You Can Now Blame Your Bad Eating Habits on Your Personality

A new study done by Swiss Federal Institute of Technology shows that eating habits are highly influenced by personality traits. In other words, your personality might be making you fat, and understanding how that works could help you maintain a healthy weight.

Past research has shown similar conclusions, especially in terms of women: girls tend to imitate each other’s eating habits, and “people-pleasers” are more likely to binge, but this new study is pushing dieting research to inquire what ways dieting can be managed in terms of emotional regulation.

The study, which was done by sending three questionnaires—one polling self-identified personality traits, one polling personal food choices, and another on eating habits—to a number of random addresses, found that certain personality traits factored into healthy lifestyle choices.

The traits quizzed in the poll were based off the notions of what the main components of personality involve. According to psychologists, those traits are openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. The scientists found that each of these did correlate with eating habits.

“A lack of conscientiousness leads people to eat impulsively and to lose self-control in the face of tempting food situations with palatable and nicely smelling and tasting food,” Carmen Keller, the study’s lead researcher said. “Neurotic people may eat too much high-caloric food to deal with their negative emotions.”

Extroverted people are more likely to spend time in situations that allow for eating more unhealthy food. Neurotic people eat to deal with their negativity. The study shows us how important it is to take lifestyle choices into account. Understanding how stress and social situations affects us mentally can help build healthier behavior patterns.

“The results show that part of the complicated puzzle of maintaining a healthy diet over the long term is related to our general tendencies for emotion regulation and self-control,” A psychology professor from Wayne State weighed in.”[it’s] not simply how good we are at counting calories or avoiding trans fats.”

In other words, ditch your Soul Cycle membership, and get a therapist. Your summer body might just thank you for it.

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