Together We Can

Back in 2009 I had this whole weight-loss, getting healthy, curing disease thing licked.  All except for one little thing.  What happens between my ears and in my heart, both literally and metaphorically.

I have written about this stuff before, and I’ll make a little “mind and emotions” index at the bottom of this post, but a recent BBC Program, “The Truth About Personality” re-ignited my interest, that and some posts in other people’s blogs, and some thoughts of my own … but let’s start with the BBC.  The programme is presented by Michael Mosely, of whom the BBC says:

Michael Mosley is a science presenter, writer and executive producer.  After training as a doctor at the Royal Free Hospital in London, Michael switched course and joined the BBC. He has produced a wide range of science-based programmes … and he was named Medical Journalist of the Year by the British Medical Association.

and of the programme, the BBC says:

Michael Mosley explores the latest science about how our personalities are created – and whether they can be changed.  Despite appearances, Mosley is a pessimist who constantly frets about the future. He wants to worry less and become more of an optimist.

He tries out two techniques to change this aspect of his personality – with surprising results.  And he travels to the frontiers of genetics and neuroscience to find out about the forces that shape all our personalities.

I found the programme fascinating, and I believe there’s a lot here that can help those of us for whom getting lean and healthy is more than “just” a problem of metabolic disorder.  It’s easiest if you take some time, get comfortable, grab a coffee or a gin and tonic, and watch the programme (it takes an hour).



You can see the actual “smiley faces” exercise used in the programme, online (the Cognitive Bias Modification), right here (just click the link).


There are a number of apps for the iPhone and Windows–I haven’t yet checked out for other platforms.

  • PsychMeUp, is from Mindhabits (the link goes to the app store).  Mindhabits also have a number of games on the web, some demo, some for purchase.

PsychMeUpMindHabits also has a Windows-Based app, with a free demo version, and a downloadable Windows Version.  Here’s the demo version.  The free, downloadable version only lasts for an hour, but that’s long enough to get a sense of it.  You can play PsychMeUp on your iPad or iPhone, forever, for free, so that should help you decide if it works.  The full MindHabits Windows app costs $19.95.  I haven’t tried any of them long enough to report personal experience over the long term.

AnxietyMint have a paid-for app (£1.69 in the UK).  Click for AnxietyMint on the App Store.

Jason Pegg, the author of the app uses the same basic structure for two other apps: (they are all £1.69).

These apps are fully editable: I am already working on editing Diet Mint to be more of an aid for the Ketogenic Diet.

I have all of these (except SmokingMint) and will review them as soon as I have got used to them.


Still To Come

  • Pzizz to aid mindfulness,
  • Other Mindfulness aids
  • Further thoughts if your mother didn’t lick you enough (if that’s a mystery, you haven’t watched the video!)
  • Index to blogs already touching this subject.
  • etc

I have long been a fan of Brené Brown, ever since I saw her 2010 TED talk (I’ve embedded the video below).

You may not immediately get the links between obesity and what Brené talks about, but there are a number of them.  For instance, her key research interest is in shame, and who of us obese people isn’t ashamed of it at some level?  We know we shouldn’t be ashamed; we’re not the lazy, greedy slobs that everyone thinks we are, but we’re ashamed anyway.

But Brené’s chief subject is that of connection:

Connection is our ability to forge meaningful, authentic relationships with other people.

I believe that connection is the essence of the human experience.

It is what breathes life into, and gives meaning to our lives.

… and I think that “meaningful, authentic relationships” can be a true source of comfort, the comfort that we mistakenly seek in food.  She says that it is shame that impedes our ability to make connections, because it raises the fear that people will not want to be with us, because we’re too fat, too thin, too old, too ugly, not strong enough, not successful enough, not manly, or womanly, enough.

Food, of course, doesn’t judge us.

It just kills us!

Here’s an 8-minute clip of Brené, talking about shame and empathy, two ends of a spectrum:


Here’s her 2010 TED talk, the one that has over 600,000 views on You Tube, and probably many more on the TED website.  It’s where she begins to outline her concept of “Whole-heartedness”, which I think will become a core concept of Together We Can, just as soon as I manage to relate it to the Secure Attachment Status described by Bowlby and others.


… and here is Brené at TED once more, in March 2012, talking about shame.  This is very powerful for me, and many others, I think.

Shame is an unspoken epidemic, the secret behind many forms of broken behavior. Brené Brown, whose earlier talk on vulnerability became a viral hit, explores what can happen when people confront their shame head-on. Her own humor, humanity and vulnerability shine through every word.


[simpleazon-image align="right" asin="B002OIKZAG" locale="us" height="160" src="" width="133"]If you want to know more about her, check out her website:  That’s where I discovered her “Connections Curriculum“, which I am looking forward to bring back from Florida in a couple of weeks.

One post script.  By making these talks, and publishing this stuff, Brené walks her talk, makes herself vulnerable, and, sometimes, gets kicked in the teeth.  I’m sorry for that, and I admire her courage, and I hope that I can learn something from her, and stand up for what I believe in as passionately as she does.

[simpleazon-image align="left" asin="159285849X" locale="us" height="160" src="" width="107"]Here she is discussing the price of being vulnerable in public.  What can you do?  Can we overcome stuff like this?  Probably not. Can we find ways to live with ourselves and our passions, in a world that has such people in it?  I believe that Together We Can.  It’s about who you make connections with, the integrity of those connections, and how you cut connections that don’t serve.

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