Regardless of how much information or education we have on nutrition the way we eat may be more influenced and dictated by our individual personalities and psychology.
I have found using the tool of the enneagram to not only be extremely helpful for the relationships in my life but also for giving me a greater understanding of not just what I eat but why and when.
Honestly, this kind of knowledge could completely change, not just the way you eat but your body shape and relationship to food.
What Is The Enneagram?
If you don’t know what the enneagram is, it is a system of personality typing that describes patterns in how a person interprets their world and manages their emotions.
According to the enneagram, each of the different nine personalities is defined by a particular core belief about how the world works. This belief drives a person’s deepest motivations and fears.
Understanding a person’s enneagram type helps us see the why. Why they behave the way they do. Why they believe what they do. What motivates their actions and dictates their decisions.
I love using the enneagram as a tool to better understand myself and those around me because it provides a greater understanding of others and shows opportunities for personal development and growth.
The Nine Types
1 - The Reformer
The rational, idealistic type
(Principled, purposeful, self-controlled and perfectionistic)
2 - The Helper
The caring, interpersonal type
(Demonstrative, generous, people-pleasing, and possessive)
3- The Achiever
The success-oriented, pragmatic type
(Adaptive, excelling, driven, and image-conscious)
4 - The Individualist
The sensitive, withdrawn type
Expressive, dramatic, self-absorbed, and temperamental
5 - The Investigator
The intense, cerebral type
Perceptive, innovative, secretive, and isolated
6 - The Loyalist
The committed, security-oriented type
Engaging, responsible, anxious, suspicious
7 - The Enthusiast
The busy, fun-loving type
Spontaneous, versatile, distractible, and scattered
8 - The Challenger
The powerful, dominating type
Self-confident, decisive, willful, and confrontational
9 - The Peacemaker
The easygoing, modest type
Receptive, reassuring, agreeable, and complacent
Enneagram & Eating
The images below are about to see are from posters that I created in both my online and Etsy store.
Now that we’ve summarized the various enneagram types we’re going to briefly look at each type and how these various personalities respond to emotional eating, diets, and nutrition tendencies.
Remember, these are generalizations. You may resonate with one personality type more than another but that doesn’t mean you have the exact same eating tendencies. Childhood, lifestyle, culture, trauma, friend groups, and so many other factors have an impact on why we eat what we do.
The beauty of the enneagram is that the goal is to become the best, most well-rounded versions of ourselves who have bits and pieces of every type.
TYPE 1: THE PERFECTIONIST
The ones have an ingrained desire for perfection and this desire can also resonate with perfection in their body image. Because of this desire, ones are more likely to suffer from eating disorders and may even avoid vulnerable places, such as the pool, gym, or beach, to hide their perceived imperfections. This type, more than most others, is drawn to restriction and may suffer from comparing themselves to unattainable ideals.
All types can suffer from weight gain and emotional eating and the ones are no exception. Because the ones can often restrict and try to control their eating they may binge or eat “forbidden” foods when they feel bad, wrong, or out of control. This binging as a way to “punish” themselves for making “bad” choices may lead them to struggle with their weight.
Hormonally, the ones are also at risk for being sensitive to cortisol, the stress hormone. People who have excess cortisol may suffer from gaining fat in their stomach.
If you are a one, try not to be so critical and hard on yourself. Give yourself grace.
TYPE 2: THE NURTURER
The twos can be some of the sweetest, kindest, most loving people you will ever meet and they often use food as a way to express love or easily connect with their loved ones over a meal. However, because they are prone to give so much of themselves to others, and sacrifice themselves, they can be drawn to emotional stuffing and comfort food seeking. When twos feel empty they can use food to fill this emotional emptiness.
Twos who suffer from excess weight or who are feeling out of balance in their bodies may view food as being synonymous with love. They are triggered to emotionally eat when they feel unloved and unappreciated, which can lead to craving and eating comfort foods.
