In Art Of Coaching Podcast, Podcasts

This was by far the hardest episode I’ve ever had to record. And yes, I phrase it that way purposefully; telling this story is something I very much view as a responsibility.

So where do I begin?

It’s true- at this point many people know bits and pieces of my story but there’s still much I haven’t shared. Today’s episode is the full, unabridged, unapologetic, uncensored saga of my hospitalization and subsequent recovery.

Compassion comes in many forms so I won’t bullshit you- today we’re going to discuss hard things. If you’re looking for someone to talk platitudes and cliches, you’re in the wrong place; if you’re ready for the hard truth and for tools to confront the condition, this one’s for you. 

Truthfully, today’s episode is one I wish I would have had when I was going through this myself.  

We’ll dive deep into the research, how the behavior develops in the first place (underlying causes and contributing factors), who’s most at risk and what does (and doesn’t work) when trying to work your way through it. Most importantly, I’ll address these factors from both sides: the caretaker and the individual going through it. 

Do me (and your loved ones) a favor and share this episode. There are people who need to hear this because they’ve been lied to, misled and shamed into thinking their eating or exercise disorder is abnormal. Not only that, these problems extend much further than we all realize and probably afflict countless people you know but who haven’t said anything to you about it. 

Lastly, if you or anyone you love are dealing with the issues discussed in this episode, please take a look at the links provided below- they are by no means a diagnostic tool or a sufficient solution but they can get you started:


For more on this story, check out my book- Conscious Coaching. 

Finally, we are hosting a free virtual workshop tomorrow, July 27th, 2021 at 3PM EST. This is a 60 minute strategy session for those who want help clarifying their niche, competitive advantage, message and audience!

Click here to register. 


Brett Bartholomew  0:00  

Thank you to Amp Human Momentous Saga Fitness and Versaclimber for sponsoring this episode. For more on what these partners can do for you visit And if you’d like to apply to partner with us, there’s an


Welcome to the Art of coaching podcast, a show aimed at getting to the core of what it takes to change attitudes, behaviors and outcomes in the weight room, boardroom classroom and everywhere in between. I’m your host, Brett Bartholomew, I’m a performance coach, keynote speaker and the author of the book conscious coaching. But most importantly, I’m a lifelong student interested in all aspects of human behavior and communication. I want to thank you for joining me and now let’s dive into today’s episode.


Hey, Brett here. Before we get started, I need to mention some critical disclaimers for today’s episode. It’s heavy. So if you’re somebody who has lost somebody to an eating disorder, depression, or the like, please be forewarned, we are diving into these topics. Also, I need to make it clear that I am not a physician, a registered dietitian, or a medical professional of any kind. So nothing shared in this episode should be taken as medical advice, a diagnosis or me telling you exactly what will work for your situation, or the situation of a loved one or somebody that you care for. In other words, please think critically while listening to this episode, and assume responsibility for your actions. With all that out of the way, here is something we can celebrate together. Regardless of how dark certain parts of your journey may be, or certain parts of this episode, and what you hear about my journey, maybe it all led me to some of the most meaningful parts of my life. And one of those parts is the business that I built and that I now share with my wife and my staff. And we are celebrating by hosting a live training on Tuesday, July 27 2021, at 3pm Eastern Standard Time, that’s New York time. And don’t overreact to the date and time. 


No matter where you’re at in the world or what you have going on. If you register as long as you’re registered, you will have access to the training that I’m doing for life, you will have digital access to it for life. So get over to That’s the c l a, r i t y, this moment, especially if you’re somebody who wants to make the most out of your experiences, your gifts, your perspective, all in the name of helping others. We are going to show you how to do that and so much more 


I can still smell it. Air absolutely saturated with this stale combination of sterilizers and sickness. I can see it hallways that are harshly lit with fluorescent lighting, obscuring any sense of day or night. I can hear it, the whispers of those charged with supervising us during their shift. And I can still feel it. The claustrophobia of being confined to this small room, surrounded by plexiglass with no more than 10 Strangers day in and day out. What I couldn’t seem to do at the time, however, was escape it. I mean, I was 15 years old, I was eight floors up and sequestered from anybody that I knew. And this was the reality of nearly a year of my life. Time spent in an eating disorder wing of a hospital in Minnesota, a place where everything we did I did was controlled to scripted screen and policed. A place where you weren’t allowed to stand for prolonged periods, fidget, chew gum, or even select what you wanted to watch on TV, let alone read, a place that was advertised as a treatment program whose goal was to help people yet in reality, it was more of an incubator for some kind of insidious behavior, a place where whatever passion and empathy much of the support staff were supposed to have, had clearly been replaced with cynicism selective attention. And what I can only describe as a propensity for providing pills to patients who really would have benefited more from true person to person interaction, as opposed to platitude no patient provider interactions. 


The latter really shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s experienced some aspect of the healthcare system in the United States when they found themselves in dire straits, a 2010 article alone focused on quantifying the economic impact of communication and efficiencies in US hospitals. And it showed that hospitals in the United States waste over 12 billion with a B per year as a result of inefficient communication. And that inefficient communication often leads physicians and nurses, people that are well intentioned, well meaning people that have done their due diligence, they deserve to be there to have the chance to care for others. But it’s led to them being more stress, often less effective, and far less personable, which all impacts a patient’s experience. And in some cases, the research shows even their prognosis. Don’t let me lose you here because this is critical to today’s episode. A little bit more research before we really dive in 


a 2005 paper published in the Journal of psycho oncology, looked at outcomes oriented approaches in order to define poor communication in that context. And what they saw is or what they defined as poor communication, as those verbal and nonverbal aspects of the relationship between a clinician and a patient, which have the potential to create unfavorable outcomes. Now the paper went on to state that it is universally recognized that communication exists as a ubiquitous and necessary entity in care delivery. That means, guys, for those of you that are maybe driving and kind of, you know, dividing your attention, what they’re showing, and what should be fairly obvious to us is, no matter the skill of the provider, no matter that technology, anything like that, they understand that communication is an absolute linchpin in terms of how any of that care is delivered. And it has the potential to really create this positive or negative experience that would either advance or deter more health outcomes. So even if somebody is getting the right treatment plan, if it’s not communicated appropriately, we are seeing billions of dollars wasted, we are seeing patients lose their lives, we are seeing people take the wrong medications, we are seeing the wrong treatment being implemented, we are seeing people not be reached. Now, thankfully, the authors of this paper and several others broke it down into human terms by saying poor communication can lead to a range of adverse events for the patient, the erosion of trust, misunderstanding of a disease, and for the clinician as well, such as malpractice lawsuits, and poor communication. Not only exerts those kinds of costs, but they exert costs that are potentially enormous, from a social, psychological, emotional, and other forms of collateral base cost to the patient support network, their family, and the like. In other words, poor communication is kind of apocalyptic, especially in times when we need it most. 


