A recent study from the National Institute of Health has unearthed a link between obesity and personality traits. Focusing the study on a group of 1,000 people for a total of 50 years, the study assessed various qualities of individuals such as impulsiveness, low self-discipline, and depression. Consistently, the individuals with these traits tended toward obesity throughout their lives.
The results make sense. Unhealthy foods loaded with fat and sugar can serve as a mood-altering substance for many depression sufferers, and impulsiveness can lead to binge-eating. Changing diet and exercise habits – especially after a lifetime of unhealthy behaviors – can require a tremendous amount of self-discipline. Add to this the fact that obesity can often lead to low self-esteem, which feeds into depression, and many individuals find themselves trapped in a negative feedback loop of self-hatred and unsuccessful dieting attempts. No wonder so many people reach for ice cream and potato chips to improve their mood!
The good news is that personality traits are not immutable. With consistent effort and the help of a life-coach or personal trainer, anyone can learn to overcome his flaws and achieve his weight-loss goals. Life-coaches provide guidance and knowledge as well as support.
Many people never learned how to eat properly throughout their childhood, and overturning years of poor nutrition can be an insurmountable task without a knowledgeable mentor. Dieting is especially difficult in the modern age because there are so many fad diets and weight-loss schemes offering conflicting information; it’s hard for a novice to sort out fact from fiction, and yo-yo dieting is both dangerous and discouraging. Health coaches understand nutrition and healthy habits and are able to provide information without commercial bias.
Additionally, life-coaches can help teach individuals healthy habits beyond simply choosing the right foods or increasing activity levels. By understanding an individual’s personality and specific psychological needs, a coach is able to provide unique advice and strategies to cope with a variety of situations. Learning the root cause of impulsiveness or self-destructive behavior can lead to finding ways to compensate for these personality traits, reducing their impact not only on a person’s weight-loss attempts but every other aspect of his life.
Weight-loss mentors can also provide much-needed emotional support to individuals on their fitness journey. In a culture alternately obsessed with unrealistic body image ideals and unhealthily massive portions, it can be hard to receive accurate feedback from peers. Individuals may receive conflicting messages from the media, friends, family, or coworkers. Making major life changes is nearly impossible without an existing support system, and life-coaches can fill that void for a number of people.
The most important thing about the link between personality and fitness is that it’s a two-way street: Depression may lead to weight gain, but maintaining healthy habits can actually cause depression symptoms to lift. Studies show that eating balanced meals of whole foods and partaking in regular exercise releases endorphins and counteracts the brain chemicals that cause depression. Weight-loss can boost self-esteem and lead to positive changes in the way a person interacts with himself and his world.
If you’re struggling with losing weight or have difficulty controlling your impulses to over-eat or partake in unhealthy habits, you’re not alone. Self-guided diet plans may not work for you, at least not at first; you may need the assistance of a knowledgeable guide who can lead you down a healthful life path. If you’ve never tried using a life-coach before, consider giving one a try: It may be exactly what you need to obtain the results you’ve always been looking for.