Social Networking and Obesity, Part 5

Grand Velas Yoga and Pilates

All over the Web, people are sharing thoughts and emotions about their unhealthful and unnatural relationship with food, and especially their realization that food addiction is real. Unfortunately, many of these confessions are long on what the afflicted are “trying” and short on any revelations about what actually works.

For instance, under the title of “Everyday Thoughts of Your Everyday Food Addict,” a 19-year-old, 165-pound young woman with a year of higher education under her belt (so to speak) expresses herself:

I just finished my freshman year of college and gained at LEAST the freshman 15. In college I started eating just more just because I got bored and the food was so close and so easily accessible…. I have never been big on work-outs so I decided to just start keeping track of everything that I eat and figure out what is excessive and what isn’t. These first 2 days have been pretty tough and I have a hard time telling myself that I am just bored and not hungry…

Through a forum called “3 fat chicks on a diet!,” one woman talks about how very good she was over the July 4th holiday, drinking water and eating salad. But, she says,

NOW the stress is over…NOW I want to eat alone, eat as much as I want, all the ‘forbidden’ foods. I know I can set back a day or so and then get back on track. It’s like a sick plan I figure to indulge… I wonder if anyone else feels this way?

We do, and probably most of us would give in to a binge when we hear a certain advertising jingle romping through the backs of our minds — the one about how we deserve a “break” today. Otherwise sane and sensible people are convinced by clever marketing that we are all entitled to take a day off now and then, a day that too often spreads out into a week, to wallow in processed food. But today’s “break” is tomorrow’s heartbreak. Knowing we can go online and have our feelings validated, and be reassured that fellow sufferers are “there for us,” is a good thing in its way, but it’s not enough.

But here is a blog title that inspires hope: Diary of a Former Food Addict. Let’s peek in and see if there is anything more tangible than sympathy on offer. FFA, as it turns out, also had the July 4th holiday on her mind. Holidays are always a tough time for the unattached. She muses,

… [E]ven when I was single before I was never really alone. You see that’s the thing about an eating disorder you always have a built in best friend. It’s not a healthy one or beneficial one, but it’s a constant… When the eating disorder got removed I had the new friend of recovery. For a while I was so fulfilled by healing and recovering I did not even miss it and had a new distraction in it’s place.

But, rather than mope around or order in a large pizza with everything, what did FFA do? She called a friend and got herself invited to a beach weekend with the friend’s family. Good goin’! It’s kind of difficult to pick up on what FFA is actually doing without sifting through dozens of blog entries, but we do pick up hints here and there. She works out regularly at a gym with a trainer. In one entry, she talks about yoga, which helps to calm her inner “worried voice.” She writes,

I was worried all the time about relapse, about unhealthy behaviors creeping back in. Yoga helped me quiet that voice and appreciate the present and focus on what I can do in the present.

To remain conscious of everything she puts in her body, FFA keeps a food journal. When tempted to buy chocolate, she instead plays a dance tune and does the shimmy-shimmy-shake. FFA’s profile page doesn’t say much about her either, only that she has resolved never to diet again, but to be healthy and strive for balance.

However, it does contain the most comprehensive list of obesity-fighting blogs you could ever hope to find. Seriously. There are close to 300 links. Last month, FFA shared about her faltering relationship with physical activity, which had been another kind of new best friend, and a haven from trouble, until she began to lose enthusiasm:

I also want to fall in love with exercise again. Right now we’re drifting along. I am going through the motions but I am not excited. I feel better for it every work out I accomplish and I do not let go of that. I love strength training because it makes me feel strong, confident and less concerned with what I look like and more positive about what I can do… Overall I have done a lot, look pretty good, and feel pretty awesome, but I have to keep pushing forward.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Everyday Thoughts of Your Everyday Food Addict,”, 06/06/11
Source: “Chronic food addict, binge specialist, diet overachiever…,”, 07/05/11
Source: “Yogaaahhhhhhhh,” Diary of a Former Food Addict, 11/02/10
Image by Grand Velas Resort, modified and used under its Creative Commons license.

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Profiles: Kids Struggling with Weight

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OVERWEIGHT: What Kids Say explores the obesity problem from the often-overlooked perspective of children struggling with being overweight.

About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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