by Dr. Will Cole
ENFP, ISFJ, ESTP; at first glance you would think these letters would have to do with computer code or something else tech related. However, these letter combinations hold the key to our personalities. Psychologists use a special test known as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to help clinically determine what personality traits a person has. Different letters are associated with different traits and when combined, gives insight into your overall personality.
There are 16 personality types based on four basic deviations:
- Where your attention is focused: (I) Introversion or (E) Extroversion
- How you take in information: (N) Intuition or (S) Sensing
- The way you make decisions: (F) Feeling or (T) Thinking
- How you see the world: (P) Perceiving or (J) Judging
Our society loves categorization and classification. You can find a plethora of articles online about whether or not introversion or extroversion is better and how to interact with people of the opposite trait as you. Are you a rare INFJ? There’s a meme for that. Interested in finding out what your personality type is? Take the test here.
There are many studies on the connection between different psychological disorders and these individual traits but there is less information on how your personality can affect your physical health. What we do know however, is that certain personality types are linked to different behaviors – one being impulsiveness. Research is showing that people who possess this trait can have trouble with increased weight gain. For example, one study found that those who were more impulsive had a harder time resisting temptations, which led to a 10% increase in weight.
There are many personality types that are associated with impulsiveness but ESTPs in particular tend to be higher in this trait. What is also interesting is that other studies show that extroverted and neurotic individuals eat more sugary junk foods when they are emotional. On the other hand, those who are more aware of themselves and their surroundings have more self-control and are less likely to eat when they are emotional. They also eat more healthy foods like vegetables and fruit.
If you know you are more emotional or trend toward being impulsive there are some easy ways to work toward realigning your relationship with food and in turn, a healthier diet:
1. Set goals
Setting realistic goals can make the journey to healthier eating a lot easier. It can be as simple as resisting the morning doughnut run on your way to work. Achieving a small goal will build confidence to continue working toward additional better habits.
2. Assign accountability partners
It’s been shown that relationships are good for our health partly because close friendships support us even in our shortcomings. Sharing your goals with a friend can make them feel more real and less of a burden since there is someone who has your back even in difficult food situations. Even though they can’t be with you in every situation they can offer support through a quick text or phone call.
3. Take on a challenge
These next-level healing tools are not for every health case or individual. But if you are at a place in your healing journey for a challenge consider one of these options.
A detox can be wonderful for your physical health by eliminating that build up and cause inflammation, fatigue, and junk food cravings. By addressing the underlying cause of these cravings, it can make it easier to say no to tempations.
I also use intermittent fasting often in my functional medicine clinic as a way to balance blood sugar, reduce cravings, and lower inflammation. By taking a break from food for periods of time can also shed light on potential emotional eating and overeating patterns.
4. Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness is a great tool to become more aware of yourself. Keep a notebook with you to log the food you eat throughout the day as well as any cravings and tempting situations. It is also important to write down your feelings during cravings and the situation surrounding the craving. It could be as simple as a party where everyone is eating cake but you, or when you had a poor review at work and the only thing you can think of is drowning your negative feelings in a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. By writing everything down you’ll be able to make active changes by seeing connections and patterns in your behavior and eating habits.
If you want to learn more about your own health case please check out our free health evaluation. We offer in person as well as phone and webcam consultations for people across the country and around the world.