Thursday, December 27, 2007

Riso and Hudson on the Enneagram versus one-size-fits-all advice; plus, Diet advice for 2s

Wise words from page 2 of The Wisdom of the Enneagram:

We believe that most self-help books are not necessarily wrong, but merely
incomplete. For example, even with a basic topic like weight loss,
there are many possible reasons why a person might have a weight problem
or issues with food -- a sugar sensitivity, or excessive fat in the diet, or
nervous eating to repress anxiety, or any number of other emotional
issues. Without identifying the specific core issues that are causing the
problem, no solution is likely, no matter how great the effort.

The self-help author's prescriptions are usually based on methods that have
worked for him or her personally and reflect his or her own psychological
makeup and personal process. If a reader happens to have a similar
psychological makeup, the author's method may be effective. But if there
is little "match," the reader may be misled rather than helped.


This diversity explains why what is good advice for one person can be
disastrous for another. Telling some types that they need to focus
more on their feelings is like throwing water on a drowing man. Telling
other types that they need to assert themselves more is as foolish as putting an
anorexic person on a diet. In understanding ourselves, our relationships,
our spiritual growth, and many other important issues, we will see that type --
not gender, not culture, and not generational differences -- is the crucial factor.

Web MD has sent me some advice, including diet advice, that seems custom-made for 2s:

Most of us secret believe that good people, especially women, take care of
others first. They wait until everyone else has a plateful and then take what's
left. Unfortunately, most of us make decisions based on our ideas of who we
think we should be, not on who we actually are. The problem is, when we make
choices based on an ideal image of ourselves -- what a good friend would do,
what a good mother would do, what a good wife would do -- we end up having to
take care of ourselves in another way. Enter food.

Read the entire article here. Some of the advice in this article might be somewhat relevant for other women, or other compliant types, but it seems custom-made, and dead-on, for the 2.

I see in the extensive Riso/Hudson quotation above the hint that it might be helpful to have a collection of self-help articles, reviews of books, and personal stories that might be helpful or of interest to people of the particular types. I think that's something the blog format is able to do, because after we've been writing for awhile (and updating daily), we will eventually have amassed quite a collection, sorted by type. For example, click on 3, and one post that will come up is Cindi's from yesterday about (among other things) Martha Beck, who writes about issues of bringing your life in line more with the true self than the persona. (I have read two of Martha Beck's books, Finding Your Own North Star and Leaving the Saints, and would recommend them both, not just to 3s by any means, but to anyone interested in bringing their life more into line with their true values. I don't think any personality type has cornered the market on this issue! Also, she is a funny, delightful writer.)

Back to 2s and dieting: I see 2s as a group as having more trouble with weight gain than any of the other types (taken as a whole.) The Web MD article hits on what is probably the key reason (use of food to soothe oneself and calm unconscious anger about having to sacrifice onself for others). I've also observed two other trends. Deprivation is not a big part of 2 thinking. Neither is following a set of rigid or even objective guidelines. I see 2s who have the ability to go without lunch and go without breakfast in the service of work or in the service of dieting; unfortunately, studies show that this does not actually help one lose weight. I do know a 2 who has been able to follow a diet and exercise plan for over a year; he looks great. Perhaps significantly, though, he is an INTJ, atypical of 2s. Also, as Cindi mentioned two days ago in her New Year's Resolutions for 1s and 2s post, getting enough sleep is often an issue for 2s; I've also read that getting enough sleep is good for keeping one's weight in line.

1 comment:

rusnash said...

Getting enough sleep reduces stress and so would be particularly appropriate for those people who would otherwise use food to reduce their stress. Also, when I feel I need to be up late I usually eat and drink to keep my energy up. Maybe other people do that too.

Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink is a great book to read for ideas on how to make small adjustments in your eating habits that can cut out calories without triggering your body's starvation response. Plus he's funny.