Are you impulsive or more conservative? The traits that define your usual behavior and attitudes may offer insight into your weight gain and loss patterns, according to a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

After analyzing 50 years of data that included questionnaires and periodic weigh-ins, researchers found that people who were impulsive weighed an average of 22 pounds more than their less spontaneous counterparts. What’s more, highly neurotic people and those who were less conscientious were more likely to 
experience yo-yo weight gain and loss.

This doesn’t mean spontaneous folks are destined for weight gain, says Angelina Sutin, PhD, of the National Institute of Aging, the study’s lead author. But if you are an impulsive person, you may need a more tailored diet approach. For example, when snack attacks strike, you must be prepared to do battle. How? Have a stash of low-cal goodies ready so you can avoid grabbing unhealthy foods. Another hint: Get a gym buddy to stay focused on exercise.