Being compulsive is great if you're paying attention to your form at the gym or reading over a report that needs to go to your boss's boss. But it might not be as beneficial when it comes time to sit down to dinner: A new study published in the journal Appetite found a link between a compulsive personality and frequent binge eating -- to the point where researchers considered many of the compulsive types food addicts. There is a silver lining, though: The study didn't show a connection between food addiction and an obesity-level BMI.
"This type of person is unlikely to plan ahead and tends to make quick decisions with an immediate reward or gratification," says Stephanie Middleberg, R.D., a nutritionist based in New York City. "Many people with food addiction have lower levels of dopamine receptors -- the brain chemical in charge of pleasure -- so as a result they need to reach a higher level of reward in order to feel the benefits."
If you see these traits in yourself, you're not destined to be a donut junkie. Put the brakes on compulsive eating by setting clear guidelines for yourself (for example, maybe you'll decide to only eat out on weekends since most restaurant menus are basically designed to trigger overeating). Adding structure to your eating habits can help a lot, too, says Middleberg: For example, focus on dining with friends who have healthy food habits, or pledge to eat sitting down at a table rather than in front of the television.
More from MSN Healthy Living:
- Dr. Oz: How you can look better (in the middle)
- How to start your own diet club
- 10 foods that fill you up while you trim down
- Bing: Portion control chart
eat well and slim down
You made it to your goal weight—now here's how to keep the extra pounds from coming back
Experts share advice about how to shed the final few pounds
Drop weight, fight belly fat and build lean muscle mass.
In just 10 minutes, you can reap all the best health benefits of exercise
Move over, abs. If you're going to work out one body part, make it your shoulders. Because they're so visible and lift your arms and chest, they "create the illusion that your entire body is amazing," explains New York City trainer Anna Kaiser, founder of AKT InMotion studio, who has worked with Sarah Jessica Parker and Shakira.
Fend off fat by organizing your fridge the right way
Burn more and eat less without much effort
Is the rumbling in your belly for real, or are you bored, stressed, or just eating out of habit? Learn to decode the types of hunger so you can reach your weight loss goals.