Jen Widerstrom Explains Why Weight Loss Tips Aren't Working For You

Jen Widerstrom
Jen Widerstrom

If you've been trying to lose weight, you've probably pieced through your fair share of weight-loss tips — perhaps some were successful and others were an outright disaster. But if anyone knows about weight-loss tips that work, it's Jen Widerstrom, trainer on The Biggest Loser and author of Diet Right For Your Personality Type: The Revolutionary 4-Week Weight-Loss Plan That Works for You.

Despite the fact that there's so much factual nutritional info out there, "People [are] still struggling with weight loss and failing their New Year's resolutions," she told POPSUGAR. "We know these things — we know protein is important, fat is better than sugar, we need to be drinking water, [etc]."

But Jen says "the application to the individual is missing." She made the point that no single plan is going to work for every person. In her book, she identifies five personality types: "The Organized-Doer, the Rebel, the Swinger, the Everyday Hero, and the Never-Ever." These individual personalities boast different "tendencies, triggers, [and] behavior defaults," Jen explained. "This is an opportunity for someone who has a level of self-recognition and an understanding of their personality" to identify who they are and tailor their weight-loss plan accordingly. Let's take a look at how Jen defines these personality types so you can see where you fit.

The Organized Doer

  • Organized and results-oriented
  • Methodical and decisive
  • Forward thinking (usually 10 steps ahead of everyone else)
  • Crave routine, rules, and planning
  • Limited nutritional variety — content with same old, same old meals
  • Love consistency
  • Great at reading food labels, counting calories, and measuring portions
  • All in or all out when it comes to diet and exercise
  • Self-critical and extremely hard on yourself
  • Neglect to celebrate your success or progress

The Swinger

  • Open to new experiences and adventures; very passionate about projects at first but lose interest
  • Social and extroverted; a fun friend
  • Communicate expressively
  • Require accountability
  • Swing between "treating" and "punishing" with food, depending on what is going on in your life
  • Always trying the latest diet, which can result in ups and downs in weight
  • Skip around from one workout regimen to the next, never giving the exercise/workout a full shot
  • Have a "seeing is believing" mindset
  • Very communicative with friends (via social media posts and emails) when you do well

The Rebel

  • Spontaneous and impulsive; high energy
  • Live for the moment; not detail-oriented
  • Dislike routine and complexity
  • Somewhat disorganized and chaotic in planning but effective nonetheless
  • Inconsistent in dieting, exercise, and other aspects of fitness and health
  • Unaware of how day-to-day decisions can affect health
  • Noncommittal and often tardy

The Everyday Hero

  • Collaborative and adaptive
  • Friendly and relate well to others
  • Want to be respected, liked, and approved of
  • Selfless and a committed friend; overloaded at times by taking on too much
  • Motivating and supportive of others
  • Tend to put yourself lower on the priority list because you're so busy taking care of others
  • Subsist on a lot of grab-and-go foods or drive-throughs and eating on the run
  • Prefer to eat with others rather than alone
  • Inconsistent with exercise because of time-constraint-based excuses

The Never-Ever

  • Cerebral, intelligent
  • Very clear on your likes and dislikes
  • Give up easily
  • Efficient/effective when you choose to be
  • Your own worst enemy
  • Constant justification for eating bad foods
  • Fear-based failure thinking keeps you from ever starting a fitness program
  • Resistant to facing the reality of poor fitness/health issues

For each personality type, Jen crafted a unique meal plan. But here's the thing: no matter which type you see yourself as, you're going to get the same macronutrient distribution, the same nutrition — the difference is "the instruction around the food," Jen explained. "It's not like oatmeal's good for me and yogurt's good for you — that's not how it works." Here's how it does work:

"For example," she said, "an Everyday Hero is someone with a maxed out lifestyle; they're not really good at planning out meals. They're really undernourishing. So they do 'Slow-Cooker Mondays' every Monday night." She explained that it's only three ingredients ("chicken breast, taco seasoning, and a can of your favorite salsa") to keep things simple and efficient — ideal for the Everyday Hero type. "Quick, efficient, on-the-go" meals are a staple of the diet plan for that specific person (like a morning smoothie you can take with you to work).

But someone like the Swinger "loves the joy of cooking and experiencing food," Jen said. "The process is different . . . it's nutritionally identical, but the process is different." This personality type also has more options so they can go based on feeling (for some of you this sounds like a dream, and for others in other personality brackets this might be a nightmare — exactly the point of this plan!). "They have a breakfast that's more built out, and it's very menu-style because for my Swingers, food is an adventure. They open the pantry and think, 'What do I feel like eating?', so I give them a menu for each day. But the nutritional macros and nutrients are all in the boundaries of where I want them."