Thursday, June 17, 2021

πŸ“š Back Story: MEANINGFULL: 23 LIFE-CHANGING STORIES OF CONQUERING DIETING, WEIGHT, & BODY IMAGE ISSUES by Alli Spotts-De Lazzer #BackStories @meaningfullread @therapistalli

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By Alli Spotts-De Lazzer

From idea to finished book, the evolution of MeaningFULL: 23 Life-Changing Stories of Conquering Dieting, Weight, & Body Image Issues was less than skill-full much of the time. But it got there! 

Around 2012.

While a dietitian and I collaborated as a treatment team, we diverged from professional into personal. We shared things we wished someone had told us during our eating and body image battles—how we might have made some different choices with more knowledge.

That conversation was a seed, but I had no idea how to grow something from it. 

Cut to 2014.

I attended my first cause-driven flash mob dance event: One Billion Rising. It was educational, empowering, and FUN, a special combination I had not experienced often, if ever.

At One Billion Rising, the education kicked off the event, and I recall it was tough to take in, painful. I couldn’t wait to get to the dance. During the “Break the Chains” routine, I remember realizing that no matter what language the participants’ mouths spoke, dance didn’t care. The individual’s vulnerability countered with the power of so many diverse people united by movement? It was magical!

I dragged two colleagues to the next One Billion Rising. After again having received some education and having had a blast dancing, messing up dancing, and cracking ourselves up, the three of us began to walk home. One said, “We should do something like this for Eating Disorders Awareness Week.” I replied, “Are you serious? We could.” I believed I had the special events and dance backgrounds to pull it together with help.

It took a full year to create the movement with a message: #ShakeIt for Self-Acceptance!®. During that time, I faced various obstacles, from funding to legalities to location. Yet, when I feel something could be

impactful to others and deep in my gut, “no” answers make me mad, which pushes a button in me to keep going.

The topic of eating and body image issues seemed to make venues uncomfortable. “No, we don’t want that in our mall,” “No, that’s not allowed here,” and “Not here, no.” We wanted to do #ShakeIt to educate and reduce the shame and secrecy surrounding eating and body image issues and eating disorders!

We ended up booking a public space because of free speech. And here, we move into what became the model for MeaningFULL’s format. 

Cut to 2015 and 2016.

We held the rallies at the 3rd Street Promenade: 2015 honored National Eating Disorders Awareness Week and 2016 honored National Mental Health Awareness Month. In both, I wanted to see if the speeches could pull in passersby. So I did experiments. I gave a 2-minute limit, asked the speakers to focus on just enough pain for the triumph to pay off, and emphasized "uplifting." I also edited the heck out the speeches. Pretending I was an attendee, what was just enough pain to pump me to want to cheer?

I had seen what I felt was a gap in how we teach about mental health—I’m sensitive to feeling preached at or as if I’m being “educated.” I sort of shut down inside or feel rebellious like so many of us probably do in those situations. At #ShakeIt, I was mindful of delivering any difficult information only after people were pumped and having fun—hopefully, as I felt during One Billion Rising's flash mob. 

Cut to 2017.

Something happened in my personal life to make things quiet. In the stillness, that initial seed planted during that treatment team conversation long ago began to grow. My passion project, #ShakeIt for Self-Acceptance! taught me that triumphant, real-life stories could catch people's interest, could teach without preaching, and could leave people feeling good, even while/after learning tough information. Also, Chicken Soup for the Soul had been one of my favorite-ever series. It certainly proved that short stories could affect others (I’m an extremely slow reader, so I need short pieces). Adding all this together, I assembled a pitch for a publisher I knew.

The response was quick and to the point: it wouldn’t work. They didn't think that the short stories could offer enough meat for a payoff on these incredibly complex and sensitive topics (dieting, weight, body image, and eating disorders).

My gut wouldn’t let it go. My button got pushed again. Continuing to believe in the basic concept, I had to figure it out. There were no prototypes to copy that I could find. It fused too many genres.

Here’s where MeaningFULL became a “we.” I sometimes had to hire professionals to teach me what I didn’t know. Repeatedly, I workshopped the proof of concept. Beautiful, generous, smart souls guided or added to the evolution. I took in their feedback and notes. The incredibly patient contributors put up with sometimes a full year of revisions and back and forths. 

Cut to 2020.

