If you are struggling with weight issues and constantly jumping from one diet, or healthy eating plan to another while frequently sabotaging yourself with lots of snacks and guilt trips in between it is quite possible you have a little goblin sitting on your shoulder whispering in your ear.
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It might not be a goblin. It could be a little red devil with a forked tail. or a cheeky little monkey. It could also be a little replica of a family member – your mother, your father, a sibling or someone else who has had a significant input in your life. They may be an echo of your childhood, saying things like ‘waste not want not’. or clear your plate, there are millions starving in the world.
I wonder it this sounds familiar for example.
You are in the supermarket doing the weekly shop and maybe you have decided that you are going to do a good healthy shop with lots of sensible and tasty choices. You won’t go down the sweet aisle at all. You won’t be sidetracked by high fat ready meals, biscuits or cakes.
And then you see an excellent offer – 2 packs of chocolate digestives for the price of one; or you see a new brand of dessert that looks absolutely gorgeous and is lower in calories that some of the others; or you even just spot a bottle of your favorite wine reduced. Suddenly that little character rears his head and starts whispering in your ear. “Just one won’t hurt’ “Well you HAVE been good…”. “Come off it, you are never going to lose weight, you might as well give up and enjoy yourself”
For some people it is just a voice in their head, but however this situation manifests itself, most people find themselves in some sort of internal conflict that causes them to sabotage their own success. It doesn’t just happen in weight-loss either.
So how can you deal with that troublesome inner voice or that hidden demon? The techniques below are based on a well recognised NLP process. This is an adaptation of that process for you to try on your own.
1. Identify the ‘part’
Find yourself somewhere quiet and peaceful and get a sense of what exactly the person or thing that speaks to you and sabotages you looks like, sounds like, or feels like. Sometimes it can help to invite it out, to sit on your hand.
2. Recognize that it is there for a positive reason and find out what it is
In Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) we teach that everything the unconscious mind does has a positive intent for you. So no matter what damage that little voice appears to be doing to your morale, your confidence, or you ability to stick to a diet, accept that on some level there is a positive reason.
Maybe it is trying to protect you from disappointment. Maybe it knows that you get pleasure from certain foods and wants to encourage that. Ask the little fellow exactly what it is trying to achieve that is positive.
3. Appreciate it for trying to help
All the time this part of you has felt like it was working against you. Now that you can recognize a positive purpose, you can appreciate and thank it for helping. Say to your inner voice ‘Thank you. I appreciate the positive intent that you have for me’.
4. Ask it to find some other ways to fulfill that positive purpose
Ask your inner demon or goblin to come up with three other ways that it could fulfill that same positive purpose, that would serve you better and help you achieve your weight-loss goal.
For example it might come up with treating yourself with some favorite fruit; being strong and not being influenced by marketing strategies; or looking forward to giving yourself a pat on the back for not giving in to temptation.
It’s really important that whatever these new strategies are, they come from this other part of you, and that you continue to appreciate the original positive intent of this part.
5. Imagine in the future using these new techniques that the part has suggested
When you have the three suggestions, decide which of them are most likely to help you achieve your goal and imagine the part implementing them in a future situation. Test it out in your head and see if you are comfortable with it. Make sure it really is going to improve things. There is no point in substituting an ineffective strategy for another that is equally bad, or worse.
6. Check that there are no other objections to using these new strategies in future
Ask yourself, does it do less harm? Does it adversely affect anybody else? Is it safe and healthy? What other consequences can there be? If the answer to any of these questions is that it is inappropriate then go back and ask for more suggestions.
Next time you find yourself in a similar situation in the future listen out for that inner voice or hidden person and see if they give you new and better suggestions, or maybe you will find that you just naturally behave differently.