Let’s be real, if you had a dollar for every time you’d gotten distracted on Facebook by inane (but insanely entertaining) quizzes that tell you what type of chocolate bar or Friends character you’re most likely to be, you’d have a stash of a fair few dollars.
But what about actualpersonality tests that delve deeper into someone’s characteristics and ascertain the type of psychology someone is likely to have, and particular attributes they’re likely to showcase as they make their way through life?
We took a look at one such test, and how it correlates to weight gain.
The Myers-Briggs test
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.
According to the test, there are 16 personality types based on four basic deviations:
1. Whether you’re naturally prone to (E) Extroversion or (I) Introversion
2. How you take in information: (S) Sensing or (N) Intuition
3. The process behind your decision making: (T) Thinking or (F) Feeling
4. How you see the world: (J) Judging or (P) Perceiving
You then put your the letter of your results together according to your answers, and you have your personality type!
While the connection between these traits and different psychological disorders is well-studied (for example, which personality types are most prone to ADHD, bipolar or anxiety) we know a whole lot less about how our personality type stands to impact our physical health.
Inevitably though, certain personality types inherently lend themselves to particular behaviours—one of which is impulsiveness. More studies are showing how possessing this trait is correlated with increased weight gain. One study, for example, found that people who tended to act on impulse had a greater tendency to give in to temptations, which led to a 10% increase in weight.
While several of the personality traits tend to be impulsive, the group that is particularly high are ESTPs. It’s thought that those who are more extroverted are more prone to overindulging in sugary and high-calorie foods when they’re feeling emotional, as food is used in these situations as a comfort. The more introverted people, however, are often able to exercise greater self-control as they’re more conscious of their surroundings.
What to do about it
If you’re an ESTP or feel as though you’re particularly prone to impulsive behaviour particularly around food, there are plenty of steps you can take to help you manage your decisions.
Mindfulness can play a huge role in making you more aware of your actions and enable you to keep on track with your goals. Bringing your awareness back to yourself in times of emotional turbulence can help to prevent you from simply reaching for the closest short-lived comfort, and instead address the root of why you’re looking to escape your emotions. If you do eat something impulsively that you later regret, writing down what happened and why is a good way to identify patterns emerging, which can help you change the pattern of behaviour over time.
Having clear, set goals around what you’re trying to achieve around responding to food impulses and weight gain is crucial to altering your reactions. Just make sure they’re achievable, and start small. Saying no to birthday cake at the office is as good a place to start as any!