Enneagram Type Eight

Type Eight

DIETnosis Enneagram Type Eight


MBTI Types: ENTJ, ESTJ… (ET Types)

Food Type: The Lustful Indulger, Uncompromising Craver

Exercise Type: The Brawler

DIET Strength: Confidence


Power Skills (Level 1): Assertiveness, Game Theory, Self-Needs Assessment, and Locus of Control

Action Skills (Level 2): Education, Teaching, Skill Mastery, and Decision Matrix

Maintenance Skills (Level 3): Social Support, Coaching, and Label Saboteurs


Trouble with Food (habit): Lustful cravings

Emotional Eating Trigger: Lack of Empathy (Antisocial Tendencies), Fear or Weakness & Control, Lust Power and Conquest

Trouble with Exercise: Will often feel unexcited unless it is related to others or competition

Trouble with Body Image: Sees body as weak or strong as it relates to environmental control

Typical Fitness Excuse: Tasty food now, I deserve it, binge, control, attack the food,




Popular Enneagram authors commonly name Type Eights the Protector, Challenger or Leader because they are powerful, passionate and protective.  Type Eights are strong, willful, decisive, resourceful and passionate people that know what they want and how to get it.  They are direct and confront problems head-on.  They feel that life is like a fruit that needs to be plucked and squeezed to get the “juice out of it.” They are oftentimes a dominating force in their surroundings but can also be refreshing and inspirational leaders. They may find themselves standing up for the underprivileged or righting injustice in their community.  They also have a tender and caring side that is vulnerable and hidden to the general public.


Type Eights value freedom, power and the fullness of life, and envision using their influence to make the world a more equitable and just place.

Type Eights focus their attention on gaining power and control.

Friends value them and seek them out for their strength and leadership.

You might be a Type Eight if you are usually the one in charge.  You tend to be a strong, highly responsible person who doesn’t feel comfortable showing weakness.


Enneagram Type 8 Careers

Eights look for careers that allow them the freedom to make decisions, become leaders and empower others such as owning their own business, rising to company leadership positions, politics, career manager or agent, marketing, or military commanders. Eights tend to serve certain roles for others including the boss, leader or commander, bully or intimidator, the protector or guru.


Negative Aspects and Weaknesses

Type Eight’s weaknesses and negative tendencies are related to their domineering control of their environment and the people around becoming too intimidating.   Their hot temper, comfort with confrontation, and penchant for vengeance may cause others to gang-up against the Eight.  Because they fear being powerless they set up hard and intimidating exterior.



Style of Impulse Control

Although weight gain always has a multi-faceted cause, there are some typical behaviors of Type Eight seen in the Big Five personality Trait system that encourage them to gain weight.  Eights as a group score highest on “Extroversion” and “Emotional Stability” than any other Type.  Type Eight know what they want and are self-directed toward their goals.  They tend to be successful at their endeavors due to their indomitable will, adaptability and coercive people skills.  In terms of impulse control, however, they are sometimes their own worst enemy.  They feel strong lustful cravings that can be hard to control and they dislike the idea of a diet or an outside set of rules placed upon them.  Their penchant for being social can get them in to trouble with unexpected calories and temptations.

Style of Activity

Eights have a direct, productive and efficient Style of Activity.  They know what they want and how to get it.  They are creative about solutions and are free from the boundaries of tradition.  They often query experts for pearls of wisdom but then go and develop their own program. They feel they must control their own destiny and create their own truth.  In this way, Eights are open to variety but once they have established a routine or habit, then they tend to stick with it.  They are also natural leaders and may be a team captain or attract workout partners who enjoy their cavalier attitude.  Some favorite fitness activities of Type Eight include weight lifting and competitive contact sports.

Type Eight’s low scores of “Agreeableness” can serve as a hindrance as well as a tool.  Together with high “Conscientiousness” it forms a “Self-Promoting” style of character.  Although it helps them forge their own fitness path and own self-interests, it can be a turn-off to potential helpers along the way.

Leisure Style

Eights tend to enjoy the stimulation of variety, competition and adventure and in this way they are like Type Sevens.  They often enjoy a feeling of staring down danger or tempting fate with risky behaviors and coming out unscathed.  They like to conquer things like climb mountains or perform daredevil stunts to prove to others that they are strong, fearless and should not be challenged.



Enneagram Type 8 Fashion

Type Eights are usually “dressed to kill” in a sense that they want to look desirable and yet tough or formidable. They will oftentimes spend much time in dress preparation to be sure that they are ready — like battle prep. Their typical attire exudes confidence and is often brightly colored.  Although they may dress stylishly, something about them will say, “I don’t have to try hard to get what I want.” They typically wear jewelry and sometimes will overdo the amount that they wear with multiple gaudy or flashy gold necklaces and rings. Type Eights feel comfortable wearing flashy clothes and comfortable changing their style with fashion’s latest trends. Their fashion statement is, “Don’t mess with me unless you are a suitor” or “I am dressed to impress because I am impressive.”

