Being impulsive isn't always a bad thing. After all, it's the spontaneous trip-takers, sky divers and party-throwers that seem to have the most fun. But impulsive decisions can wreak havoc on your waistline, no question. (Let the woman among us who hasn't eaten a giant, gourmet cupcake because it was attractively displayed in the bakery window raise her hand now.) A new study shows exactly how much this one personality trait could be harming your health.
Research from the University of Chicago found that girls who had problems with self-regulating and planning ahead were more likely to binge eat and suffer health problems because of it.
"Food in our society is so ubiquitous," said Andrea Goldschmidt, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience and author of the paper, in a press release. "You can't even go to [a hardware store] without seeing colorful candy bars in the checkout line. When kids have [problems] controlling their behaviors, it makes sense they would disinhibit themselves around food."
And it's not just kids. While the researchers noted it in girls as young as ten, the pattern of impulsive decisions and binge eating continued through the teen years and they added that previous studies have shown similar patterns in adults.
Ultimately, Goldschmidt hopes that identifying impulsivity as one of the root causes of binge eating will lead to better prevention and treatment of the disorder that affects up to five percent of men and women. Even if you don't lose control in a true binge, the information can be helpful to all of us who struggle between what we know we should be eating and what we want to eat, says Jennie Miremadi, a certified holistic nutrition counselor. She sees this a lot in her practice and offers these five tips for controlling impulsive eating:
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