Former Obese Child ‘Loser’ Stories

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People who have reclaimed their health by losing large amounts of weight often have stories to share, sometimes about the turning points in their lives. The first one, courtesy of, comes from a 23-year-old former obese child who lost 180 pounds in a year and a half. In fifth grade, he was wearing size XL shirts designed for an adult male, and by the age of 13 he weighed about 350 pounds. As with most obesity struggles, there were ups and downs; he graduated from high school weighing somewhere around 300 and was “totally disgusted” with his senior class photo.

Then he discovered video games, devolved into an even more sedentary lifestyle, and gained back quite a lot of weight. He would stuff down 2500-calorie meals without thinking twice about it, and the concept of portion control had never entered his mind. He describes when his life changed:

December 2010, my roommate convinced me to come to the gym with him. I went to the locker room, weighed myself, and saw 372. I consider this my starting weight. I was completely disgusted. I tried jogging and ended up bursting blood vessels in my left eye. This was a wake up call; I couldn’t even slowly run in circles on a track without hurting myself. I decided that this had gotten way out of control and I needed to fix it.

A 5’5″ woman discovered as a college student that her weight had reached 205 pounds, and went for a physical exam. Her blood pressure was up, and the number of people in her family with Type 2 diabetes became a worrying factor. But she describes the real breaking point as the realization that she could neither fit into her job interview suit, nor afford to buy a new one. She quit sugar and dairy products and followed a Paleo diet, bringing her dress size down to 10 and sometimes even 8.

Another Reddit user headlines her story “Over-eating is an addiction, so why don’t we treat it that way?” (For Dr. Pretlow’s take on that, please see “Addiction to Highly Pleasurable Food as a Cause of the Childhood Obesity Epidemic.”) That young lady’s wake-up call was not so drastic, and was delivered by

…a wonderful mother who sat me down one day and let me know that my weight and eating habits were getting out of hand…. I’m eternally grateful my mother reached out to me in a kind and gentle way and helped me see the light.

A success story with a romantic element was submitted to Reddit by a 23-year-old male who now weighs 150 pounds. At age 13, he was 9 inches shorter than today but weighed in at 180, and he claims to have enjoyed being fat at that age. He certainly contributed to it by consuming two liters of soda and an entire cake every day.

By age 14, he was up to 195 pounds, thanks to the addition of at least 10 cheese slices every day. And then at 15, he met a girl from a physically active family, who roped him into hiking and rowing. He says he complained and even cried, and felt like he would go out of his mind from not having his favorite comfort foods. But this family was made up of “the nicest bunch of people ever,” including the girl herself who “never fat shamed, never insulted, just stayed my friend.”

This illustrates again the monumental importance of accepting people as they are. If we do that, the person may or may not change. But if we don’t accept, they will be literally unable to change. This is a psychological reality that cannot be circumvented. But to accept a flawed human being, “warts and all” as the saying goes, is not at all the same as buying into Fat Acceptance.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Hey Reddit. It’s cakeday, so I figured I’d share my story. I’ve lost 180 pounds (as of today) in the last 1.5 years,”, 2013
Source: “My Internal Battle Against the FA Movement,”, 03/02/14
Source: “Over-eating is an addiction, so why don’t we treat it that way?”, 2013
Source: “Hamtaro: The Story of Me,”, 2013
Image by wsilver

One Response

  1. Many people find help in Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous. Some of us have been diagnosed as morbidly obese while others are undereaters. Among us are those who were severely bulimic, who have harmed themselves with compulsive exercise, or whose quality of life was impaired by constant obsession with food or weight. We tend to be people who, in the long-term, have failed at every solution we tried, including therapy, support groups, diets, fasting, exercise, and in-patient treatment programs.

    FA has over 500 meetings throughout the United States in large and small cities such as Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Charlotte, Grand Rapids, Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale, Austin, and Washington, D.C. Internationally, FA currently has groups in England, Canada, Germany, New Zealand and Australia. If you would like more information about FA, please check out our website at www [dot] foodaddicts [dot] org. If there aren’t any meetings in your area, you can contact the office by emailing FA at foodaddicts [dot] org, where someone will help you.

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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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