WithAll Blog


The tale of an introverted daughter of an extroverted mother

Feb 21, 2024

Christine D’Ercole
Every parent has a deep-seated desire to pave the way for their children’s success and happiness. Yet the journey of parenthood is full of realizations that the lessons we’ve inherited may not always serve the best interests of the next generation. This truth becomes especially evident in the realm of food and body image, where diet culture can impact our conversations and choices. At WithAll, we encounter numerous stories that echo this sentiment, one being Christine’s. In her candid narrative, Christine delves into the process of dismantling restrictive beliefs and embracing a more freeing approach to parenting.

When my daughter was in school, I listened for any possible thing my very introverted daughter might be interested in or inspired by, to get her out of her room and into the world. But she preferred to be alone with her pens, pencils, paints and piles of paper, solitary, making art and making up her face, and listening to music in the beautiful world inside her own mind.

As for myself as a child, I was taught you need to ‘GET OUT THERE’…and that came more naturally for me. I grew up in a mad dash, running from class to class- ballet, tap, jazz, orchestra, marching band, art class, roller skating, busy on stages everywhere, trying to be seen.


After much prodding she finally got a summer job doing tech and ushering for a stage production. She loved facilitating the magical experience from behind the scenes and even got inspired to study theater in college.  When acting classes appeared on her schedule, she froze.

I tried all the ‘what if’s’ – what if you tried?, what if you can? And I explained the benefits of doing ‘something that scares you’ and the benefits of ‘facing your fears’, but I could hear in her tone the paralyzing anger she felt for being judged for something she had no interest in doing. She stopped going to class and we were at an impasse.

As I have the words ‘to thine own self be true’ tattooed to my arm…I had to reckon with myself. What if there is a different path for her? What if her anxiety is tied to her frustration with being pushed in directions she doesn’t want to go? What if the specific design of her body and mind are built for something else? And with that, I woke up.

I asked her what she truly wanted. She wanted off of the stage and out of the spotlight. And I told her what I wanted, which was for her to be proud of herself. And I allowed her to leave school on the one condition that she choose something that truly interests her and learn about it.

Considering the hours she spent with paint and paper, we threw out the idea of art school? No, she said, I don’t want to kill my joy by having to do it for a grade. And what about the art of hair and makeup? She caught a spark and took a huge step in exercising agency over her own story. 

After her first live client, she called me and said, “Why must they speak? Why can’t I just do their hair in silence?”

I laughed and said “What if you can?” What if you said, “Hi, I’m Victoria and I don’t like to chat except for what pertains to your hair. I do my best work quietly and I want to give you my best.” I said I don’t care if you ever cut someone’s hair out in the world. I care that you feel good about yourself. I care that you are proud and proud does not have to mean loud.

It took me a long time to realize that I had been inadvertently pushing her to be inauthentic and to recognize that there are many paths.

It’s funny, we are taught that in order to get ahead we need to be BOLD, we need to be LOUD and stand our ground. And we are taught to take up as little space as possible and not to rock the boat.It seems like we were taught to do a lot of things that contradict each other. What if we were told this above all, to thine own self be true, and then it shall follow, as the night the day, that thou canst then be false to any other.

WithAll’s What to Say initiative empowers adults to reevaluate their perspectives on health and well-being, offering actionable tools to foster spaces free of diet culture. Start your journey today by downloading our “Simple Guide for What to Say.

Christine D’Ercole is a speaker, writer, decorated competitive cyclist, and original Peloton Cycling Instructor who inspires thousands daily with her work on and off the bike. She is also the founder of wordshop: a workshop in self-talk. Through insightful storytelling and creative writing exercises, Christine guides participants to identify negative narratives and to explore alternate, more productive self-talk. Wordshop is a practical and profound tool for change, centered on the four prompts that make up the root of all our self-talk: I am… I can… I will… and I do. Participants learn to use these prompts as navigation tools for agency in their lives. In order to take a deeper dive into self-talk, Christine created wordswork: an immersive wordshop experience. These retreats incorporate extended writing and mindful activities that dovetail with the wordshops themes, in beautiful settings globally. Christine’s work is rooted in the impact of self-talk on a range of topics, from body image and self-worth to empowering workplace communities and coping with diagnoses. Over the past ten years she has provided wordshops for major corporations, youth organizations and Employee Resource Groups. When she is not writing or speaking, Christine is racing her bike at Velodromes across the country. She is a Masters World Champion, holds 15 National titles and is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University. It is Christine’s mission to cultivate experiences which create opportunities for self-recognition and change through the power of self-talk.
Christine D’Ercole

What to Say Coaches Challenge

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THE PLEDGE: I believe that words matter. I want to make a positive impact on the kids in my life by stopping harmful diet and weight talk. I am committed to making sure that every child gets a chance to develop healthy relationships with food and body.


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Shannon assists with the logistics of development and operations and making every day run as smoothly as possible. Her day-to-day focuses on our Recovery Support Program, budget management, events, and administrative support. She enjoys being part of the nonprofit world and finding ways to help enhance the organization. She has a heart for serving others and helping people succeed.

Shannon has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Health & Exercise Science from Gustavus Adolphus College and a Master’s in Public Health (MPH) from Walden University.

Outside of work, you can find Shannon chasing her two girls around, attending sporting events and finding the next brewery or winery to explore.

Lindsay leads our operations, programming, fundraising, and communications to better fulfill our mission. She enjoys engaging with our supporters and stakeholders to build stronger connections to our work. Outside the office, you can find her planning her next trip, exploring the Twin Cities, or reading her book club’s latest pick.

With ten years of experience in nonprofit and foundation administration, Lindsay is a creative project manager working to strengthen all our operations. She loves being a part of a team deeply dedicated to discovering innovative and effective strategies to end eating disorders and is excited to invite others into this important work. Efficient and collaborative, she executes activity across all operations, including fundraising, events, communications, and programming. Lindsay has a bachelor’s degree in public relations from the University of Northwestern, St. Paul, and a fundraising certificate from the University of St. Thomas. She and her family live in Richfield, MN.

As Executive Director, Lisa leads WithAll’s strategic growth as a sustainable social enterprise dedicated to the prevention of and healing from eating disorders.

Lisa has more than 20 years of experience in public affairs, community relations, and law, and nearly 15 years of experience in non-profit leadership, most recently at Minnesota Public Radio/American Public Media. She is a graduate of Mitchell Hamline School of Law, a member of the Minnesota Bar, and a Minnesota Supreme Court appointee to Minnesota’s Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board. She volunteers with her daughter’s school and with youth sports.

Lisa does this work because she knows eating disorders are not a choice; they are deadly, and they are everywhere. She also knows kids are not born with harmful thoughts and actions around food or their body—and it’s our job as adults to keep it this way so they can focus their precious brains and time on things that matter.

Lisa finds laughter, all children, and the numerous variations of sparkling water to be delightful.