The Charlie Brown Effect

Good morning KMIVers!
Below, enjoy a guest post from Jonathan Wolf, EdM. Along with having a passion for working with fellow human beings on their ability to be resilient and thrive, Jon happens to be my brother. And he's the kind of brother I call on a fairly regular basis. Mostly because I love him, but a little bit because he is a brother whose sage advice and wisdom from his experience as a Vitality and Performance Coach has literally changed my life for the better. I just couldn't keep this amazing secret to myself anymore - I had to share him with all of you!

Jonathan has worked in a myriad of settings:  as a Health and Wellness Coordinator at a Psychiatric Residential Facility in Boston, a Therapeutic Mentor for Vive! Inc., and finally, Jon is a Vitality and Performance Coach with YouTime Coaching, which he founded and has been running for the past few years, along with his blog, Letting Your Crazy Out! Guidance for the Field of Life. Jonathan also has experience working with a range of individuals of all ages (ranging from 14-70), those suffering from mental illness, elite and professional athletes, and individuals in the performing arts. He obtained his master's degree in Sport Psychology and Counseling at Boston University, and he earned his bachelors degree in Kinesiology and Psychology from the University of Rhode Island.

So basically, you should get yourself to his website right now, and schedule a free consultation. If I wasn't family, I'd be doing it in a heartbeat!

As you've been noticing, I've been branching out and allowing for more and more guest posts. Jon's post below will be the first of many, and I hope you will happily welcome him into the KMIV family. 


      The Charlie Brown Effect by Jonathan Wolf, EdM

Did you ever think that someday you could blame Charlie Brown for why your diets never worked? No matter if you eat meat, are vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian, pescatarian, or any other "arian", you have probably tried some type of "diet" before. 

By diet, I mean, "a particular type or amount of food prescribed for a person for a special reason." According to the Boston Medical Center, 45 million individuals each year try dieting, while $33 million dollars are spent on weight-loss products.

Within this context, a key component is the word "prescribed." A vast majority of the time, it is not a Doctor, Nutritionist, or Certified Health Coach prescribing these diets, IT IS OUR OWN PRESCRIPTION. Which means, we design the reason for going on a diet, which diet to choose, and why this is the healthiest thing for us.

And boy do we rationalize. 

Now let's return to a major culprit in this situation, Charlie Brown.

If you have watched Charlie Brown before you are probably familiar with this scene.

Let's break this down.

Charlie Brown's Goal: Kick the football.

Factors in play: Charlie Brown, Lucy, Football.

Do you think Charlie Brown completed his goal?

Charlie Brown failed his goal of kicking the football, because Lucy pulled it out from under him.

So knowing what doesn't work, Charlie Brown goes for attempt #2.

And the same result…

A relentless Charlie Brown returns over and over again in hopes to kick the football, knowing what doesn't work, but still approaching the goal the same way. The "Charlie Brown Effect" is also known as the "False Hope Effect", which for Charlie means, the shear hope that someday he may actually get to kick the football, and this event will be so glorious it will wipe away all the failed attempts in the past keeps him coming back for more.

Have you ever heard of a Yo-yo Diet? Yeah, exactly the same thing. 

When it comes to our health, the food we put in our body, and the activity we'll allow our bodies to engage in, it is incredibly important to keep in mind three things while engaging in "dieting" behaviors. 

1) Identify all the "Lucy's" in the situation.

What road blocks and blockades could potentially keep me from achieving this healthier lifestyle? 

2) Design individual plans to navigate AROUND multiple "Lucy's" instead of acting like Charlie Brown and trying to go through her. 

3) Watch Forks Over Knives (

If you want to lose weight, be active, and eat the right foods, do this as a lifestyle, not for three month increments. You want to be feeling good all the time, right?

The reassuring thing to realize is that there are lots of people out there falling underneath the "Charlie Brown Effect," and there are also many individuals that specialize in developing road maps, back-up plans, and creative solutions to these particularly challenging changes in lifestyle. 

A wonderful resource to help break you out of the "Charlie Brown Effect" and into a more permanent feeling of health and happiness is Steven Smith, a Certified Holistic Health Coach and creator of Ahimsa Life Coaching. Contact Steve through his website to free yourself from your inner Charlie Brown.  

To learn more about Jon and his fabulous work as a Vitality and Performance Coach, visit


Myra Wolf said…
What a wonderful world....we are working on. I love you!