Is Gaining Weight Part of Your Personality (Type)?

Others often use our personality as explanations (or exceptions) for certain behaviour that I am sure we have heard said to us countless times…

It’s because you’re introverted

It’s because you’re extroverted

It’s because you’re impulsive

It makes sense when, as a society, we love to categorise and use labels. Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert there are thousands of online articles on what that means and how to deal with these types of people. But, did you know there was an actual online test used clinically by psychologists to help figure out what personality type someone has.

No. ISFJ, ESTP, ENFP are not some complicated abbreviations of techy code but the key combinations to our individual personalities. The Myers-Briggs personality test uses letters to classify different traits and when combined, your four-letter code gives insight into your traits.

There are 16 personality types based on four basic deviations:

  • Where your attention is focused: (E) Extroversion or (I) Introversion

  • How you take in information: (S) Sensing or (N) Intuition

  • The way you make decisions: (T) Thinking or (F) Feeling

  • How you see the world: (J) Judging or (P) Perceiving

While there have been multiple studies on the connection between personality types and psychological disorders there is still some work to do on their connection with physical health. However, we are able to connect certain behaviours with personality types such as impulsiveness which is a trait that has been proven to be associated with weight gain.

A recent study at The College of Medicine found that found that people who had increased impulsiveness had a greater tendency to give in to temptations, which led to a 10 percent increase in weight. Although a handful of personality traits show impulsiveness, ESTP’s are more prone to this trait.

In addition to this, extroverts have also been found to eat more junk food and crave sugar when they are feeling emotional according to another study.

So I bet you want to know now who has been ‘blessed’ with personality traits that aren’t connected to weight gain? Well, anyone who is more conscious and aware tend to have more self-control and indulge less in emotional eating. They also eat more foods that are considered healthy like fruits and vegetables.

If you want to know your personality type, I highly recommend you take the quick, easy, and free test here. If you have since discovered (or already knew before) that you have a little impulsive streak in you or can be sensitive there are some easy ways to start to work with your personality type and food as suggested by William Cole, D.C., IFMCP, Functional Medicine Practitioner.

1. Set goals.

“Giving yourself realistic goals can make the process of letting go of poor food choices a lot easier. It may just start with resisting the morning doughnut in the break room at the office. Starting small will bring about confidence and build up better habits and allow space to create new ones.”

2. Create accountability partners.

“Relationships are good for our health. Part of this is because close friendships allow room for support even in our shortcomings. Letting a friend know your goals and talking about them out loud can make them feel more real. It also takes some of the weight off your shoulders to know you have someone who can help you and offer encouragement in tempting food situations. Even if they aren't always with you, their support can be just a quick text away.”

3. Challenge yourself.

“Now, these tools aren't for every health case and aren't always that easy for people just starting on this journey. But you may be up for a challenge.”

“Doing a healthy detox is fantastic for your physical health since it cleanses your body of toxins that can build up in your body. These can lead to inflammation, fatigue, and a blood sugar roller coaster that only perpetuates cravings and feelings of hanger (hunger and anger's evil spawn). And by fixing the underlying physical reason for cravings, it can also help make the emotional temptations easier to resist.”

“Intermittent fasting is another tool that I often use in my functional medicine clinic to drive down inflammation and help blood sugar problems and cravings. Going without food for periods of time can also reveal any potential patterns of overeating and emotional eating.”

4. Practice mindfulness.

“Mindfulness is a great way to become more aware of yourself. Keeping a notebook with you throughout the day, or using the notes section on your phone, will give you a space to keep a food log of everything you eat in a day as well as any time you crave a certain food or want to give in to a temptation. Make special note of how you are feeling when you crave this food and the situation surrounding the craving. Were you at a party and every single person had cake but you? Or did you get stuck in traffic and the first thing you thought was "I need to stop by the store and get some ice cream"? Writing everything down will give you an opportunity to make connections and see patterns in order to make active changes.”