but why is America still fat? It’s not the information that’s available, it’s the application of the information,” The Biggest Loser trainer Jen Widerstrom tells PEOPLE. “As a fitness and nutrition coach, I don’t coach any two people the same because we’re all unique and we’re all different.”
In her upcoming book Diet Right for Your Personality Type, Widerstrom, 34, identifies five distinct personality types and what approach to diet and exercise works best for each of them:
1. The Organized-Doer
“They like organization, structure and routine,” says Widerstrom. “They’re self-starters and they’re motivated, but they have a hard time celebrating success. There’s nothing they like more than writing lists — except crossing something off of that list. They need structure, and therefore in their program from sunrise to sunset, I have programmed what they’re eating, what their snacks are, specific recipes and portions. Everything’s right there for them.”
2. The Swinger
“Swingers are the social extroverts. These are the people that are into adventure and love new experiences, but they struggle to stay connected to something. They end up bouncing from program to program or diet to diet without really fully giving anything a chance to be successful. Then they say, ‘Nothing works for me,’ because they simply get bored. When it comes to diet and workouts, accountability is everything. In order to sustain interest and consistency variety is their savior! They should be sure to execute different kinds of workouts, not replicating any one within each week, as well as switching up proteins and core meal flavors in the kitchen.”
3. The Rebel
“Rebels are the tornadoes of the world — they’re destructive at times but effective. But restrictions drive them crazy. They’re never going to be at the same spin class every day, but they are the personality that if I gave them a template of, you’ve got to move three days out of your week, they will make it happen. It’s going to be a gym bag in their car, and when they have a free hour they’re going to run and do it, and once they’re there, they kill it. They also celebrate their success and have the best body images and best self-talk of the personalities.”
4. The Everyday Hero
“These are the people that are always last on their lists. They tend to put their families, their relationships, their friends, everyone’s needs in front of their own, so they put the least investment in their own lives. They feel burnt out and overwhelmed. Oftentimes, it’s my job as a trainer to give them the opportunity to invest in themselves. Preparation is key for their success. They should have healthy grab-and-go snacks in their home and with them, so when they’re in the midst of a full day they know they have good fuel with them — so they can drive right by the drive-through. Also, they should be sure to schedule in workouts and meal times just as they would any other appointment they would prioritize in their life.”
5. The Never Ever
“These are the people that are a little bit stuck. If one day they can’t zip up their pants, they simply buy a bigger pair. They avoid information because if they knew it, they would have to do something about it. They have to look at the big picture. If you’re a parent, I’d say, ‘Do you want to live to your 60s? Because your kids are going to need you.’ That’s going to motivate them more than me saying, ‘Let’s work on your mile time today.’ ”
WATCH: The Biggest Loser Trainers Share Quick Fitness Tips!
Even though everyone is different and is motivated differently, there are some universal rules for being healthy that Widerstrom gives across the board.
The first is making sure we don’t under-eat.
“[Many] people simply don’t get enough food into their system, and because of that they end up overeating at their next meal,” says Widerstrom. “There’s people with extra fat in their body simply because they’re not eating enough; if you [don’t eat enough], your body goes into ‘fight or flight’ and holds onto fat.”
To combat this, Widerstrom recommends keeping a healthy snack on hand to make sure your body is always satiated.
“Add in a serving of nuts, like almonds, which have fiber and protein and healthy fat,” she says.
In addition to eating enough, Widerstrom says it’s essential to drink enough water and get enough sleep.
“Focus on consistent hydration, consistent sleep and consistent food,” she says. “If you can simply do those three things, your body will lose weight. When you feed your body, when you rest and when you water it, it’s going to trust you, because your body doesn’t want to be fat. Give your body the chance to be successful by simply completing those three things.”
She also recommends doing workouts that are sustainable, rather than working out too intensely one day and being sore for the next two or three.
“Don’t get overwhelmed with movement,” says Widerstrom. “I’d rather have you move moderately three times a week and keep that consistency versus one time once a week and then dread going. And if you move consistently, your food choices are better too.”
Finally, Widerstrom emphasizes the best way to get healthy is to make small changes rather than doing a major lifestyle overhaul all at once.
“You’ve got to take it day by day,” she says. “Take one thing that you’re going to do better this week and do it every day. The next week, maintain the one thing and add one. It’s not a sprint, this is about sustainable life and healthy choices. It comes by being aware of yourself and investing in how you feel, because if you feel good you’re going to look great.”