This post has more to do with my own health journey, which affects all parts of our lives, including writing. I’m a little overweight, though up into my 30s I was that skinny girl who could eat whatever she wanted whenever she wanted. Since then, I’ve tried so many diet plans, but with every one I find myself rebelling against it in a fairly short time – unless I had an outside motivator, like a professional modeling or acting gig coming up. I wear a woman’s size 14-16 but I used to always be a size 10, and would love to return to that, my perfect size for my 5’9″ frame.
Some friends recently mentioned the Enneagram – I haven’t yet read it, but it’s a book and method of finding out your own spiritual personality type, if you will. There are several books on Amazon.com which teach the Enneagram, and I will be exploring that soon.
The Enneagram of Eating
Instead, I saw this version of the method and immediately put it on hold with my Libby app (an app to check out ebooks from your local library). I haven’t even finished it yet but I’m learning so much about myself, which explains why diets have never, ever worked for me.
The Enneagram lists nine personality types. When reading The Enneagram of Eating, I saw myself right away in Type Seven – the adventurer. This type (me) wants to experience new things, new tastes, new foods, new adventures – all with total freedom. That means no restrictions whatsoever, which translates to “diets will never work because every diet restricts you in some way or another.” In fact, my body now automatically goes into rebellion mode – anytime I try a new diet plan and set restrictions on my eating, my body then goes into overdrive craving the specific foods I’m not supposed to have. It’s like an obsession, it’s all I can think about, and eventually I end up giving in to it.
The Nine Eating Personality Types
Here is a brief overview of the Nine Types in The Enneagram of Eating:
- Type One: The Self-Righteous Sinner or the Selfless Saint
- Type Two: The Giving Gorger or the Humble Helper
- Type Three: Fast Food, Fast Life or the Chomping Champion
- Type Four: Moody Muncher or Creative Connoisseur
- Type Five: The Neglectful Nosher or Ruminating Relisher
- Type Six: The Fight-or-Flight Feaster or Courageous Culinarian
- Type Seven: The Gallivanting Gourmet or the Discerning Diner (what I call The Adventurer)
- Type Eight: The Binging Bully or the Forgiving Feaster
- Type Nine: Sluggish Scoffer or the Serene Health-Seeker
In the book author Ann Gadd goes through each type, and covers the underlying motivators (fear, shame, loneliness, etc.) which affect our eating habits in ways we’re probably not even aware of. She looks at each type’s primary Issue, Overview, likely Career Choices, Eating Triggers, How each type approaches eating and their own body image (including eating out and entertaining at home), each type’s food choices, what you may not see (behind the scenes in each personality type), how each type views their bodies, likely addictions, childhood contributors, and which diets and exercise programs will serve them best. Ann Gadd even includes how to motivate the various types (good to help your significant other – after fully understanding them), and what each level of the types look like – when they’re functioning in the most healthy manner, or on an average level (mixture of both healthy and unhealthy habits), and what they fall into when living unhealthy lifestyles.
Time to Change Your Own Habits in the Best Way for You
At first I resonated a lot with Type Four, until I read Type Seven, which is completely spot-on me. You may find you match with one or another of these until you find where you actually are. There’s also some overlap and some numbers in the special diagram affect each other in smaller detailed ways.
The good news – for Type Seven, the best advice Ann Gadd has is to slow down, every time I eat. Eating too fast (so I can get on to the next adventure right away) is my Number One Bad Habit. I always thought it was because I grew up with three brothers and I had to eat fast in order to get enough food, or that maybe I always ate fast because I’d get so hungry as a teen (with my fast metabolism). Now I see it’s more about my Enneagram eating personality type. Slowing down, learning to become mindful of my eating (no more eating while also reading, working or watching TV), actually sounds completely doable for me – though it will be a challenge. If this is all I have to really conquer in order to lose my excess weight, I’ll be a perfectly happy camper!
I had my right hip replaced six weeks ago (end of March, 2019), and I’m now finally allowed to start exercising again. I find that I have to move regularly to keep my mind sharp and my senses stimulated – it’s too easy to just sit at my desk with all the writing and researching I do every day. So it’s now back to my normal life – back to exercising and getting up to move more in my working day. (This is also why I love larping – it pushes my body to the extreme of moving).
I’ll be adding “Mindful Eating” to my daily task goals on my app, Streaks. If I can stick with this goal for a good length of time, hopefully I will see results! I’d like to lose forty pounds, but even losing that first ten makes such a huge difference in how I feel and look.
This book, The Enneagram of Eating, by Ann Gadd, is found on Amazon.com as well as at the library.
Please comment below on mindful eating, on eating personalities, if you’ve read the book, what type you are, and what its solution has done to help you become a more healthy you.
One thought on “Learning Why We Eat the Way We Do – Personality Types”
Really glad you enjoyed the book Jerilyn and that you resonated with a Seven (they are sometimes known as the Gourmands or Epicures of the Enneagram).