Does your personality affect your food choices?
We're all guilty of giving in to our sweet tooth or our cravings for fatty, salty snacks now and again - and there's nothing wrong with that. But according to research published recently in Appetite journal, your personality could influence the foods you choose. Really? We wanted to know more.
The science-y bit
1,000 people participated in the study, answering three questionnaires on eating habits, food choices and personality. The results revealed that certain personality traits were linked to poor food choices, whilst other characteristics coud make it easier to eat a healthy diet. For those wanting to read more about the study, you can do so here. The research identified four main personality types, and what each could mean for our food choices.
Why not take a look to see which (if any) of these personality types you most identify with, for an understanding of how your personality could be influencing your diet? This could help you to be more aware and exercise more self-control over your eating habits. Ready? Let's go.
The personality bit
Here are the four personality types:
Extroverts love the be the centre of attention. If you're the life and soul of the party, always on-the-go and the first to appear at any social gathering, chances are, you're an extrovert. Being around other people energises you and motivates you (even if your sometimes-in-your-face personality can often leave others feeling a bit worn out!) If this sounds like you, then you probably find yourself eating most meals with large groups of people such as friends or family. Eating out isn't an occasional treat reserved for celebrations - you could find yourself dining out multiple times a week. Unfortunately, this also means that if you're not careful, you could find yourself indulging in takeaways and/or junk food a bit due much due to your busy schedule!
You might also notice that you consume more sweets, savoury snacks and sugary drinks than some of your friends who are less social do. We believe that you're never too busy to exercise, eat right and lead a healthy lifestyle, so why not try some of our healthy 15-minute recipes or one-pot dishes the next time you're looking to squeeze cooking dinner into a jam-packed social calendar? If you really, absolutely must have a takeaway, then stick to the healthier options available.
Some may say you're conscientious, others might say 'sensible', whilst 'control freak' is also used a lot to describe you. Maintaining a sense of control over all areas of your life is of the utmost importance to you. From work to your personal life and your diet and exercise regime (morning runs and after work gym sessions on a daily basis), one thing you have bags of is self-control; we envy you!
People who fall into this category are less likely to over-eat or use emotional eating to comfort themselves when stressed. You're also inclined to make healthier food and lifestyle choices. You know that a late night means you'll feel exhausted the next day, and that you're more likely to make poor food choices when you're tired. Getting your 8 hours sleep a night, consuming a balanced diet and ensuring you get plenty of exercise are all important to you. Remember though that life is all about balance! It's ok to let things slip once in a while; you're only human! The occasional cheat day is fine, provided you get back on track afterwards.
Does your negative inner voice seem to be all you hear, day-in, day-out? Low self-esteem, a lack of confidence and negative emotions such as anxiety and stress could leave you prone to comfort eating. If you're neurotic, you're likely to stay up all night stressing about that presentation at work tomorrow or worrying yourself sick about something you've said or done. You might be preoccupied with how others see you, or obsessed with your appearance and self-image. Feelings of worthlessness and not being good enough could also plague you, and you might be prone to bouts of depression or anxiety. It's important not to obsessively calorie count, and to love the skin you're in - so why not try our positive morning mantras to help you love your body?
Resisting the urge to 'reward' or 'comfort' yourself with high calorie foods, especially in the evening, can be tough. After a stressful day at work, it's important to ensure that you nourish your body by eating a healthy dinner - there are even foods you can eat that will ensure a great night's sleep! Try breathing exercises, meditation or yoga to help you de-stress and unwind after work - or something more active like boxing or martial arts. Don't rely on food as your comfort.
Would you describe yourself as adventurous, unpredictable and spontaneous? Open-minded people often crave new experiences such as travel to exotic destinations - you're more likely than your friends to set off on a backpacking adventure around the world! At the weekends, you'll usually be found trying new foods at the local farmers markets or checking out the latest exhibitions and shows in your town or city. You're likely to spend less time suffering from cravings for sweet or salty foods, as you're so busy focusing on trying new things!
If you fall into this category, you're statistically likely to consume less meat, with a diet more focused on fresh fruit and vegetables - salads probably feature fairly frequently. Because you lead an active life, you get plenty of exercise and you recognise that your body needs the right fuel to keep your energy levels up and stay fit and healthy. If you need some advice on great ways to get your five a day, want to find out more about how to use ingredients such as aubergine or mushrooms or are looking for some healthy fruit smoothie recipes, we have plenty of articles for you to check out!
Get to know yourself
You might or might not recognise yourself in one of the above personality types - some of us will be a combination of a couple of them - but recognising that your personality and the way you deal with issues in your life can impact your food choices is important if you want to make healthy changes. For instance, emotional eating, which you might use to tackle anxiety and feelings of depression, could stop if you address the underlying causes. Being fit, happy and healthy is all about balance, whatever your personality.
READ THIS NEXT: 25 Kitchen hacks to save you time, money and energy