The proof of concept had evolved into the actual book. It contained diverse, real-life short stories, a range of struggles and triumphs, and powerful perspectives. It provided a space to elaborate as a professional, in case anything could confuse a reader. I had the three sections I’d wanted: what I learnedwhat I wish I had known, and you are not aloneMeaningFULL wasn’t a program or plan. It put zero pressure on readers. Packed with education that didn’t FEEL like education, it was simply people’s stories that readers could enjoy, connect with, and learn from (or not).

Pursuing getting published resulted in months filled with rejections or no responses at all. Sometimes agents or publishers would complement the book's concept, but it didn't "fit" their list.

Suddenly, I got three yeses in a week. Unsolicited Press calls themselves a “kick-ass small press.” And yes, in my experience, they are—let’s also add kind, social justice-minded, and passionate about books. 

Cut to today.

If you end up liking MeaningFULL, please be sure to share it with someone who you think would enjoy it, too!

Alli Spotts-De Lazzer is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, and eating and body image specialist with a private practice in Los Angeles, California. Alli has presented educational workshops at conferences, graduate schools, and hospitals; published articles in academic journals, trade magazines, and online information hubs; and appeared as an eating disorders expert on local news. A believer in service, she has co-chaired committees for the Academy for Eating Disorders and the International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals (“iaedp”), facilitated an ongoing eating and body image support group, and created #ShakeIt for Self-Acceptance! – a series of public events sparking conversations about self-acceptance. She was named the 2017 iaedp Member of the Year, and Mayor Garcetti recognized July 13, 2017 as “#ShakeIt for Self-Acceptance! Day” in the City of Los Angeles. MeaningFULL: 23 Life-Changing Stories of Conquering Dieting, Weight, & Body Image Issues was inspired from both Alli’s personal and professional experiences.



Author: Alli Spotts-De Lazzer
Publisher: Unsolicited Press
Pages: 282
Genre: Self-Help / Memoir


MEANINGFULL: 23 LIFE-CHANGING STORIES OF CONQUERING DIETING, WEIGHT, & BODY IMAGE ISSUES is a blend of motivational self-help, memoir, psychology, and health and wellness. Alli Spotts-De Lazzer is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, an expert in eating and body image issues, and a woman on the other side of her own decades-long struggle with food and body.

A $702 billion global diet/nutrition and weight loss industry shows that people worldwide are devoted to achieving maximum health and their desired bodies. Yet mainstream approaches are failing these individuals, and sadly, science proves this. Intent on gaining the “health” and “happiness” that diets promise, consumers keep trying. They become sad and frustrated, believing they’re failing when they’re not. They simply need a legitimate, alternative path, which MeaningFULL offers. Through the contributors’ diverse, real-life mini-memoirs followed by Spotts-De Lazzer’s commentaries, readers will learn about themselves and discover their unique, unconventional formulas for conquering their issues. Along the way, MeaningFULL will also guide them towards more self-appreciation, wellness, and fulfillment.


“Have you ever thought that the painful experiences you’ve had after falling off a diet or being uncomfortable with your body are yours alone? No one else could have ever felt as sad, frustrated, or disappointed as you have! No one else could have struggled with self-esteem or a lack of inner trust as you have! The truth is that these feelings and experiences are universal in a world of diet culture, that only values you for an idealized size or shape of your body and judges you for your eating choices. MeaningFull is a relatable, down-to-earth book that can help you to not feel so alone and isolated in your relationship with food and your body. By reading the stories of a multitude of people who have found their way out of the trap of diet culture and by reading the clear and valuable guidelines and advice that Alli Spotts-De Lazzer presents, you will finally find the hope for a future of joy and satisfaction in your eating and a sense of respect and dignity for the miraculous body that is yours.”

-Elyse Resch, MS, RDN, CEDRD-S, FAND, Nutrition Therapist, Author of The Intuitive Eating Workbook for Teens and The Intuitive Eating Journal, Co-author of Intuitive Eating, The Intuitive Eating Workbook, and The Intuitive Eating Card Deck

In “Meaning Full” Alli Spotts has put together a trove of inspiring stories for anyone interested in tackling problems with eating, weight and body image. The various contributors in the book take readers on a summary of their own healing journey providing useful ideas and strategies that others can apply where appropriate. Readers not only get honest, personal, accounts, but Alli’s summary at the end of each case provides clarification, cites research, and gives further resources on the various subjects brought up. It is refreshing to read a book where individuals dealing with weight and body image struggles describe overcoming their plight.

