The Personality Type Most Likely To Gain Weight (And How To Combat It)

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ISFJ, ESTP, ENFP; you would think these letters would be referencing computer code or something techy, when, in fact, these combinations hold the key to our individual personalities. The Myers-Briggs personality test is used clinically by psychologists to help figure out what personality type a person has. It 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

As a society, we love classification and categorization. Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert you are guaranteed to find a plethora of articles online on which is better and how to deal with each of these types of people. Are you a rare INFJ? There's a meme for that (if you want to know your personality type, I highly recommend you take the quick, easy, and free test here).

While the connection between these traits and different psychological disorders is well-studied, the implication of personality types on physical health is less examined. Certain personality types, however, are correlated with certain behaviors—one being impulsiveness. More studies are showing how possessing this trait is correlated with increased weight gain. One study, for example, 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.

While several of the personality traits tend to be impulsive, ESTPs are particularly high in this trait. Interestingly, enough other studies show that people who tend to be extroverted or even neurotic eat more high-energy sugary and junk foods when they're feeling emotional. On the flip side, people who are more conscious and aware of themselves and their surroundings 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 know you have the tendency to be a more impulsive or are easy affected emotionally there are some easy ways to start working toward a healthier diet and start to realign your relationship with food:

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.

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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.

Having a craving? Taking a sip of this can do wonders to make it go away!

William Cole, D.C.

Functional Medicine Practitioner
Dr. Will Cole, leading functional medicine expert, graduated from Southern California University of Health Sciences as a doctor of chiropractic. His extensive postdoctorate education and training is in functional medicine and clinical nutrition. Dr. Cole consults people around the world via webcam and locally in Pittsburgh. He specializes in clinically investigating underlying factors and customizing health programs for thyroid issues, autoimmune conditions, hormonal dysfunctions, digestive disorders and brain problems. Visit www.drwillcole.com for free e-books, recipes, and webcam evaluation.
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William Cole, D.C.

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