How your personality affects your waistline

Australians who can match their diet to their personality may be able to keep weight off for good, the nation's top scientific body has found.

The CSIRO today published an update to its 2017 Diet Types study, that identified six of the most common "diet types" and the personality traits that accompany them.

For instance, Australians who are goal-oriented but sensitive to negative feedback are known as "Thinkers" while others who need diet flexibility to fit their social calendar are known as "Socialisers".

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A full list of the six most common diet types identified in the research can be found below. Australians can also find out their diet type using the CSIRO's five-minute online quiz.

The study researched the unique behavioural and emotional factors of 245,000 people who were dieting, finding that a one-size-fits-all approach was not conducive to long-term weight loss.

"Too often diets are developed with a one-size-fits all approach that ignores the fact that some people behave or think differently to others," Dr Emily Brindal, Senior Research Scientist and lead author of the study, said.

"Working with your Diet Type could help you achieve better weight loss outcomes in the longer term.

"The new Diet Type enhancements use personality and behavioural science to speak uniquely to people identifying with different diet types so they can embark on a weight loss journey that better suits them."

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Most Australians fell into the categories of "Thinkers" or "Battlers".

While "Thinkers" are likely to be highly analytical, "Battlers" are Australians who regularly experience food temptations and are prone to stress and worry when they deviate from their planned diet.

"We are seeing people cope differently with COVID-19 stresses and uncertainty, which has included disruptions to health, fitness, and social routines," Dr Brindal said.

"We hope to help people achieve greater success on their journey to rediscover their health by playing to their individual strengths while also helping them to gain better control over their weaknesses."

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Retail assistant, Kayleen Nuus from South Australia, said understanding her diet type played a critical role in her 37 kg weight loss.

"As a Craver I would consume food without a second thought – if it looked or smelled delicious, I had to have it, no matter how unhealthy it was," Ms Nuus said.

"Now I make decisions based on an understanding of how my mind works in certain situations. If I'm craving a particular food, I look for a healthier option. For example, rather than a take-away hamburger, I'll make it at home, so I know exactly what's going in it. I also generally track my food to understand my portions and satisfy my hunger, without the sacrifice.

"Understanding my diet type means I have more control over the psychological elements of my eating habits and can focus my energies on filling my body with nourishing foods, rather than empty kilojoules."

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CSIRO's Six Most Common Diet Types

The Thinker (14.1 per cent) – goal-oriented, motivated and analytical, however sensitive to negative feedback that can lead to stress or anxiety which could ultimately derail their diet.

The Battler (12.8 per cent) – likely to experience regular food temptation as well as being prone to stress and worry. 'Battlers' require some unique strategies to help them break the cycle and achieve long-term success in their diet journey. Nine in 10 Battlers are female.

The Craver (7.3 per cent) – likely to experience strong food cravings that may lead to overeating in 'tricky' food-related settings. Cravers had the highest Body Mass Index of all types.

The Pleaser (7.1 per cent) – likeable and friendly but can also be sensitive to social comparisons which can make them feel like they are not doing well. They are likely to have many people to call upon to support them along the way.

The Foodie (5.9 per cent) – passionate about all things food including the experience of preparing and eating good quality meals. Foodies love variety and have the best diet quality of all Types. Men often identify as Foodies.

The Socialiser (4.8 per cent) – a people-person who needs flexibility to make sure strict food restrictions don't stifle social occasions or 'kill the mood' of an event.

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