But all this aside, let’s be real about something for a moment, me ending up in the hospital that I mentioned in the beginning, was my fault. Nobody else’s, there’s no argument about that. But for the mother, the father, husband, wife, partner, caregiver, however, you want to describe yourself, listening to this, this particular episode, because they have someone who is going through, or experiencing an eating disorder, an exercise disorder, depression, something like that this sort of information that I told you about this research isn’t necessarily helpful, as a matter of fact, to me telling you that that much money is wasted. And that many issues are absolutely pervasive in our hospital and healthcare systems right now might even amplify your concerns for what your loved one is going through. If I’m 100%, honest with you, I hope somebody who’s actually going through this themselves, and perhaps already, maybe an out in an outpatient program, or an inpatient program is listening to this as well right now, because we’re going to dive into how you can overcome this, we’re gonna talk about the truth about overcoming eating and exercise disorders, even if you find yourself in a situation where you’re not getting great care. And it seems like nobody understands what you’re going through, because these are things that I experienced. So the rest of this episode is aimed at assuaging those issues, and helping those individuals both through me sharing my story, one that I’ve told, perhaps most explicitly in my book, conscious coaching, and also have discussed in a more truncated manner in other formats and other forms of media, as well as sharing things I’ve learned over the years through helping people that continue to struggle in this capacity. Because while some of you listening might know me through my work, working with professional athletes and military, or maybe you know me through my work that we’re doing with art of coaching, consulting with fortune 500 organizations and members have different political aspects. We’ve helped somebody work, run for mayor, we’ve helped members of the health care system, no matter how you’re familiar with me, this is really the roots of what got me here. This is the roots that what brought me into coaching to begin with my struggles in this space. 


Okay. And so, first off, let’s get a couple of things straight when we’re talking about eating disorders. They’re not a joke. It may have taken me 16 years to really open up about what I went through in my book. And it probably shouldn’t have taken me that long. why did it? This isn’t about me. But the simple fact is, guys, I grew up in an industry strengthing auditioning where it’s not about you, that is beaten into your head, you are a member of the support staff, you are there to support athletes, you’re to be seen not heard. I mean, this is a profession where you’re trying to get people bigger, faster, stronger. Everything is based upon this. You’re trying to turn people into superhumans and strength coaches are always supposed to have the answer. They’re supposed to be the sturdy shoulder. They’re supposed to be the people that have the program that’s going to get these individuals to the highest level. Now why? It’s shunned to show some personality show some weakness, show anything like that in this field is beyond me, especially because coaches are supposed to be relatable, are they not, they’re supposed to be relatable. Yet, just shortly before recording this episode, there was something put out on social media by a coach in the performance realm at a very well renowned, a university that said actually personality is the last thing they would hire for. And guys, that’s just troubling. Because if there’s one overarching theme, in this entire episodes, that personality is so much more complex, and we know it can be home and hearth for so many of our issues, it can be the thing that takes people that are technically skilled over the top and make them better. It can also be the thing that if it’s not the right fit, can take those people who are incredibly technically skilled or have the right education. In this case, they’ve gone through medical school, as well as other forms of formal education. And guess what, because they didn’t understand aspects of personality and human behavior. It puts people in dire straits, it limits the effectiveness of what they’re able to do. So this took me a while. And it’s gonna take a lot of people a while, because eating disorders are perceived as a female only issue, right? Or, hey, it’s just about the food, why can’t you just eat, or it’s just about people not wanting to be fat, all of these things are myths, guys, they’re missing. Frankly, I didn’t have a resource that cut through that kind of bullshit early enough for me. So I’m trying to do it for you. 


These misnomers, amongst many others are key contributors as to why so many people in these situations receive a one size fits all treatment, where those helping them out, become hyper focused on the symptoms and the things that they see, as opposed to focusing on the underlying issue. Because when it comes to an eating disorder, the majority of the time, I can’t speak for everybody, but the majority of the time, food isn’t even really the issue. It’s more of a controlling variable. Something that can be manipulated when the rest of somebody’s inner or outer world just doesn’t seem to be making sense to them. What’s more, eating disorders often accompany issues such as OCD, obsessive compulsive disorder, depression, anxiety, and this isn’t a chicken and egg issue. You know, those issues come about because they’re malnourished, and so they develop other forms of mental illness. Is it the other way is the eating disorder, a manifestation of those other forms of mental illness? There’s a lot of debates about this. But no two situations are exactly alike. Sure, they may be common threads, or there may be common threads rather. But the finished quilt is always going to look different. Now it’s something you need to know whether you’re going through this now, individually, or you’re that caregiver, or you’re just curious about this space. More and more research has also shown that eating disorders are not that different than other forms of addiction or dependency issues. This is something that’s really critical, because when people reach out to me, they act like this. It’s a distinctly different animal. It’s it’s got to be about the food. It’s got to be about this. They just love to exercise or they’re controlling calories. You know, collectively, they are behavioral disorders. Whether you’re talking about anorexia nervosa, whether you’re talking about bulimia, these are behavioral disorders, and behavioral disorders can stem from an interaction of biological, psychological and environmental factors. They are very complex. It’s not one thing. There is even some evidence suggesting these issues can be hereditary, hence the biological reference They may have just manifested themselves in other ways in different family members. I remember when I shared this with a member of my family. They said, well, that’s silly. Nobody else in our family had an eating disorder. Well, there are other members of our family that have addictive traits. And there are members of many other family guys, the only perfect family is the one you haven’t met yet. Everybody’s got something. Right. So they may have manifested themselves in other ways and different family members. 


You might know somebody in your family lineage that has dealt with mild depression, maybe an aunt or an uncle or a cousin. Maybe they have a predilection for a certain kinds of drug. Right? These drugs don’t always have to be hardcore. Certain people might have anger issues. So they rely on things like marijuana or what have you. It could be alcohol, risk seeking behavior, maybe they love doing extreme sports, and it gets a bit too extreme, sometimes bipolar disorder, or even just overwhelming anxiety, a mother that worries all the time. These things manifests themselves in a lot of different ways. It’s not that simple. As a matter of fact, a longitudinal study from the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that approximately 40 to 60% of the risk for anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and other binge eating disorders arises from genetic influence 40 to 60%. And this isn’t lei science, parts of that manuscript parts of that study were presented at the 2006 International Conference on eating disorders. I’ll say it again. It’s rarely the food or a desire to be thin. It’s the thing behind the thing. 


Let’s get even more specific. You see teens and adolescents see the highest prevalence of eating disorders. And in part, you know, because there’s so many different hormones. And there that let me rephrase this. In part, it’s because there’s so many hormones that are fluctuating within their body and these hormones impact mood, they impact decision making. Think of it like this, okay, and this may not be the best analogy, but I’ll explain. Those with sensitive skin are, of course more at risk for sunburns. Just as those who are going through adolescence are more at risk for issues, like behavioral problems, or drug and alcohol dependence you see in teens and adolescents, and I’m using this term a little bit loosely, because it shows in the research no matter what we think as teens or adolescents. When we think about our lessons, guys, it can range from 12 to 24 12 to 24. Now think of the magnificent difference you see in body types and individuals in that age range everything that they go through. But during adolescence, I’ll use that term going forward, serotonin and a number of other hormones that regulate mood, and risk seeking behavior and the like are all over the place. And so the individuals going through this, at that age might not even register that there’s a problem, and no amount of your convincing will wake them up to that. So let’s get more specific still. 


