Coronavirus Chronicles — 5 Pounds, 20 Times

Alasdair Wilkins, has not, as far as we know, been a victim of COVID-19. But his life experience might prove very helpful to people who have gained unwanted pounds due to being cooped up and unable to get enough exercise to use up the calories they have taken in.

Over the course of a year, Wilkins lost 100 pounds, and the mental attitude he allowed himself to be guided by could be just what others need, because experience has shown that he does know what he is talking about. The authors of a article about Wilkins wrote,

We often hear, “Eat less, move more” as the core advice for weight loss. Unfortunately, that makes the behavior change sound so much easier than it is.

Wilkins addresses diverse topics, many of them of interest to parents. What should parents do, who want to be truly supportive, rather than performative? He says:

Let the person losing weight set the terms of engagement.

What does this mean, in real-life terms? An old joke asks, “How many psychologists does it take to change a lightbulb?” The answer is, “Only one, but the lightbulb has to really want to change.”

The same thought may be expressed in other ways. Most people, if they stop to think about it, can spot examples in their own lives. If someone says, “I plan to lose 10 pounds by June 1st,” there is nothing to be gained by prodding the aspiring weight-loser to more lofty heights of ambition. “Why not dream big, and go for 20 pounds?” or any remark of that type, will not add any needed element to the dialogue.

The first rule of self-help is that the subject has to buy into it. If a friend or relative can simply validate a positive statement of intent, without adding to it, judging, or “helping,” that would be a good thing. People who wish to help a person escape from obesity also have a second guideline. The team that wrote about Wilkins also noted the most useful bit of information about him:

He found what worked for him.

What worked for him was baby steps. He just wanted to feel better, and banished thoughts of end-goal numbers from his mind. He avoided thinking about the total poundage he needed to lose, saying, “I did lose 100 lbs, but I think it’s more correct to say I lost 5 lbs 20 times over.” He said:

I was lucky that I hit upon the right strategy pretty quickly, but I think it was really powerful to build a positive, sustainable experience rather than think about weight or goals from the outset… The takeaway from my experience is not “people should do what I did,” unless what we’re defining what I did as “finding what worked for me.”

Wilkins’s “move more” activity was one hour per day on an uphill treadmill, while watching movies. What about the “eat less” component? Wilkins says,

In terms of organizing my approach and building a sustainable routine, diet was something that happened incidentally along the way. Exercise was what I focused my attention on and where I drew a lot more strength and sense of accomplishment.

He also emphasizes that nobody should suffer from the delusion that they will “get over” obesity:

Obesity is a lifelong condition, and my weight is something I’ll be working to maintain probably for the rest of my life.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “How Did Alasdair Wilkins Lose 100 lbs in a Year?,”, 10/5/15
Image by Marcu Ioachim/public domain

2 Responses

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