It’s no secret that sticking to diets can be physically difficult, and definitely more difficult for some than others. But how do our own personalities and emotional dynamics play into it? CSIRO scientists weigh in.
Personal Triggers And Your Diet
Dieting can be a pretty difficult task, both for trying to gain or lose weight. And we all know that it can be much harder for some of us in comparison to others. Other than our different physical makeup, does our psyche and our intricate personalities have anything to do with it? The answer to that is yes. Everything is inextricably linked when it comes to your health.
Several “CSIRO Research Group” weigh in on the role your personality plays in how easy it is to control your diet. Sinead Golley, the lead scientist, said that “people wanting to diet successfully must understand their personality and the “triggers” that derail their efforts.”
The group analyzed 90,000 Australian participants’ eating habits, and characterized five of the most common diet personality traits in the country that tend to wean people off of their diets.
The Five Personality Traits
An important thing to note is that this particular study happened to focus on “weight loss.” However, with a grain of salt, you try to relate to those traits, if your focus is weight gain, weight maintenance or even just health maintenance.
The most common “personality” in the group was called “The Thinker.” This “personality” covers around 37 percent of the Australian population, and is particularly common among women. This trait describes the tendency to over-analyze your progress, have unrealistic expectations, which may ultimately lead to stress, mood swings and feelings of being a failure.
The second most common personality is “The Craver,” which constitutes about 25 percent of the population. This describes the inability to resist temptations and the predisposition to overeat.
“One in five Cravers have tried to lose weight more than 25 times and they say that chocolate and confectionery are the biggest problem foods to resist,” said Dr Golley. “On the other hand … the ‘Thinkers’ ... tend to have high expectations and tend to be perfectionists, giving up when things get challenging.”
Third on the list is “The Socializer,” which constitutes about 17 percent of the population. This describes the tendency to heavily link alcohol and food in your social life, and so finding it hard to limit or control your food choices because of it.
Fourth is “The Foodie,” just 16 percent of the population. Those with a high tendency for this trait are usually the most likely to have a healthy weight.
Finally, there is “The Freewheeler,” which accounts for only 4 percent of the population. This describes the tendency to be impulsive and spontaneous with food, without an inclination to plan out their meals. This trait creates the poorest diet qualities.
A couple of important notes: This particular study focused on diets aimed at losing weight, but can still be applied to those trying to gain weight. Another important note is that, although many of gender differences were found throughout the study, the gender difference could be linked to a larger societal pressure on women to focus on their image than men, and not necessarily an indicator of innate personality traits in the female gender.
“(This suggests) lifestyle and social connections influence a person’s eating patterns at different stages of life — while millennials and Gen X were more likely to be Cravers, Thinkers and Freewheelers,” Golley said.