The “Scientist” (2.5% of the population)
Like Albert Einstein and Marie Curie, you value independent thinkers instead of those who learn by repetition or rote learning. You don’t tend to listen to people who automatically submit to the establishment or follow the status quo. This program will have more appeal to your brain type since it goes against the grain of conventional “wisdom” most of the time, is independent, unbiased, and research-based.
Your brain type does not typically allow you to be overweight by more than about 20 pounds. You are more inclined to give thought to what you eat and hold fast to your standards.
You tend to have good physical and mental endurance and a higher than average pain threshold. In fact, Einstein was known to go without eating for days – not on purpose – but because he was so hyper-focused on his current project, it simply didn’t cross his mind because he was able to block out the minor hunger pangs. This type of intensity and toughness are qualities you possess that will help you stay the course in this program and establish good habits like exercise, hydration, etc., easier than most other brain types.
Since you understand concepts over sensations, you don’t tend to be as good at sensing body signals like fullness (or hunger as mentioned above). While this can allow you to exercise with more intensity, it can work against you with your nutritional habits if you tend to overeat because you are focused elsewhere.
You may tend to sacrifice sleep in pursuit of your dreams and projects, so make sure to create some boundaries for yourself, in order to get the sleep necessary for physical repair and mental rejuvenation. Your brain type tends to need 8-9 hours of sleep (more than average) to allow enough processing time for the multitude of unique thoughts you have during the day.
Proper sleep will also allow your body to balance out its own hormones, and especially, to reduce chronically elevated cortisol levels in cases of ongoing stress. It’s okay to miss some hours of sleep occasionally but be careful that it doesn’t happen more than two nights in a week.
You aren’t as concerned with taste and texture as some of the other brain types, so you may tend to eat your food rapidly. Therefore, the Conscious Eating technique will help you slow down (and not overeat), allowing you to enjoy your food more and to chew it more thoroughly, which will aid in your digestion.
No brain type is more competent in intellectual pursuits than yours. This is a double-edged sword though because you must accept less than perfection and allow yourself to fail on occasion. If you don’t, you can be too self-critical, which can make you want to throw in the towel on your diet, health goals, and even other life goals, or may lead you to try something else (“shiny new object” syndrome) that you don’t have failure associated with. Keeping this in mind will help you stick with things longer. Be a scientist and give everything the proper amount of time to run a good experiment.
To you, it’s a mortal sin to be incompetent, so you usually end up becoming an expert in your field of interest. If health and fitness become two of your main interests, the likelihood of your success surpasses most of the other brain types. You may find yourself researching studies in the fields of nutrition, health, and exercise to increase your feeling of competence while you travel along the road to optimal health. This is very healthy for your brain type, so go for it! Who knows, you may come up with some new concepts and ideas that are so superior to mine, that can change the world even more!
This can also lead to bouncing around between different programs until you find one you can do perfectly which, of course, is unlikely, since you are human after all. Just resolve to stick with this program and make it work, remembering to cut yourself some slack when you experience those occasional “failures” or mistakes you will sometimes make. Set your benchmark for improvement, not perfection.
Your goals might also be an issue because you have a tendency to “shoot for the stars” when you set your goals, making them unrealistic. Since you are usually too tough on yourself when you don’t meet your personal goals and standards (even if they are set too high), consult a friend who has a different brain type to help you set realistic goals, within realistic time frames.
Saying your goals out loud should be your first step. Say it to someone else or to yourself in the mirror. Then see how it feels and decide if they need some refinement. Your next step is to write your goals down. Then see how they look and decide if they still need some further refinement. Last, sign it and date it like a contract. Now treat it like the contract it is and look at it often (at least twice a week), to remind yourself of your commitment.
As mentioned, it helps to treat your goals and new habits as experiments. Create a hypothesis about the outcome of each one. Design a time period and control for variables. Follow each new habit to the “T,” as any good scientist would, until the time period has been completed and then look to see if your hypothesis was correct or not. Then tweak, adjust, and repeat until you find the ultimate “hacks” for your unique physiology and brain type.
You are a big picture thinker and very talented at visualization. Like Charles Darwin, you have a tendency to see “what could be” rather than “what is.” This will make the Visualization technique especially effective for you. Focusing on that every day and escaping to “fantasyland” in your imagination will help produce the results you desire.
