Weight gain might not just be due to a combination of lack of exercise, poor diet, and genetics. In fact, a new personality study conducted by researchers from the American Psychological Association shows that weight gain could also be due to certain personality traits, such as impulsivity, high neuroticism, and low conscientiousness. Generally, people who exhibit these types of personality traits are more likely to gain weight, then lose it, then gain it again in a cyclical manner.
For the study, researchers examined the medical records and behavioral data for 2,000 people over the course of 50 years. They learned that those who were most impulsive were more likely to be overweight than those who weren’t. Impulsive individuals are more likely to give into temptations and make unhealthy lifestyle choices that could lead to binge eating, especially during moments of celebration or stress.
If you think you exhibit behaviors of impulsivity, then what can you do to maintain a healthy body weight? Below are three questions you can ask yourself before you jump into doing anything impulsive that could have detrimental effects on your waistline.
Question #1: How am I really feeling right now?
Many impulsive individuals will make certain decisions when they’re either trying not to feel a certain emotion, or if they’re trying to get past certain emotions. Before you make any immediate decisions, relax and take a deep breath, then ask yourself how you’re really feeling. Are you feeling angry, upset, or stressed? Try working off frustrations by going to the gym, or sleep on it to avoid feeling the need to indulge in sweets or binge-eat.
Question #2: Will my impulsive choices help me meet my goals?
Are you dedicated to being healthy and losing weight? Will overeating or consuming excessive amounts of alcohol set you up for a great day tomorrow? Think about how your actions will affect your current goals in regards to becoming healthier, then make yourself responsible in regards to making the right choices.
Question #3: Will I end up regretting my choices?
Think about how your impulsive behavior will affect you later on, whether it be tomorrow or next week. If there’s a chance you’ll end up regretting your decision, it may not be wise to engage in such behavior. For example, if you’re feeling hungry at 10:30 at night and are thinking about ordering a pizza, think about how it will affect your ability to sleep well, and about how the excess sodium will cause bloating. If eating pizza is something you think you’ll regret doing, then drink a glass of water or eat a light snack instead.
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