What in the World Is BrainWeighve?

Glad you asked! BrainWeighve is a new phone app in its final stages of development by Dr. Pretlow and an amazing team. Today, we discuss some of the basic ideas behind it.

One major problem shared by adults and young people who are overweight, is a feeling of guilt, as if compulsive eating were the person’s own fault. This is a very heavy and discouraging emotion to live with. But the thing is, compulsive eating is one of the glitches in the way that humans are wired. The basic cause is the buildup of nervous energy in the brain and, as Dr. Pretlow says, “This brain energy overflows or is ‘displaced’ to your feeding drive, causing you to overeat.”

And so…?

Fine, but what is the source of this nervous energy? It originates from psychological conflict over life situations that the person feels unequipped to face, but cannot avoid. This extends out to any kind of frustration. So, what the BrainWeighve app does is help a person identify these situations of conflict or frustration, which is the first step toward any kind of remedy in any situation. Define exactly what you are dealing with, and sometimes even just putting a name to it can help a lot.

So does the realization that nobody is alone in these situations. Whether it shows or not, every person you know is required to face conflicts and frustrations, sometimes on a daily basis. After identifying such a roadblock, the next step is to come up with an Action Plan to deal with it effectively. Of course, “roadblock” is only a figure of speech. Dynamite is of no use here. The last thing anyone wants is for a situation to blow up — which is why Action Plans are so helpful.

But what happens to all that excess brain energy, buzzing around in a person’s head? Fortunately, it does not go to waste, but can be put to good use. It can be usefully rechanneled into non-harmful displacement behaviors, and we will talk about that more later.

Skipping ahead a bit

Let’s focus for a moment on a difficult situation, or trigger, that affects many people all too often. A person can skip this section of the app if they prefer, but for anyone who finds holidays and other celebrations hard to manage, it can be very helpful. Occasions where people get together and share food and drink with a festive spirit are sometimes dreaded by individuals who are obese or trying hard not to be.

There is immense cultural pressure; there is the force of habit from past experiences of communal feasting; there is a reluctance to hurt the cook’s feelings; there is the fear of being “jokingly” called a wet blanket or a party-pooper by “friends.”

But worst of all is the battle against the self, the urge to say, “What the heck, it’s a holiday, I’ll make up for it by being careful next week….” and on and on, blah blah blah. We all know the inner monologue that broadcasts its predictable and destructive tapes on these occasions.

The section, not surprisingly, is called Celebrations. For anyone who wants to give it a try, this is an important area where BrainWeighve can provide a path to calmness and competency.

More coming up!

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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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