There are three key neurotransmitters at play here during this stage of development, adolescence, dopamine, serotonin, and melatonin. Now, dopamine influences brain events that control our movement, our emotional responses, and the ability to experience pleasure and pain. Its levels decrease during adolescence. And this results in mood swings and difficulty regulating emotions. Sound familiar? Serotonin plays a significant role in mood alterations, anxiety, impulse control, and arousal. Its levels also decrease during adolescence, right, its levels also decreased during adolescence. Lastly, melatonin regulates our circadian rhythms, our sleep wake cycles, the body’s daily production of melatonin increases during adolescence, right. So additionally, adolescents are at a higher risk of behavioral disorders. Because from a basic physiology standpoint, their prefrontal cortex isn’t fully developed yet. I’m not trying to get sciency on you, I’m just trying to give you a foundation. This is the part of the brain that largely deals with reasoning, or for those of you who have taken my online courses or live workshops. These are people that are more it when we don’t have full capability of our reasoning functions, rational persuasion, that influence tactic isn’t very effective, right? Giving people statistics and data, right? It’s truly the seat of our personality. The prefrontal cortex is in many ways, and that doesn’t fully form until the age of 25. So we used to joke about this in a presentation that I had given called Creating the optimal coaching environment because I’ve worked with kids and teens and what have you, and you are literally working with an entirely different creature. So when adults try to reason with their adolescents, right, when adults try to, you know, speak to things that make sense to them, and they think, Well, why doesn’t my son or daughter get it? Guys, you have to understand that one, you’re assuming that you’re communicating in a way that relates them in general, but two there’s a complete barrier that is physiologically based, or another filter, if you will, that that still has to pass through. So you’re almost talking to an entirely different creature. And that’s why, you know, we always have to use different forms of communicating with them. We use humor, we use analogies, there’s so many other ways that you have to alter that message. That’s why they’re marketed to different, then we know these, if we really stop and think about it, we know this, we know that even when we are that age, you know, very many, very few of us ever really responded to just sound reasoning. I know there’s always an N equals one. And there’s somebody that’s like, well, that’s not true. My father told me this, and I knew it from a young age. Phenomenal, okay, but you’re not not everybody had those experiences. So I’m sorry, but trying to reason your son or daughter out of weight loss or their behavioral disorder is not going to work. Right. And if you want to get hypercritical, let’s be honest, doesn’t really work with you. 


Let’s put the shoe on the other foot. How many of you listening that identify as caregivers for this individual right now? Have you been told to take better care of yourself? Right, in some way, shape, or form? Maybe you have type two diabetes, maybe have high blood pressure? Maybe you don’t go walk enough? Anything like that? How many of you don’t save enough for retirement? How many of you maybe had trouble quitting smoking? How many of you get regular checkups, get more sleep, manage your stress and the like, right? If the media or your friends or others beat you over the head with data and statistics of why you should do those things? Would that immediately change? No, one of our guests on the podcast has worked with companies like Google, and she talks about how even members of Google don’t sign up for their 401 K match. Right? We don’t always do the things we need to do and no amount of reasoning and statistics, and interventions based on those things are going to work all the time for large portions of the population. So all this being considered, it’s no coincidence that many of the calls, texts or emails that I receive start out along the lines of the following. Hey, Brett, I have a son or daughter battling OCD and depression. Working out is their release. But I fear it’s recently gone too far. They’re restricting calories. They’re working out constantly, they’ve started to withdraw from friends. Can you help? Or Hey, Brett, I have a friend whose teenage son or daughter recently fainted, and is now in the emergency room. She’s got an eating disorder, and they don’t know what to do. I know you went through something like this. Is there a treatment center you’d recommend I told them about your book and Yes, the book, anxiety, working out OCD fainting. All part and parcel to my own experience. Here’s where I stopped just talking to whoever you might be if you’re the caregiver, or whatever caregiver may be listening. And I’m pointing my eyes in a different direction. Your direction, you the one listening to this that might be going through this very situation? The one who is equal parts angry, confused, irritated, sad. The one who feels like to a point in your weight loss that you saw results you wanted. Maybe initially you were leaner, faster, more focused, more mysterious, maybe even others considered you to be more attractive, which I know people make stupid, superficial comments that groom certain predilections to body image. It can be such an errant comment. Oh, you look so much better Beth, Oh, you look so much leaner, Dan, anything like that. And then that just plants a seed. And it spirals. Maybe it’s you the one that felt like none of it was a big deal. And it wasn’t until it’s been out of control, the one that just wants to be left alone. So you can figure it out on your own, the one that wants it to stay, maybe this disorder has become somewhat of a friend to you. And believe it or not, for those listening that can identify with that. This happens. People that do have eating disorders, talk about it sometimes as some sort of friend, some of them want it all to go away. And maybe I’m even talking to you the one that’s considered not wanting to be here anymore. Yeah, I’m definitely talking to you. 


And make no mistake, even though we don’t know one another. I have a right to talk to you. And I’m going to tell you the things that many of the nurses and doctors and therapists and a ballyhooed staff at some overpriced treatment center that insurance doesn’t Cover even if it does, it won’t work won’t. And my tone here is Stern. And it’s forthright because sometimes it’s what you need. Compassion comes in many forms. But me sitting here, bullshitting you isn’t going to do you any favors. And in my case, all that was just noise. And all that noise was moments away from snatching my own life. You see, I’ve been in outpatient programs. I spent a year of my life, my sweet 16. As a matter of fact, in inpatient programs, I lied, I cried, I stole I rebelled, I fought. I even got in a high speed car chase that ended up with a member of my family, taking out somebody’s trash cans, and nearly putting their SUV through the living room. And that’s not embellishment. I was threatened. I was made fun of I was complimented. I was celebrated by my friends one moment and abandoned another, the works. Oh, we’re still not connecting yet. I still don’t understand you and how different your situation is. Fair enough. Fair enough. Let’s get comfortable and dive a bit deeper. 


You see, I was always an active kid growing up. And it’s one of the reasons my issue was so hard to pin down. From a young age, I played sports competitively. I was on a select baseball team, the kind where you play at games and 80 days, I played football. And when I wasn’t doing those things, I was at the park doing those things. And I remember the first time I saw my first Rocky movie, that 12 years old, maybe it was 11. I don’t know, guys, and I started doing push ups and sit ups every night. And there was no issue then this was just me being inspired by a movie and being an athlete. And you know, my dad would get Men’s Health magazine. And I remember reading it, you know, thoroughly and I just it was on the coffee table, I wouldn’t want to go to bed. If I go back even further, I remember a time and I don’t even know if my dad remembers this or dad, if you’re listening. How about this one. Sometimes my dad would work late. And he would take us to his office. And his office had this gym and a hot tub on one of the floors of the massive office building. So he’d give us his key card. And while he worked, he’d let us or sometimes it was just me, but I think I remember it being my brother and I he’d let us in there to work out there was a TV, there’s one of those Nautilus machines, and there was a hot tub. And that stuff was just cool to us as kids, we didn’t care when there’s cool building late at night. I was also always a determined kid. You know, at one point in my life, it seemed like we lost a lot of members of my extended family in rapid succession. I remember losing my grandma, I remember I was watching the movie Braveheart. And I heard this scream from my mom’s bedroom. And I remember she had just gotten the news that my grandmother, her mother had died. And I remember things my mom would say to me about just making time count, because her and her mother had gotten in a fight and an argument, you know, the day or two before she had passed. And so my mom just said, you know, make time count, tell people you love them live with urgency, all these kinds of things. And that instilled this fierce sense of both loyalty and urgency in me as in many other things, just witnessing my parents work ethic. And as time passed in my life, I got more and more serious about everything I did. And I know it sounds lame. 


