We built a fire. Drank beer. And told the story of the day over and over again to ourselves--embroidering liberally as we went. First, I insisted that the group hear my version, which stressed the inevitability of the event--given Seth's moodiness and the probability that he was still wrecked from the night before. Next, Seth claimed the floor for an extended telling of his version, which stressed the exhilaration of the experience--and the satisfaction of giving the obsessive professor his due. But I had definitely been experiencing them all my life. And it's impacted me in ways I still can't fully fathom. According to researchers, the basic definition of weight bias is this: negative weight-related attitudes, beliefs, assumptions and judgments toward individuals who are overweight and obese. 9 Someone giving you a dirty look because you take up a lot of space on a bus? Weight bias. television show talking about obesity showing pictures of overweight walking people with censored faces? bias. doctor telling you all your tests show that you're perfectly healthy, but you could still lose fifteen pounds? Weight bias. unhappiness came across in how she communicated to her staff and the atmosphere in the team changed. The impact of her behaviour had a negative influence on the team and their performance went from being one of the highest to one of the lowest. Eventually, her boss realised there was a problem and moved her temporarily (and sensitively) to a different role until she resolved her domestic problems. The team's performance quickly improved under a new leader. Things can go right or wrong at any stage in this process.

The impact of our inputs , and how we interact during the process , can lead to different outcomes than we intended. There is a phrase used in neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) that every communication has a meaning, whether you want it to or not' andthe meaning of a communication is the response it gets! ' 2 You have control over large parts of this process - setting the outcome you want, choosing your words, tone of voice and body language, building rapport and managing the balance you take between advocating your own position and inquiring about the other person's position. These will all influence whether you achieve your intended result. Would she and Howie ever get married? Would they have sex? These questions made for great narrative tension, but seemed less important in her life. Loving Howie and Zoe, and being loved by them, meant loving the life she had and the body she was in, as they were right this minute. This seemed as good a definition of happiness as any I've come across. Helen found someone who needed her; she met his needs and she accepted his love in return. They responded not to each other's perfections but to each other's gaps. Each flourished by giving the other what he or she needed--that is, by enabling the other to flourish. It wasn't an easy formula, but it was one that I could strive for in my own relationships. The story grew to legendary proportions over the course of the summer, as Seth worked and reworked his telling of it into an art form. By September, it was unrecognizable. At least once a week, deep in our beer, some member of the crew called for it: Seth, tell the racing stripe story again. But that first night after the event, as I remember it, we stayed later than usual in the woods. All five of us slept curled up in our sleeping bags near the waning fire.

3 As I think back on that long day, and indeed on that entire summer, it is surrounded in a golden glow. Have I romanticized it? Most likely. But even at the time, I vaguely sensed that I was living more fully than I had ever lived before. Weight bias is incredibly common. Have you ever heard someone--or you yourself--comment on the weight of a stranger or a celebrity? Have you ever experienced someone calling you fat or being shamed about your weight? I remember once overhearing a guy in the gym laughing at an overweight man for being there. Look at that fatty, he told his pal, who had his T-shirt sleeves cut off (obviously). What's he trying to do? Weight bias has been associated with higher anxiety, lower self-esteem, more stress, and depression, not to mention body-image issues. If the whole world is constantly telling you that your physical shape is wrong, you're going to feel bad about it at some level, no matter how hard you try to cheer yourself up. And shaming people doesn't even work. They've done studies on it; Even an apparently simple communication can be improved by using this approach. For example, you might decide to call your elderly mother who lives alone 100 miles away. You are probably ringing because you want to make sure she is ok and show that you care about her. During the call, something comes up, you have a slight disagreement and you end the call with both of you feeling dissatisfied. Sound familiar?

This was not what you wanted to achieve. Taking a few moments before the call to remind yourself why you are calling, and what your mother might want from the conversation, makes it more likely that you will achieve what you want. Having an intention in mind will shape what you say and how you say it and will lead to a better outcome. Try it next time you make a call like this. Language needs to be simple, direct and appealing and it is more effective to use active rather than passive forms of speech: I will article the train tickets' rather thanThe train tickets will be articleed by me. wasn't something esoteric but an appreciation of the things already available in our lives. Sometimes it was an old woman in a nursing home with a partner in a wheelchair, telling the same story for the nineteenth time. How to be happy? Here was a start. Accept whatever kindnesses people offer you, and repay with what you can. Let a friend buy you lunch, then do her a solid in return. You'll benefit from the favors you receive, but even more from the ones you perform. Don't begrudge the people who need you; thank them for letting you help them. Give up the obsession with self-reliance; To this hour, I remember certain details so distinctly: the deep green of summer; the tropical scent of the suntan lotion we wore; the bronze of our skin, speckled with droplets of paint; the views of western Massachusetts' majestic Pioneer Valley from gabled rooftops. But I would never then--as I do now--have seen that summer as a time of intense spiritual growth.

I would more likely have called it simply a fantastic season of play. Nor did I have the remotest understanding of the precarious nature of the challenges I was facing that summer--the many ways things could have gone wrong, the fork in the road I was almost unwittingly taking. Only now, with the perspective of decades, can I see what was going on under the surface of that summer's play, can I see that I came out of it a different person, can I see the beginnings in me of an actual adult, and can I see that that summer of growing up was almost entirely about Seth. 4 Seth was an altogether new kind of friend for me. instead, it can lead to eating disorders, compulsive exercising, binge eating, and other unhealthy behaviors. It can also make people not want to exercise in public because they're ashamed of their bodies. (This is why I started by lifting weights in my apartment. I didn't want to go to a gym and feel judged by people like the dude-bro a few paragraphs back. ) We also internalize this sort of weight bias--people can start to believe they deserve the stigma and shaming because it's their fault that they chose to be fat. This whole piece of writing is about how complicated obesity is, and how so much of it is out of our control. But because of weight bias, people internalize these terrible things and it doesn't help them. Studies have shown that public health campaigns that don't focus on obesity or how overweight you are, but instead promote healthy behaviors that don't relate to one's body size, are actually more motivating. What a shocker: Being not shitty to people makes them want to do things! ' Try to appeal to the senses, especially sight, sound and touch, and to the emotions (see the next article for more on this). Talk about how you feel, as well as what you think. Use positive language and positive images - describe what you want, rather than what you don't want. For example, if you were going to diet, rather than setting your goal as to lose weight', it is more motivating to set your goal asto look slim and healthy'.