In recent years, the world of diets, wellness, and fitness have come a long way to recognize our individuality, but today I want to hit one mark they are completely missing.
In a world where food allergies and sensitivities are at an all-time high, we’re coming to understand that one diet doesn’t work for everyone. Emerging research has staged a coup against eat less; move more, and intuitive eating is slowly fighting its way into power.
The wellness community is acknowledging we are all biologically different; therefore, different approaches to eating are required depending on what our individual goals are. Whole30, One3One, and the autoimmune protocol are some of the most popular diets right now and they all advocate for testing what your body will tolerate.
But the one thing no one is talking about is how one mindset doesn’t fit all either.
We all have different strengths. We all experience emotions with different intensity and for different reasons. We’re distracted by different things. We avoid different things.
We were born with different temperaments. We had different experiences that shaped us and traumatized us—and we found different ways to cope. Some of us turn to food for distraction; some turn to it to fill a void, and some forget about it entirely.
I too am guilty of trying to push one food mindset to rule them all. I used to preach delight in food—even when you’re on a strict autoimmune protocol see it as a beautiful service to yourself. And this works for people like me who are trying to keep stress levels low and enjoy life. It doesn’t work for the over-achievers of the world who are far more concerned with their goals than they are with maintaining inner-peace.
There’s nothing wrong with me and there’s nothing wrong with my over-achiever friends, but at some point we all find ourselves on the couch with a fistful of junk food wondering why can’t I get it together?
Why can’t I stop overeating?
Why can’t I stop stress eating?
Why does food have to take up so much of my time and energy?
There are answers to these questions—and depending on who you are and the way you see the world and move through it, the answers are going to be different.
I’ve spent a lot of time digging into the ways we are different. I’ve taken the DiSC, Strength’s Finder, Myers-Briggs, and the Enneagram. I’ve read book after book to garner insight into how personality influences people’s relationship with food, and I’ve done dozens of hours of research on how we can take insights from our personalities and turn them into actions that improve our relationships with food.
The path to a better relationship with food is full of different experiences for different people, but I’ve found the map is always the same:
(1) Understand your Archetype
We all have thought and behavioral patterns that dictate the way we do life—like what we pursue, how we have fun, and what we do when we’re stressed. These patterns are a product of all the things that shaped us into the people we are today. Most people never take the time to evaluate whether the unconscious patterns they developed in a different stage of life still serve them now. When we make the effort to understand our patterns, we can understand ourselves deeply enough to understand our relationship with food.
(2) Acknowledge your coping behaviors
In addition to your archetype, you have patterns specific to the way you protect your emotions. Because life is stressful for everyone, these stress-induced patterns, or coping mechanisms, are often misidentified as just part of who we are. Separating the coping mechanism from your sense of self gives you the power to examine the coping behavior and decide if it’s serving you.
(3) Identify your triggers
Your coping mechanisms are set off by situations or events that stress you out and force you to find a way to cope. These situations or events are called triggers and they trigger a cycle of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that derail us from getting what we really want in life. Knowing your triggers takes your life off of auto-pilot and puts you in control.
(4) Determine the vicious cycle
The cycle of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that derail us from getting what we want can differ depending on the trigger for that particular cycle. There’s a process by which you identify each part of your cycle in order to later be able to disrupt it.
(5) Disrupt the vicious cycle
This is where the real work is. It’s one thing to know you’re falling victim to your own cyclical patterns; it’s a very different thing to raise enough awareness and motivation to actually change those patterns. But changing those patterns is the only way to cultivate a healthy relationship with food—or a healthy relationship with anything or anyone for that matter.
If you’re interested in uncovering your archetype and starting the process of disrupting the cycle Start Here