The CSIRO, Australia’s peak science body, has used data from more than 90,000 Australians to work out why people find it so hard to stick to a diet.
Australia’s largest diet and personality survey found that food cravings is one of the most common reasons diets get derailed.
“For anyone who has found eating to lose weight difficult, your personal diet type, daily habits and lifestyle factors could provide the answer to why some weight loss methods haven’t worked for you in the past,” says behavioural scientist Sinead Golley.
Here are the five most common diet personality types the CSIRO found during the survey:
- The Thinker (37%). Mostly women (86%), these tend to over-analyse progress and have unrealistic expectations. “This can result in a sense of failure and derail a diet,” says the CSIRO.
- The Craver (26%) finds it hard to resist temptation. More than half (58%) are obese.
- The Socialiser (17%) Food and alcohol play a big role in the Socialiser’s life.
- The Foodie (16%) Foodies are most likely to be a normal weight. Passionate about food, this type has the healthier diet with a high variety of vegetables. Alcohol makes up one-third of their discretionary food and beverage intake.
- The Freewheeler (4%). They are spontaneous and impulsive eaters, with the poorest quality diet. Freewheelers are mostly men who avoid planning meals. More than half (55%) are obese.
“One in five Cravers have tried to lose weight more than 25 times and they say that chocolate and confectionery are the biggest problem foods to resist,” says Dr Golley.
“On the other hand, people with the most common diet personality type — known as the Thinker — tend to have high expectations and tend to be perfectionists, giving up when things get challenging.”
The study also also found some interesting food personality trends across generations.
Baby boomers and the older, silent generation (aged 71 years and over) are more likely to be Socialisers and Foodies, suggesting lifestyle and social connections influence eating patterns at different stages of life.
Millennials and Gen X are more likely to be Cravers, Thinkers and Freewheelers.
“We also found younger people commonly used fitness trackers and apps to lose weight, while older generations turned to diet books and support groups,” says Dr Golley.
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