Is Your Personality Making You Fat?

posted: 05/07/15
by: Mara Betsch
personality weight gain
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Your personality affects how you lose (and gain) weight.

Can't seem to move the needle on the scale? Your personality may be to blame.

According to a recent study, your personality traits may greatly affect your eating habits. How, you ask? To determine this, researchers sent out three different questionnaires, one on personality, one on eating habits, and one on food choices to a random group of Swiss men and women. After taking out subjects who turned in incomplete responses, the researchers analyzed data from nearly a thousand participants. In particular, they focused on five traits -- openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism -- and how they helped define our eating habits.

Unfortunately for extroverts, a larger-than-life personality may prove to be a dieter's Achilles heel. Greatly influenced by external factors like presentation and taste, extroverts were found to consume more meat, sweet foods, savory foods, and sugar-sweetened drinks, potentially because their active social lives keep them out of the house, and often in restaurants.

But that wasn't the only correlation they found. Being open was associated with a higher intake of veggies, high agreeableness correlated with low meat consumption, neuroticism correlated with an increased amount of sweet and savory foods (unsurprisingly, they practiced emotional eating), and, of course, conscientiousness was associated with restrained eating and a lower consumption of sweet and savory foods.

The bottom line: Certain characteristics could be risk factors for an unhealthy diet.

Dieting, it turns out, may be less about counting calories and logging gym time than keeping your emotions in check and teaching yourself self-control. Super easy, right? Just don't be surprised if you see more personality-based diets in the near future.