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How to match your diet to your personality.

If a woman’s exploits with diets were chronicled on an episode of “Sex and the City,” the show’s fictional scribe Carrie Bradshaw may come to the same conclusion that registered dietitian and cognitive behavioral therapist Dana James has: It’s not food; it’s you. James’ new book, “The Archetype Diet” (Avery), divides women into four different...
Time: 19:29     Date: 12.06.2018
US Living News: How to match your diet to your personality. NY Post 24 - US News

James’ new book, “The Archetype Diet” (Avery), divides women into four different personality types: The comfort-eating “nurturer,” the reward-oriented “wonder woman,” the image-obsessed “femme fatale” and the can’t-seem-to-put-on-any-weight “ethereal.” Depending on her personality, James says, a woman tends to store fat in one of a variety of ways and has a particular eating behavior, and thus needs a unique diet catered to her.

Dana James divides women into four personalities in her new book.Caitlin Mitchell

“When you give a man a plan, he follows it. A woman has the influence of her emotions, and this makes being consistent more challenging,” says James, who divides her time between New York and Los Angeles and whose clients have in the past included actress Margot Robbie and, she says, several Victoria’s Secret models, none of whom she can name.

For Courtney Sansone, learning her dieting personality type was the first step toward tackling habits that weren’t working for her. Sansone, a 38-year-old client of James’, found out she was a femme fatale, an archetype described in the book as someone who is “sensual, alluring, playful and passionate” and whose constant concern with her appearance means she tends to fluctuate between restrictive diets and bingeing, leading the body to have difficulty regulating insulin and estrogen levels.

James suggested a protein-based diet heavy in vegetables and low in carbs for Sansone, who had previously avoided meat in an effort to get rid of what she called “a little belly pooch.” It worked. The New Jersey mother who works in corporate retail started eating meat again, cut back on cheese, and limited carbs to a couple times a week, while sticking to roughly the same exercise routine — and she finally saw her body shape change.

“I gained muscles in my arms, I have ab muscles, my butt is lifted,” says Sansone, who first met with James six years ago.

The four different personality archetypes, according to Dana James. NY Post photo composite

Elka Gruenberg was found to be a different archetype — a nurturer — but the 35-year-old from Long Island City was also successful working with James. Gruenberg, who works as a bra-fitting specialist, says she would be so busy with clients that she’d put off eating healthy snacks and meals and resort to eating sweets at the end of the day when she finally had a minute to herself.

“As part of my job, I take care of the women I work with, and there’s a lot of energy I give to them — so I hadn’t really prioritized my energy,” says Gruenberg.

James says nurturers such as Gruenberg tend to produce higher levels of insulin and estrogen, and store fat on hips and upper thighs, “which have more estrogen receptors than other parts of the body,” she writes. The nurturer diet is the most restrictive of all the archetypes: James recommends very limited carbs, since those can lead to further spikes in insulin. Instead, she advises nurturers to rely on healthy snacks between meals such as avocado, miso soup or pumpkin seeds and avoid dairy. They should eat red meat sparingly, but consume plenty of protein such as chicken or fish to “decrease … hormone-induced hunger.”

After about a year of working with James, Gruenberg has lost about 35 pounds. A key change was her breakfast: Instead of eating granola or oatmeal, she now she has a breakfast smoothie with a plant-based protein, frozen berries and almond milk.

Linda Andon either sticks to her diet perfectly or order wine and French fries.Victor Alcorn

Not all of the archetypes struggle with staying trim. The ethereal type tends to have trouble keeping on weight and is also extremely sensitive to everything around her, including different foods. James classified another client, Jenelle Manzi, a New York City Ballet dancer, as an ethereal. She was struggling with digestive issues. On James’ advice, she gave up gluten and dairy, introduced gut-balancing probiotic foods such as kimchi, and allowed herself what James calls “grounding” carbs, such as quinoa. Manzi says she feels much better.