Remember that the subconscious part of the human brain doesn’t know the difference between fantasy and reality, so using your imagination regularly will convince it over time that you are actually already like that. Doing so will make things happen much faster as your brain will be helping you with that progress, believing that it has already achieved those results. Once the brain is convinced that your fantasies are realities, old habits will be virtually effortless to break, and new habits will be extremely easy to form.
Your brain is especially gifted at understanding concepts, both concrete and abstract. Most of the concepts in this program will make sense to you. Then, when you experience the amazing results from following this program, you may want to write your own program with some new and novel concepts you have come up with on your own, so if that is where your desire takes you, then dive in and spread the love!
It will also be helpful to keep records and stats of your workout data. This will help motivate you to improve your metrics. You will find it quite rewarding to look back on past workouts and admire how far you’ve come.
Like the famous physicist Marie Curie, a strong suit for you is patience – as long as you set realistic goals – so you can clearly see the likelihood of success as you progress. Patience will, of course, help you stay on track, even if results come slower than you expected. The speed of your results will depend on how close you stick to the program, your genetic heritage, and how healthy you are at the start of this program.
Like Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, you also have a penchant for planning, which will be very useful because that will help you compensate for your other tendency of overlooking things, especially when you get ultra-focused on projects. You might find yourself working for 10 hours straight on a new idea you are passionate about, without even noticing that you haven’t taken a break to eat or drink anything. You then look up at the clock to realize with shock how much time has flown by. Those 10 hours seemed like 30 minutes to you and now you are hungry and thirsty, looking for the most convenient and quickest things to eat and drink, so you can get right back to what you were doing.
Scenarios like that are where good planning will serve you. Knowing that your brain operates this way will help you realize how necessary it is to prepare healthy foods, drinks, and snacks ahead of time, so those options are ready and available for you to eat and drink when you suddenly realize how hungry and thirsty you are.
You’re going to want those food and drink options to be easy to eat quickly too. Since you’re not as concerned about the taste and texture of foods as other brain types, snacks like hard-boiled eggs, smoothies, nuts and seeds, and other convenient options will be best. Preparing these foods before you go to work will be key for you. Make sure that you put food preparation in your schedule, either at night before you go to bed, or to get up earlier in the morning before you go to work to make sure it happens.
This gift of focusing can be a productive trait, but it can also burn you out and decrease your productivity if you ignore things like eating, sleeping, and human relationships. Make sure that you are setting alarms to wake you up out of your states of altered consciousness when you are deep in your “zone.” Setting alarms will remind you to take quick breaks to eat something, to get some rest or a quick workout and to make contact with other people you care about. Even a quick “Thinking about you” text works wonders for your brain and theirs as that type of thing rarely comes from people with your brain type.
Taking regular breaks during your day to tend to these suggestions will increase your mental efficiency and overall productivity well beyond “Staying in your zone” as your gut would have you believe. You will be able to accomplish in 10 hours with regular breaks what would have taken you 15 or more hours without those breaks. You won’t want to take those breaks though because they will feel like interruptions to your “momentum,” but force yourself to do it anyway, because not only will it increase your productivity, it will also make it easier to achieve optimal health. Shoot for a short break (just standing up and stretching for 15 seconds could be enough) every 20 minutes, but don’t go longer than an hour – especially if you are sitting.
If breaks are too frequent, however, (less than 20 minutes apart), you could decrease your productivity because it takes you a bit more time to get back into your “flow” state than some other brain types – especially the more extroverted types, who are able to switch in and out faster. Trust your gut too. If you are feeling frustrated or stuck, even if it’s been less than 20 minutes from your last break, then take one and do something active to get the juices flowing again. This can be as quick as 15 seconds of jumping jacks or pushups – anything to substantially increase your heart rate and breathing rate.
You typically value flexibility and can view boundaries and roles as inhibiting. This can make my previous suggestion of setting alarms for yourself that remind you to take care of yourself and your relationships feel annoying to you once you put that into practice, but just remember how important it is for your health and how much more productive you will be, in spite of the fact that it might not feel that way in the moment.
You tend to find any project, big or small, a stimulating challenge. You also tend to stick with that project until you think you have mastered it but not necessarily until you have completely finished it. Once you think you conceptually understand it and know that it will work, that is often enough for you to put it aside and move onto a new project.
Keep this in mind as you continue on your journey toward optimal health, and make sure that you truly achieve your optimal health goals – and more importantly – that you stay there with continued focus once you have achieved your goals, both small (along the way) and big (at the “end”). Remaining focused will be very important for you to maintain optimal health and prevent any backsliding.
