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The 4 Tendencies and Diet – How Your Personality Can Affect Your Keto Success

The 4 Tendencies and Diet – How Your Personality Can Affect Your Keto Success

Keto is not a one size fits all style of eating. If you participate in any of the keto forums out there, you will see questions pop up that what is working for one person is not working for another.


So why is this? Isn’t an effective diet an effective diet for everyone?


One thing that is often overlooked is your personality type.


Obviously we all have different background medical situations – whether these be good or bad or somewhere in between – but I also think there’s a degree of personality that can determine your success in making keto a lifestyle change rather than a quick fix diet.


I am a big fan of Gretchen Rubin and her podcast Happier. In it, and in her upcoming book, she discusses a framework called the Four Tendencies.


Essentially, “it distinguishes how people tend to respond to expectationsouter expectations (a deadline, a “request” from a sweetheart) and inner expectations (write a novel in your free time, keep a New Year’s resolution)”


You can learn more about it here;

and also take the quiz to determine which one of the 4 tendencies you fall under.

Gretchen’s book is coming out really soon, and you can pre-order it now through Amazon

So, why a personality test on a recipe website?


I am a firm believer in knowing yourself first. If you don’t know who you are and how you respond to things – to expectations, beliefs and pressure, then you risk trying to fit into a ‘one size fits all’ approach to a lifestyle change. The risk here, is ultimately failure but also blaming yourself for the failure, rather than realising that it could be that it didn’t suit you.


In a nutshell, Gretchen describes the 4 Tendencies as;


  • Upholders respond readily to outer and inner expectations
  • Questioners question all expectations; they’ll meet an expectation if they think it makes sense
  • Rebels resist all expectations, outer and inner alike
  • Obligers meet outer expectations, but struggle to meet expectations they impose on themselves

Once you know your personality type by taking the quiz above, here is how I think you could adjust the Keto lifestyle change to be most successful for you.



 Generally if you decide to do something, you are rock solid so upholders tend to have it a bit easier to achieve what they want.

If you believe that something is worthwhile, chances are you are able to stick to it 100% with all of your heart.

You are highly answerable to both yourself and outer expectations.

If you have been struggling staying motivated on the Keto way of eating, you could introduce further expectations for you to ‘uphold’. This could be telling supportive loved ones of your change and what you want to get out of it, or making a list of goals you want to achieve by making this change – for example, lose 5% body fat, reduce waist to hip ratio by 10%, run a 5KM event by the end of the year.



Questioners can be a bit difficult – I married one. Naturally they don’t think they are difficult, as in their mind, everyone should question everything.

The key for questioners is research and answering those questions to justify WHY this is the right choice. Read, watch and listen to the experts in the Ketogenic way of eating, and if you have a question that is making you doubt the effectiveness then research some more.

If you have a questioner partner or friend you are trying to convince, showing them is often the best way. I never told my husband he had to ‘go keto’, I started eating this way and cooking his meals in the same way, and he saw the difference it made to his weight, health and energy levels. His questions were answered.




This is me without a doubt. I tell myself every single night that I am going to get up a half hour early and do pilates in my lounge room. Every single morning, I think to myself, no one will know if I don’t. No one even knows I was going to.

Wind back to a few years ago when I was going to the gym with a friend a couple of times a week. Like clockwork, I was out of bed an hour and a half earlier than normal so I could be on time to meet her. I didn’t want her to wait for 5 minutes without me.

This is a clear sign that I need external accountability in order to meet my own expectations.

The key here is to create meaningful external accountability that aligns with what you are trying to achieve. For changing your eating style, you could;

  • Start a challenge with a friend or colleague
  • Join a social media forum or group that is supportive
  • Tell a supportive loved on of what you are going to achieve, and ask them to hold you accountable. It is important this is done in a nice way – not to make you feel guilty, but to check in with how you are travelling
  • Make a chart or graph to track yourself. This could be tracking centimetres lost, weight lost, days on keto
  • Join up with myfitnesspal and track your food each day and make your accont public so others can see it. Add friends who eat Keto on myfitnesspal for extra inspiration
  • Start a Keto food blog (Yep, that’s why I am here – I am accountable to the WHOLE INTERNET now)



Good luck, you naughty rebel. Rebels resist both inner and outer expectations, so changing a habit, especially a major one like your style of eating, can be incredibly difficult.

The key for a Rebel is reframing your way of eating as doing something your own way, not what society tells you to do.

Obviously eating healthy is considered the right thing to do, but eating keto is really bucking the trend. As it becomes more common though, this might mean Rebels lose their motivation.

From Gretchen’s website, one of her readers wrote in about her strategies for managing her Rebel tendencies with healthy eating (link here as follows;


1) Restrict quality, not quantity. Allowing myself to eat as much as I want takes the edge off of the restrictions that come with the low carb lifestyle. Whenever I get the urge to snack mindlessly, I tell myself to eat as much as I want all of the low carb food in my fridge. And suddenly, the burning desire goes away.

2) Relish in cooking, and cooking things that are unique. Not many people cook all their meals, and I take pride in the fact that I do (how many people, especially 23-year-olds, make beef bourguignon?)

3) Relish in using foods that are demonized by misinformed nutritional science. Bacon. Steak. Butter.

Fantastic ideas! Take that, society says the Rebel and keeps cooking bacon in butter!


Interestingly, Gretchen Rubin eats Keto as well!

Here’s her article about it, she doesn’t actually call it Keto but we know the truth Gretchen.

Gretchen also has two other amazing books that you can buy on Amazon;

The Happiness Project

Better Than Before

I’d love to know which of the 4 tendencies you are, and what strategies you use to keep yourself motivated and in check.

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