Personality Type May be the Key to Successful Dieting, or at Least, Informed Dieting
Understanding Your Personality Type Could Impact the Success of Your Diet
In a report from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) of Australia, 5 personality types were identified, outlined, and described, which impact the success of dieting.1 As in the United States, roughly two thirds of the adult population is overweight, or obese. This trend of industrialized nations is pandemic as it directly contributes to many metabolic and chronic diseases. More than ever it is necessary to find ways to help facilitate individuals making lasting diet changes. Determining personality characteristics which predispose people to fail at dieting in certain specific ways, could unlock targeted approaches to overcome these obstacles.
5 Diet Related Personality Types: Thinker, Craver, Foodie, Socializer, and Freewheeler
The latest CSIRO report looked at 5 diet related personality types (Thinker, Craver, Foodie, Socializer, and Freewheeler). They surveyed over 90,000 adults, making it one of the largest diet/personality studies ever conducted. The surveys gave a clear picture of dietary adherences at a population level. The most common reason why people tend to fail and give up on their diets is food cravings, but it’s not the only reason, and it also isn’t the primary reason for everyone.
The study found the following breakdown of the 5 different diet personality types:
- 37% Thinkers – This group was composed of 86% women who tend to over-analyze progress with a diet. They typically display perfectionistic ideas of their performance and have unrealistic expectations. This often leads to feelings of failure with a diet and discontinuing a diet due to an “all or nothing” perspective.
- 26% Cravers – It is difficult for this group to resist temptation. 58% of Cravers were found to be obese.
- 17% Socializers – This group’s dietary patterns and alcohol consumption are largely governed by social events, obligations, and lifestyle.
- 16% Foodies – This group is most likely to have a healthy weight and eat a balanced diet. They enjoy food, but also enjoy the preparation of food, and respect food quality. Alcohol is a third of the discretionary consumption of this group.
- 4% Freewheelers – This group is defined by impulsive eating habits, and tends to show the worst diets. These are most likely men who do not plan their meals. Over 50% are obese.
Some Generalities across Generations
The study showed that there are some generalities across generations. Baby boomers and individuals over 71 years tended to be “Socializers” and “Foodies.” For these individuals, lifestyle and social factors were major determiners of eating patterns and habits. Millennials and Gen Xers tended to be Cravers, Thinkers or Freewheelers. These younger people were also more likely to use fitness trackers and apps to help them lose weight.
Studies Like These are Intended to Help Address Obstacles to Long Lasting Success
This, and other similar studies, are intended to help address the specific obstacles that are keeping individuals from making the types of changes they would like to make in their lives. Many of the people surveyed had attempted dieting multiple times during their adult life, and confirmed that they were overweight or obese and would like to lose weight.
Node Smith, ND, is a naturopathic physician in Portland, OR and associate editor for NDNR. He has been instrumental in maintaining a firm connection to the philosophy and heritage of naturopathic medicine among the next generation of docs. He helped found the first multi-generational experiential retreat, which brings elders, alumni, and students together for a weekend camp-out where naturopathic medicine and medical philosophy are experienced in nature. Four years ago he helped found the non-profit, Association for Naturopathic ReVitalization (ANR), for which he serves as the board chairman. ANR has a mission to inspire health practitioners to embody the naturopathic principles through experiential education. Node also has a firm belief that the next era of naturopathic medicine will see a resurgence of in-patient facilities which use fasting, earthing, hydrotherapy and homeopathy to bring people back from chronic diseases of modern living; he is involved in numerous conversations and projects to bring about this vision.