How can we curb the spread of stigma against the overweight?

In a New York Times article called “Spreading Fat Stigma Around the Globe,” it’s being demonstrated that cultural views of obesity are becoming more and more negative. Even in cultures like Puerto Rico where the ideal of beauty has more curves, the tide of public perception about obesity is turning; an increasing number of people are perceiving overweight people as lazy as opposed to being perceived as suffering from a condition resulting from genetic and social circumstances.

It’s easy to be judgmental about an overweight person, especially if their condition is unpleasant or inconvenient for you. But it’s important to remember that genetic factors play an enormous role in a person’s weight, and that losing excess weight takes a great deal of discipline and self-control. Stigmatizing obesity will not help: shame is never a good motivator.

What can you do to avoid developing a judgmental attitude towards the overweight?

  1. Stay respectful towards others by constantly trying to empathize with them. Think about things you’re ashamed of and how mortified you’d be if someone were to draw attention to them. Don’t dwell on this, but at least keep it in mind.
  2. Be polite to overweight people, even if they inconvenience you in some way. For example, many people can recall an occasion where they’ve had to sit next to one on a crowded plane or bus. If your “space” is invaded, consider whether you can politely ask them to move slightly, or if you can discretely ask a flight attendant if you could switch seats. But do not allow yourself to grow rude or impatient as this would further propagate disrespect of the overweight.
  3. Don’t ever draw attention to an obese person’s appearance, which could make the problem worse by raising their levels of self-consciousness.

Resist the temptation to negatively judge others. Obesity is an epidemic, and shaming its victims is counterproductive and belittling. More importantly, it’s never productive to cultivate judgmental attitudes about others, even internally.

What are your thoughts?


Get It Going

Today I feel like talking about MOMENTUM.

In the blog series introduction I described momentum as:

MOMENTUM: What allows us to get unstuck? How can you become a person who sees what’s next and JUMPS into the opportunity with full force? We will discuss the Full Life Achilles® Plan which gives you a method to advance your goals in an organized, energized, and incremental fashion.

It is a pleasure for me to see a new coaching client who comes in determined to start planning and implementing the next phase of their career or life.

I think people turn to coaching when they have had it with feeling “stuck” in some aspect of career or life. “Hitting bottom” is when they are finally determined to move forward in their life. Bottom, however, is different for each person. One person’s bottom is not enough for another person to engage. Another common situation I see is when a client knows exactly what they want to do and they can’t seem to implement their next step goals (which I call their Achilles Plan). So we try to figure out what is blocking their pursuit of their vision. Together, we investigate what is holding them back. Is it fear of the unfamiliar or the new? Or just unexplainable inertia…? Sometimes they find it difficult to implement their vision of the career they deeply want; dating with the intention of a great relationship; or making a relationship a vibrant one instead of a mediocre one. One of my clients told me to add that sometimes there is resistance because one is not sure getting their goal is really going to make a big difference anyway. Pessimism she says needs to be managed as well, if it is a bad habit.

Once we make a hypothesis regarding why a client is blocked from reaching his or her next step, we use the Achilles plan to invigorate their goal implementation by:

1. Changing some environmental factor which gets them to go for new goals. For example, sometimes a 3-day vacation can inspire someone to move forward;

2. We break all goals down to smaller doable goals;

3. We simply wait for the client to go for the next step and encourage him or her to reach out for the goal they seek.

When I need more momentum in some area of work or life, I think about what is holding me back, and then make a plan to stimulate my pressing onward. It could be talking to a friend, a mentor, taking a course, reading a book, going for a bike ride, watching a great movie, working out, or putting something in place that encourages me to move forward. For example, an accountability step, like telling someone I know what I seek to do and asking them to follow-up with me and see if I did it. Another client mentioned that they find brief goal list left on the breakfast table and in the car are really helpful ways of staying focused on what you want.

OK…so take action right now in charging up your momentum with one of the tips discussed here.

How about you? In what ways do you create or maintain momentum that you can share below with others?


You Can’t Prevent Disappointment

Nobody likes being disappointed. It sucks. Whether at work or in life.

During the past few days, Tony Robbins, the virtual god of coaching, was suddenly dropped by NBC, canceling his new television show after only 2 episodes. The news was unexpected for a man who takes pride in his effectiveness in helping others be successful. Suddenly, many American people were not interested in viewing the show. Yet he models resilience by still taking pride in the show: “I am grateful for the reach and experience that the specials created.”NYTimes

If you bravely open your eyes, disappointment strikes multiple times every day. It can be when you are let down by a colleague, a customer, a vendor, or yourself. It can be a sale that doesn’t close; a business plan that does not pan; a talk you give that fails to inspire.

I get disappointed all the time as an entrepreneur. For example, when my book was published this past year, with the launch parties and press, I thought that EVERYONE would get interested in coaching. Instead I found that the smaller but steady flow of clients still allowed Full Life to thrive. Also, when I opened the center 8 years ago, I thought thousands would come for coaching. Many did, but it is common for a business person to think huge things may happen right away. My experience is that usually incremental steps do occur. I never like disappointments, but I have learned to see and feel them, and then go on with a great attitude.

Many clients wonder how to develop a thicker skin. You might consider the following steps of how to modify your thinking in order to build resilience:

1. Expect disappointments and failures so you are not surprised when they occur;

2. Pursue life balance so your confidence is not based only at work;

3. Live for your passion and do the things at work you love;

4. Let the warrior in you come out so no one can bring you down; and

5. Persist, persist, persist.

So remember to take pride in all you do and weather the disappointments with courage and conviction. Don’t try to control everything. Keep going and dare to be disappointed and sometimes fail multiple times, tomorrow, and every day.

