Creating a healthier, happier you.
UNDERSTANDING PERSONALITY TYPE TO OVERCOME BODY IMAGE ISSUES
Have you ever wondered why you look at food the way you do? Are you prone to certain eating patterns, healthy or unhealthy, and wonder why that is?
The Enneagram Personality Test can be a helpful tool to assess why you struggle in some areas and excel in others. Each of the nine Enneagram personality types has distinct emotional eating patterns, food orientations, and even body judgments. It makes such a huge difference when you understand your personality type and why you have certain thoughts about food and your body.
I can offer you some tools to make your personality type work in your favor. As a personal trainer and nutrition fitness specialist, I have worked with thousands of clients, and I have seen these patterns over and over again. I coach all of my clients using their Enneagram type so that we can work with their unique motivations and deeper desires and to understand and avoid what's not helpful or productive for them. Everyone is so different and knowing your motivational patterns can really help you succeed.
Having this understanding helps a healthy lifestyle stick and means that you’ll be able to continue it long-term. If you haven't taken the Enneagram test online, I suggest taking the Truity Enneagram Test. Take a few minutes to take the test and see what number you are!
OK, now let’s discuss each type and get an understanding of the core values, strengths, and weaknesses of each personality. Then we’ll discuss each Enneagram’s emotional eating patterns, food orientation, and body judgment. But remember, there are two sides to every coin, and your personality also offers you strengths in these areas!
TYPE ONE - THE REFORMIST
Type One is known as The Reformer. If you’re a One, then you are probably very self-controlled. Type Ones can be perfectionists. You might be a little judgmental towards yourself and others. Type One individuals usually fear doing something “bad” or being “wrong,” so you're always trying to do the “right” thing.
Perfectionism in a Type One can become a problem though because the bar is set so high that the goals become unattainable, and it can get discouraging. When Type Ones don't meet expectations, they might attack themselves with negative self-talk that undermines any fitness and health-related efforts.
You often compare reality to your inner standard of perfection so it can end up looking like an “all or nothing” mentality around food. If you are tracking macros, it's tracking to the T, but if you cheat or get off track, then you might binge. Type Ones often experience a very extreme swings.
On the positive side, Type Ones usually have a very high level of self-control. If you want to do something, you will. That can include things like craving suppression, and you have the willpower to eat what you should rather than what you’re craving.
If you’re a Type One, you might pick yourself apart, because of your perfectionism mentality. You probably really don't like bodily flaws and will work incredibly hard to change them if possible. But a healthier Type One will be able to realize that perfectionism isn't always attainable.
TIP: If you’re The Reformer, make sure to give yourself grace every step of the way, and find people to help hold you accountable and remind you that you can exist in between the extremes. Having a community to help, even if it’s just one person, will help you when you get into that “all or nothing” mindset.
TYPE TWO - THE NURTURER
If you’re a Type Two, you are The Nurturer. You are very giving, empathetic, and social, but you can also be self-sacrificing and sometimes codependent. Type Two individuals often see food as a symbol of love. You might see food as a direct way to express love or to nurture someone. You are the type to come over and bring someone baked goods. You love to give food as gifts because food is comforting.
Sometimes if Type Twos are feeling underappreciated, you might emotionally eat and attempt to nurture yourself with comfort foods. You might be prone to binging behaviors to try to comfort yourself. Food sometimes can be used as a way to fill an emotional void. But there is power in knowledge, and that’s exactly why we need to talk about this. Knowing these habits is the first step in moving toward a healthy eating pattern.
Twos are often not very focused on their bodies. You may judge your body on your ability to serve others. You might downplay the importance of physical appearance because you’ll always be able to help someone in some way, no matter what you look like. That being said, Type Twos will need to work hard to view their bodies and minds as equally deserving of the love that they give to others.
TIP: For every nice thing you do for others, try and think of a relevant action that you can do for yourself. If you’re willing to cook your friend a healthy meal or be their support system when they want to start exercising again, you can be that person for yourself as well! Write a to-do list of ways you can support yourself.
TYPE THREE - THE ACHIEVER
If you’re Type Three, you are The Achiever. You are very adaptable, driven, efficient, and charismatic. You can also be status-seeking, image-conscious, and compromising. Type Threes look at food objectively and can practice a lot of self-control. If you’re a Three, you don't have a big emotional tie to food and usually eat with a goal in mind.
