When I decided to ditch the diets forever and completely change the way I approached weight-loss over a decade ago I realised that I had no idea where to start. For years, I had been living by other people's rules, beliefs and principles, without ever questioning them. I longed to be slim because that's what my mother, and society at large, had always told me would guarantee success and happiness. I did my best to avoid to fat and sugar because that's what the 'experts' constantly exhorted me to do. I was convinced that I was weak and pathetic every time I broke another diet with a binge because the diet companies and magazines told me all I had to do was have more willpower. All the decisions I made about what I ate and how I should look were based on someone else's opinion. In all those years of desperately trying to lose weight, it never occurred to me to turn to myself for the answers. When I started to tune in and question what I'd been doing on automatic pilot for all those years I discovered just how many 'shoulds' and 'musts' and 'ought tos' I lived my life by.
I'd get halfway through a meal and think: "I've had enough" only to hear the Gremlin sneer: "Rubbish! You finish what's on your plate. You mustn't waste food!"
I'd wake up in the morning and decide I wasn't hungry and the Gremlin would admonish: "You ought to have a proper breakfast. It's the most important meal of the day."
I'd have a row with my mum and the Gremlin would whisper seductively: "Go on, you should have some chocolate, it'll make you feel better."
I noticed just how much the Gremlin held me back, kept me stuck in unhelpful behaviours and managed to make me feel bad about myself. It dawned on me that in order to become my own Guru, I was going to have to deal with the Gremlin first.
So I learned to harness the power of the Guru inside me and make my own decisions. I created a new set of beliefs and rules and principles which were based on what I knew about myself, my personal experience and my instinct.
I decided that I'd rather throw food in the bin than throw it into my gob. Because I am not a dustbin.
I decided that I wouldn't have breakfast, or any other meal, if I wasn't hungry because I know that when I eat food I am not hungry for, I put on weight.
I decided to find other ways of making myself feel better after a row with my mum because I know that eating chocolate leaves me feeling even worse in the long run.
It takes courage and commitment to become your own Guru. The Gremlin doesn't give up easily. Today, after years of patient practice I've become very good at harnessing the power of the Guru in me to put the Gremlin in its place - quickly and effectively. And it's work in progress. The Gremlin is still there and pops up all over the place. When I notice that I am criticising myself or telling myself I should or must do something, I know that Gremlin is at work. I tune in, gather information, question and re-evaluate. If it helps me to get closer to my ideal of a healthy, balanced relationship with food and my body, I listen. If not, I choose to believe something else. Because I am my own Guru.
Calling all experienced Beyond Chocolaters. Join us on our Guru Day to discover how to harness the power of the Guru to put the Gremlin in its place...and much more. More information about the day...