How Your Personality Can Affect Your Weight

Are you impulsive, depressed, anxious or feel like you just can’t get on an exercise schedule you can adhere to? If you are one of the 68 percent of Americans who are overweight or obese, and can relate to any of the above sentence, your personality can be partially what’s keeping you from maintaining a healthy weight.

A recent study from the National Institute of Health followed more than 1,000 subjects for five decades.  They assessed their personalities and their weight status and looked to see if there was a relationship between the two.  They found that those people who are more impulsive, less disciplined and more prone to depression were more likely to be overweight or obese.  Considering that self-discipline is a major factor in consistently eating a healthy diet and an exercise regimen (the two necessary items in achieving weight loss or maintaining healthy weight), this isn’t surprising.  Conversely, someone who is impulsive and more likely to give into temptation is also more likely to overindulge in both food and alcohol. Which, over time, can lead to weight gain. Also, we previously reported that foods high in fat, sugar and salt (those foods most likely to cause weight gain) can actually be addictive, much like illegal drugs. This is a factor worth discussing here, as these fatty, sugary foods would also be the most attractive ones to the more impulsive, less disciplined personality types. Further contributing to their struggles with weight.  Also, depression is easily linked to low self-esteem, which is also more common in overweight people.  So trying to get to and maintain a healthy weight is good not only for our physical health, but our mental health as well.

So don’t feel like this gets you off the hook from trying to lose weight by saying “Oh, this is just my personality.” This study also found that those who were overweight but were adhering to an exercise regimen reported improved mood.  Also, diets higher in “whole foods” (i.e. not processed) are also helpful in combating the blues, so load up your plate with fresh vegetables, lean meats and whole grains to put the pep back in your step.


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1 Comment

  • So, basically if you have an addictive personality or low self esteem you are more likely to be obese when you get older. Behavior modification starting at a young age would then help someone to maintain a healthy lifestyle and to avoid a depression-filled life? Although it seems rather logical, would this mean that people need to start healthy eating when very young, and adhere to their healthy eating for the rest of their lives? No fast food, no double-chocolate fudge cake? No fair! I am thin, 50 yrs old, and never fat, but ate what i loved to eat (bacon and eggs, cake, pie, burgers and wieners, etc.), just made sure that I expended more energy than I took in. Wouldn’t a person’s metabolism be more of an obesity marker than healthy eating? Would exercise get rid of those extra calories taken in when people eat more fatty foods, or is healthy eating the only way to go?

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