But if we even look at high school, I wasn’t a big party or a drinker. Now, this isn’t a holier than thou thing. I have nothing against anybody that drinks it’s nothing like that. If anything, sometimes I don’t really now just because there were issues with my liver that happened when I was hospitalized, and I just don’t tolerate it well. But I was focused on other stuff. I loved hanging out with people, I loved being social. I’d still hang out with friends and do the usual high school things. But eventually people having beers in their parents basement, turned to me seeing my friends do cocaine, meth. And in one case, when we my family and I were getting a tour of a house we were thinking of moving into. I remember a realtor that was getting ready to show us the master bedroom, opened it up. And there was one of my friends ODed on his parents bed. I remember how quickly she slammed the door shut. I remember the look of my mom’s face and the fact that on the car ride home, we are still trying to come to terms with what the hell we just saw. And stuff started to change so fast in my life. At that point, I began to separate myself from this circle. And it was really difficult because a lot of them played sports with me. And that was my primary circle. Some of them were guys that I grew up with, you know, a good other core group of my friends had gone to a different high school, so it wasn’t an option to really hang out with them. And around the same time my parents were still adjusting to a divorce, and they had joint custody. So every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, I’d be with mom. Every Tuesday and Thursday I’d be with dad and weekends would trade off. Now think about that for a moment. My wife often gives me crap because one of the things I seem to collect is suitcases and bags because When I speak, you know, I never know Okay, do I need to bring books to this seminar? Do I need to bring a projector? Do I need to bring this laptop, that laptop? And what I told her is, you know, listen, I think this all started when I was a kid, I was so terrified of leaving something because every other day, getting Monday, Wednesday, Friday, mom, Tuesday, Thursday Dad I’d be changing houses, you know, I wouldn’t want to forget homework, or I wouldn’t want to forget this, or some kind of video game or what have you. So I got obsessive about packing. And I remember, eventually, I made a choice to stay with my mom. And that has nothing to do with how I feel about my dad, she just lived closer to the school. But the truth is, the only thing that really made me feel stable during a time in which stability was a scarce resource was sports and training for sports and being outside and the like, the gym felt more like home than home to me at times. And I know, because, you know, I didn’t tell my parents I’m doing this episode, you know, that could hit them the wrong way. And it’s not like that my parents and I have a great relationship. And they always made home a home. But for anybody that’s really listening to what I’m saying, You know what I mean, 


there’s this second or third home, you have some times where it feels like you’re just locked in, you’re focused, the noise decreases, right? It feels like a place where you can get better, instead of getting caught up in the other things that distract you, or the things that tear you down. And so I became addicted, you know, to I would train after school. And then after dinner, I’d go to this place called Lakeside Wellness Center and train. And then at night, I would do more stuff. And it was funny, because during those times I’d run on the treadmill or lift weights or what have you, I think to myself about all the positive things I was doing for my body, while all these friends that had really kind of abandoned me when I decided not to go that kind of route. You know, I remember thinking like, yeah, they’re tearing themselves down, and they’re doing this, and I’m gonna make myself better. And I’m never gonna be like that. And that is so that was self righteous, because what I didn’t really understand is I was becoming slowly more and more addicted to my own drug. And, eventually, and there’s some things that I’m going to fast forward here, because I want you to get to the point I want to get to the point, I passed out while training one day, and eventually my mom took me to go see a doctor, and you’re really worried about my health, they were trying to test, you know, like I was experiencing aspects of hyperglycemia, they were trying to see why I was passing out. I remember drinking this solution. The doctor eventually told my parents that he thinks I needed to go to an eating disorder program. And, you know, when you think about what I was doing, nutritionally, at the time, I remember these magazines, this is during the time when low carb and low fat were both kind of in fad, you know, and I had always we’d always eat pretty healthy as a family. So this was another thing that made it tricky for my parents to recognize the symptoms, because we never had a bunch of junk food, you know, we’d always have the healthier versions of stuff in the house. But at this point I was doing both I was eating low carb and low fat. So my breakfast was basically egg beaters with fat free Kraft Singles, and turkey bacon, because all these magazines told me burn more calories than you take in if you want to get lean and jacked. And of course, you know, I played baseball and football, I wanted to be lean and jacked. So I’m thinking all right, I started calculating calories to this day, I can probably tell you within 250 to 300 calories, that you know what most meals are because I thought that this was the idea of what it meant to be dedicated to what you did know what you’re putting in your body know this. And growing up, I didn’t have access to a lot of the resources that are available now. So like I could hire me a dietician. You know, my parents weren’t in the performance space, there wasn’t a Performance Training Center, on every corner, like there is now with dietitians and physical therapists. I mean, this is a time where he basically just went to gyms and performance wasn’t really even truly an industry unless you played college sports or professional sports. So I remember I eventually got put in an inpatient program. And I spent, you know, my entire summer, my day, I’d wake up early in the morning, and my dad would drop me off, I’d get weighed. It’s a small little building. And it just I remember it smelled awful. Everything was monitored that way. At first thing, I was the only guy in there. And you would you would just sit around and eat and you’d go to these groups, and they wanted you to talk about your feelings only they would only want you to talk about your feelings if there were things about body image, or fear of food. And these weren’t really things that I related to you see, like I wasn’t thinking I didn’t do these things because I thought I was fat. I did these things because I was depressed. I was angry. I was anxious. And I wanted some semblance of control the training, got this stuff out of me. The nutrition made me feel like I was doing something positive. It felt like I was in control that stuff wasn’t registering at this point in my life. If that this, whatever I was doing wasn’t good for me. 