It will help you to write down your goals and decide objectively when you feel like you have truly reached those goals. Then you will want to continue to look at those goals regularly (at least every week) to remind yourself that they are still your goals to protect, watch over, and maintain for the rest of your life. This is a permanent lifestyle, not a temporary experiment.
Because your brain type would rather withdraw into a cocoon in order to focus intensively on your project, personal relationships can be a struggle for you because your friends, family and significant others tend to starve from a lack of attention. When you are on an intellectual “train,” you find it hard to turn your brain off, even when you aren’t at work anymore. As mentioned previously, this can make you seem distant, detached, uncaring and apathetic to the people around you whom you love.
The reason your brain works this way is because it doesn’t trust itself to remember the cascade of ideas and concepts that are constantly flowing through it, so it wants to keep that flow going in order to retain them. This is why it’s so important to unplug and switch modes when you need to take time to foster relationships with people. This will feel extremely uncomfortable to your brain, but you can employ a backup plan for your memory system by keeping a notepad with you to record ideas as they pop into your head. Now you have those ideas written down, so your brain will allow you to unplug and divert your attention because it will trust that your creative thoughts will be preserved. It’s not that it doesn’t trust itself to remember things. It’s more that it doesn’t trust the system you have to recall things, so creating a system that works will help your brain relax, take breaks and connect with others properly to foster quality relationships.
I emphasis relationships so much because understanding this part of you and using strategies like these will further improve your efficiency while you are working, but they will also allow you to foster the relationships that are important to you because that is also vitally important for your brain health as well as your overall health. Without developing, fostering and nurturing close relationships, you will be less healthy, less happy, and your life will be shorter. Even if you are not overweight or do not develop diseases or metabolic syndrome, you can still cut 15 years or more off your lifespan by ignoring your need for intimate relationships. That part of your brain literally withers away and starts an unhealthy cascade of physiological events that end up shortening your life and negatively affecting your health.
One of the most powerful things you can do to improve the health of your brain is to talk about your feelings with someone close to you. You are actually quite good at dealing with your own feelings, but holding them inside and keeping them to yourself will become an unhealthy habit.
You may also feel that spending time and energy on nutrition, diet, and exercise are mundane compared to your preference for flying among the clouds with stimulating and creative thoughts and dreams. Remember that both are great, and your brain needs all of them for optimal health and optimum mental functioning.
Your brain type has been known to pursue the impossible, or the grand idea, to the disregard of reality and those closest to you. It’s important for you to remind yourself that reality is important to others, no matter how boring you feel it is. Another useful exercise for your brain will be to put yourself in other people’s shoes as much as you can, in order to develop that part of your brain and expand those nerve pathways. It’s not necessary to become them, but if you understand them better and can build more empathy, you will find that you become more balanced, happier and more content.
You will also want to make sure to study the brain types of those people closest to you so you can understand how they are wired. It is also recommended that you show them your brain type description so they can understand you better. This will help them to avoid taking it personally when they feel like you are acting distracted, apathetic or uninterested.
You are more attracted to academic pursuits than athletic pursuits, so it might be harder for you to start and continue an aggressive exercise program or participate in sports. You would be more likely to continue a workout regime that takes minimal time, or one supervised by a personal trainer who you feel is an expert in their field. An older, more mature personal trainer who has plenty of experience and who stays current on the latest research will be easier for you to trust than a young, inexperienced or newly-certified personal trainer.
You probably find food to be of less interest and enjoyment than other brain types, so overeating is not typically a problem for you. You may even eat at your computer, or while concentrating on a project, in order to continue working without interruption. This would be a bad habit though since research has shown that when people are distracted as they eat, they tend to eat two to three times more than when they stop and focus on the meal.
As mentioned previously, it will be extremely beneficial for your brain to stop at regular intervals throughout your day. During some of these stops, you will eat food and drink hydrating beverages, so when it’s time for that, be sure to unplug your brain from your project and simply focus on slowly and consciously eating and drinking, even if it’s for only five or 10 minutes.
Because you are usually more out of touch with your hunger sensation than other brain types, it’s harder for you to realize when you have eaten too little or too much. It will help you to get to the point where you can take that time you need to concentrate on eating and nothing else. This is another important habit to change over time, allowing yourself grace and patience when you don’t do it. The Conscious Eating technique will help you with this (and will help you eat more slowly, which is another important habit for proper digestion and absorption of nutrients).
