Scientists have discovered that Australia is a nation of both, “Thinkers” and “Battlers”, in the nation’s largest personality and weight loss study. Researchers from CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, studied over 245,000 people to understand the unique behavioural and emotional characteristics that might be helping or hindering the waistline’s of Aussies from around the country in 2021.
The study identified an incredible 325 possible Diet Type personality combinations, including two new hybrid personalities, the “Battler” and the “Pleaser”. These two particular personality hybrids represented around 20% of all weight loss dieters. Research Scientist and lead author of the study, Dr Emily Brindal, encouraged Australians to embrace the strengths and weaknesses associated with their Diet Type.
“We are seeing people cope differently with COVID-19 stresses and uncertainty, which has included disruptions to health, fitness, and social routines. 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.”– Dr Emily Brindal
The six most common diet types identified in the weight loss personality research, representing over half the study, include:
- The Thinker (14.1%): 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%): 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%): 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%): 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%): 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%): a people-person who needs flexibility to make sure strict food restrictions don’t stifle social occasions or ‘kill the mood’ of an event.
In addition to looking at the prevalence of the different personalities discovered, the study also sought to understand how the different Diet Types approached weight loss when participating in the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet. From the six leading weight loss diets, the research found that ‘Cravers’ had the most weight to lose when they signed up for the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet Program. ‘Foodies’ were the most successful at losing weight and staying on the program, engaging with the program 50% more than Cravers and Battlers, who were the least engaged.
Retail assistant, Kayleen Nuus from South Australia, said understanding her Diet Type played a pivotal role in her 37kg weight loss journey. “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.”– Kayleen Nuus
CSIRO has used the fascinating findings from this research to develop a set of science-based strategies for CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet Program members. The strategies are set to support them in their weight loss journey and help them to overcome the challenges faced by each of the six Diet Types. “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 Brindal 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.”-Dr Emily Brindal
All Aussies can take the free CSIRO Diet Types quiz, by visiting the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet website and filling in a short quiz. Once the quiz is complete, people will receive instant, personalised feedback about their Diet Type and the best strategies to achieve their desired outcomes. Visit the CSIRO Website & take the quiz here: https://www.totalwellbeingdiet.com/au/