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The Personality Type Diet
The personality type diet helps you find the right eating plan based on your personality traits. Robert Kushner, MD, a physician with over 25 years of experience helping overweight people and a master’s degree in nutrition, developed this plan because he saw that diets need to focus on more than just what to eat. According to Kushner, most popular diets fail because they don’t address the life patterns that affect our weight.
How Is This Diet Supposed to Work?
The premise of this diet is that people have personality patterns that keep them overweight. But by learning how to change your patterns, you can lose weight and keep it off. Ultimately you lose weight on this diet because you eat fewer calories than you use, but your dieting strategy depends on your personality.
This diet involves taking a personality quiz to figure out which type of dieter you are. The quiz, available in the book Dr. Kushner’s Personality Type Diet and online, requires you to answer over 65 questions regarding eating, exercising, and coping. Based on your answers, you are matched with different categories that best describe your personality. Here are a few examples:
- Categories pertaining to your eating habits include “hearty portioner” and “mindless muncher”
- Exercise categories include “hate-to-move struggler” and “all-or-nothing doer”
- Coping categories include “emotional stuffer” and “can’t say no pleaser”
You can then read the analysis of your categories. Most people find that they are a combination of different categories. Based on your personality traits, Dr. Kushner offers advice on how to overcome the patterns that are standing in the way of your ability to lose weight and keep it off.
When it comes to what foods you should eat, Dr. Kushner advocates a highly vegetarian, low-fat diet. He also focuses on what he believes are super foods: fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, dried beans, lentils, and soy products.
What Does the Research Say?
This diet is based on solid, evidence-supported principles of healthful eating. While there are no studies looking specifically at the effectiveness of this diet, research shows that the most successful diets are those that you can stick with—and that should be more likely to occur if the diet is tailored to your personality.
Are There Any Concerns With This Diet?
The concerns with this diet are that changing your personality traits is usually not an easy thing to do. And for people who have a lot of changes to make, the hope of ever losing weight and becoming a healthful eater may be lost before they get there. While this diet may help people figure out what they need to work on, most people would probably benefit from taking it one step further and getting professional help.
If you are interested in how your personality traits may be affecting your weight, then this diet may be for you. However, realize that changing lifelong personality patterns may take some time. If you feel there are significant changes to be made, consider getting help from a qualified weight loss counselor.
Eat Right—Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Dietitians of Canada
Counseling overweight adults. Dr. Kushner’s Personality Type Diet website. Available at: http://www.counselingoverweightadults.com. Accessed March 3, 2015.
Kushner RF, Kushner N. Dr. Kushner's Personality Type Diet. New York, NY: St. Martin's Press; 2003.
- Reviewer: Dianne Scheinberg Rishikof MS, RD, LDN
- Review Date: 03/2016
- Update Date: 05/08/2014