Tattoos and Accessories

If Eights tattoo themselves it will oftentimes represent them as tough such as physical achievements or intimidation tattoos. These may include such a gang affiliations, markers of “kills,” biker tattoos, guns, knives or skulls. They may emphasize their sexual prowess or physical strength such as biceps wire bands or flames.

Enneagram Type 8 At Home

Eights home reflects their warm side oftentimes more than their hard exterior.  They know how to entertain and try to make their home inviting warm and beautiful. They have a flare for bold colors, and dramatic or sensual artwork. They will proximately display their “war” trophies or memorabilia of past triumphs to show their strengths.  As a guest of an Eight it may be hard to refuse their hospitality many choices may be made for you. Their personal spaces and their public spaces may be very similar in style in that they are outfitted for intimacy and comfort in mind.



Body Judgment

Type Eights are reactive in their judgment of self meaning that they look at themselves in terms of strengths and weaknesses and how they relate to others. They have are “big” and extroverted personalities and will let you know when they are angry or upset about something. They fear being controlled by being dependent on others. This causes them to constantly assess outside threats and covering up their internal vulnerabilities. They will size up and compare their strengths against others.  They are skilled at how to will project their strengths to intimidate or increase their desirability.

Value and Self-Worth

When Eights look in the mirror they see their bodies as weak or strong depending on the environment that surrounds them. They strive to maintain strength, control, and independence, and see the body as means to obtain what they need and want.

Type Eights consider themselves to be strong, desirable, and “above average” in most things.  They tend to feel that they are deserving of the best in life. They are confident in their ability to obtain wealth, prestige, and supporting partners. They look for challenges in life and face them head-on. They often enjoy and perform dangerous or adventurous physical feats such as mountain climbing or adventure travel. It is common for them to “party hard” or live “life in the fast lane.”

Despite Type Eights reverence for strength and physical dominance they are also very accepting of their physical state and will look to achieve their goals in other ways if needed. So highlighting optimum health as sexy and powerful is key to motivating Type Eights to be physically fit. It is easier to stay in control of any situation and be less vulnerable when a Type Eight is “in-shape.”



Type Eights over-express their instincts and are keenly aware of their physical urges and desires. They have strong, lustful, cravings regarding food. They match their intense cravings with a passionate energy in obtaining or satisfying their craving. In this way they are prone to overindulging themselves as temptations cross their path.

Enneagram Type 8 Favorite Foods

Type Eights live for cravings, and will literally lust after certain foods at certain times. They know what they want and know how to get it fast. When asked to describe what foods they like, they will be able to tell you specifics about the food, as well as the preparation or presentation that they like. Eights can be very entertaining because it is like they are trying to “squeeze the juice out of life.” Their eating style is no different — They want their food to be big, bold, striking, tantalizing and sexy.

Type Eights’ problems with overeating tend to be that they “eat big,” feel deserving of high calorie foods, may have unconscious eating competitions with others. The online book, “Your Fat, Your Fault,” suggests that their food metaphor is that food is like battle preparative, build up to battle, a way to run from weakness, and food is for strength.

Food Shopping Style

Type Eights enjoy shopping and do it with gusto. A shopping experience for them is like licking their lips before a feast. Eights want to be stimulated and teased regarding the products they buy. They want to have the products sold and presented to them in a way that highlights the product’s desirability — that way it is more satisfying when they get it. It also soothes their internal question of “what do I want today” or “what is my passion today.”

Meal Setting, Preparation, and Presentation

Eights are happy to feast in a group setting and try to control the group to their liking. They may invite a select group of friends out to lunch and be angry if there are “no-shows.”  If they are preparing food, then they are often quite particular about it. They take extra time and effort to improve the taste by seasoning, pounding, peeling, searing, heating to the right temperature, or letting the wine settle. Eights know that this additional effort in making the food more tantalizing ensures that the food will taste better — for food and for taste, perception is truly a reality. At home they may eat foods in a certain order to enjoy them “even more.” If at home and there is nothing that strikes their fancy, then they are more likely than other Types to go out and get it.

Food Decision Factors

Eights choose bold large orders. They choose whatever is the biggest and best meal on the menu. They often make their food choices with reckless abandon. They are not concerned about health or how they will feel afterward. Eights, more than other types, have less guilt associated with their food choices.



Emotional Eating Pattern

When Type Eights feel weak or controlled by others, stuck in a situation, or in circumstances beyond their control they tend to eat a lot or eat rather mindlessly. These bouts of binging are oftentimes associated with an argument or fight. This could be seen as a comparatively healthy alternative to diffusing their anger instead of blowing up on someone, however, it can cause unnecessary calories to build up.

