Words from the Formerly Obese

At Play

It might be instructive to listen to someone who lost 140 pounds, 30 years ago, and sustained that loss. Such a person is self-described food addict William Anderson, a Licensed Mental Health Counselor who specializes in eating disorders, addictions, and weight loss. At his peak he strained the scales at more than 300 pounds. Since childhood, he had been trying reducing diets and what he describes as “scams.”

I tried that over and over and just couldn’t do it, so I was always vulnerable to these promises that I could skirt reality and some product would solve the problem for me… I know how those repeated failures crush your spirit and your belief that you can change things.

But then it gets confusing. Anderson also recalls how his doctor would say, “It’s a matter of diet and exercise,” and other people would assure him that all he needed was to make up his mind, and use determination and will power to follow through. The implication is that both these ideas contributed to his continuing inability to lose weight even though, presumably, he watched his diet and got some exercise. But then he goes ahead and describes body weight as a function of thermodynamics and energy balance:

Eat more calories than you need and you gain weight. Eat fewer than you need and you lose it. Do that sufficiently enough and you’ll lose as much as you want.

So it is all about diet and exercise. Don’t look for the magic bullet, because it doesn’t exist. Yes, there is an unavoidable necessity for a person to control his or her eating, which includes stuff like counting calories. But no, sheer will-power is not the answer. A person needs to put the work in, and learn techniques to get the job done. Anderson recommends behavioral therapy, of which his adaptation is “Therapeutic Psychogenics,” as described in his book The Anderson Method.

Obesity and Kids Today

Making one’s way in the world is never easy, and obesity makes everything more difficult. How much better it is when a person’s biography never has to include the words, “I fought obesity for 20 years.” Around here, we recommend that a child or teen use the W8Loss2Go smartphone app. We want to give them the tools to deal with obesity now, and definitively, so the journey to adulthood is not burdened and fettered by carrying extra weight. If these skills are utilized, they will work. Once learned, they will not be forgotten.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “4 Top Weight Loss Scams of the Year (So Far)
HuffingtonPost.com, 01/29/2014
Image by Kenneth Freeman

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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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