If you’re the life of the party—or simply consider any gathering a party—you’re probably an extrovert. Extroverts are not only outgoing, they’re stimulated and energized by other people.
For them, the more the merrier.
If that’s you, we have some news: Your personality may help protect you from disease. A study from the University of Nottingham in England found that extraversion helps boost the immune system. Other studies suggest that extroverts may also live longer. Research from Albert Einstein College of Medicine found that being outgoing, optimistic, easygoing and enjoying laughter may have helped the 243 people in the study reach the age of 100… no small feat.
Unfortunately, what your personality may not protect you from is weight gain. A study published last year in the journal Appetite found that extroverts are more likely to be overweight because the social situations they thrive in are filled with fattening temptations and alcohol. Extroverts are even more likely to be enticed by the look and smell of food.
But, don’t feel doomed. You have an edge when it comes to turning this problem around. An analysis of over 20 studies published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine shows that extroverts are more likely to exercise. In fact, one study, done at the University of Florida, found that extroverts loved intensive workouts and exercised as much as six days a week. Six!
So extroverts, play to your social nature and love of stimulation throughout your quick weight loss program with the suggestions below. More of an introvert? We’ve got you covered with these top weight loss tips for introverts.
1. Pick a gym class that feels like a party.
Throw some salsa music and exercise together and voila! You have Zumba. Dance with fervor, burning calories faster than you can swing to the beat. This fun fitness group even has sessions for the pool. Bollywood Dancing is another option, which is also available as a DVD class. Or maybe you’re interested in SkyRobics or Tramoplean, low-impact workouts combining cardio, strength training and trampolines. Consider joining an adult kickball team or social sports club. Happy as long as you’re exercising as part of a group? A simple, gym workout, run, walk or hike will can be exhilarating in itself when done with friends.
2. Cook up something new.
Bust your old, boring eating habits by exploring new ones with healthy cooking classes. These are often found at your local adult education school, clean-eating restaurants, or even your community hospital. Check out some classes in seasonal, vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free diets. And remember that the Leaf Weight Loss Blog always has a new recipe just waiting to be tried!
3. Join a weight loss group.
You’re a people person, so find some like-minded people to join you on your weight loss journey. Find a community group or create your own. You could even set up a Biggest Loser competition to egg each other on. If you’re on the Nutrisystem program, get engaged on our social channels and get chatty in the comments section of The Leaf Weight Loss Blog articles. You may also want to check out our Refer a Friend program so you can bring a buddy in on the weight loss action (and you’ll save money, too!).
4. BYO Appetizers.
You’re a social eater, but at social events, you’d be hard-pressed to find the crudité and dip among the bacon-wrapped scallops, crab Rangoon and cheese—lots and lots of cheese. Take control. If it’s a casual get-together, offer to bring the apps and make them diet-friendly (think hummus with carrot rounds or celery sticks, salsa with baked chips, sushi, kale chips or chicken kebabs). If it’s a catered affair, you might luck out with shrimp and cocktail sauce, naturally low-fat goat cheese to pair with fruit slices, veggies or mini lettuce wraps with chicken or turkey. And, if you need to… pack a few healthy snacks to munch on before you leave. Check out Nutrisystem’s list of most popular snacks and sweets for ideas.
5. Fizz up your wine.
An average glass of wine clocks in at about 100 calories. And worse, alcohol lowers your inhibitions, including the one encouraging you to eat moderately. So, skip the wine and opt for sparkling water. Or, if your really want to indulge, slow down your buzz a little by filling half you glass with club soda before you pour in the wine.
6. Stick to your guns.
While meals are more pleasurable when you’re with friends, you may be more likely to eat too much because you aren’t aware of how much you’re consuming. For example, it’s hard to know when to stop reaching for the mixed nuts. Nuts might be good for you, but a cup can rack up more than 800 calories, most likely more than your whole dinner. The social butterfly faces more temptation than just the mindless eating. Results from the Framingham Study, which followed the same group of people for more than 30 years, found that fat is contagious. If your family and friends eat a lot—and especially if they’re overweight or obese—you’re likely to imitate them and to become more tolerant of excess weight. Carry a food journal or, better yet, use an app like Nutrisystem’s NuMi, to stay mindful about what you’re eating and to remind you of your own weight loss goals and fitness goals.