You May Blame Your Weight on Your Personality Now

woman eating ice cream

Is your personality making you fat? It sounds like a joke, but doctors looked into the question and found out that yep, your personality does seem to be linked with your eating habits -- for better and for worse. But that doesn't necessarily mean downing all those M&Ms is your destiny.

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In a study published in the journal Appetite, researchers sent out three questionnaires: One on personality, one on eating habits, and one on food habits. Lo and behold, the results revealed some consistent patterns. Lead author Carmen Keller says, "We found that a person's personality does, in fact, determine why he or she eats and what he or she eats."

Here's how it all rolls out.

  • Extroverts: Respond more to external reasons like tasty aromas and end up eating more sweets, meats, savory foods, and sugary drinks. This could also be because they're more likely to eat socially.
  • People who lack conscientiousness: Give in to temptation more easily, especially with food that smells or tastes great, and they also eat more impulsively.
  • Conscientious people: Eat more healthy foods and are less likely to overeat.
  • Neurotics: Eat their feelings, especially high-calorie foods in response to negative emotions.
  • People who are open to new experiences: Tend to eat more fruit, vegetables, and salads.

But back to the question, does your personality seal your destiny when it comes to your eating habits? Not at all! What's helpful about this study is that you may be able to learn your "triggers" just by understanding your personality type. Of course, we are much more complex than these types. But I still think they can provide some helpful hints.

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If you know you're an extrovert, you'll know to be especially careful when eating with your friends. If you lack conscientiousness in other aspects of your life (meaning you tend to be more impulsive, less careful), you know you give into to temptation easily. So think about how you can avoid temptation preemptively.

And if you're neurotic, you know you have a tendency to eat your feelings. But maybe you knew that already! So if you know you do that, are there other ways to manage your negative emotions?

It's also helpful to know that conscientiousness is something you can cultivate. It's related to mindfulness, a word we hear a lot these days. So if you're thinking about how you can turn around your eating habits, maybe start by thinking about how you can become more mindful overall.

Do you see yourself in any of these types? Do you feel like your personality influences how you eat?

 

Image via Vinogradov Illya/Shutterstock

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