Just say what?

One of the most cynical utterances of the century came from Nancy Reagan and her famous "just say no" as a mainstay of the government's drug program.

Well, why don't you just say no? Because when you do, it doesn't work. Will power is encouraged by parents, teachers and clergy, but hungry people find their admonishing remarkably ineffective.

That's why I use the Enneagram to help people with their weight. The Enneagram is about the inner real motives that prompt us to do what we do. We all have an unconscious program that strongly urges us to pursue certain goals and ignore others. It starts with a focus of intention.

Now focus is a slippery thing. Whatever we focus on tends to increase. If all you think about is social acceptance, you develop appropriate skills to make you acceptable. But if your focus is money, that will increase.

But focus is not always conscious. We have an unconscious focus that the Enneagram brings to light. If the unconscious focus is on pleasing people, then if they offer us food, that focus will easily and routinely override out conscious focus on limiting our food. If one is cooking for others, she will provide the amount and kind of food they like. Her unconscious goal is to please them; her own needs will be considered secondary. And when she provides an abundance of tasty but fattening foods (because that's what they like), she will want to join them. And so she will. And so she won't adhere to her conscious focus until it is too late and guilt sets in. But she'll do the same thing the next day and then say that she just can't seem to diet.

    What do you think your focus is? Here are Nine choices:

  1. Self-improvement.
  2. Meeting others' needs.
  3. Getting recognized.
  4. Being authentic.
  5. Becoming wise.
  6. Staying safe.
  7. Freedom.
  8. Power.
  9. Comfort.

Pick a number. That's your Enneagram style. Don't you wish it were that simple?