Hidden Calories

Eights pack on the calories during social situations, while partying, up all night, or before stressful events. All types experience these judgment lapses, but because Eights are so extroverted, aggressive and willing to burn the candle at both ends, they do it more than the other types. Eights must also beware when they are in an inadvertent eating competition — this occurs when two guys are eating next to one another or order the same large meal.

Lifestyle Eating

Type Eights’ big personalities revel in party atmospheres. They thrive on excitement and stimulation but they also partake in most indulgence that cross their path during these times. Type Eights looking to slim down are probably keenly aware that this is a problem for them as they tend to have good personal insight.

Ordering Style

Type Eights make eating out a production. They may order for others so that they can taste others’ food and show dominance over others. They usually look at the menu and ask for it to be altered in some way as to get more than what is offered. This may include bargaining with the waiter or manager. They may even show up unashamedly late to dinner, arriving on their own convenient time.

Representative Meal

The foods and settings that best represent Type Eights are big steaks dinners or large elaborate meals with an order that got special treatment or was not on the menu. They enjoy getting more than for what they originally paid.


In regards to Types Eights adopting food changes into their diet, they are at the command of their lustful urges and dislike being controlled or boxed into set of rules. The key is that they feel in control of their diet. They do best by practicing gratification delay, maintaining choice freedom but exercise portion control.



Exercise Motivation

Eights fitness motivation, when viewed in terms of their basic fears of being harmed or controlled by others, translates into Eights wanting to be strong, resilient and independent. Eights long to be big so that they can always win the fight if it turned physical. In the end, Eights motivation when driven by their fears may not be long lasting. The key to long lasting fitness for the Eight is to utilize the motivation behind their basic desire — wanting to determine their own course in life.  Eights must realize that they may be working out based on this desire so that if they feel comfortable they may stop their fitness routines. For example, if they are financially powerful they may be less concerned with physicality. Eights are willing to push themselves to get what they want, but if they are already comfortable and in control then they lose their workout motivation. In terms of an on-going workout program, Type Eights will often feel unexcited unless it is related to others or competition.

Baseline Activity Level

Type Eights enjoy making their mark on their environment and letting their presence be known. This often translates into pure physicality and showing off in front of others. This “big dog” attitude oftentimes keeps their day-to-day energy expenditure high.

Favorite Exercise and Exercise Environment

Eights look to build muscle mass and prefer strength training to aerobic activities. They revel in the feeling of strength and power and enjoy powerlifting. Eights also enjoy combative/fighting sports such as martial arts geared to street fighting, boxing and wrestling. They enjoy contact sports such as football, lacrosse and rugby. Also, Eights tend to enjoy extreme sports with a danger element such as high mountain climbing or parachuting. These dangerous feats are like trophies to show to others.

Eights are adaptable to most environments, but will chose the “Best” available and intimidate others to get the best available spot. Eights will not let poor exercise amenities be an excuse for them to not exercise. If possible they incorporate competition, motivational music, exercise events that are extremely challenging or have a danger element to them — it makes them feel stronger.

Exercise Personality Limitations

Eights are extroverts and tend to exercise with others, but they also see themselves as center of their social circle causing thing to happen on “their time.” If they have no workout partner or limited resources they can do whatever it takes to achieve their goals — an example is a lonely prison workout with concrete blocks. They thrive on competition of others and may stop seeking a goal once they have beaten out the competitors.




Eights are willing to try new things but it is not the hallmark of their personality. They do not like to be forced into new situations. As long as they are in control and are seeking out variety then it is exciting for the Eight.


Type Eights are dedicated to success but this is highly dependent on their perceived threats and vulnerabilities. If they feel they must meet a certain level of fitness to face a specific challenge then they will complete their goal. If the motivation is simply for personal fitness they may become more distracted with other competing, more pleasurable, activities.


Eights push themselves during the pain of exercise, especially in relation to others. They like others to know they are tough.



Eights have a knack for procrastinating when they are feeling forced to do something. They want to do things on their own time, when they are ready.

Pre-Exercise Anxiety

Eights are energized by a challenge and the pre-performance jitters usually works towards their favor. Eights handle this feeling much better, on average, than other types.

Exercise Performance Anxiety

If Eights feel they are outmatched or simply out of shape, then will feel anxious about exercise in front of others. They may feel compelled to workout alone in these instances. In the end, however, a team or group is more likely to get the Type Eight exercising consistently.

Post-Performance Guilt

If the Type Eight felt significantly beaten, they may sulk or plot revenge. They may feel significantly upset that others witnessed their vulnerability. A key in healthy development is to be able to show their vulnerable side and be OK with it — there is always a bigger fish or a younger buck.

Learn About Diet Strengths and Skills for Type Eight

By Dr. Scott Harrington

JUN 2012