Hormonally, twos, especially female twos, are at risk for being sensitive to excess estrogen, one of the dominant sex hormones. People who have excess estrogen may suffer from storing more fat in the hips and upper thighs.
If you are a two, try to focus on loving and serving yourself in the same way you love and serve others. You are worthy of being loved and nourished.
TYPE 3: THE ACHIEVER
The threes are the type who appear to be the most unemotional and practical about food. This type can divorce themself from passionate eating and can be determined, detached dieters. A problem threes often have to overcome is eating on the go and skipping meals because of busyness. Threes can be some of the healthiest, fittest people you know…if that is something they value. Some threes may struggle with their weight when their goals become unbalanced and they are more focused on being successful in something like their career instead of their health.
Threes are often triggered to emotionally eat when they feel unsuccessful or deserving of a reward. These feelings can lead to justifying an extra treat, such as chocolate or nightly wine. Some threes struggle more with drinking alcohol in the evenings because drinking forces them to slow down and forces them to stop getting work done in the evening. It can be almost forced relaxation.
Hormonally, the threes are probably the most at risk for being sensitive to cortisol, the stress hormone. People who have excess cortisol may suffer from gaining fat in their stomachs.
If you are a three remember that you don’t need to earn breaks, such as a lunch break or evening chill. You deserve rest, you don’t have to earn it.
TYPE 4: THE INDIVIDUALIST
The fours desire to eat in a way that reflects who they are. Fours are able to change their eating habits and taste preferences depending on what their feelings and moods are at the time. In other words, mood dictates the menu. Fours can use food to heighten emotions and can use the foods they eat to emphasize their uniqueness. For example, it is more likely for a type four to try veganism because this is a unique, different type of eating plan that can make them stand out for a cause and reflects their inner passions and personality.
Fours may struggle with their weight if they eat certain calorie-dense foods at a certain time every day or if they have unique ritual overindulgence, such as reward foods. Fours are very led by their emotions so emotional eating, when they are feeling depressed, moody, uncreative, or insignificant, is common. When fours feel this way they can be led to self-indulge in comfort foods or spend more time sleeping or wasting time.
Fours, more than the other types, are quite sensitive to imbalances in their gut microbiome. Fours may be more at risk for food allergies, constipation, and bloating, due to the composition of their microbiome.
If you are a four remember that you are innately significant and unique, regardless of what you look like or the foods you choose to eat.
TYPE 5: THE INVESTIGATOR
The fives often show ambivalence towards food, which means their attitude is simultaneously positive and negative. They can be educated “foodies” on specific foods. For example, one five may know everything about craft beer, while another is a coffee connoisseur. Fives can forget to eat when their mind is preoccupied and are more inclined to drink caffeine or eat sugar for a quick mental boost instead of taking the time to eat more nutritionally dense foods.
Fives who struggle with their weight may be more concerned about their mental pursuits and less concerned about their physical appearance and bodily health. They are led to emotionally eat when they are trying to fill an inner emptiness or are experiencing body neglect. This emotional eating can show up as eating mindlessly while working on a project or spending time on a screen. Fives often find themselves more concerned about things “more important” to them than their health.
The contrast to this is if a five is very interested in health; then they can have an almost obsessive desire to be healthy.
Hormonally, fives may suffer from excess insulin, the body’s glucose regulator, which may cause weight and fat gain throughout the body.
If you are a five, remember that your physical health supports your mental pursuits; therefore, it is definitely worth investing in.
Like I’m not kidding, I teach courses on the importance of nutrition and gut health in regards to brain health. What you eat is EVERYTHING to the brain.
TYPE 6: THE LOYALIST
The sixes love to eat hearty home-cooked meals with loved ones and overall enjoy eating in community. Sixes have a tendency to lean toward traditional, satisfying meals that they can trust, such as rich soups, stews, and casseroles. Sixes may jump from diet to diet before giving one diet enough time to work because they struggle to trust it will really work.
