Additional Posts About Cravings


We have mentioned Slide 26 from “Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model,” which Dr. Pretlow presented at the Global Conference on Obesity Treatment and Weight Management. There is more to Slide 26. Here is a quotation about the illusory sensation of brain hunger, which also sounds an awful lot like withdrawal symptoms:

When the person tries to resist it, that seems to make it worse. The only thing that seems to help is to give in, and of course that reinforces it, and the whole cycle repeats. An analogy that the patients in my studies talked about, they said it’s like a kid they’re babysitting for that just continues to bug them until they do something for that kid.

The most recent post, “Encyclopedia of Cravings,” was misnamed, because not all previous posts about cravings have been mentioned yet. Today, we revisit the six-part series called “How to Vanquish Food Cravings.”

The first section emphasized again the awkward position that babies and children occupy as a result of their helplessness. They can’t drive to the health-food store for avocado mayonnaise. On the upside, this infantile passivity is ideal for parents who are conscientious about feeding their kids fresh vegetables and keeping potato chips out of the house.

When we looked at the research done by a team of psychologists on the precise question of “Why do we get intense desires to eat certain foods?,” the subject of imagery came up again.

Part 2 mentioned adequate hydration, which is one of the most underrated tips for people who don’t want food issues to rule their lives. However, the subject can get complicated, because the water that comes out of American faucets is not what it used to be. Plastic bottles are even worse, leaching chemicals that are accused of instigating many harmful health conditions, including obesity.

The post also mentioned Vitamin D, sleep, magnesium-glycinate, and pickles. Part 3 brought up cinnamon, and included some tips from kids who respond to the Weigh2Rock website.

The world is full of former smokers who chew on toothpicks, as well as W8Loss2Go participants who squeeze their hands together for distraction. Compulsive overeating appears to be at least as much a behavioral addiction as a substance addiction. If a lot of the eating that people do is actually displacement activity meant to assuage stress, it makes sense that an undesired behavior can be replaced by a new, substitute behavior.

Part 4 had more to say about distraction, and Part 5 leaped into the strange world of wireheading, aka deep brain stimulation, while Part 6 dealt with fat, cortisol, psychological stress, and mindfulness.

Planning to be in or near Lisbon, Portugal, in early July? Dr. Pretlow’s 90-minute workshop, “Treatment of Child/Adolescent Obesity as an Addictive Process,” just might be for you.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

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Profiles: Kids Struggling with Weight

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The Book

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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