Motivation Personality Therapy

Episode 140: Psychoanalyzing Jack Lalanne

In this episode I put Jack Lalanne "on the couch". I take selections from several of his videos and see what they reveal about his personality. He was clearly passionate about exercise, but what drove this passion? What was his underlying motivation? I suggest that his relationship with his father was crucial to his passion for exercise and fitness. Join me as I do a little armchair psychoanalysis of Jack Lalanne.



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    February 6, 2011

    Jack said his dad died of a heart attack. It’s possible he was sugar addict. Sugar can damage the liver and cause fatty liver disease.

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    February 6, 2011

    M; Good point about how Cirrhosis of the liver can be caused by things other than alcohol. I did not know this so thanks for pointing this out. I couldn’t find any definitive info about exactly why his father died, just references to “heart disease” or “poor nutrition” but thanks for that info about Cirrhosis.

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    February 6, 2011

    Really enjoyed your armchair analysis of Jack Lalanne… Informative, revealing, and fun. It was the first of your podcast’s I’ve listened to – but definitely one I’ll keep following and recommend to all my post doc psychology buddies.

    One question I had regarded Jack Lalanne’s pops. His dad, as you informed us, had cirrhosis of the liver; and you stated pretty firmly that this was evidence his father was alcoholic. Did you have other sources to back his alcoholism up? Cirrhosis of the liver has a variety of causes including Hepatitis C, fatty liver, poor diet, and alcohol abuse. I guess you probably know this, but maybe some listeners won’t.

    Great podcast – keep them coming!


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    February 6, 2011

    Thanks Derek. I’ve seen a few of your comments on the blog so thanks so much for being a dedicated listener and contributor. I’m enjoying following your tweets by the way (

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    February 6, 2011

    Hey Michael,

    I just wanted to say that this was a fascinating episode and I really enjoyed it! I’d never heard of Jack Lalanne (in Australia) but I think you did a really great job of introducing him and giving us an expert eye’s view on the fellow.

    Thanks again and keep up the great work.


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    February 6, 2011

    Toby: abandonment issues makes sense. I like it. I’ll definitely check out that Science Friday episode. Sounds interesting.

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    February 6, 2011

    Hey Doc,
    Listened to this episode yesterday at work but was too busy to comment.
    The idea that ran through my head was when he said he father committed suicide it was meant figuratively, like he willingly went “gently into that good night”, as Jack said he kinda let himself go and refused to take the advice on diet and exercise. That led me to think perhaps Jack experienced some abandonment issues and the guilt or whatever you were talking about. Wish I commented at the time ’cause I can’t remember it all now.
    Listening to NPR Science Friday right now (episode 2/4/2011) about exercise and the brain. You should check it out if you haven’t already.

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