Coping with BFRBs

The photo on this page depicts part of the coastline of the Sultanate of Oman, and was taken by Dr. Pretlow last week when he spoke at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Regional Conference on the displacement theory that Childhood Obesity News has discussed extensively.

The conference chair told him, “Everyone loved your presentation, because it was new,” and he was consulted about the country’s most difficult cases of obesity. Another attendee expressed interest in bringing Dr. Pretlow to an upcoming conference in nearby Qatar.

Oman, incidentally, is a geologists’ paradise, a living museum of rock varieties including peridotite, a kind found in only a few places on the globe. For The New York Times, Henry Fountain reported on this specially talented type of rock, which can perform direct-air capture of carbon from the atmosphere and, with the help of water, turn that carbon into stone.

Civilization creates close to 40 billion tons of CO2 emissions annually, and a startling amount of climate change. At great cost, the process of carbon mineralization could be accelerated. With the proper application of technology, scientists estimate that Oman’s rugged landscape could help to save the planet by transforming at least a billion tons of carbon into rock each year.

Back to the BFRB

The previous post talked about stratagems to avoid body-focused repetitive behaviors, by substituting with less harmful displacement activities. Another (uncredited) author at points out that we all cope with adversity in individual ways. Different people use different methods, and one person might use different methods on different days. In this area of life, experimentation is definitely encouraged.

To provide easy access to ideas you have tried, or heard of and intend to try, the article suggests creating a special box where these can all be rounded up and corralled together in one place, along with whatever gear might be needed for the suggestions, like a knitting project.

Your journal could be in there, and the visual equivalent, which is a sketch pad. The box could hold a notebook or list of quotations that get you fired up or calmed down, as the occasion may require. It might contain a large or small collection of fidget toys.

Other contents are more abstract, like reminders to exercise, or listen to music, or meditate, or watch your favorite movie, or actually to do any number of things that might captivate your senses sufficiently to crowd out the idea of engaging in a self-destructive BFRB.

The website My Anxiety Plans offers two versions, depending on whether the patient is a young person or an adult. The programs are based on cognitive behavioral therapy. Actually they are both for adults, since the plan for children and teens is described as a self-help program for parents, caregivers, and educators; a resource that teaches them to “coach” anxious kids using “practical strategies and tools to manage anxiety.”

It encompasses 46 lessons divided into six units:

Unit 1: Starting the Journey: Understanding Anxiety
Unit 2: Calming Strategies: Learning to Chill.
Unit 3: Helpful Thinking: Talking Back to Anxiety
Unit 4: Facing Fears: Exposure
Unit 5: Continuing the Journey
Unit 6: Special Topics

Then, each unit is broken down into learning sessions that take between five and 20 minutes. Unit 2, for instance, includes Calming Concepts, Relaxation Tools, Mindfulness Exercises, and Self-Soothing Strategies. BFRBS are a “special topic” addressed in Unit 6.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “How Oman’s Rocks Could Help Save the Planet,”, 04/26/18
Source: “Creating a Self-Care Toolbox for BFRBs,”, 04/01/15
Source: “My Anxiety Plans,”, undated
Image by Dr. Pretlow

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

FAQs and Media Requests: Click here…

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