The Mind and the Scale


In Dr. Pretlow’s W8Loss2Go program, once the person has unhooked herself or himself from particular problem foods, and relinquished the snacking habit, the diminution stage kicks in. That is a lessening or reduction in size, and the thing that needs to be lessened is the amount of food consumed at regular mealtimes.

While many young people were able to sail through the initial stages with relative ease, it soon became obvious that here was where they got stuck on the rocks. Dr. Pretlow wrote:

We then realized that the main issue contributing to their weight was eating excessive amounts at meals. So, we implemented the “cutting in half” method, where they would cut in half everything they ate at meals and put half back… Unfortunately, participants had great difficulty deciding how much to cut off and put back, and even how much to serve themselves to start with.

The necessity for some scientific rigor became obvious. It was important to know exactly how much a participant ate, because without that baseline proposing to eat less at lunch tomorrow is futile.

Dr. Pretlow quotes Peter Drucker, inventor of the concept of “management by objectives,” on a subject that directly applies to the food-weighing requirement. Incidentally, according to world-class entrepreneur Dave Lavinsky, this brief motto is one of the two most important things anyone ever said about business:

If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.

Here’s another iconic Drucker quotation:

Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.

In the studies Dr. Pretlow and his team are obviously in the leadership role. They have determined that the right thing, at this stage of the W8Loss2Go process, is to carefully weigh food portions.

And who is in management? The kids, of course. When a boy or girl agrees to take part in the program, that young person is the manager of one segment of the whole study — and, as Drucker says, that means “doing things right.”

The thing that needs to be done right is the weighing process, and no one can say it’s hard to learn. Here is a bouquet of remarks from kids who have tried it, including one who says, “Numbers can’t lie, but my brain can.”

And here is Dr. Pretlow again:

We had participants weigh their typical portions with a food scale. Then, they would remove an ounce, etc. and put it back. That procedure was an order of magnitude improvement in the amounts reduction process, because it turned the amounts they were eating into a number, which the app could then progressively reduce in small increments. And, participants were amazed that they didn’t miss the subtracted amounts.

This information isn’t just for kids. Rob Lawson, whose YouTube channel features strength training and nutrition, proves that certain things are true even for elite athletes and others who are seriously devoted to physical optimization. Adults too need to pay more attention the the sheer amounts of food they tend to consume. Lawson says:

That would be my number one thing because it’s so easy to guessimate yourself to being overweight. Once you get used to it and attach a certain calorie intake with a certain eyeball portion of what you’re eating you can guessimate it from that point, but I think people need the experience with tracking their intake consistently for a few weeks.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “The Two Most Important Quotes in Business,”, 02/25/17
Source: “Transcript of Podcast #12: The Bulletproof Executive,”, undated
Image by W8Loss2Go

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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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