Making Pounds Disappear

On reading Anne M. Fletcher’s book, Sober for Good: New Solutions for Drinking Problems — Advice from Those Who Have Succeeded, Dr. Pretlow remarked that “the parallels with overeating/obesity are striking.” Of course, Childhood Obesity News readers will recognize a similarity to the title of Dr. Pretlow’s book, Overweight: What Kids Say.

The two authors share the very interesting idea that people who have experienced a problem or a condition might be worth listening to. The publisher’s description of Fletcher’s book says,

Finally someone has gone straight to the real experts: hundreds of men and women who have resolved a drinking problem. The best-selling author Anne M. Fletcher asked them a simple question: how did you do it? The result is the first completely unbiased guide for problem drinkers, one that shatters long-held assumptions about alcohol recovery.

However, Fletcher seems to avoid the word “addiction” and even “alcoholism,” and that bothers some critics. Others are perturbed because she believes that alcohol does not have to be totally given up. Admittedly, only “a small number” can have an occasional drink without losing control and sliding back into alcohol dependency. But some feel that alcoholics should not even be exposed to this idea, even if it is true.

Food and eating

Fletcher also published several books about losing weight and keeping it off, and has been a guest on several television shows. A 2010 review of Thin for Life, which appeared at, begins by giving Fletcher’s credits as a registered dietician and a health and medical journalist. Reviewer Katherine Lee wrote, “the real force behind the book is the collection of stories from the weight-loss masters.”

There are 10 guidelines, the most important of which is to believe that you can do it in the first place. In addition to that initial positive attitude, another key is to maintain the positivity, and not mentally beat yourself up over the occasional misstep. The plan is said to be not about deprivation or elimination, which is a controversial stand.

Prospective readers are warned that it is not about quick weight loss, but that is actually much better because quick loss almost inevitably precedes gaining it back up again. This is a plan for the long haul. Aside from mental attitude, the most important factor is exercise, and quitting soft drinks is also an important factor.

Teens and weight loss

In 2008, Fletcher published Weight Loss Confidential: How Teens Lose Weight & Keep It Off — And What They Wish Parents Knew. The publisher’s press release is basically an outline of the book itself, giving away the shattered myths and all the things that young people wish their parents would wise up to.

It also includes several quotations from teens, and an interview with Fletcher about her inspiration:

I actually got the idea years ago, when my overweight teenage son came home from camp and excitedly told me about a boy he’d met who had lost 40 pounds. It occurred to me that a great model for a book would be “teens helping other teens” with weight management. My son lost more than 60 pounds when he was 18 and, when he’d kept it off for a few years, I decided it was time to write the book.

I chose to talk about the issue because I wanted readers to know that my son and I have “been there.” […] My son’s story shows that if you give overweight children the tools to succeed, they may eventually do it.

As sources of information, Fletcher only included teens who had been truly overweight, not just carrying a few extra pounds. Each participant filled out an eight-page questionnaire. Here is a quotation from one of the teens, Sandra D.:

Many different things make a person worthwhile. If you’re not an ideal-sized body, it doesn’t mean you’re not an ideal person.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Sober for Good,”, undated
Source: “Sober for Good,”, 04/01/01
Source: “Sober for Good,”, undated
Source: “Thin for Life,”, 07/06/10
Source: “Weight Loss Confidential,”
Photo credit: Michael Coghlan on Visualhunt/CC BY-SA

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Profiles: Kids Struggling with Weight

Profiles: Kids Struggling with Obesity top bottom

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.

Food & Health Resources