However, if a Type Three is unhealthy, it's usually because you have some type of body image control issue. If you struggle with anorexia or some type of body dysmorphia, it might be because you're trying to control something. If a Three is overweight, it's usually because your body is low on your priority list; if it won't affect your career, you might not care about it. This will all depend on where you place value. Threes also emotionally eat or withhold food when they feel like they’re not meeting their standards.
You might be overly harsh with your judgments of your body and constantly compare yourself to others. You’re very aware of your physical appearance and want to make a good impression. Threes need to restructure their priorities to place physical and mental health higher on the pyramid. Making a healthy relationship with food and your body a priority in your life can help you shift some things around to move toward success.
TIP: Meal prepping can be a great resource for Threes when they’re struggling to support their bodies throughout the week. When you have healthy and easy snacks prepped, you’ll be more likely to fit them into your schedule as you’re on-the-go.
TYPE FOUR - THE INDIVIDUALIST
If you’re a Type Four, you are The Individualist. You are very expressive, artistic, and authentic. You might also be very sensitive. You may struggle with depression and can be self-absorbed at times. You probably think really deeply about your feelings and carefully choose how to express them. Fours like to be unique, so you may find that you change your eating habits a lot depending on your mood.
Type Fours tend to eat emotionally when they feel like they're not authentic or they're not creative. When this happens, then you might notice yourself becoming a little self-indulgent. You want to eat comfort foods or sleep too much or start withdrawing from people and stay home to indulge.
A Type Four’s body image changes according to their moods. You might take pride in being different from other people and will focus on how different and unique you are, which is a good thing. Use that to your advantage! What works for you may not work for someone else. Use that creative mind of yours to come up with outside-the-box ways to stay on track and fuel your body with the nutrients it needs.
TIP: Food can be fun! Bake a healthy and delicious pastry and decorate it with a cute design or give your protein pancakes a little smile with some blueberries on top. Sounds silly, but when you make something feel like a craft, it can turn your entire perspective around.
TYPE FIVE - THE OBSERVER
Type Five is The Observer. You’re very analytical and intellectual. You’re perceptive and independent, but you can also be a little detached and eccentric. Type Fives will often forget to eat when they need to. You'll just snack on convenient foods because you don't want to lose your train of thought. You may not eat regular meals, and instead, may eat at weird, unscheduled times. This means you can become nutritionally deficient because you might not take the time to fix a healthy meal. Fives tend to collect knowledge about topics to increase their self-esteem, but you might find that you sometimes have a hard time taking care of yourself.
Fives are a lot more inclined to drink caffeine, have some sort of mental stimulant, and then snack on sugar to get a quick mental boost. You're pretty objective in terms of your body image and usually pretty detached and analytical. Because your focus is on your brain and intelligence, you might tend to rely very little on your body for your accomplishments. Just remember that your body and mind are interconnected. You can’t take care of one and neglect the other. (At least, not if you want to feel and perform your best in all types of situations.)
TIP: Exercise can give a Type Five the energy they’re looking for to get through the day, but you need proper fuel to do that. Replace your morning coffee with a protein shake or a healthy energy bar to get your metabolism going and fuel the day’s activities.
TYPE SIX - THE LOYALIST
Type Six people are The Loyalists. You’re very diligent and stabilizing. You can also be reactionary and suspicious. Sixes usually need others to validate their decisions. You may notice that you tend to stick to your favorite foods because you love to know what's coming. If you like something at a restaurant, you’ll re-order the same thing every time. This type likes to be in their comfort zone. You’ll eat on schedule because you like to know what's coming.
Type Sixes might overeat to clear your plate because you don't want to waste money. You might overeat when you feel insecure in yourself or if you’re feeling anxious and uncertain about the future. Sixes are warriors at heart. Type Sixes need to recognize what they are truly feeling instead of masking it with comfort food.
Type Sixes also tend to compare themselves to others. You may find yourself worrying that you don't fit in or that you’ll fail in some way. This can be a source of anxiety in your life, but just remember that you don’t need to be anyone else!
TIP: Physical exercise can always help to relieve stress and boost your self-confidence. Do your best to try new foods. You may find that you can get boosts of nutrients in delicious things you’ve just never had before. Even if you discover something you don’t like, that’s a win. On to the next food!
TYPE SEVEN - THE ENTHUSIAST
Type Seven is The Enthusiast. You are fun, loving, and visionary. You can also feel claustrophobic, impulsive, and a little scattered.