-Carolyn Costin, Director of the Carolyn Costin Institute, 8 Keys To Recovering From An Eating Disorder

For parents who have a child struggling with any kind of eating or body image issues, it’s common to feel isolated, scared, confused, and even ashamed. The stigma and stereotypes around these issues and sometimes serious illnesses add an extra burden for so many families, and it can be hard to find other people who truly “get it.” Parents looking for hope, insight, and connection will find many poignant stories in MeaningFULL. Caring for a young person through healing from these issues-from seemingly minor self-image problems to serious eating disorders-can take an emotional toll, and families often need a lot of support. Alli Spotts-De Lazzer’s collection of diverse personal stories can help parents feel less alone, shed the guilt or self-blame, and start to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

-Oona Hanson, MA, MA, Educator and Parent Coach


Thursday, May 27, 2021

πŸ“š 10 Things You Might Not Know About Tom Roy @tomroy44 #10things

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Tom Roy was the president and is founder of Unlimited Potential Inc., a ministry to professional baseball players. He has been a voice in major league baseball for almost 4 decades.  Tom also served as a head high school baseball coach for three years as well as having 15 yrs coaching experience as a pitching coach and head coach at the college level. He is currently the president of SHEPHERD COACH NETWORK. Tom and his wife, Carin, Live in Winona Lake, Indiana and are the parents of two adult daughters.




10 Things You Might Not Know About Tom Roy

  1. Tom signed with the San Francisco Giants org as a 17 year old as a pitcher

  2. Tom is the oldest of 8 children.  Tom, Tim, Terry , Tracey, Todd, Tammy, Trudi and Tony

  3. This is Tom’s 10th book that he has authored or co-authored

  4. One businessman purchased 100 books for me to give out to young leaders.

  5. Tom was the founder and President of Unlimited Potential Inc. (working with pro baseball) for 39 years before starting Shepherd coach.

  6. Tom has visited 68 countries

  7. Tom use to teach 3rd culture reentry seminars around the world.

  8. Tom was a head high school and college coach as well as a college pitching coach for over 13 yrs

  9. Tom’s wife Carin is his rock….at 71 she is finishing up her college degree and will graduate this July

  10. Tom and Carin have 2 awesome daughters….Amy and Lindsay...both with interesting life stories...and 6 grandkids

Author: Tom Roy
Publisher: Tall Pines
Pages: 132
Genre: Christian / Nonfiction / Coaching


There are few titles as honored as “Coach.” Players often take on the attitudes and swagger they see in a coach. Coaches are leaders, role models and authority figures all rolled into one. Receiving such a title is one thing… measuring up to the accolade is another. This book will attempt to help us all become better at our honored position of “Christian Coach” by examining our calling, motives, and processes. The workbook will ask questions and give ideas that will help us lead the men and women given to us in a way that models how Jesus would define “winning.” A book for coaches from little league to the major leagues!

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Reel to Reel: Movie Mistakes From Hollywood's Favorite Films Book Blast! #bookblast @islagrey1

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REEL TO REEL is a collection of some of Isla Grey's "Movie Mistakes" column for Bellaonline spotlighting the fun goofs found in some of our favorite movies...

By Isla Grey

Author: Isla Grey
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 287
Genre: Nonfiction / Entertainment


Lights, Camera, Action! From the very beginning, the world of cinema has captivated us. We have found ourselves laughing at our favorite comedies, crying when love finally comes to fruition, being beamed to other worlds or battling in the midst of action sequences. While movies might be the perfect entertainment, most have slight imperfections, mistakes, which go unseen, until they’re released and caught by the movie audience. These mistakes don’t detract from the film, and finding them are just as fun as watching the movie.

For the past several years, Isla Grey has written a “Movie Mistakes” column for Bellaonline. “Reel to Reel” is a collection of some of those columns, spotlighting the fun goofs found in some of our favorite movies. Can you spot them? Grab the popcorn, sit back, and happy movie watching!