“When you nourish your body with the foods your body likes and needs, everything starts to click into place,” says Manzi, a 20-something living on the Upper West Side. She adds that her body feels less inflamed.

For Linda Andon, whom James classifies as a wonder woman, the key to getting the body she wanted was all about letting go of her perfectionism. She’d tried just about everything before working with James — even weighing her meal portions — but her attitude got in the way: She saw every tiny dieting misstep as a major failure.

“The minute [I] eat something that’s not on the plan, [my] whole day is ruined. At dinner [I might] have a whole bottle of wine and french fries,” says the 39-year-old, who splits her time between the Hamptons and New York City and busies herself with entertaining friends and family. “Everything has to be perfect or it’s a total wreck and I’m not doing it at all.”

Professional ballet dancer Jenelle Manzi doesn’t tend to gain weight, but she has digestive issues.Tamara Beckwith

James recommended she work on de-stressing, while limiting carbs and dairy to cut back on inflammation and eating plenty of protein, including red meat once a week. Andon dropped 10 pounds in three months.

But as much as it might help to have a diet catered to one’s late-night bingeing habits or tendency to comfort eat, once labels start getting thrown into the mix, some dietitians are wary.

“When someone gets a label, [it can make her] insecure. Confidence levels drop, which plays a role in everything,” says Kellilyn Fierras, a Boston-based nutritionist and instructor at EverybodyFights boxing gym. “Women are sick of labels.”

James says that’s missing the point.

“This is to help women understand themselves better … It’s like a horoscope,” she says. “In fact, the ultimate goal is to de-label themselves. If people call it sexist, that’s a reflection on them, not on the model.”

Which archetype are you?

Take the quiz and find out what kind of eater you really are.

1. People describe you as: a. Loving, giving, kind and compassionate. b. Successful, smart, witty and dynamic. c. Attractive, sexy, sparkly and playful. d. Intuitive, sensitive, spiritual and creative.

2. When you go out to a nice restaurant, you order: a. Something a little carby, even though you know you shouldn’t. b. Whatever you want. After a long hard day, you deserve it! c. Not much; there’s no room for a poochy belly in that dress! d. A plate full of beans, rice and tortilla wraps — as your friends look on in envy.

3. The unhealthiest aspect of your relationship with food is: a. You’re a secret eater. You hide food from yourself only to “sneakily” eat it later in the day. b. You’re generally good during the day, but you can blow it at night. c. You think about food and what it will do to your body 80 percent of the time. d. You frequently forget to eat.

4. You tend to overeat when you’re feeling: a. Upset about something. b. Angry at someone, including yourself. c. Ugly and unattractive. d. Spacey and disconnected.

5. If you break your diet, it’s because: a. You don’t want people to think you’re a diva by ordering something different. b. You’ve had a tough day and want to tune out with food or alcohol. c. You’re frustrated with yourself. You aren’t losing weight fast enough. d. You’re feeling hypersensitive to the world and need carbs to dull the sensitivity.

Note how many you have for each answer. The highest score is your dominant archetype.

Mostly A’s: Nurturer

WireImage

You’re warm and caring and will drop anything to help others. Like Oprah, you give and give, but sometimes you’re left with no energy to take care of yourself.

Mostly B’s: Wonder woman

Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic

You’re extremely motivated by success and achievement. Like Hillary Clinton, you strive to be the best at everything you do, but your perfectionism can be a big source of stress.

Mostly C’s: Femme fatale

FilmMagic

You’re sensual, passionate and, like Kim Kardashian, will do whatever it takes to get a great selfie. But your vanity can lead you to diet erratically and unhealthily.

Mostly D’s: Ethereal

EPA

You’re whimsical and spiritual. Like the willowy Kate Moss, your weight isn’t an issue, but you tend to be sensitive to many things, including certain foods that can cause you pain and discomfort.

Excerpted from the book “The Archetype Diet,” by Dana James, published by Avery, an imprint of Penguin Random House

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