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A healthy diet should be based on your personality and not 'one size fits all,' this author says


Nearly two months into 2017 and many people have tried—and failed—to keep their New Year's resolution to get fit and lose weight. In all honesty, it's a hard promise to keep.

For that reason, fitness expert, "Biggest Loser" trainer and author Jen Widerstrom said it's important to create a diet and fitness plan based on your personality.

"If you do not honor the individual, you're not going to see success in weight loss and sustaining health because one size just cannot fit all," Widerstrom told CNBC's "On the Money" in an interview.

Widerstrom related her relationship with clients to a teacher in the classroom. While some students may be strong readers, others may be better in math. Knowing a student's strength and weaknesses will help the teacher develop a successful lesson plan.

Widerstrom said the same goes for a trainer and their client.

"I get to see what kind of behaviors are their triggers, are their tendencies, what motivates them to start and keep going, what are their defaults, and what are their kind of potholes in the kitchen where they struggle with," she added.

Jen Widerstrom
Brandon Hickman | NBC | NBCU Photo Bank | Getty Images
Jen Widerstrom

The five types

In her new book "Diet Right for your Personality Type" Widerstrom outlined five personality categories she has come across in the decade she has been training clients:

The Organized Doer: The 'Type-A' person who likes routine and rules;

The Swinger: A free-spirit who loves adventure, follows trends, and likes variety;

The Rebel: An impulsive and non-committal person who also likes variety;

Everyday Hero: The guy or girl who puts everyone ahead of themselves, rarely accommodating themselves, even when necessary; and

The Never-Ever: The strong minded individual who thinks if the pants don't fit, simply time to size up

The book offers a quiz to reveal the reader's personality type. She then offers a four-week plan for each personality, including shopping lists and recipes.

For example, if you are considered the personality of "Everyday Hero," Widerstrom recommended keeping a "snack stash" handy. Since this person is usually always on the go, she offers ideas of what you can pack ahead of time to always have healthy snacks around so you are not tempted to make a quick stop at the drive-thru.

Staying Budget Friendly

For those on a budget and can't afford a gym membership or trainer, Widerstrom said not to worry.

"Your foundation of health is based on three factors - and it takes little money: nutritional timing, hydration and sleep."

Widerstrom says if you can do these three things consistently, that will work more for you than your dollar at the gym.

And if you're just starting out, Widerstrom recommends taking a 20 minute walk after lunch or after dinner, because this will help digestion, blood flow and brain activity.

She also says try setting the alarm clock 2 minutes earlier so you can do 2 minutes of sit-ups or push-ups. The fitness expert says this will activate the metabolic system.

Her final piece of advice: don't rush to join a gym or get a trainer until you know it's worth your money. "Earn the gym and earn the trainer – be sure you're ready," she said.


Disclosure: 'The Biggest Loser' airs on NBC, which is owned by CNBC's parent company, Comcast.

On the Money airs on CNBC Saturdays at 5:30 am ET, or check listings for air times in local markets.