Enneagram Type 4 Diet Strengths:
Creative Types – use rituals and control their surroundings to stay healthy
Power Skills (1st Step) for Type 4: Environmental Engineering (Stimulus Control) and RRR: Routines, Rituals and Reminders
Environmental Engineering (Stimulus Control): In terms of overeating, this skill is about creating the healthiest food environment as possible. It is clear that cues in our environment like prominent food displays will temp us to eat or feel hungry and mental distractions like TV cause us to eat mindlessly. You can engineer your environment so that social events include physical activities as opposed to meals. Brian Wansink, author of Mindless Eating, shows us how environmental factors cause people to eat more, eat faster and underestimate their intake. When using “stimulus control” you think about your eating cues in terms of the overall setting or “Kitchenscape” versus the meal set-up — the “Tablescape, Platescape or Foodscape.” As for the Kitchenscape, food must be “out of sight, out of mind” so that no high calorie foods are displayed conveniently on the counter. Healthy snacks such as fruit should be prominently displayed and high calorie snack should be hidden away. In terms of the meal set-up or “Platescape” you should eat in normal sized bowls or plates because larger containers make it hard for us to know how much we have eaten.
In terms of exercise, environmental engineering (Stimulus Control) works just as well. It is about making it hard for you to be inactive or unhealthy. Setting up prompts that remind you to exercise such as keeping your exercise clothes by the door, setting your alarm clock early to avoid distractions, parking at the far end of the parking lot, taking stairs, having reminder photos or quotes hanging up, wearing a reminder bracelet or special piece of jewelry.
Routines, Rituals and Reminders: This skill is about scheduling repeditive behaviors so that they are automatic (like “muscle memory”) in order to free your mind from descision making, stress and doubt. Repetition gives a calming predictability and order to life. A typical morning health ritual may be to stretch, perform a short breathing exercise, repeat a health affirming statement or centering mantra. Maybe the ritual is brewing the same cup of tea every morning, lighting a symbolic candle, listening specific music, meditating or being grateful for your life. In order to connect your mind and body, rituals should include many of your senses and be engaging — symbolic eating or drinking, singing, touching, smelling, bowing, posturing, and or ritual gestures. The more the ritual has symbolic meaning (faith or family) and is related to what is important in your life (core values), the more it will guide you when you face difficult feelings or situations. (REF: The Religion of Thinness)
Common “Rituals of Thinness” include may include a focus on appearance including trying to fit into smaller outfits, or obsessing over ideal body images. This is unhealthy for your progress and creates emotional suffering. Most importantly your rituals and routines should foster unconditional self-love, making you feel connected to your inner-self. Conversly, Types that practice these skills should also focus on identifying “Bad Habit Rituals” or “Food Addictions” that may include eating in front of the TV, while on the phone or car, taking coffee breaks or having to eat high calorie desserts after dinner. (REF: The Ritual of Food Addiction by: Caryl Ehrlich)
Tips for Enneagram Type 4
Environmental Engineering: I use color to my benefit. I have blue prominently displayed (kitchen table, table cloth, plates et) as an unconscious appetite suppressant.
Environmental Engineering: I mindfully create a healthy environment in my home.
Environmental Engineering: I mindfully create a healthy environment in my workspace.
Environmental Engineering: I arrange my kitchen to keep healthy foods prominently displayed and processed or unhealthy foods hidden from view.
Environmental Engineering: I eat at the table but not while watching TV or driving. I keep myself mentally alert and present during mealtime.
Environmental Engineering: I use a mirror opposite to my seat at the table to keep myself mindful of my food intake.
Environmental Engineering: I use small plates.
Environmental Engineering: I leave extra food in the kitchen and not on the table during mealtime.
Environmental Engineering: I wrap up any extra food you’ve cooked before you sit down to a meal so I’m not tempted to get seconds.
Routines, Rituals and Reminders: I brush your teeth and use mouthwash early in the evening rather than just before bed to help signal to myself that mealtime and snacktime is over.
Routines, Rituals and Reminders: I have home decorations that are reminders of my commitment to health. (artwork of active lifestyle, or healthy food)
Routines, Rituals and Reminders: I practice the ritual of gratitude (thanks) for my meals to center myself (focus) and eat mindfully.
Routines, Rituals and Reminders: I increase my physical activity though my activities of daily living (ADLs) including parking far away from stores, taking the stairs when possible, gardening and doing active house chores.
Routines, Rituals and Reminders: I have an eating ritual which includes an order to my meal where I eat low calorie foods first and eat smaller portions of high calorie foods last.
Routines, Rituals and Reminders: I have a weight loss ritual or routine every morning that re-affirms my commitment to health. (such as stretching, meditation, mantras, green tea,..et)
Routines, Rituals and Reminders: I identified my unhealthy rituals such as nightly high cal desserts, eating while watching TV and have replaced them with healthier alternatives.
Routines, Rituals and Reminders: I believe that food affects my body, mind and spirit for better or worse.
Action Skills (2nd Step): See Type Two’s DIET Strengths and Skills
Maintenance Skills (3rd Step): See Type One‘s DIET Strengths and Skills
Thank you for reading Enneagram Type 4 Diet Strengths! Learn more about Power, Action and Maintenance Skills…here
Scott Harrington D.O.