The Devil inside / Peeling your onion

Remember the little devils and angels that appear on characters’ shoulders in Disney cartoons and whisper sweet nothings in their ears? We’ve all got our own version of those devils and angels—inner voices that try to talk us into (and out of) decisions and actions that we know might be bad for us.

No doubt you’ll hear those voices regularly as you progress on your weight loss journey. Don’t let them put you off—remember, there’s no single “right” way to lose weight and get healthy. You have to figure out what works best for youon a practical, physical, and psychological level, and that means knowing your inner devil and angel—and knowing how best to respond to them.

The best way to do this is by considering the onion principle. Onions, like people, have many layers. The deeper you go, the closer you get to the core:

The outer layers of the onion are the layers we display to others.
The middle layers of the onion is where we keep those attitudes and beliefs that we prefer to hold beneath the surface, and our enduring behaviours.
The core of the onion is where our deepest energies and desires lie. This is where we keep our true beliefs and values.

The onion analogy was initially devised by two psychology professors, Irwin Altman and Dalmas Taylor, as a way of exploring how people move from non-intimate to intimate relationships. But it’s just as applicable to weight loss. Imagine your weight loss journey as like an onion: the further you go, the closer you’ll get to that all-important inner layer that gives you the motivation and consistency you need to achieve successful, lasting weight loss.

So what do onions have to do with devils and angels? The more layers of your onion you unpeel, the better you’ll know yourself—and know how to combat your devil and side with your angel!

Use the table below to record the sorts of things you devil and angel might say while you’re on your weight loss journey. For example, your devil might tell you to go ahead and have that chocolate bar after lunch; your angel might tell you to have an apple instead:

My devil says…My angel says…How will I respond?

Next, fill in your onion diagram. This might help you complete the “how will I respond?’ section of the above table.

Consider the values and beliefs that make up the core of your onion. How can they help you deal with your inner angel and devil? How can you use them to your advantage during your weight loss journey?