The Wizard of Oz

The story of Dorothy Gale and her dog, Toto’s trip to the Land of Oz is one of the most beloved movie tales of all time. After their home is hit by a tornado in Kansas, the pair find their house has landed in an unusual land as well as sitting on top of what used to be the sister of the Wicked Witch of the West. The grateful Munchkins and Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, urge Dorothy to travel to the Emerald City, home of the powerful Oz, the one person who could help her get back home to Kansas. During her travels, Dorothy befriends the unusual trio of the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion who come along with her on the journey.  Dorothy must also watch out for the evil Wicked Witch of the West who’s not only out for revenge for her sister’s death, but more importantly, wants her sister’s ruby slippers, which are now Dorothy’s.  Here are a few movie mistakes to look for while watching “The Wizard of Oz”.

Dorothy and Toto arrive in Oz and meet the Munchkins. During one part of their song and dance routine, they give Dorothy a lollipop and flowers.  The Wicked Witch arrives, and Dorothy can be seen holding both items in some views and just the flowers in others. During some portions of the scene, she’s holding neither.

If you watch Dorothy closely when she starts walking down the yellow brick road, you’ll notice her hair becomes longer by the time she meets the Scarecrow.

Dorothy and the Scarecrow meet the Tin Man when the Wicked Witch of the West arrives. The Wicked Witch of the West throws fire at the scarecrow and disappears. Scarecrow falls to Dorothy’s left while the Tin Man is on her right side.  They stand up a couple moments later and the Tin Man is now on her left while the Scarecrow is on her right.

The Tin Man sits down on a tree trunk. Dorothy’s basket has his oil can, but it can be seen falling out and onto the yellow brick road. In the next view, however, the oil can is back in the basket.

The foursome reach Emerald City and the Cowardly Lion starts a song and dance number. During the scene, the Tin Man makes a crown out of a ceramic flower pot and places it on the Lion’s head. In the next close-up view, the crown has changed position. Also, during this scene, when the guard tells them to go away, the crown falls from the Cowardly Lion’s head and bounces on the ground instead of breaking. Something else to look for-- during the Cowardly Lion’s solo, after the crown has been placed on his head, you can see the white vertical wire behind him that swishes his tail back and forth.

Dorothy, Scarecrow, The Tin Man, Cowardly Lion and Toto are walking through the Haunted Forest. The Cowardly Lion is carrying a net and mallet. He’s still carrying them when he tries to run away but in the next view of him, they’re gone.

“The Wizard of Oz” (1939) stars Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, Bert Lahr, Margaret Hamilton, Billie Burke, Clara Blandick, Charley Grapewin and Terry the dog. It runs 101 minutes and is rated G.


Isla Grey is from Central Virginia and at an early age developed a love of movies.  She shared many Sunday afternoons watching old favorites with her grandmother that included everything from “Gone with the Wind” and “Rio Bravo” to “Titanic” and “The Mummy”.

Working as Bellaonline’s Movie Mistakes editor since 2012 has given Isla the opportunity to indulge in two of her passions—movies and writing.

When Isla isn’t writing or watching movies, most of her time is spent with her ever active daughter and her band of cats.  She also enjoys good music, reading biographies and ghost stories and taking quiet strolls.




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Wednesday, May 19, 2021


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 The only path to career fulfillment is to embrace your true self once and for all…

By Stephanie Battaglino

Author: Stephanie Battaglino
Publisher: L’Oste Vineyard Press
Pages: 286
Genre: Memoir


For Stephanie Battaglino, her lifelong journey of self-discovery closely paralleled her daily grind of  trudging up the corporate ladder. Amidst the successes and failures of working as a male in the corporate world, Stephanie finally realized that the only path to career fulfillment was to embrace her true self once and for all. That it resulted in her becoming the first officer in the history of New York Life to come out on the job as transgender is not surprising. What was surprising was her abrupt introduction to that generations-old nemesis of working women everywhere, the Glass Ceiling. What she quickly realized was that her embrace of her authentic self came with a price: the loss of male privilege.

Reflections from Both Sides of the Glass Ceiling: Finding My Authentic Self in Corporate America is part memoir, part cautionary tale of what it is like to experience a career on both sides of the gender divide. Stephanie’s unique and very personal experience provides a powerful trailblazing story of inspiration, self-discovery, and triumph – for ALL women.

