A seemingly endless cycle of diets. Feeling guilty about last night’s pasta dinner. And the dessert that followed. Looking in the mirror and being upset at what you see. We’ve all been there. And if you haven’t, you’re the exception. Plus, with the never-ending number of diet plans out there (Keto, Paleo, Whole30, intermittent fasting…need we go on?), finding what works for you feels almost impossible.
Dana James has worked with thousands of women who share these experiences. She’s talked to countless women who, despite their intelligence, drive, and overall badassery, struggle with food and their own bodies. As a nutritionist and behavioral therapist, Dana began to explore the underlying causes of these unhealthy habits and mindsets. And she began to notice some significant patterns. She found correlations between women’s personalities, what they value, their eating behaviors, and their body types. Pretty mind-blowing, right?
The Archetype Diet
With the realization that women’s food habits and body types are dictated by where they derive their self-worth, Dana developed four female archetypes to help women guide their food choices. The four archetypes are breakdowns of different types of women, and are not only about how we approach life, but how we each approach food.
In her new book The Archetype Diet, Dana explains how to break our unhealthy behaviors by targeting the problem at its source: the subconscious thoughts that cause you to interact with food the way you do. Dana then takes that information and applies a holistic approach to eating and lifestyle habits which you can begin integrating into your life immediately.
What’s so fascinating to us is that once you truly understand some of these connections on an emotional level, it’s easier to make changes that actually stick. We summarized the four basic archetypes below, but you’ll get a much more detailed profile when you take Dana’s archetype quiz yourself.
The Four Archetypes
The Femme Fatale
She bases her worth on her appearance and can be obsessive about food and exercise. She spends a lot of time thinking about she what will (and won’t) eat, sometimes engaging in compulsive or restrictive behaviors. If she’s not feeling beautiful, the Femme Fatale can become depressed or anti-social.
Highly sensitive, spiritual, and intuitive, the Ethereal places value on creativity. She can distance herself emotionally from others and might have trouble focusing. The Ethereal might use food to numb her strong emotions. She could benefit from foods that help ground her, like root vegetables and healthy carbs.
The Wonder Woman
Hyper-focused on career achievements, the Wonder Woman is charming and easily fits into any situation. But she’s overworked, needs lots of recognition, and could loosen up a little. She’s a reward eater (and drinker) who would benefit from a balanced diet and meditation.
The friend who’s always there, the Nurturer is a people-pleaser and often prioritizes others instead of herself. She prefers comfort food and might be a secret eater, stashing food for times when she’s alone. She needs more protein and healthy fats.
It’s worth noting that your archetype reflects your dominant traits; you can also have a second archetype that influences your behavior, in a more subtle way.
So, you know your archetype. What now?
Finding out your archetype is just the first step, according to Dana. With this newfound insight into your behavior patterns and where they stem from, you have a starting point to get your body and mind into a balanced, healthy state.
Based on whether you treat food as a source of comfort, reward, or as a way to numb emotions, you can begin to address the issues and nourish yourself properly. Dana lays out recommended lifestyle changes, recipes, and a meal plan in her book—all targeted to each of the four archetypes. Armed with these tools, you can feed your body’s unique chemistry and develop a more healthy, long-lasting relationship with food. No more revolving door of diets!
Image via the female archetype quiz. We took it and a couple of us were surprised to find out we’re Wonder Women!
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