Type Sevens usually want one of everything on the dining menu because they want to try it all. You might easily feel deprived and have a really hard time accepting that healthy choices are the best if they are not indulgent. Sevens tend to eat mindlessly when they're feeling bored or deprived. You might like to distract yourself when feeling stressed, so food can become an excitement.
When it comes to body image, Sevens are pretty lenient with how they see themselves. You probably don't want to be weighed down with negative thoughts, so you tend to justify everything. Sevens try to maintain a very positive outlook through distraction and future planning.
TIP: Write down what you want and talk yourself through the fact that you're not missing out by eating healthy food. It's okay to eat healthy food; you don't always have to indulge. But you also don’t need to restrict yourself from having treats every now and then. A full and balanced diet can include dessert along with veggies, healthy fats, carbs, and protein. “Everything in moderation” is a good motto for a Seven!
TYPE EIGHT - THE CHALLENGER
Type Eight is The Challenger. You are powerful and passionate. You are a true leader, but can also be a little domineering or excessive. Type eights have a very strong, lustful craving regarding food. You’re prone to overindulging, and when type Eights feel weak or controlled by others, you might get stuck in a situation beyond your control. You might tend to eat mindlessly instead of being more conscious about it.
Type Eights look at themselves in terms of strengths and weaknesses and how they relate to others. You usually have a big extroverted personality and will let others know exactly what you mean. You do not like being controlled. Eights work in extremes where you’re either fully in or you don't care at all. It's difficult for an Eight to find a happy balance. You probably really like goals, so if you’re not working for a goal, then it's hard for you to achieve that balance.
When Type Eights have a goal and are honed in, they will do whatever they need to do to reach their goal. This means you will hit your macros and you won’t eat the food you don't want to eat because you are very driven to hit that goal.
In terms of body image, a Type Eights’ outlook will depend on their season of life because if they’re committed, then they care about their body. It can be difficult to commit if they haven’t made health a priority. It just depends on where you’re at in your season of life as a Type Eight, but repeating your guidelines and goals throughout the day can help, almost like a mantra, to keep your head in it.
TIP: If you’re starting to feel the urge to drop all your healthy habits, it might be because you’re losing interest. Switch things up and try a new form of exercise! There are so many out there, and taking a friend with you can be that push you need. Same goes for food. If you’re feeling bored with your meals, try some new recipes to get that spark going.
TYPE NINE - THE PEACEMAKER
Type Nine is The Peacemaker. You are easy-going, accepting, and reassuring. You can also be a little uninspired, distracted, and complacent. Type Nines can be a little out of touch with instincts and food impulses because they will do whatever everyone else wants to do. If everyone else is eating at this restaurant, you’ll eat at that restaurant because you don't like conflict. Sometimes Nines will get resentful because they hold in a lot of feelings. You may find that your escape from anger or stress could be mindlessly eating or payback eating, which is essentially this thought process: “I didn’t get to have the thing I wanted earlier, so I’m going to have it now (even if I’m not hungry).” Nines are sometimes unable to hone in on what they really want for the future, making it easy to forgo small decisions in the moment, like what YOU want to eat.
That aside, Nines are usually pretty loving to themselves. Usually, you can look at yourself and be pretty impartial. You can give yourself grace, which is awesome!
TIP: Practice tuning into your body and mind when you make decisions to figure out what you really want. Take a moment, think carefully, and consider your feelings. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if there’s a decision you want to make but it goes against the grain. Your friends can support you in that!
UNDERSTANDING YOUR PERSONALITY CAN CHANGE EVERYTHING
Once you understand your Enneagram type, you can help yourself see ways to overcome your natural tendencies. For example, you will find ways to make your favorite foods fit into your macros, or you can write down your goals and build your life around why it's important for you to reach those goals. You’ll also learn how to use your strengths to your advantage!
Know that it's okay to be a little uncomfortable. It's okay to be a little bit bored with food or distracted on the way to reaching your goals. Once you figure out how to work with your unique personality rather than just doing what you think you should do, so many things can change for you. And it's super empowering when you learn how to work with your personality and then slowly see meaningful change in your body and mind.
If you're looking for more support on your wellness journey specific to your personality type, check out my training programs where we help you jump your hurdles and lean into your natural strengths.
I'm a mom of 4 and have been a certified personal trainer with specialties in pre- and postnatal fitness for 13 years. I'm also a certified nutrition specialist and certified meditation and mindfulness coach.
I am passionate about helping women change their lifestyles to be the healthiest, happiest versions of themselves and I've seen it happen for thousands of women.
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