We’re all resistant to change.
So what's your resistance type?

By John Berardi, Ph.D.

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If you’re reading the PN website, chances are you’re thinking about changing something.

Whether that’s a few small improvements to your nutrition and fitness. Or perhaps a complete overhaul. Change is probably on your mind. If only a little.

We get it.

After all, many of our coaching clients came to our website with a simple thought like:

  • Hey, maybe I’ll learn what kind of protein powder to choose or
  • Cool, here’s a free 5-day fat loss course or
  • Who is this John Berardi guy and why should I listen to him?

Then, something here spoke to them. They stayed. Their interest grew. They signed up for coaching.

And a year later, everything was different. They made big, important changes in their lives. They found themselves transformed.

Former Precision Nutrition coaching client (and current coaching mentor) Jeanne Douthit was one of those people. She went on to lose 53 lbs and transform her outlook on the world.

Lost 53 lbs and 15% body fat!

  • Age: 37 years
  • Weight Lost: 53 lbs (from 182 lbs to 129 lbs)
  • % Body Fat Lost: 15% (from 29% to 14%)
  • Total Inches Lost: 10 inches (from 36 inches to 26 inches)

In today’s article she shares some important thoughts on change. Specifically, resistance to change.

Enter Jeanne.

Change is going to happen, whether we like it or not

Whether it’s small (like eating a better breakfast) or bigger (like making different life choices), change is a journey. And it’s a force to be reckoned with.

Regardless of how you feel about it, change is going to happen.

Sometimes, we’re fortunate: Change happens on our terms. When we’re ready. We call this growth; it’s a natural byproduct of our new wants and needs.

Other times, we’re forced to change. An unexpected incident or situation. Illness. Injury. A life crisis. Hell no, we don’t want to grow. But the universe forces us to.

Change can even come from things we think are good. Like forward progress; what next? What will life look like? Who will I be after I graduate? Take that new job? Move to Oklahoma?

The emotions of change 

No matter the source, no matter the situation, when we think about change we often feel strong emotions.

Take me, for instance. I’m often surprised at my feelings toward change. Specifically, I’m surprised at what makes me resist change.

Think about your own life.

Have you met some situations with a “knee-jerk” resistance? Of course. We all do that.

It may range from “This feels uncomfortable” to “Oh hell no!” And we often think this resistance means we’re not ready.

But that’s not true. In fact, resistance is essential.

Just keep this in mind. Resistance in and of itself isn’t bad. In fact, it’s essential. Integral to the change process.

It’s completely normal. Even if we want to change.

What’s important is that you understand your resistance and embrace it.

So, what’s your resistance type?

Resistance is a powerful force for growth because it forces us to have a dialogue with ourselves.

If you learn your unique “resistance type”, you can learn your own patterns of growth.

You can recognize when you are beginning to grow and develop. Even if in the initial moments change feels uncomfortable.

Here are four common “resistance types” and some simple strategies for embracing the resistance.

Type 1: The Reluctant

Perhaps you fear change. Or don’t know how to change. Maybe you’re just not (yet) willing to leave your comfort zone.

Frankly, you’re not even sure why you should change. Change doesn’t look very compelling to you right now.

Plus, you feel like the status quo is working. You’re emotionally invested in your current habits.

Still…you wonder. What’s over the wall?

If this is you:

Remember that YOU are in control of how fast change comes, if you want it to come at all. YOU get to choose what, if any possibilities are explored.

Ask yourself:

  • How would I like to be different?
  • If you could wave a magic wand and change my situation or body instantly, what would it look like?

Type 2: The Rebel

Unlike The Reluctant, who may not be aware, you know you need to change.

But you’ve invested too much to turn back now. (Or have you?)

Rebels like to call the shots. They don’t like being told what to do.

They argue, sometimes. Even with themselves. They can come up with a million reasons why they will not change.

Secretly, though, rebels might fear failing. Or they might just be strongly invested in the status quo.

Somehow, same-old-same-old benefits them, even if it sucks sometimes.

If this is you:

Make small changes. Practice them daily.

Help yourself feel secure as you change. Set things up so you can’t fail… at least not until you feel ready to deal with it (and feel comfortable with failure as a necessary part of growth). The smaller the change, the greater your chance of success!

Ask yourself:

  • What worries you about your current situation, nutrition/fitness habits, or body?
  • How important is this to you?

Type 3: The Resigned

One word describes you: overwhelmed.

You feel it’s too late to change. You’ve come too far. The pile of junk is too big.

You might have tried to change many times before.

Maybe you’ve gone on every diet ever invented, or tried a hundred workout programs. You rarely met your own expectations.

Now, you feel hopeless. Change doesn’t seem possible for you.

After all, you’ve tried to change before, right? Ignoring the fact that you kept trying, which demonstrates great courage and fortitude, you look at your former change attempts as “proof” that change will never work.

If this is you:

Understand that progress is never linear. Going backwards is normal. It happens to everyone. Turn around as soon as possible, and go forwards again.

Track your progress in terms of how many times you got back up instead of how many times you fell down. Or how many times you simply didn’t fall down, even though the world was pushing you to tip over.

Sometimes, just standing there in the face of pressure to fall is a victory, even if you aren’t moving.

Try thinking more in terms of a continuum than all-or-nothing. Look for small, incremental changes.

Look at lapses or regressions as temporary. And as opportunities to practice your skills.

Ask yourself:

  • What personal strengths do you have that will help you to succeed?
  • When I struggled or fell down, what did I learn?
  • Never-mind the “how” for now. What do you want to happen?

Type 4: The Rationalizer

Ahh, the rationalizer. This person (or voice in your head) always wants to be heard.

They have many, many reasons why their way is the best, and why they are the exception!

Sure, maybe other people need to do X or Y, but not The Rationalizer!

Rationalizers consider themselves to be special and unique cases.

You can spot Rationalizers by their mating call: “Yes, but…” or “I know, I know, but…”

If this is you:

List all of your reasons and rationale for doing things.

Make sure you fully understand what is good and useful for you about your current strategies and the outcomes. (No, we aren’t being sarcastic. This is genuinely important. Every behavior has a reason to be there.)

Review the benefits of your current choices. Are all choices truly benefiting you? Could you take something that is already working and tweak it a bit to make it even more awesome?

Ask yourself:

  • What do you think will happen if you don’t change anything?
  • How do my current choices benefit me? What would happen if I were to tweak ________?

Change article, fish jumping

In the end, most of us are a mix of two or more “resistance types”.

So, if we want to make important changes in our lives, we need to discover our types and learn strategies for working with and through them.

But you don’t have to do it alone.

We’re here to help

If you’d like some help as you work through your own exercise, nutrition, and health habits, please reach out. That’s what we’re here for.

We accept a small number of new coaching clients every 6 months, and the spots in our coaching programs typically sell out in hours.

However, those motivated enough to put themselves on the presale list get to register 24 hours before everyone else. Plus, they receive a big discount at registration.

So put your name on the list below — because, as always, spots are first come, first served, and when they’re gone, they’re gone.

Get on the PN Coaching presale list today

If you're interested in Precision Nutrition Coaching, we strongly recommend you join the presale list below. Choose your program and add your name to the list. We'll send you more about the program and give you the chance to register 24 hours before everyone else. You'll also get our lowest price ever — $97 USD per month — a 45% savings off the general public price.