Sixes, more than other types, may struggle with weight gain by overeating. Sixes who struggle with deep anxiety may use food to cope and calm down their inner worry wart. Food can act as comfort and security when they are experiencing these moments of stress and low self-esteem. However, Sixes may also feel guilty for indulging in these foods, which may make them actually eat more.
The scarcity complex can be difficult for sixes as well, such as thinking, “if I eat lots today I’ll have enough to carry me through the next few days.” This scarcity complex may lead to eating when they are not hungry or overeating a particular meal.
Similarly to the Fours, Sixes are quite sensitive to imbalances in their gut microbiome due to their anxious tendencies. This may make them more at risk for food allergies, constipation, and bloating, due to the composition of their microbiome.
If you are a Six, remember that food does not have the power to take away your fear. The best way to be your healthiest, leanest self is to first deal with the root causes of your fear and anxiety. Then use food to nourish your body, not your soul.
TYPE 7: THE ENTHUSIAST
The Sevens can value experience above everything else and love to eat the perfect food at the right time in the right environment. Sevens can struggle with diets because they hate deprivation and only want to eat delicious foods they can enjoy. Food is viewed as being both entertainment and adventure.
Sevens are drawn to experiences, including the experience of food. Boredom is terrible for a Seven, which means they may mindlessly eat food when they are feeling this way. Sevens who struggle with their weight may be experiencing a lull in their life or are depressed and may use food as an escape mechanism. They are triggered to emotionally eat when they feel deprived, bored, or anxious. This can lead to distracting themselves with exciting snack foods that delight their taste sensations.
Hormonally, Sevens may suffer from excess insulin, the body’s glucose regulator, which may cause weight and fat gain throughout the body.
If you are a Seven, remember that food won’t help you escape from your problems.
TYPE 8: THE CHALLENGER
The Eights are keenly aware of their physical needs and desires. They can have intense cravings and satisfy them with gusto. Eights are good at knowing what foods they want to eat and how to get them fast. They are drawn to food that is big, bold, and tantalizing. They also feel that they are deserving of high-calorie foods. Eights view foods as a means to gather strength and are drawn to indulgence.
An Eight struggling with their weight may be eating a lot of calories in social settings or before stressful events. They can be triggered to emotionally eat after an argument or when they feel weak or controlled by others.
Hormonally, Eights may suffer from overeating and gaining fat everywhere due to excessive hunger cravings from ghrelin, their hunger hormone.
If you are an Eight, you deserve to eat foods that make your body feel healthy. Keep enjoying the foods you crave but love your body enough to listen to its fullness cues and to avoid indulgent foods that maybe don’t make you feel great afterwards.
TYPE 9: THE PEACEMAKER
The Nines can be amazing at making wise food choices if they are surrounded by health-conscious people. They can also make terrible health choices if the people in their life are making unwise food decisions. The reason being is that Nines will often choose food based on the people they are with.
Nines fight so hard to keep their external environment peaceful that they may be suffering from deep internal anger or turmoil. When this occurs, Nines may use food as an easy way to numb themselves or escape from their circumstances. In this way, they can be prone to mindless munching. Nines who struggle with their weight may feel disconnected from their body and find it hard to listen to their body’s natural hunger and fullness cues. Nines may also struggle to remember what they ate in a day because they may feel disconnected from this aspect of themselves.
Nines may resort to emotional eating when they feel unsettled or are experiencing internal or external conflict. These feelings can lead to overeating to numb their uncomfortable feelings.
Nines will try to create meals that satisfy every member of their household and may not make choices for their own preferences or health goals. If Nines are making a meal just for themselves they may prefer to snack and munch instead of taking the time to create a whole meal just for themselves.
Hormonally, Nines, especially female nines, are at risk of being sensitive to excess estrogen, one of the dominant sex hormones. People who have excess estrogen may suffer from storing more fat in the hips and upper thighs.
If you are a Nine, remember that your opinions and preferences matt