Enneagram Type 9 Diet Strengths:
Merging Types – are easily motivated by others’ fitness programs
Power Skills (1st Step) for Type 9: Launch into Health: (Realistic Expectations, Encouraging Fitness Partner, External Motivator/Change Contract) Process Focus: Rather than focusing on the result, you will focus on enjoying the process, Mind/Body Relaxation: Techniques that reduce stress symptoms.
1. LAUNCH INTO HEALTH:
A. Realistic Expectations: Agree to a minor change
Often people try to start a health change by saying they are going to lose a huge amount of weight, or they are going to become as sculpted as a photo-shopped fitness model. Unfortunately, having these super high expectations may lead to early frustration due to the slow pace of most weight loss.
Instead, start with actions you feel confident that you can and will accomplish. Take small steps that will bring you closer to your goal of better health.
Remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Find small changes in your life that you can tolerate and commit to. A good place to start is to dedicate yourself to change one eating habit and add one extra activity to your day.
I will drink water instead of soda and I will take a 10-minute walk after meals.
Or, I will eat fruit for dessert on the weekdays and I will park at the back of the lot rather than the storefront.
B. Encouraging Fitness/Food Partner
The next part of getting started is to find a fitness buddy — a person to share your goals, to vent frustrations to, and to keep you motivated. The most effective partner is one that is reliable, and that has a complimentary fitness level and similar goals. You should both commit to be supportive and non-judgemental with each other. If you do not have someone locally to exercise with, you can still be accountable to someone long distance, and prompt each other with encouraging phone calls, text messages or emails. Your Fitness Partner will help you assimilate that this is a lifelong process and that learning any new skill takes time and practice.
C. External Motivator/Change Contract
Another important step in “Launch into Health” is to write and sign contract committing to make a small change in your lifestyle. Be accountable to your Fitness Partner by telling them your pledge. Often simply coming out of your shell and taking the first step towards a goal is the hardest part to overcome. That is also why you have to keep your expectations realistic. If you have made this contract then you have won half the battle.
2. PROCESS FOCUS – Focus on the Process, and not the Outcome
Remember the first time you tried to ride a bike or to hit a baseball, it took many failed attempts before it became second nature. People who are Process Focused aren’t set back by minor missteps along the way – they recognize the need to learn more and practice self-observation.
“You do not focus on your destination until you get there. Until then, you keep your eye on the map….The gymnasts need to fall in love, not with what they are trying to accomplish, but with the process of accomplishing it. The basic idea is, if you focus on doing the little things right, big things will naturally result. ”
Curt Rosengren in the “PassionCatalyst” blog on Process Focus
The skill of Process Focus – as opposed to being results focused – allows for more awareness and enjoyment in the present. Instead of being upset that you didn’t meet the time goal you wanted on a run, focus on the act of running itself. Feel the sense of freedom and strength you have during exercise. Think to yourself, “I will focus on my breathing pattern and positive self talk during my run.” In this way, even if you do not meet your time goal, your training is not perceived as a failure. In fact you moved closer to your goal by practicing good breathing techniques.
In regards to food, Process Focus about enjoying the process of making healthy meals and imagining the health benefits you will obtain from them. Enjoy experimenting, discovering and preparing new foods with your family. Feel the pride of knowing you ate well by marking it on your calendar or knowing that you stood strong and ate a healthy substitute (small battles). Overall, more you learn to enjoy the techniques that get you to your goal, then the more likely you will be to succeed.
3. MIND/BODY RELAXATION
Oftentimes the more stressed you are, the more often you seek to comfort yourself through unhealthy foods and being sedentary. When attempting to lose weight, it is key to learn stress reduction techniques, such as breath counting, to calm yourself.
A. Progressive Muscle Relaxation – PMR is a simple and evidence-based technique where you take a moment to feel the current level of muscle tension in your body. It is an important technique to practice because stressed people unconsciously hold onto their tense postures. Even after a stressful event is over, tense muscles tell your mind that you must maintain an alert and defensive posture.
You can do PMR while sitting in a chair at work or while comfortably lying in a bed:
Take a deep breath and slowly exhale. As you blow your breath out scrunch up and tighten all the muscles in your face. Take another deep breath and as you exhale say, “relax and let go” while you release the tensed muscles. Do this over and over sequentially throughout your body. Move from your face, to your neck area, and continue to work down — back, shoulders and arms, abdominal muscles, buttocks, thighs and then calves and feet. As you consciously relax each muscle group, feel the difference from a contracted and relaxed state. When you reach your feet, take a breath and feel the over-all sense of calm and well being.
PMR can help you quickly stay centered and relaxed when you are feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or angry. Use it to calm down at work or before bed to sleep. (Girdano, 2009)
B. Breath Counting – This is another quick and easy, evidenced-based stress relieving technique. It helps to clear your mind. Like PMR you can perform this technique at home or work.
While either sitting or lying down, take a moment and start counting your breaths. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Count the breath on the exhalation. Do this to the count of 10 and then start over. If thoughts start to interrupt your counting, simply let them go without judgment.
Additional adaptations include holding your breath in for 3-5 seconds and exhale for 3-5 seconds. To ensure you are performing breaths from your diaphragm, place your hand over your abdomen, and feel it rise and fall. (Girdano, 2009)
Tips for Enneagram Type 9
Launch Into Health (Realistic Expectations, Fitness Partner, Contracting): I keep a fitness partner of similar goals and exercise level to keep me motivated.
Launch Into Health (Realistic Expectations, Fitness Partner, Contracting): I agree to small changes in my life that I can accept and accomplish.
Launch Into Health (Realistic Expectations, Fitness Partner, Contracting): I have made an agreement with my fitness partner or my doctor to complete certain attainable goals.
Mind/Body Relaxation: During stress, I use calming techniques like breath counting, positive self-talk or mantras to stay focused.
Process Focus: Improving my skill in one small area of weight loss at a time (stopping sodas etc.) is key to meeting my goals.
Controlling Stress and Tension 8th Edition, by Daniel A. Girdano, 2009
Action Skills (2nd Step): See Type Sixes’s DIET Strengths and Skills
Maintenance Skills (3rd Step): See Type Three’s DIET Strengths and Skills
Thank you for reading Enneagram Type 9 Diet Strengths! Learn more about Power, Action and Maintenance Skills…here
Written by Scott Harrington D.O. and edited by Christine Adkins