And so I remember going to these groups and you know them saying that I wasn’t making much progress, because I didn’t have much to say about this stuff. And it just felt all really awkward to me. I was a teenage kid, I wanted to be out with my friends. The worst, though, were the meals, you know, you’d come in, and it would be like tuna salad and ruffles, potato chips, and a milkshake. And something else ridiculous like a monster cookie. And it was clearly them just trying to get calories in you, right. And there’s balance to that, right? When you’re malnourished, you do need calories, but there is no discernment of the quality of the nutrition. And so I remember, I’m somebody that hates mayonnaise, and I just remember, like, I don’t like mayonnaise. And being told, Well, that’s the eating disorder talking. That’s not you. I had never been taught to like that before. I remember, you know, anytime I said I didn’t want this or that. And I didn’t know the maximums of this place. I was slowly getting more and more checkmarks slowly being told, they were telling and back channeling to my parents that he’s not cooperating, he’s not making progress, this that and what have you. And so by the time I got picked up in the evening, as you can imagine, when you just sit there all day, and cram calories down your throat in this little space, it might as well been, you know, a call center, all I want to do is go home and get outside and train. But I couldn’t. My exercise was restricted. So on and on this when all summer long. You know, when I went back to school, I would occasionally get called out to go see a psychiatrist because that was something my doctors recommended. Because I told them that I felt like I was depressed and what have you. And I remember going down to this old mental institution. And it seemed like the kind of place ironically, where depression was invented, not the type of place where it was treated. I mean, I couldn’t illustrate this enough. If you’ve ever seen any kind of horror movie, when somebody walks into some kind of cavernous lobby, and screams Hello, and they hear the echo of their own voice and some bats come out. It wasn’t that far off. And I remember this individuals name and I go in depth on my book, and I’m not going to bore you with it here. But you know, everything was very reliant on medication, and would try to turn my parents against me, I’d be in this office and he’d say, you know, what’s Brett’s behavior? Like? What’s this? What’s that? And I’d say hello, like, I’m right here, you can talk to me. And when he eventually did talk to me anytime I got upset, because he would say he was going to increase my medication, which at that time was a antidepressant and all these things. anytime I showed any kind of disagreement with him, he would tell my parents, that’s not me. That’s the eating disorder talking. And I’m like, Are these all? Is this something that just people say? Is this like you? You guys all get together? And you say this in the room like, is this like a gooble Gobble one of us kind of thing that you all repeat. And I remember challenging him and they increase the meds again, and they took it just caused more and more fights. And eventually, we transitioned to another therapist. And this one was very number and metric centered. If you didn’t hit a number on the scale, there were punishments, no longer admonishments, hey, they’re not doing well. They’re not taking treatment, seriously, punishments. Now, mind you, at this time, I still wasn’t that low in my weight as a healthy teenager, it’s about 130 pounds, right? At this prime, I was probably like, you know, 120 115 Lean, but it wasn’t alarming yet. And I remember that, you know, these cold and clinical interactions, she uses a lot of fear based tactics and threats. If you don’t get better, you’re going to be put into a hospital. And I’m just I’m taken aback looking at my parents thinking how, like, how does somebody that we don’t even know how are you letting them talk to me like this. And this caused a lot of estrangement from my parents at that time, who I know, you know, we’re trying to do the best they could. And this is why I’m speaking to both caregivers, and people going through this stuff and maybe just you generally if you’re not, but you know, somebody that is in this because people are going to do whatever they think they think is right when they’re scared. They’re gonna do whatever they think is right when they’re scared and even if it’s not the right thing. If they’ve never been in that situation before they don’t know that, right? They see me and what I looked like, and I was not there, you’re I’m just I’m angry inside it. It almost feels like autopilot. If you’ve never been depressed guys. I’m sorry. You just don’t get it. But you’re not it’s very much an autopilot kind of thing. 


You know, I’m not waking up every day and thinking, Oh, what am I going to write in my planner? Am I going to meditate? Am I going to have a kombucha at 9am? What am I going to do? You just go and the only thing that made me come to life was exercise because it was meditative for me So I just want to make it clear why there’s this disconnect. So, you know, we tried, I tried gaining weight more, I really did. You know, they put you on a meal plan, and all these things, but it wasn’t working, you see, because I was eating more. But I was always so anxious because of the threats in these meetings that they pull me out of school. And I’d have to find a way to lie to my friends and tell them what I’m doing, oh, hey, I’m going to see this performance therapist, you know, for baseball, and whatever, because it was odd behavior, right. And so I’d be so anxious that I’d find other ways to be active, because that’s how I dealt with anxiety during the day, which, you know, in my increasingly malnourished state created more of a hypermetabolic situation. So I lose weight, even as I was receding. So to avoid punishment, because I’d wake up and I’d weigh myself with this scale that I hid under my bed. I knew I wasn’t getting weight, I would take weight stuff that I had from this old weight set in my basement to school in my bookbag. These iron weights, right, these, they were just I mean, you buy him at Sears. And I would buy him at Sears. And ironically, this would lead to me burning more calories, because I’m walking around with a weighted backpack. And about a half hour before I’d be picked up. Right around the last class of the day, I’d go into the men’s room. And I would cough as a means to mask the sounds of me ripping off strands of duct tape, just so I could have fixed these iron weights to the inside of my thighs. I still have those scars.


I’d wear jeans that were baggier than normal to hide it. I didn’t want people to know that I’m walking around with the weights on the inside of my thighs. And I got by with it for months, I’d go to this woman’s the therapist place and gain weight gain weight, the threads were fewer and further between, she’d always look at me with a skeptical eye. There was one time though that I couldn’t mask the fact that my blood work wasn’t improving soul show that my kidneys were under tremendous stress. My liver was under tremendous stress. And I was getting thinner. But the scale held stable. This is because I started bringing more and more weights to school wasn’t just the half pound or the one pound now it’s about bringing the five pound and bigger plates. At one point I had these 10 pound plates massive plates on the inside of my thighs. And, you know, I remember my parents saying why can’t you just see why can’t you do this? And you know, guys, there comes a point. And if you’re going through this where you don’t want to focus on food. And so sometimes you wouldn’t get everything in or you wouldn’t know why you weren’t gaining weight, you would think that you would do it. I just wanted to go to school and play sports and talk to girls. And ironically, all these meetings, were making me focus even more on food, which is why I tell any of you that are caregivers that have somebody going through this, I’m sorry, you can’t sit there and tell them just eat. You can’t tell them. Why can’t you just do this, it’s the wrong it’s not only the wrong thing to do, it’s a damaging thing to do. The more restrictions they placed on me in this situation, the more and more I wanted to rebel, because they were making my life harder. even weirder, both my parents and these therapists and it had been when I was trying to cope with the loss of my friends and family stuff and my uncles, all the things that started it. I mean, if you can imagine that’s the stuff that got me training obsessively. Imagine what my life was like now, a 14 15 year old kid with weights in his backpack, coughing the mass of the sounds or strapping it with duct tape to his thighs to get driven downtown After lying to his friends to talk to strangers who either want to medicate him or threaten him.


