The Character Trait Most Likely to Cause Weight Gain

There is no real mystery about weight gain. It is simple math: if you eat more than you can burn off, you pile on excess weight. But there is a surprising character trait that correlates to more weight gain, according to a recent study.

The trait? Impulsivity.

Huh? Impulsive as in someone who is up for some unplanned fun, such as a weekend trip with friends, or calling in sick to enjoy a”me-day” instead? Yes! If that sounds like something you would cheerfully do, your impulsive nature could be the reason your jeans are feeling snug. It is also likely that you go through life riding a cycle of weight gain and weight loss, in rhythm with your changing impulses. An exhaustive study compiled from 10 years of data, published in the journal Psychological Science, shows that this is not just a theory.

The logic is quite simple: impulsive people are more prone to binge eating and alcohol consumption. Their “live now, worry later” approach to life is also evident in the way they eat and drink. While a more cautious person is more likely to make meal plans and write food diaries, impulsive people often have little or no patience with activities that require them to stop and think before acting.

Interestingly, the study observes that while people in general tend to become less impulsive with the passage of years, those who gain weight are likely to become even more impulsive later in life!

So, what should you do? While it is difficult to change your nature, you can change your weight-loss strategy. Join a group that is trying to lose weight, rather than attempting to go through the process yourself. Stay in company with more “careful” and “planned” people for a positive influence.Impulsive traits can manifest into behaviors such as aggression, indecision, and risk-taking.

I, myself, belong to this “impulsive people club,” so for me this study was a real eye-opener. I find the daily practice of sitting in silence for about 20 minutes settles the mind, trains the brain to slow down, and helps me take more measured decisions. Hope this helps you, too!

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Elena T.
Elena Poensgen5 years ago

Thank you :)

Mrs Shakespeare
Mrs Shakespeare5 years ago

I wont blame my impulsivity for most of these extra pounds I put on, but yeah, it can be a problem, particularly when I go out.

Donna Ferguson
Donna F5 years ago

impulsive? not for me. unable to resist sugar and chocolate and bakery items. also, frankly, not getting enough exercise. I think healthy, but my actions are unhealthy.

Jonathan Smithsonian


Shelli S.
Shelli S5 years ago

Thanks 4 posting

Roxana Saez
Roxana Saez5 years ago

Bit of a chicken/egg debate as I have found that it was the vitamin/mineral deficiencies and toxic and addictive drug like effects of sugar, caffeine and gluten that were driving my unhealthy impulsive reactions.

It is hard to actually have focus and stick to a health program that works if you are so deprived of the physical, spiritual and emotional nourishment that would actually support and lead you to and stick with healthier options.

I appreciate the suggestions of the article but I think a great beginning is reducing the sugar and caffeine contents in our diet and consuming omega 3's and healthy fats in the form of fish,flax,chia, walnuts, nuts, seeds, coconut oil, avocado oil, butter/ghee in order to even be able to have the mental and physical capacity to sit long enough in a health group to actually absorb any helpful content.

Before you can meditate....we have to learn how to breathe. Most of us are so oxygen deprived because we spend most of our day in bad posture and only taking in enough air to fill the upper part of our lungs.....before I could effectively meditate I had to learn how to breathe all the way down to my diaphragm. My health tip....appreciate the art of crawling because it is what we did in the beginning before we even learned how to stand on our own two feet ;O)

Ingo Schreiner
Ingo Schreiner5 years ago


Lynnl C.
Past Member 5 years ago


Kathy K.
Kathy K5 years ago

Interesting, but I don't fit that pattern and still struggle with weight.

Dani C.
Dani C5 years ago