I realize you still might not take heed my advice on taking breaks from your work, especially for eating and drinking and especially in the beginning, before you have had time to form these habits because it is nearly impossible to stop your brain type when it’s on a roll. Just keep at it and remember to give yourself some slack when forming new habits because of your tendency to expect perfection from yourself. When setting benchmarks, set yours on consistent progress instead of perfection.
You will most likely continue to eat while you are working, especially on those extra intense projects, when you are feeling like you are approaching a “Eureka” moment. In those cases, I would suggest that you prepare your food for the day in portion-sized containers, so when you end up eating and working at the same time, you run out of food in the container you have in front of you. Leave your next container on the other side of the room, and you will be highly resistant to stop long enough to go get that container in order to continue eating. Instead, you will be more likely to save it for your next scheduled break.
You may forget to prepare your food ahead of time, so make sure you plan ahead and set aside time to do your food preparation. An alarm or appointment in your schedule might help to remind you to do this. You would also be reminded well by setting out “triggers” to jog your memory, so when you are busy and choose to put off making food for the time being (because you are hyper-focused on a thought or project), a container placed out where you will see it (or even trip on it) will help you remember to resume your task of food preparation at that time. Study the Trigger technique to hone this skill.
You tend to see food as fuel or a treatment to solve the inconvenient sensations of hunger pangs more than as a treat or sensory experience. You might even be able to eat the same thing every day if that was more convenient and you wouldn’t have a problem with that. This is fine actually, but you may also find that while you seem to be perfectly happy with the same food for the last two months every day, you suddenly develop an aversion to it and need to switch to another recipe. Also, be sure to vary your vegetable choices from time to time, so you get a wider range of nutrients than you would, compared to eating the same foods for too long.
You value foods that will fuel your brain and increase your ability to think and concentrate, so the recipes and ingredients in this program will certainly appeal to you as you experience for yourself the increased mental sharpness and energy resulting from this program. This will also help increase your motivation to stick to this diet because most other diets (especially the Standard America Diet – AKA SAD) will have the opposite effect on your brain. If you ever have a day eating SAD food, you will notice the mental fog you used to experience comes back fast, which will motivate you to get quickly back on track.
View food preparation and recipe creation as another experiment. You have the ability to create amazing recipes and to be very precise in your measurements of those recipes, so the result will be dishes and meals other people can easily follow due to your attention to detail. You can really help lots of people with your ability to create fast, easy and specific recipes that are clear and easy to follow, which is what most people are looking for.
You have a passion for questions that begin with, “What would happen if…” For this reason, the What If technique might appeal to you and be more effective than for other brain types.
You typically like to follow diets that are based on fundamental scientific laws. You would rather understand why a diet “should” work before you try it. If so, the research behind this program will certainly appeal to you. The explanations in this program should be sufficient to satisfy that need, but you will probably also find yourself researching things on your own to be fully convinced.
Since you like to be stimulated intellectually by a diet plan, it would be helpful for you to make this a mental game or challenge, with competent strategies to implement. In fact, you often like to create your own weight management plan as opposed to following a prescription or someone else’s plan. This can be a good idea, provided the plan is realistic and that you stay within the guidelines of this program.
Summary and Recap
Goal setting: Set realistic goals with the help of a friend. Write your goals down and read them over at least weekly. Focus on one step at a time, with progress as your benchmark instead of perfection. You can settle for 80% perfection before moving to the next step, so you don’t get stuck too long on a certain step, waiting for perfection.
Best Workout: Alone or with a personal trainer or workout partner who can work you hard for short, intense exercise sessions. X Gym style is perfect for your brain type.
Motivated by: Keeping records and statistics of your workouts, metrics, and progress. Alarms will help remind you to prepare food and snacks and to eat them at regular, appropriate intervals.
Supported by: Discussion with one or more close friends on the progress of each step, with a re-evaluation of goals if necessary. Talk about your feelings with a close friend and confidant as often as you can. Food preparation in portion-sized containers. Healthy, quick snacks should always be available.
Areas to strengthen: Relax your expectations of perfection. Take more breaks. Go on more vacations. Keeping a food journal will bring your eating habits into the light of reality. Compliment and affirm others. Practice forgiveness, both for yourself and others.
Strengths to use: Patience, vision, concentration, focus, tenacity.