And one day when I was getting weighed, I stepped on the scale too quickly. And my thighs hit together and made the distinct clink sound of the weights, the sound that you hear. If you’ve ever gone into a wellness center or a gym and you hear him stacking it on the bar are clanking together. And at that moment, I was forced to strip naked right there in front of strangers. And I was caught. And I remember as I was ripping the duct tape from my flesh, being told I would be sent to an inpatient eating disorder program in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Now, I remember and just for those listening inpatient means that you are there 24/7 what I described that I had done earlier, that outpatient program was my dad would pick me up in the morning, but I’d come home at night. This now meant I was taken out of school, completely out of school and put in this program. It was now my home. And I remember during the intake process, I remember it felt like I was being read rule after rule as if I was going to prison. Aside from the 24 hour monitoring, any reading material you brought with you was looked through and closely examined as were all of your bags, all of your belongings. The room they provided for me and the rest of the patients can be entered at any time. By the facility staff. Once I was in the program, we weren’t even allowed to go into our rooms without supervision. And we were restricted do what was called a day room area for the majority of the day, except for meals or snacks. Now it’s clicking isn’t it? What I described in the beginning, we’ve come full circle. So the Sports Science junkies in my industry would be happy to know that everything in this place was measured. I underwent daily blood draws every morning at about 5:15, they would measure your stool samples, somebody would sit outside the door, every time you went to the bathroom, there was nothing that escaped them. This you’d be followed by weigh ins and a shower. But only if the hospital staff felt it was safe. You see with the state of my vitals and at this point, guys, I was now 96 pounds, 96 pounds. So with the state of my vitals and the state that I was in, they were scared that the initial shock of hot or cold would send me into cardiac arrest. This is a true story. I was messed up. 


Under the guidance of a hospital dietitian that was appointed to you, you would fill out a variety of logs using the diabetic exchange system, which if you haven’t seen it, it lists common foods, such as a chicken breast or a slice of bread, a tablespoon of peanut butter, a cup of spinach under categories such as meats, starches, fats, vegetables, maybe they’ve changed that nomenclature now. But that was so that the patients didn’t focus on calories, all food was measured, and every bit of it had to be consumed without protest. There was no physical activity whatsoever. None of it was allowed. Unless you had progressed to a certain level in the program based on your BMI, which is a whole nother story and a whole another joke, if you know about the inaccuracies of the BMI. And even then if you did progress to that it was limited to stretching and exercises with a three pound dumbbell or ankle weights while you sat on a stability ball. Like I said, if you had to use a restroom, a nurse would stand outside the door to ensure you weren’t doing anything, no sense of privacy, no sense of dignity whatsoever. So most of my days are spent in this Affer mentioned day room. And I hope you’re still listening caregivers because if this is the treatment program that you feel like your son or daughter needs to go into, well, not all of them are like this, there are more than enough stories of them that are and mind you this is one that was told to us was one of the best if not the best in the world. Now there’s a day room featured a few tables, a desk, a couch and some chairs. The hospital staff could view you and everybody else these people that you don’t know, through a plexiglass window while they sat at their main desk. They would tap on it to warn you if you were participating in what they deemed unauthorized behavior of any kind, such as fidgeting, such as chewing gum, or even standing up because all of these things burn more calories than sitting. And they wanted every calorie accounted for. You could read approve books, or magazines as long as there was nothing about training or Sports and Diet or what have you. You could watch PG movies that the hospital provided, right? You’re not bringing in your own movies, there’s no streaming, there’s nothing like that. There’s no Spotify, none of that stuff even existed yet. And only PG movies were allowed like whatever you had to get watch babe the pig on repeat. And if you stood too long, or you did fidget or chew gum, you were only given two warnings before they either made you drink a meal replacement or the worst threatened and yeah, that word choice is accurate. To utilize intravenous feedings to replace any calories you might have burned through that non exercise activity. 


Now it wasn’t all just the day room. Wait, there’s more the dining room. Another place that you got to be shuffled 10 steps to get to really filling up those rings. The dining room where we gathered to eat our total of six meals throughout the day was another experience. And if the day room made you feel like an animal in the zoo, the dining room would make you feel like a lab rat, because of the underlying tension and aggression of all the other patients that you’d sit with. Like there’s a big happy family was escalated by the presence of a hospital staff seated at both ends of this glass table. And why was the table glass? I mean, I’ll get to this right but it was so that they could ensure that none of the patients were hiding food or mixing it in odd ways to disguise taste so they can make themselves they don’t like they they want to tell themselves they don’t like a certain foods. So you would see people taking mustard packets and trying to mix them in with their pizza and doing odd food combinations. You know and it was also so they could make sure that nobody was hurting themselves or trying to cut themselves under the table and anything like that. But oftentimes, these inner nurses were accused patients who had done nothing wrong, or threaten them by saying we’re gonna give you a meal replacement if they had any sign of apprehension, I mean, guys, this was hospital food we’re talking about, some of it would come up, you’d get a essentially a make rib. And if you cut off a little bit of Flubber, they’d tell you that normal people, and that is the language they would use. Normal people would eat that. If you had mashed potatoes and gravy, if any brown from the gravy was left, you were to lick it up, or you were to use your finger. And if you did not do that, they would sit with you until you did, they would order you a replacement, or guess what the boost the insurer or the intravenous feeding. sound exciting.


