What in the World Is a Dread List?

As we have seen, it is quite likely that a person’s overeating problems stem from mental frustration with situations that seem insoluble. While commonplace frustration is intensely annoying, the real trouble starts when two competing drives are battling it out in your head. What a waste of energy. Speaking of which, let’s take a peek at the BrainWeighve App User Manual:

Nervous energy builds up in your brain to either deal with or avoid the situation, and this brain energy overflows or is “displaced” to your feeding drive, causing you to overeat. It’s a normal part of your brain that goes rogue…

The thing is, all that unruly brain power can be roped back into the corral, and harnessed. Use it to define and pin down your troublesome scenarios, and compose your own personal Dread List. But wait, that’s not all! The next step (and this is where your full creativity and originality have a chance to shine) is to make an Action Plan for each contingency.

Okay, that is one thing that stops the overflow production of brain energy. But there is so much more. As the manual stated, “Also, you will learn to rechannel the overflow brain energy to non-harmful displacement behaviors…”

What’s not to like?

Anyway, back to the notion of competing drives. Often, it seems there are only two choices, neither of them good. From the affected person’s point of view, facing this situation engenders a feeling that might be expressed as, “Damned if I do, damned if I don’t.” When others observe someone who seems to be at an impasse, experiencing paralysis of the will, they might also find things to say, which are not always kind.

A corny old remark is relatively polite: “Fish or cut bait!” There is also a much more popular but quite vulgar phrase we can’t even say here, but everybody has heard it. Another variation that means pretty much the same thing is, “Put up or shut up!”

It’s bad enough that other people say these things, but when it gets to where you are saying them to yourself, something needs to be done. What might that thing be? Well, two things, actually. Make a Dread List, and make Action Plans.

Yes, you can

In many lives, the dilemma created by opposing drives will generate such urgency that a person will build a whole philosophy around it. For instance, they will declare that a bold move, even if it turns out wrong, is better than a timid refusal to do anything.

But consider this: What if you make a bold move and it turns out to be right? Even splendidly, spectacularly right! That is the best of all possible worlds. Imagine the triumph of making the bold move to, for instance, get serious about resisting obesity. Imagine giving it an honest, earnest try for six months. Now, soak up BrainWeighve’s pitch:

The app helps you deal with both immediate and ongoing difficult life situations and resulting eating urges.

(To be continued…)

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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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