Discover the key to successful weight loss by identifying your weight-loss personality. “I’m shy” Even though we live in a tell-all culture, you’d prefer to keep your weight-loss plans to yourself. Success Rx: Find some form of support that feels good to you. That could mean joining an online dieting group, where you can hide behind a user name, or seeking out a registered dietitian in your area for some private one-on-one counseling. If you’ve got a trusted friend who also wants to lose weight, consider forming an alliance that’s just between the two of you. Implement proven, structured weight-loss techniques that don’t depend on other people. Maintain a food and exercise diary. Instead of just rereading yesterday’s entry, however, write down specific goals for tomorrow. Then chart your progress. Set more process-driven goals, such as eating fruit for every snack, instead of end-result goals (like losing 10 pounds by a particular day). “I’m outgoing” When you start a weight-loss plan (or anything, for that matter), your policy is full disclosure to friends, family members and coworkers. You intuitively want and need everyone’s support and encouragement, and you know that being accountable to them will help boost your motivation and keep you on track. Success Rx: Be choosy about whom you tell and what you say. Assess who is likely to be helpful and who might be jealous, resentful or fearful as your waistline grows smaller. Consider joining a group-based weight-loss program, especially one that offers in-person meetings so you can get face time with fellow dieters who are there to offer and receive support themselves. Often, giving support can be just as motivating as getting it. Ask yourself tough questions, such as: What will I get out of losing weight? What are the possible pros and cons? What are the difficulties going to be? The answers will help you find a more personal source of motivation, so you’re not so dependent on others. “I’m spiritual” You feel a reverent connection to the universe. Whether or not you belong to any organized religion, you believe that there’s a higher power guiding you through your decisions. Success Rx: Weave supportive spiritual habits into your daily routine. Kick off your morning with a prayer or meditation that incorporates positive affirmations, such as “I’m in touch with my body’s true needs today. I can eat slowly and consciously. My workouts are enjoyable and I’m energized.” A “soulful” wake-up routine can reinforce goals and keep them in the forefront of your mind throughout your day. If you sometimes need reminding, carrying a notepad with written affirmations in your purse can help. Pause before each meal or snack to reflect on what you’re eating or how you’re nourishing your spirit. When you quickly check in with your spiritual center throughout the day, you’re less likely to retreat to autopilot and start snacking out of boredom or some other negative emotion. In addition, by linking your mealtimes with checkpoints, you actually make them more special. Mentally replay the day’s events before you drift off to sleep, and try to learn from your mistakes. Try to see the day’s experiences objectively, as if you’re reading a story, and develop suitable “morals” to help guide you through the following day’s challenges. “I’m goal oriented” You get motivated to lose weight when you’ve got a big event on the horizon. Weddings and class reunions are perfect (except that they may not occur as often as you’d like). Unfortunately, once the event has passed, your motivation goes up in smoke, and it’s back to your old habits. Success Rx: Be realistic. Choose events that are far enough into the future that you don’t need to take drastic measures to reach the weight-loss goals you set. Aim to lose no more than two pounds per week, preferably one. The slower your weight loss, the more likely it is to be fat, not water or muscle, you’re losing. The more muscle you preserve while you’re dieting, the easier it will be to keep the weight off. Make diet and exercise changes you can sustain long after the event is over. Ask yourself, Will I still want to eat prepackaged frozen meals every day for lunch after I get married? If the answer is probably not, amend your diet to include strategies you can incorporate into your lifestyle forever (or close to it). Replace every goal you achieve with another one—fast! Goals are the foundation of your motivation, so never be without one.