Let me know your thoughts about disappointment and share this with friends and colleagues who would be interested in this dialogue.


HBO In Treatment This Week: April

Session 7:

April lets Paul know it is her last session. Before letting him know she believes he saved her life, she loses her temper at one point and calls him an a******. He takes it with his head down and she asks him why he allows her to mistreat him. She wonders how can he teach her about the real world if he takes her abuse. She is right to point out his unnecessary masochism; he could be setting limits on her abusive behavior, but then he would be a coach.

What he does demonstrate as well- a quality of the best therapists and coaches- is a tremendous caring and empathy toward April. It is almost a love that creates a healing cocoon for April to help her move through chemo and hopefully back to wellness. Paul does have a coach inside him, but he comes from the school of the “talking cure” of therapy. April corrects him and carries out the “walking cure”; she is actually leaving therapy. It appears that Paul’s wounded self made her feel safe, but also got her to take responsibility for healing and getting on with life.


Launching the FYT Book

Fire Your Therapist (FYT) will be launching in bookstores July 6! It is difficult to believe after so many years of it being a work in progress. It is available for pre-sale on at the present time. The publisher says that anyone buying the book now helps out a lot because larger numbers of books will be ordered if they see people are buying it now. I deeply appreciate anyone doing this.

Some good news came in this week: FYT will be available as a book on CD and in downloadable form. The only challenge here is I now have to spend four or five full days reading the book in a studio. I did the first day today…

Lastly, the Chicago launch party for FYT will be on a summer’s night in July. More on this later…


HBO In Treatment This Week: Gina

As tedious as the bickering between Gina and Paul is, I was excited to see Gina make the ever-common judgment of coaching as “giving advice” and as somehow less effective than the “amazing” methods of therapy. I find this to be a very common defense among therapists; to generalize and gloat over the supposed superficiality of coaching. Well, I have news for therapists who speak this way about coaching: you will soon realize that coaching offers so much more than therapy . Coaching is deep, it is comprehensive, it is affirming, it is creative, it is multidimensional; it offers so much more to a bright client than therapy. Just like a therapist’s makes interpretations and judgments about a client, a therapist judging coaching is simply more of the same. My book Fire Your Therapist -coming out July 6th and available for preorder on Amazon now- goes into to detail describing the value-added benefits of coaching for bright, normal people. will be launching this week; in the meantime, you can check out the FYT page on

It is reassuring that a show on therapy, however dated, at least had a brief conversation about coaching.


HBO In Treatment This Week: April

In this episode Paul is master coach and therapist. April is enraged that he broke what is known in the therapy field as “neutrality” and told April’s mother that her daughter is very ill and is being treated for cancer. April sees his meeting with her mother as a violation of her wishes. She wants to end therapy (but not really of course). The coach and parent in Paul felt that her mother needed to know and he told her. The master therapist in Paul then spent the session helping her to see that black and white approaches tend not to work, perfection is unattainable, and life is messy. Her father comes through for her by buying her a blanket; her mother is at bedside when she awakens. For a moment she feels that everything is ok again; it isn’t OK but she is no longer alone. She has her parents and Paul to help. Paul comes through for April by doing the right thing and by clearly demonstrating authentic caring and concern. At the end of the session she asks Paul to help her stand up from sitting. It is the metaphor of the session, Paul helps her stand tall — with all her wonderful mess.


HBO’s In Treatment This Week: Gina

This week, Paul goes to his own therapist/supervisor. I realized what bugs me about his therapist (played by great actress Dianne Wiest); she is the traditional all knowing, wise, patronizing therapist while Paul takes on this whiny groveling-patient role. The myth of the therapist’s interpretations is that they are all-knowing. The show’s script is written so she can completely have Paul figured out and cause him to be dependent on her. She tells him only she possesses the “binoculars” to “see” him. This fosters a dependence and disempowerment of Paul. Why does Paul turn into this groveling sad guy as a patient while he is a gifted empowering therapist with his patients most of the time?

Coaching instead makes humble hypotheses at times and tests them. The coach facilitates the client achieving their vision and goals. When a coach is a client, he hopefully discovers the same humility in the supervisor to whom he turns to for coaching and supervision.

The one useful thing Gina points out is that love is the only way to get at death. So maybe she is pretty smart….


HBO’s In Treatment This Week: Mia

This week Paul plays the virtuoso role of the interpreting therapist. Mia barges into her session by pushing into his private kitchen and forcing her therapist to have breakfast with her. She reveals that she slept with two strange men and then did her father’s laundry when he came over to see her. Paul brilliantly weaves his theories of Mia seeking men who disappoint her dating back to her own father. Step by step the dialogue is written brilliantly with Mia admitting at the end that she really just wants someone to come home to.

Coaching would help Mia come to the same conclusion and then help her with dating skills to meet the right person. The emphasis on dating skills versus the therapist’s ego and interpretation are the issue here. It does not take rocket science to witness someone be self destructive. But it is a more humble gift to actively emphasize skill-building for Mia to open the real possibility of not being alone.


HBO In Treatment This Week: April

This week Paul finally acts like a coach the entire session. Young April is taking care of her autistic and suicidal brother, while she is letting her self-centered mother off the hook. Worse yet, she is ignoring her own need to begin chemo for her lymphoma. Paul insists that she begin chemo. He finally offers to go to the hospital with her to initiate treatment. She is unable to tell her mother she has cancer, and she accepts Paul’s offer. A moving and excellent coach he is (this week).


© 2016 Full Life LLC All Rights Reserved