KEARNY, NEW JERSEY LIES EIGHT MILES DUE WEST OF New York City. I had a clear view of the city’s skyline, across the Meadowlands,from my high school. I like to say that I grew up in the shadow of the city, and in many respects, I did—both literally and figuratively. It was a place where I found out that feeling different from everybody else meant hiding in the shadows at a very young age. For me, hiding wasnan option. was a natural extrovert. On the playground, in school, and at family gatherings, I was always the center of attention—and I enjoyed the spotlight. So, instead of retreating to the shadows, I hid in plain sight. 

God, I wanted to get out of that town as fast as I could. By the time I attended high school, I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that my future—whatever it was going to look like—was most definitely not going to take place in Kearnyfeared that if didngo awato college, I would be resigned to a life of pumping gas and on the weekends hanging in some dive bar. But that only sounded good in conversation with friends. I was going for the laugh—and I usually got it. The real reason that I was running away was that I was running from myself. Wearing a mask every day was exhausting. 

Leaving home meant that maybe I could finally leave behind the dirty little secret I held onto for so long. In my most private and intimate moments, when no one was around, and I could retreat from being the center of attention, I felt like a girl inside, not a boy. I realize now that it was the first of many attempts to eradicate this “sickness” inside me. It was a pseudo-sickness that I would battle in a series of epic failures both in the workplace and my personal life for the next twenty-seven years. 

My socialization process as an overachieving male in the workplace and society was well on its way. My acquired machismo gave me a sense of competitiveness that fueled my successes and failures as a manager, executive, and a male in corporate life. My desire to compete and win has been a part of my personality my entire life, even after I transitioned. It is a trait that ultimately chaffed my male colleagues who were convinced that women should not act that way. 

During that first part of my life, I had no one and nowhere to turn to with my feelings. There was no outlet for me to share my deepest feelings. No support group. No internet. So I just lowered my head and so journeyed on, thinking that if I worked hard enough and did all the things that “manly men” did, I could destroy all traces of this horrible sickness. 

L’Oste Vineyard Press →


As the founder and owner of Follow Your Heart, LLC  ( Stephanie is an internationally  recognized speaker, workshop presenter, trainer, author and  workplace diversity & inclusion consultant. She currently sits on the  Board of PFLAG National and is the Chair of their Business Advisory  Council.

Here’s what critics are saying about Stephanie Battaglino:

“From all of us – for your brilliant words and thoughts . . . And heart.”
-Diane Sawyer, ABC News

“You were just outstanding . . . with your presentation and guidance during our learning and discussion. Thank you for providing such important and current information. We appreciate you and what you do.”
May Snowden, Senior Fellow & Program Director, Human Capital Practice, The Conference Board

“Thank you Stephanie for joining us today during FMC Corporation Pride Month celebration. Your personal story was educational, informative and inspiring.”
-Subarna Malakar, Director and Global Diversity & Inclusion Officer, FMC Corporation

“I have had the pleasure of working with Stephanie on an enrichment event at our company and got to know her further at the following Out & Equal Workplace Summit. I’ve found her honesty and heartfelt way she tells her story to be very meaningful to me. She played a large role in introducing me t – and our entire company – to transgender issues and what I believe is the next frontier in creating diverse and accepting workplaces. I now proudly count myself among the allies for the transgender community.”
-Heather Gill, Diversity & Inclusion Lead, Land O’Lakes

 “I would like to extend a most sincere thank you for your inspiration, and for joining our company’s’ diversity efforts in support of the LGBTQ community. I have received several messages from executives who were present and had great feedback to share!
-Juan Camilo Romero, Manager, Diversity & Inclusion Strategies, Macy’s, Inc.

“It is with great pride that Deena and I announce the formal launch of the Trans Toolkit project that you so generously collaborated on with us this past Spring. We truly would not have been able to do this project without each and every one of your thoughtful contributions. We thank you for your time, your passion and your contribution to this project.”
-Beck Bailey, Director of Employee Engagement, Workplace Equality Program, Human Rights Campaign (HRC)

“The feedback from the Commissioner and the entire Executive staff has been overwhelmingly positive! Everyone here is excited about the possibilities of doing more to develop the Agency’s Transgender Rights and Inclusion competence. There is no doubt that the Executives would love to have Stephanie back to train the entire 5,400 person workforce if it were possible and practical. I would not be surprised if they started a petition for Stephanie to present full-time, but I digress.”
-James L. Hallman, Chief Diversity & EEO Officer, New York City Department of transportation




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