I am going to show you what time vampires are, why they create weight gain, and what you can do about it.

Watch this video of a time vampire boss at his incompetent worst:

This Halloween there is one kind of ghoul that won’t be coming round your house trick or treating – because they are already living in your head. But never fear – this article is much more liberating than it is scary, because casting the light of your awareness onto these creatures weakens them immediately.

David Brent (shown above) is a time vampire, as is anyone or thing that demands far too much of your time and energy for the financial or emotional ROI it offers. 

The friend or relative who is constantly asking you to help do task X.

The pointless job at work that you have to do just because the boss likes things done that way, even though there is a far better alternative. 

Sometimes this is appropriate or temporarily unavoidable. Babies tend to be rather time consuming, as is grief or any big life change that you haven’t chosen. Your workplace gets notice of an inspection next week and your weekend disappears in a puff of smoke. Your best friend’s marriage implodes and she needs to talk about it – alot.

Acceptance is what is needed at times like these.

However, some time vampires try to take up residence in your head on a permanent basis. Your friend who interrupts your news about your promotion to drone on about her ex a year after the split. Your family who all just assume that you can visit Aunty Muriel in her nursing home every Saturday forever, because you don’t work on the weekend (translation: because you are female). The salesman who won’t let you get off the phone. Every call you have ever endured about that accident you supposedly had in the last 3 years. A boss who, like David Brent, is just plain incompetant. 99% of the time, these vampires have absolutely no idea of the effect they have on others. We have probably all been someone else’s time vampires at one time or another.

I can see you nodding your head. 

So how do time vampires make you fat, or aggravate your eating problems?

Because often eating is a way of accepting the unacceptable. I remember clearly that feeling of stuffing down rage at X Y or Z by literally cramming my mouth full of mood altering junk. It plastered a fake kind of calm over the anger (for about 15 minutes). But it also stopped me speaking my truth – literally – occupied as my mouth was with inhaling food (and I use that term loosely) at a speed Road Runner would be jealous of.

Of course the next question is: why feel the need to accept the unacceptable? When I ask clients this question, their first response is often to make excuses for the time vampire. They’ve had a hard life. I could never get another job. I haven’t got the energy. I hate conflict.

What is clear is that while all these reasons may sound reasonable, they don’t help my clients change the situation. They may as well loosen their shirt and offer their neck to the vampire. It must be lunchtime – why don’t you suck some more of my time away? 

And this is where we come to the solution to the problem of time vampires, not just as regards your eating and weight, but your precious life force.

The truth is that time vampires can only suck you dry if you let them. You are not some passive victim and this is not a B movie.

This is in fact a great opportunity, if you are willing to take responsibility for your own life.

You can question your boss on their ineffective practices.

You can start looking for another job.

You can tell Susi that you don’t feel her talking about her ex all the time is good for either of you.

You can refuse to visit Aunty Muriel one Saturday.

None of this will be pleasant. Don’t bet on the time vampire smiling and suddenly getting an attack of reasonableness. You might be lucky, but I think that the challenge time vampires present is a very empowering one  – not having to please the world. The very fact that you have spent so long allowing their needs to override yours means that it is time to say no.

Saying no is scary, but it means you not only get your time back, but your boundaries and energy. Food stops being the fall guy for people pleasing. You become the person that the office moaner avoids because he knows you won’t put up with his whining. Calling people out on their time vampire behaviour has got me dropped like a lead balloon and stabbed in the back – but it also freed up my time and energy, drastically reduced inflammation in my joints and gave me a massive sense of possibility when I was setting my coaching practice up – as it still does today.

Stop colluding with time vampires and guard your time and energy like the precious resources they are.

If you are interested in exploring how one-to-one coaching could help you shed weight and reduce up to 95% of your compulsive eating without feeling deprived or bad about yourself, start by taking the eating assessment here. I will give you personalised feedback within 3 working days.

Harriet Morris