Is this empathy or insanity?


An Australian trainer (and underwear model!) decided to stop exercise, eat whatever he wanted and gain weight so that he could ultimately be a better trainer for his clients trying to lose weight.  In total he gained 88 pounds and felt like crap.  Shocking.  His journey back to modeling, I mean health, is being captured (quel surprise) for a documentary called “Fat and Back.” 

Our now plump Adonis is having a tough time breaking his new addictions to sugar and carbs but what’s important is that he was able to empathize with the emotional mindsets of overweight clients.  I think it is great that he came away from this experiment knowing what it feels like to be stared at, or ignored or disdained.  I only hope that he takes off the weight with class and without an air of smugness that says “anyone can lose weight and it’s easy” because we know that it is really, really hard.

We are always telling our clients to really immerse themselves in their customers’ lives.  We’ve gone so far as to make our clients role play – we had a hotel client try and check into her own hotel with a roller bag filled with bricks and uncomfortable shoes.  Guess what? That executive took immediate action to better train bellman and to be more sensitive to female business travelers needs.  We’ve made clients shop their own websites, call their own customer service numbers and shop competitive brands just to gain some emotional intelligence.  This trainer certainly went the extra mile (or stopped going the extra mile as the case may be).

I will be keeping my eye on this story to see how his weight loss progresses. 

A tiny part of me is hoping that he struggles just so he can see what the rest of us go through all of the time.  A little schadenfreude never hurt anyone.

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*Results Not Typical

As women across America are forced to make hard choices on where to spend their money, struggle financially and emotionally (the number of middle class families heading to food banks is on the rise), and look for ways to cut fat out of the budget, they are hoping that the decisions they make are the best ones for themselves and their family.

So given these circumstances and thinking about tightening my own belt, I found myself angered by a recent Jenny Craig commercial.   Valerie Bertinelli introduces an average woman and shows off how much weight she lost. The message was strong and inspiring with promises of “you can do it too” but then I was hit with the asterisk at the bottom of the screen *RESULTS NOT TYPICAL. And in further investigation, I found that each of the success stories on their website came with an asterisk as well.  

Now I know we’ve seen this legal super before but if there were ever a time for honesty, now is it. Women don’t have the funds to waste on products that won’t deliver. In fact, in these economic times, women will become even more vigilante when products don’t work.


On the flip side, in a commercial with Alli’s new spokeswoman, Wynonna Judd tells audiences that she is not where she wants to be yet but she is much farther along from where she was…that’s trust you can bank on and honesty  you can win her over with, even in the toughest of times.

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May 23, 2024
by Mary Lou Quinlan

A look at an early production of WORK


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The God Box Goes Global!

“The God Box” has grown to include an app, audio book, philanthropic venture and solo show performed by Mary Lou across the US. Now The God Box Project goes global to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
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