“Everyone is unique” – a well-known phrase
Recently, I listened to a podcast by Stronger by Science where they talked about behavior change and eating habit. They invited Dr. Krista Scott-Dixon, a coach lead in Precision Nutrition.
She mentioned a very good things during the show: you should adjust the approach based on the clients characteristics. It’s a common sense yet easily forgotten. Based on Dr Krista, there are several different types of people and we should tailor nutritions based on their characteristics. I don’t remember all the types she mentioned but there are some that I remember quite clearly, mainly because I can relate those to myself.
- People who love numbers and data.
This group of people love to make decision based on evidence. They like to understand which cause what and act on it. They will track things on regular basis: daily weight, daily calories, training volume, and see how this change their body. This type of people will adjust their behavior when they see some evidences. For example, they track their food and see when they eat 1500 kcal for 7 days, they lose 0.3kg on average. Therefore, they will adjust to eat more than 1500kcal when they want to gain a little weight and eat less than 1500kcal per day when they want to lose weight faster. They are eager to learn how things correlate and use this as evidence on their approach.
I am one of this people. I have tracked my calories intake for sometimes so I know how much I need to eat on regular basis to lose and to gain. I’m not saying I can easily tune it based on what I want but in theory, I know how much I need to eat to lose or gain weight. This is how I know that all food intake recommendation is a bit too low for me. On top of nutrition, I also have my training journal so that I can track what’s work and what’s not working for me.
2. People who do things unconciously
These are people who just do things based on habit. They have been doing it for sometimes and used to it. When you do the same things over and over again, all the movement become autonomous. One way to to change behavior for people in this group is by breaking the habit.
When I was younger and lived in my parents home, I had a habit of going straight to dining table whenever I came home. I opened the door, ran to the dining table, then took whatever on the table and ate it. This habit stopped as I moved out because I was introduced to a new acting sequence.
I am aware that we can’t always move house, jobs, or change environment. However, if we can find the unhealthy pattern, we can train ourselves to take a second in between actions. In my case, I could have made sure I broke up the action of coming home and going to the dining table as 2 different things by changing my sequence: coming home – shower – go to the dining table. That way I would have become more conscious on what I did.
3. Busy People
Other group is people who have a busy lifestyle. They may understand what is needed to have a better nutrition but never really managed to do it because of time limitation. Imagine working parents with two kids who need to rush from one action to another or busy executives who work 10 hours per day plus commute time.
With people with busy schedule, planning might be one solution. Cook, so you don’t grab random things at the counter. Spare 15 minutes in the morning to move your body, instead of waiting for evening and meeting take over your exercise schedule.
As I mentioned, I can’t remember all of the groups but I like how she explained different types of people during the show. I always believe that whatever it is, we just need to find one that work well for ourselves.