So this was anything but effective. It only increased patient anxiety, creating this negative feedback loop feedback loop in regards to eating. I remember during one of my first days at the facility, I call this woman Rita, I make up the names for obvious reasons, accused me of hiding food, when in fact, the hospital dining staff had forgot what took place on my tray. She was writing up a report literally at that moment that would have further restricted any of my privileges, and ultimately would have cost me more time in this program as if one year wasn’t enough. When someone from downstairs finally came up and admitted the mistake was in the kitchen. It wasn’t me. I remember as I sat in the dining room that day, I remember thinking that I had never witnessed anything as odd as some of the behaviors I had observed amongst the other patients while they their meals. Now this is the pot calling the kettle black, because I did some weird shit to write. But this is just me speaking, in that moment of time, okay, we all sat side by side and across from one another. So there was no way to ignore it. Even if he kept your eyes down. Here I was at while I was technically 15, at that time, surrounded by people of all ages, all ages, many of whom would break down emotionally cut their food into these miniscule pieces. And stare at it for hours on end, guys, there were all kinds of people there. And I just remember, you know, I got to know many of them over time, and I realized that they all had bigger issues in their life just as I did. Now, they didn’t tell these things to the staff, often because the staff didn’t take the time to ask these kinds of questions. The staff made the focus on the food and the symptoms and the behavior, not the actual problem. And I started to realize the only difference that I had was that, you know, exercise was the way that I dealt with my stuff. And for many of them food was their primary control mechanism for whatever they dealt with. One patient’s husband had left her for another woman, another was the middle child of nine siblings, and she used negative food related behaviors to keep some form of attention on her as she otherwise felt lost in the shuffle at home. There was one other guy for a very short period, basically just crossed paths. That was the only other guy I was in there with, who was around my age, it was a former Junior Olympic wrestler, and fell into a similar trap that I had after he experienced his first defeat the memory of his loss and really just consumed him mentally. And he routinely started going overboard on dieting and training as if he could somehow affect that outcome that had already really been decided long ago. And so while many of the other patients that were not miners could leave if they wanted to, they could just say enough, I’m out of here. Since I was a minor I was forced to remain. Now, in this beautiful retreat. And this Elysium the last bit of our day was reserved for therapy, and one on one sessions with more psychologists, once again, nearly all therapy sessions revolved around food related behaviors, other issues not related to the underlying problems, anything like that. And I took this by the way, when I became a coach later on, this is the stuff that I made. My focus is not just knowing the sets and the reps and the drills to get people faster and more agile, and what have you. But how do you actually get inside their head and make them tick not through rah rah tactics, not through all the other wishy washy stuff that we see all the time, but from actually understanding psychology from the inside out, the very thing that all these people that had credentials to be able to do so in medical training, didn’t really do to us. Right? It had this curriculum it never seemed to waver from and it was a one size fits all curriculum. Anytime I said I couldn’t relate to an issue that we were discussing in therapy, I would be told that I was in denial, and I would get marked down that I was non participatory. And this would again prolong my Stand Up Program due to showing no signs of progress. So at one point in time, I had spent over six months of my life there eventually became in totality a year spent my 16th birthday in there, my 16th birthday. Now, in his book Thinking Fast and Slow, be material scientists, Daniel Kahneman wrote to be a good diagnostician, and I remember this stuck with me. To be a good diagnostician, a physician needs to acquire a large set of labels for diseases, each of which binds an idea of an illness and its symptoms, possible antecedents, causes possible developments, consequences, possible interventions to cure or mitigate that illness. And it was clear that while some of the people in the hospitals seem to care, the majority of them really only acquired only mastered the acquire a large set of labels part of Doctor economists description, they’re really good at labeling non compliant, you’re this You’re that instead of actually knowing and this happens in the coaching world, the business world, this happens in life, we label each other. Sometimes it’s helpful. We know that in the past, you know, like we would need to discern, oh, is that animal dangerous? Is that berry poisonous? Right? So archetypes do exist. Archetypes are just a motif. And we’ll do a whole nother podcast on that. But this was taken out of context where they weren’t even using that information given. I mean, guys, honestly, if it wasn’t for music there and many of my friends laugh at me because I’m very big Eminem fan. Now. I listened to everything from Eminem to fats, dominoed, Spanish guitar to whatever. But at the time, listen to a lot of Eminem. And there’s a reason that this song Eight Mile Road is still my alarm clock. To this day, not when you can’t read what you want. You’re trapped in this hellhole and you can’t watch movies and you’re out of school and you have to get your homework facts in you can’t work out and you can’t play sports. And you can’t call people. Oh, did I mention that? Yeah, you don’t get a cell phone. You listen to a lot of music. And that’s what I listened to. And if it wasn’t that it wouldn’t, I don’t you know, it was the one thing I had no friends visited me. Nobody called me there were no letters, you know, to the I mean, literally didn’t hear from anybody, just alone in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 


Now, eventually, and this is where we get to the end of this, and where we’re going to talk about some things that are going to help, right? Eventually, I was fortunate enough to meet a psychologist that I’ll call Katie. And her she was really masterful, and in terms of listening in close observation, things that we try to teach now at our apprenticeship workshops. And it wasn’t just the way she did it, right. It was the way that she probed in this non clinical personal way I’d share she’d reciprocate, research, relate reframe. It wasn’t just try to get all this stuff out of me and sit there with your little notepad and scribble. And, you know, you almost got a masterclass in psychology by being in this hospital, because every week you would have to talk to a new psychologist. I mean, I tell people now if I have any advantage on anybody, it’s that I did a lot of therapy at a young age, when my parents got divorced, we had to go to therapy when I was in the hospital, you had to go to therapy. And that too, has its own stigma. You know, now, I haven’t seen a therapist since I was, you know, 17 years old or what have you. But you know, believe me guys like that is that can be an absolute weapon in your arsenal. If you have somebody to talk to like that, and you find the right fit. So you know, speaking of fit, you know, it was already odd enough having to talk to a therapist of any kind. In the first place at that point in my life. Just like I said, the stigma behind therapy creates the image that it’s only for criminals and psychopaths and others that are unstable and weak that we know some of the world’s best athletes and best in business. I see therapists, you know, often. And I remember our initial discussions had nothing to do with the hospital, or my current state of health. This was the first person that over two years didn’t start a conversation off with those things, 


no clipboards, no theoretical questions about why I thought I was there. No, having me lay on the proverbial couch sharing my deepest darkest secrets, fears, regrets, in other words, no bullshit. A lot of the same way that I tried to coach and counsel today. Instead, Katie wants to know what made me tick, she got down to business and said, hey, you know, what is it that you want? How do you think you can get there? Now? Of course, my answer was, I want to get the hell out of the hospital, you know, and she eventually got to know a little bit of my story and what have you. And she could sense that although I had initially sought out to forge my own path after seeing one of my friends overdose, you know, I didn’t said really lost my way, and gotten blinded by all this anxiety and anger. But she also knew and gave me the sense that if I could channel this energy in the right way, I could get better and move on with my life. And once we got this worked out, and the appropriate, you know, thing establish the real key was her convincing my parents. She was the first person that actually took my side. And no matter how worried my parents were, no matter how many reasons they would have had to distrust me or anything like that. She got them to ease up. So we said The goal of when I could leave the hospital and it was a laughable 107 pounds. And I remember right as I started to reach it, I had gotten a path to leave the hospital for really the first time in about a year, I had spent all winter in this hospital on the eighth floor. And I remember that, this is a lot, you know, I got to go to a nearby Barnes and Noble bookstore, because you still had to manage your steps, I had only one hour and I needed to act fast. And I didn’t know anything. You know, I knew that a lot of bad information contributed me getting in there. A lot of this one size fits all advice, stuff that I am at war with today. It’s why people try to drag me into black and white arguments with training or how I approach certain aspects of business or my life. And I don’t do it because greatness is really in the gray area. It’s not the black and white, black and white thinking got me here. But the point is, is I knew that I had to take my life into my own hands. So I grabbed two books, the sports nutrition guide book by Nancy Clark. And another book, it was called the complete conditioning for football. And anybody that’s in the performance industry can say whatever they want about these books, in light of today’s current methods, and all the information that’s came out, but at the time, for a 16 year old, both of those served as invaluable resources that helped me get out of that hospital, they played a role in saving my life. Now, I had to, I’m not proud of this. I’m definitely not proud of this. I can’t say I really bought those books. So I’m sorry, Nancy Clark and the other author. But I actually had to steal the jackets of two other books, I believe one was on golf. And one was on some kind of, you know, motivational thing. And I had to hide those books in the book jackets. Because I knew when I got back to the hospital, they would confiscate them if they look like diet type stuff, and nutrition. So I got past it, thankfully, somebody knew was working the desk. And I remember reading both of those books, seemingly overnight, eventually got out of the hospital, but not before Rita got one more lickin as I was 16 year old man was walking in that elevator. And my parents were on either side. I remember Rita looking me in the eye. This is a 40, some odd year old woman who is a nurse at this hospital and telling me I’ll be back. And I remember telling her you’re right, I will be back to speak to all the other people that you weren’t able to help. And the irony of this is, you know, my dad and some other people always asked me to go do you know, did you ever go back? Did you ever go back to speak to them. And while I have it, I’m speaking to them now. And I’m speaking to them on a medium that far surpasses me standing in one room talking to one person 10 People, I’m speaking them into a medium and I’m speaking to you in a medium that hopefully reaches millions. I know it’ll reach 10s of 1000s. I know reach hundreds of 1000s. We have the metrics for that. But I’m hoping with your help, that it reaches millions. Because after that point in my life, it became clear to me what I wanted to do. I wanted to see what the human body was capable of. But more importantly, I wanted to see what humans were capable of if you learned what made them tick on a higher level. And that’s when I started to become obsessed with power dynamics, and social dynamics and communication. Because training, what I did for 15 years training athletes training anybody, training, physical training is nothing more than a tool to help people learn what they’re capable of overcoming. It allows them to be active and fit. And that’s all great. But communication is the thing that led us to be the predominant social animal in this world. It’s the thing that we take for granted almost like Amazon one day deliveries, it’s the thing that if you get wrong, it can cost you your livelihood. And in my situation, it nearly cost me my life. So what do you do? What do you do if you’re the parent or the caregiver listening?


