Board certified nutritionist and functional medicine practitioner Dana James has worked with over 3000 women, helping them lose weight and achieve overall wellness. Many of these women have tried so many diets, without long-term success. In her new book, The Archetype Diet: Reclaim Your Self-Worth and Change the Shape of Your Body, James writes about the importance of understanding both the physical and the psychological component to weight loss. In the excerpt below, James describes four ways (archetypes) that women use to define their self-worth, and how these archetypes affect their weight loss goals.
“I know what I’m supposed to eat, but I just can’t seem to lose weight”
This is the most common refrain I hear from my female clients….In the more than ten years that I’ve been working with women, I have found that the number one factor that determines whether a woman will succeed on her diet–and be able to sustain it over time–is where she sources her self-worth from….
Identify Your Archetype
Through my work with clients, I have found that there are four primary ways that women derive their self-worth, which I have distilled into four essential archetypes. Archetypes, as defined by Carl Jung, are patterns of instinctual behavior. The first archetype is the Nurturer, who values herself on her ability to care for others. Whis this is a lovely and much-needed trait, if she is not conscious of her behaviors, she can end up prioritizing other people’s needs and feelings to the point where she is depleted and exhausted. The second archetype is the Wonder Woman, who is a powerful female that derives her sense of self from what she has achieved in life. But, in her quest to not be a “nobody,” she can become overwhelmed and emotionally disconnected from others. The thirds archetype is the sensual and playful Femme Fatale, who sources her self-worth from her physical body. This can make her incredibly alluring-but delibilitantly self-conscious. The fourth archetype is the Ethereal, who is dreamy and creative but highly sensitive to the world, making her feel discombobulated and anxious….
Although every woman is unique, my work with my female clients has helped me identify certain patterns within each archetype. Specifically, women who source their self-worth from the same place tend to approach food in similar ways. In practical terms this means that, if they are out of balance and using food as a coping mechanisms, they tend to suffer from the same physical imbalances and gain weight in the same way.
This discovery-the link between self-worth and body shape-made me realize that there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all diet plan. Women need customized programs in order to address their distinct goals and challenges from both a physical and psychological perspective. That is why I developed the Archetype Model, a road map of what to eat for weight loss, vitality, hormonal balance, and an overall sense of well-being. At its core, this model, which has become the foundation for how I treat all of my female clients, is about understanding why you eat the way you do (by identifying your archetype) and how that behavior affects your body. Then you adapt a food plan designed specifically for your archetype. The model also gives you the tools to examine how you came to source your self-worth in a particular way so you can free yourself from the hold that these beliefs had on you. The Archetype Model addresses the body and the mind, and it’s all backed up by science and psychology.
So, which archetype are you?
Nurturer: You are always there to care for others, kind and compassionate although this may come at the expense of your own self-care.
Wonder Woman: You are ambitious and you base your self-worth on your accomplishments. Your work often takes precedence over your diet.
Femme Fatale: You are sensual, strong, and alluring but you can be obsessed with your looks to the point that you can develop an unhealthy relationship with food.
Ethereal: Spiritual and intuitive, but highly sensitive to your environment so you can tend to eat to numb your reactions to the world.
Learn more on how to identify your archetype, get a detailed meal plan that will work best for you, as well as lifestyle and stress management advice in my book The Archetype Diet. Available on Amazon here.
Excerpted with permission by Dana James and Avery/Penguin Random House from The Archetype Diet: Reclaim Your Self-Worth and Change the Shape of Your Body.
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