And that story and nothing else helps you I’m just going to urge you to think bigger picture. Like I said, think understand the complexity of these things. Look at yourself. You got an anxious child that’s engaging in weird food behaviors and what have you. What do you do? Are you obsessive about dieting? Do you talk about your weight? Are you or your husband or your partner or whatever? Do you guys have areas of your life where your control freaks where you tightly wound? What things might you be exhibiting to the people around you? If it’s not you and don’t get it twisted? We all play a role. There’s really four things that impact human behavior and really inform how we can you know, use different influence tactics and communication strategies. That is our drives knowing what makes you tick getting a better idea of that and use their strategies for those things. So our drives the environments that we’re in, obviously, you spend a lot of time in certain places and health clubs and what have you. And the messaging that comes across social factors, the people you spend the most time around how they influence you, and the timing, the time of your life. So it’s not coincidental, like I said earlier that if you have an adolescent that’s going through this, you have to look at those things. They have a lot of peers that are focused on the superficial they are in environments where this stuff is front and center and God, today’s world, the internet counts is that environment. Social media is that environment pervasively, they don’t need to be at a gym, they can be on Instagram, or anything else. And then the time of their life, given all this stuff, I told you guys about neurotransmitters, brain development, reasoning, all those things, you now have a framework for understanding this. And mind you, it’s not just adolescence, I told you, there was a 60, some odd year old woman, those things still apply. Drives, environment, social factors, self talk, timing, all these things, play in guys, all of them. Prevention begins with open communication, talk to your son or your daughter, about not just their eating habits and body image that did not work for me. And there’s gonna be plenty of other people that doesn’t work for because that may not be the thing that they’re dealing with. That might just be the control. Guys, when COVID-19 hit and supply chains, what did people do? They went got toilet paper, we have a whole episode about this zero risk bias. Because when shit hits the fan, people go to the most basic thing that control did we walk around and say, hey, people have a toilet paper disorder? Can we have this? Now I’m oversimplifying to a degree but not by much. There are healthy people that also exhibit disordered eating. There are, there are people that you know, look normal function, normal, all these things, and they have disordered eating, who’s to say what normal eating differs culturally. So make sure you know what you’re really seeing. And make sure that you understand have a better understanding of what they might actually be going through. Because if you actually think that they sit there and rock back and forth, because they’re scared of that pizza, pizza, making them fat. That ain’t it. There’s something else. And I see it in world class athletes too. This isn’t just fragile, little people. So if you’re a coach, or somebody in some kind of heightened position of power, thinking this is just for the weak or the mentally weak or something like that, you’re wrong. You’re wrong. This affects everybody up and down the proverbial food chain. Discuss media messages. There’s a big reason a lot of what we do at art of coaching has to do with understanding the social science of different messaging techniques. I started out as a performance coach, I am now a coach in communication. We need to know how the messages that are reaching us daily from television programs and movies, social media, all these things, it tells us what’s accepted, what’s not accepted, what we should do what we should listen to, you need to know how to dissect those things. You need to foster self esteem, self competency, self efficacy, you need to normalize failure. For me, I had a lot of perfectionism guys, at one point in time, I was so malnourished, my OCD, I would turn my light on and off seven times at night, because I remember one time I hit a home run when I did that, I did it again. If somebody would walk by me and brush against me, like I’d wipe it off, almost like I was scared, it was bad luck. If somebody touched me, none of these things made sense. Because I was a teenager, and I was malnourished and I wasn’t thinking appropriately. So you have to help people understand that. Put them in situations where they have to kind of face their inner demons and they can talk about these things. It’s no coincidence that I teach improv now, our outer coaching, apprenticeship is open to all professions for a reason, all ages for a reason, all levels of expertise for a reason. We normalize failure in a space where people can work on their communication skills in high stakes environments.


I’m trying to take my mess and not just make it my message. I’m trying to make it my mission. And you guys have to find a way to do that in your own life too. Okay, because we can send all the links and we will definitely put links in the show notes, check them out the Mayo Clinic, this that what have you all these links, we’ll put links about eating disorder, awareness, all those things, and they’re gonna tell you, hey, share the dangers of dieting and emotional eating, foster self esteem, promote a healthy body image, you know, all these kinds of things, and they’re great, but you cannot just make it about the diet. You’ve got to make it about the bigger thing if you have an issue with your relationship and a loved one, right? Is it always just about intimacy or sex or the money? Or is it about what those things represent? Is it really about trust? Is it about connection? What is the deeper piece? 


So in closing, guys, and I don’t know how you close this deal. These issues can absolutely feel apocalyptic. They can feel all encompassing. And at times, they may be, but you have to remember that everybody’s going to go through something in life. And the fact of the matter is that it’s almost never the positive things that we go through that make us who we are. You learn more from setbacks than you do constant success. There’s no strategy without struggle. And much of what makes life living is the complex, not the easy. It’s the complex, the unfinished chapter, this stuff you could never see coming had you not stuck around, showed up in the first place, or just stayed with it a little longer. So you know, I’m talking to anybody listening now, whether you’re going through these things, whether you’re the caregiver, whether you’re just a bypass, or you know, giving up as easy, especially if you go through every aspect of your life, craving that kind of perfection. Eventually, you really do learn, no matter how cliche, it might sound, that the shrapnel of life gives you those scars that are supposed to be there. The same scars that remind you that you’re strong because you’re imperfect, you’re wise, because you have doubts. But the question you have to be asking yourself now is what are you going to do next? 


Guys, I hope this helped you in one way, shape or form. This is an episode I am not going to be shy to ask you to share. I get about 15 calls, texts or emails or DMS, or some form of communication about every month and a half or so, from people that have either read my book conscious coaching, and thus want me to help somebody or give them advice about an eating disorder, or somebody else that has heard something about it and what have you. This is a real issue. It’s one of the most pervasive behavioral issues in the world. And it also accompanies one of the highest suicide rates in the world. Share it. He knows somebody that needs to hear it on either side of the spectrum. I really appreciate you all. Thanks for staying with me during this episode. Brett Bartholomew, art of coaching podcast. Talk to you next time

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